Advertisement
Readers Respond

Harford County’s troubling glimpse into the state of race relations | READER COMMENTARY

Dan Rodricks’ recent column, “An offer to mediate a heated battle between neighbors across racial and political lines in Harford County” (May 18), is a sad and disturbing glimpse into the dark side of race relations in America. No two people are the same. Some are taller than others, some are heavier than others, some have blue eyes, some brown eyes, some people have blond hair, some brown hair and some have no hair. These differences are meaningless to how people treat each other. But when it comes to skin color, too many people see much more than color.

The experience of Chris Perkins and his wife with their neighbors is a contemporary testimony to the long history of racism in America. People who see people of color as somehow not worthy of living in their neighborhood, not worthy of being their friends, not worthy of being treated as equals. Such people are blind to what it means to be human. Their unacceptance and animosity toward people of color project their own insecurity about who they are, what they have to offer as people, as contributing Americans.

Advertisement

For most of the last five decades, racism was more discreet, kept just below the surface, because America has projected itself as a beacon of fairness, a land of opportunity, of equality. White Americans tell themselves we are post-racial, that our sad treatment of Black people is in the past, and by the way, it wasn’t all that bad anyway. These are lies we have told ourselves, lies mostly told by one political party. The last president erased the shame that kept most racists in the shadows and now they are willing to fly their racist flags in front of the homes and during parties promoting Black Lives Matter, to intimidate people of color. Those acts are assaults on people of color. Such acts are meant to provoke confrontation. Such acts should be prosecuted and punished.

I admire Dan Rodricks’ offer to arrange an effort at conciliation between the Perkinses and their neighbors. But I must confess I doubt the neighbors are capable of reaching any level of acceptance, much less reconciliation. One thing we have learned since Donald Trump was defeated and left office is that those who supported him still support him and no matter what the reality is, they still believe his “Big Lie” that he won. That same unwillingness to accept reality keeps too many people from accepting the rights, the equality, the humanity of people of color. I wish Chris and Kim Perkins well.

Advertisement

Austin Barry, Sykesville

Add your voice: Respond to this piece or other Sun content by submitting your own letter.


Advertisement