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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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The Misuse of Race and Ethnicity

Dear Source:
Having just returned from a two-week trip to the U.S. mainland, I was not surprised to find out that Dr. Lynn Spampinato's nomination to be commissioner of education was rejected by the Senate. Anyone who has taught college courses on the history and development of sexism, racism, ethnocentrism, homophobia, etc. would have predicted the results based on the comments and ideas previously emitted by our senators and some members of the community prior to the Spampinato hearing. The "we and dem mentality" is the historical basis for racism, ethnocentrism and sexism. Simply read your bible!
It is an absolute absurdity to think that race or gender does not have a role to play in a decision-making process. It is obvious to anyone who has an understanding of the historical, psychological, religious, economic and social issues related to ethnocentrism/racism that race and gender continue to be factors in a "racist and sexist society." Why do you think we still have laws prohibiting discrimination based on race, gender, ethnicity, etc.? For any senator to state that race or gender was involved in making a decision on Dr. Spampinato opens him/her to a violation of the U.S. federal laws against discrimination based on race, gender, ethnicity, etc. It is also normal to vehemently deny something that would jeopardize your career, as contemporary white racists do. While our senators may not be exceptionally bright, they are not so dumb as to openly make comments related to race, especially since there was a negative public reaction to the racist comments on the senate floor made by Senators Figueroa-Seville and Russell. One statement or act of a racist nature does not a person or community make! It is the pattern that establishes intentional discrimination.
For your information, referring to Roger Morgan and his KKK cronies, or spray painting "KKK go home" on the door of Stephen Larsen's studio was clearly intended to incite race into an issue. Mr. Morgan would never be accepted in a white-supremacist organization because he married a "slant-eyed devil" from Korea. In the racist ideology of the KKK and like groups, it is okay to fornicate with one, as it is to know someone in the biblical sense of "any inferior race," but to marry one is a sin. To marry a JAP (Jewish American Princess), as in Mr. Larsen's situation, is also a sin against God, as the racist Church of the Creator will attest. For senators to make the KKK allegations against them was clearly intended to stir racial animosity. A more recent commentary in a letter to the editor states: "There are persons living here who are probably contemplating hanging nooses from trees in the yard of the Legislature's building." That comment again incites race into the equation.
In addition to the race inciting comments, the desire to only have native Virgin Islanders vote on a constitution is also discrimination based on ethnicity, which in reality is primarily race based against continentals who are white. (Because I am not white, I was told by a native Islander, I am not considered a Continental but a Yankee.) For native islanders to keep insisting that native Islanders be hired for positions even when well qualified islanders are not available is ignoring the fact that for the past 30 years native islanders have been running the government and education system and have failed to do our children justice in educating them appropriately. Such continued emphasis on native islanders being hired places race or ethnicity above competence. It is just the reverse of the subtleties of white racism that presently exists in the U.S. mainland. (Are you aware that there has been a 40% increase in racial hate groups in the U.S. since "the decider," who is really a "divider," took office?)
Although I have no knowledge of Gov. de Jongh's decision to nominate Dr. Spampinato at the last minute, I suspect that he did so because he was aware of the issue of race/ethnicity that would surface. In making the nomination at the last minute, he allowed Dr. Spampinato to demonstrate her effectiveness in regaining $8.4 million from the federal government, meeting with parents, and getting the system to purchase books, etc. As I had stated in mid-August, she would have been automatically rejected by an early nomination because of the lack of her ethnicity/race. If the governor had simply nominated her well before school opened, she would have had no time to demonstrate her abilities. The pattern continues!
More important, it is clearly disingenuous and hypocritical for any senator to state that Dr. Spampinato should be transparent when they have continuously not been transparent about the "ghost senator" behind derailing reconsideration of Act 6905. Further, a native islander having "the intestinal fortitude to lead" is not the same as having the intellectual competence to lead. What is most troubling is the ignorance of our senators related to legal documents that prohibit a person from disclosing a settlement. For a senator to state that the legal "agreement tells him nothing," like the one Dr. Spampinato signed with the Pittsburgh School district, which continues to pay her $213,000 as a consultant, indicates ignorance or stupidity. It is especially troubling since Dr. Spampinato was given a raise and a new title, which should indicate that she was not the "culprit." As stated by another senator, "arguments about the confidential contract were a red herring for the other reasons senators did not want to confirm her." Is it because she was not born here?
It is time for native Islanders, Yankees and Continentals to deal openly and honestly with the issue of race in the decision-making process. If we don't, America's Paradise will continue to reflect the racist trends that persist on the U.S. mainland!
Peace and love to those who want to look beyond race or ethnicity as a criterion for competence!
Hap Clark
St. Croix

Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to source@viaccess.net.

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