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Sunday, April 11, 2021

Here we go again! Enough! My personal response to the Newfields misstep

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I am tired and I want this to stop. I do not want to have to tell the next generation, my grandkids, what I had to tell my kids, what my parents told us and their parents told them. That you must be head and shoulders above the rest to get half of what you deserve in this country because you are Black. That you must be the best you can be always because people will look at you and anything you do wrong will reflect on the whole race. What a burden to have to bear. What a constraint on happiness!

We are in the throes of yet another systematic racial issue in Indianapolis that has gone off the rails and this time, I need to say something because I am so tired! I’m tired of this kind of situation always falling on the plate of initially a small number of Blacks that then becomes an issue addressing all the ills of racial injustice in this country, and those small number of Blacks then become the people in the public identified as the way to make the situation right. No! As far as I am concerned, not this time! This time let us get it right. Let us go to the source of the problem.

I say enough! Enough because the terminology used in that Newfield’s job description was not what caused the problem. And, as always, when a particular racist situation is disclosed, there is always an effort to put a Band-Aid on the wound without cleaning out the poison that has caused the wound and will only fester and present in another manner.

My question is, why did the board of Newfield’s allow a key employee to stay for ten years when there were complaints from the public and other employees and a consensus that this was not the person for the job? Why did the board allow him to put in place fees and rules that alienated the immediate population, which happens to be 55% Black as well as a good number of Latinos? Isn’t it the job of the board to have governance over the organization? Why are the 18 Black artists involved in an upcoming exhibition having to solve their lack of governance? That is not fair, so I am holding the board responsible for not carrying out their duty.

The 18 artists were happy to finally get an opportunity that has for so long been denied to Black artist for centuries, to present their art to the community through a major art institution. But then to have to bear the responsibility to represent the race on yet another racist practice called to task is not only unreasonable, but too much of a burden to bear. We as a people are always asked to bear that burden for the whole, and are never given the opportunity as are others, to represent their own personal interests but are asked to sacrifice a scarce opportunity for the “good of the order” as we have had to do since some of us were forcefully brought to this country.

When will it be possible for white institutions to do what they know is right without having to be exposed before they do? I would love to see – just once, a time when systematic racist policies are addressed by whites instead of us having to be the conscience of this country, put ourselves on the line, sacrifice opportunities, and even our lives, to insure that what this country says it stands for, life liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, for equality under the law, that all men are created equal has other advocates on the line with skin in the game besides Blacks upholding and being the caretakers of these goals. We have been the caretakers of justice and equality for this country since Plymouth Rock. The last election demonstrated how committed we are to upholding this vision, yet we are continually asked to do more.

Just this once, it would be nice if the 18 artists could be allowed to be responsible for their personal interests and goals only. They should not have to represent the catalyst of eradicating racism in institutions that have, by will, promoted these policies for decades. It is time we put the onus on the ones responsible for these ills. That is not the victim. It is time whites take the responsibility for what they created, and make the change that is inevitable and necessary for this country to fulfill the promises described in the constitution. I think Black people in this country have proven they believe in these promises. That we are willing to sacrifice and die for our commitment to equality. White America, it is time to make this experiment in a republic democracy a reality. White people caused and are perpetuating the problem. It is up to you to solve the problem. You need to take the lead on these kinds of situations. Just do the right thing! Silence is compliance! Inaction not an option.

My challenge to every white in this country, is for each one of you, take on the burden that you impose on us as a collective people. Be responsible for every bad action, decision, terrible act one of you inflicts on society, and be responsible for all the people of your race because of their individual decisions and acts, and like me, you will say “Enough!”

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