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Del. Lauren Arikan: Weaponized ‘woke-ism’ is going to cause rampant crime in Maryland | COMMENTARY

One of a series of weekly commentaries from Harford County state legislators regarding the 2021 Maryland General Assembly session.

According to Merriam-Webster, “woke” is to be aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice). After months of nation-wide riots that spawned from an alleged desire for racial justice, being woke has now become weaponized.

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All over social media, if you do not acquiesce to woke culture, you are attacked, berated and marginalized. This is more than simply the squeakiest wheel getting the oil. Extreme woke leftism is spreading like a cancer among our youth and on our college campuses. These folks command almost no knowledge or life experience, yet they spend their days online proselytizing into liberal echo chambers about fictional things like critical race theory.

Lauren Arikan
Lauren Arikan (Handout/HANDOUT)

Down in Annapolis, we have seen a shift in the last three years from a much more cohesive Democratic Party, to one that is being held hostage by extremist woke advocates. After 17 hours of negotiations between Democrat leadership, Republican leadership and advocates on the Senate side, a package of police reform bill came out that was almost completely bi-partisan. It delivered what both sides thought was a solid compromise.

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On the House side, while Republicans worked with Democrat House leadership over many hours, the level of extremism from a small group of liberals was so strong, that we simply couldn’t come to an agreement.

As rumors circulated about an increasing threat of violence from extremists toward delegates and senators, it became apparent that Maryland Democrats are now crafting legislation not because it’s the best policy, but under duress from a violent fringe that is willing to use physical threats to accomplish their goal of destroying our police.

Last week during bill hearings in the House for the Senate package we had woke leftists come in and suggest that black officers are perpetuating “white supremacy” more than white officers, because they are like the black slave drivers of the Antebellum South. To compare an entire race of people that work in law enforcement of being akin to slave drivers is absolutely disgusting. The woke left has become the racists they claim to hate.

Just this week, we had a black delegate, Dr. Brenda Thiam, from Washington County, essentially be called a house slave on her social media account, by an extremist liberal from her community that worked for a local Democrat. The Maryland Democrats have allowed these fringe voices to become so emboldened that they don’t even hide their overt racism.

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Earlier this week, in the Senate Judicial Proceedings committee, they moved HB670 — the House Police Reform bill — with some of the most absurd and illogical policy in it. I watched in utter disbelief as the liberals on the committee rejected common-sense amendments that would remove portions of the bill like mandatory implicit bias testing as part of the hiring process for new police officers.

Implicit bias testing for hiring does not even exist. I heard Sen. Shelly Hettleman state that it was just one tool in a myriad of tools for hiring. Except it is literally not a tool.

I personally reached out to Harvard Implicit Bias Testing, which is the most evidenced-based Implicit Bias Testing that exists. Here is their response: “The IAT is not recommended for individual assessments or hiring practices … . If you’re looking for tests that identify potential job candidates with hidden bias, I’m sorry to say that such a test doesn’t currently exist.”

Mandating fictitious testing is merely the tip of the iceberg within this failed police reform legislation. With Baltimore City Police having an estimated 500 officer deficit, I shudder to think of the effect this legislation will have on recruitment of new police officers. In Baltimore County, a survey was sent out to almost 1,000 local FOP members, 83% said they would leave the job if this legislation passed.

Not only will police officers in Maryland have to fear for their lives when they are called to the rescue of our citizens, but we may simply not have anyone left to answer the call at all, and ultimately, Maryland will be far less safe because of it.

Lauren Arikan is a Republican representing District 7 in the Maryland House of Delegates.

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