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Saturday, April 10, 2021

Become more informed before reacting

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“We perish from lack of knowledge.”

While the aforementioned statement is certainly true for all races, I am specifically referring to African-Americans. We perish from lack of knowledge. So often we make assumptions based on things we don’t know for certain. Other times, we are blindsided by things that have been made available to us, yet we failed to do our part to learn about them in the first place.

We do not take advantage of the information right in front of us. We fail to educate ourselves about things that have lasting impacts on our lives.

However, the true travesty of such behavior is the manner in which we shift the blame onto someone else, rather than assuming responsibility ourselves.

Some Blacks are quick to play the race card by blaming whites for everything, which is simply not always the reality.

Recently, a group of Blacks protested the expansion of Tarkington Park, a 10-acre plot of land located between Meridian and Illinois streets, north of 39th Street. The silent protest was conducted by a group of individuals who play football there on a regular basis. According to the group, more than 400 youth ages 5–13 partake in activities at the park. The protest occurred earlier this week.

According to Rebuild Indy, “project improvements include a graded play area with age appropriate equipment for children of all ages and abilities; a spray plaza for use in warm summer months; a cafe building to be operated locally; accessible public rest rooms; curb ramps on Illinois and 39th streets; and a focus on green space with designated planting. The renovation will not affect the basketball and tennis courts currently in the park. An existing parking lot will also be left unchanged for accessibility.”

While I commend the group of individuals for their passionate protest, they are a bit late in their efforts. Talk of the Tarkington Park renovation dates back to late last year, with an upsurge in coverage in January. Various public information meetings were held in the weeks and months that followed.

Rather than being reactive, it is imperative we all strive to be more proactive by paying attention to news as it happens and respond accordingly at that time.

The Recorder gets tons of calls each week about an assortment of subject matter. Many times, the newspaper has already disseminated information about a particular topic — either via our print publication or one of our digital components. The information is already available to the public, yet certain members of the public don’t read the newspaper, scour the Internet or watch local or national newscasts to be better educated.

The same is true for things that may not be public issues. For instance, I’ve heard stories from countless teachers who describe parents who “went off,” on them for something a student alleges happened. Rather than do the necessary digging or, at the bare minimum, converse with the educator in a respectful and engaging manner to obtain information, some parents opt for the reactive approach, responding in a negative manner without being equipped with supplemental information that may provide more clarity and understanding.

Here’s a reality check for a lot of people: It’s not always their (“the white man’s”) fault or anyone else’s for that matter. Sometimes, you are the one who has dropped the ball or failed to gain the necessary information needed to make an informed decision or react in an appropriate manner. Stop blaming others and look at the man or the woman in the mirror.

Indeed, we perish from lack of knowledge, and there is plenty of evidence that supports that. However, you can change the tide by taking advantage of the information sources and resources that are available to you.

As the old saying goes, “knowledge is power.” One thing that can never be taken from you is the knowledge you hold.

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