Recently, The Sun reported that area organizations purchased an ad in another periodical highlighting the major problem impacting Baltimore — structural racism ("Ad campaign urges Baltimore to consider 'structural racism,'" Sept. 18). Subsequently, this term was repeated by a well-informed delegate as one of the root causes impacting Baltimore today and as a topic on local talk-radio. I'm well aware of that term as an African-American woman and former teenage mother living in the projects receiving welfare. I understand the advantage some races had when experiencing situational poverty that differed drastically from my experience. But although knowledgeable of the historic advantages to groups based on race, I can assure you that modern-day Baltimore City does not have a problem with structural racism. It has a problem with ineffective liberal policies and governing.
Structural racism provides one race with an advantage while simultaneously and purposefully working against another. As a result, the writers of the ad blame this racist system for the high unemployment, poor educational attainment, high crime rate, blighted neighborhoods and rampant drug use in African American communities in our city.
If that were accurate, then the last 48 years that Baltimore has been in the hands of Democratic mayors and represented largely by African Americans are to blame. Put another way, the people that have allowed for this system to exist are overwhelmingly Democratic and African-American — city council members, delegates and senators. Am I to believe that they are the racist organizers of this system?
I don't think so. Many of our elected officials work very hard and are committed to improving the quality of life for everyone regardless of race. But to be clear, its not their intention nor their political party that's the cause of our city's problems — it is their collective and fundamental belief in liberal policies that have exacerbated the problems and liberal practices that have failed to resolve them.
The liberal practice that allows illegal dirt bike riders or worse defends it as an art and not the dangerous action on life and property that it is. Or the use of the term, "thugs," in referencing arsonist and looters and then the practice of rejecting that word, although accurately used, as too offensive. Or the policy of exorbitant fees to small business owners to operate and the policies that stymie their growth such as live entertainment restrictions even in areas where its supported by the neighborhood. The support or creation of fees and taxes that disproportionately impact city homeowners such as the bottle tax, plastic bag fee, cell-phone fee, increased water bill, high property tax and annual security alarm-system fee. The policies that hurt charter schools and the practice to fight private-school vouchers as if to ensure all city children are forced to attend low-performing public schools. The practice to support the Red Line in spite of its fiscal note and the overwhelming community opposition. The practice to blame the police for the crime rate while enforcing policies to create a sanctuary city for undocumented immigrants. The policy that allows individuals to continue receiving public assistance beyond the federal lifetime limits and using state funds to pay for it. And finally, the continuous and consistent pattern of public policy and practices that waste taxpayer dollars such as the Grand Prix, the city-funded Hilton Hotel, the Circulator bus and red-light cameras.
We must take an honest look at the causal factors to our major issues and end the practice of blaming. These are our problems, and while we may not all be contributing to their existence, it is now time for everyone to work toward resolving them. Start with your vote. As an urban conservative, I urge voters to consider another approach, one different than the tried and failed attempts of our liberal past. Baltimore needs conservative solutions to its urban problems. Personal and fiscal responsibility are key to our success. And ain't nothing wrong with old-fashioned hard work and common sense approaches. We can do this. We can be better. But not if we recycle old policies through new actors. Consider the last half-century of liberal policies, is that what you want for our future?
Liz Copeland, Canton
The writer is deputy director of the Baltimore City Department of Social Services and member of Baltimore Young Republicans.