Ugly word, isn't it? When the word racism rears its ugly head in any conversation, everything else takes a back seat. It brings with it hatred, bigotry, intolerance, and everything you can think of that goes against humanity. It brings with it bad history and bad memories, and plenty of abuse of people. And, when racism crops up, it can be a real killer at a Constitutional Convention.
The Virgin Islands has been struggling for the fifth time over many years to create a document that protects the rights of its citizens. Recently reported, in one of the working sessions, the process was dissolved when an elected delegate allegedly began a tirade that included racist comments. Not a pretty sight. People were shocked, people were appalled, and apparently few people at the convention were not able to stop the embarrassing spectacle. Some called for points of order, and some asked that the comments be stopped. One person asked that the situation be addressed and "not glossed over". The chairperson of the meeting apparently did not believe he had the power to basically "shut the racist stream off". How ironic, that people brought together by the population to expand their rights, and create a document to protect all people, were unable to stop racism in their own midst. They must have been totally stunned in their seats.
Something is terribly wrong.
People can't run from a confrontation with racism. The only way to kill racism is to attack it head on. They have to take a stand, and stop it. If someone on the street was calling out racial slurs, it is our job to tell them to stop. Ignorance is the reason for racism and we don't want it here. The year is 2008 and we, the citizens of the Virgin Islands, are just not going to take it anymore. Every delegate in that meeting should have stood up and walked out the door, and let the racist tirade continue to fall upon an empty room. By sitting in that meeting, the delegates were frozen back in time. Maybe they were too shocked to take action? Maybe, according to whatever rules they run their meeting by, they couldn't eject the racist, but they surely didn't have to sit there and listen to it. Kudos to those that ran out the door. By leaving that type of archaic and disgusting type of talk, you showed great courage and took a stand. You basically told the public that you were not going to tolerate that type of discussion, especially in a forum that was established to create more rights for people.
There are to many good people in the Virgin Islands that do the right thing every day of their lives to tolerate such abuses. Those that think differently have to be stood up to. Bullies never win. The people that usually do such things are insecure, ignorant, and intolerant. They need to be challenged and put in their place, which is the end of the line. They have no place in our society, nor do we have to sit back and listen to their demeaning banter. Racism is not a game. It's not a forum that has privilege and free speech only goes so far. The racist can speak what he wants, but we don't have to listen.
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