Racism: The root cause of violence

By Bob Norris

Scott Hutchings | Boulder Weekly

It is difficult to say anything that provides sufficient comfort to the victims of police or other violence regardless of the race of the victim, but it is especially difficult to comfort those who have been victims of more than fatal shootings.

People of color continue to be treated poorly in this country and not just by some in law enforcement. This includes insults, job discrimination, underfunded schools, dangerous neighborhoods, environmental racism, etc. In some locations daily harassment by police for being the wrong color leads to fear and distrust of police.

Traffic stops based on the color of the driver causes resentment. Not all law enforcement practice racist behaviors, but enough do to create fear and resentment. Those officers who tolerate these behaviors of the offending officers contribute to the problems.

We are fortunate to live in Longmont and Boulder County where incidents are now rare and the sheriff and police chief do not tolerate offensive behavior and screen out potential offenders at the hiring stage. Screening of candidates is critical to eliminating problem officers. Candidates should be rejected if they are racially or otherwise biased, do not have the ability to make good decisions under pressure, and/or can’t interact favorably with all residents. Community policing and training are important but only effective with adequate screening.

Excessive force by some officers has targeted white residents as well as minorities and does not justify attacks on any officer. It is likely, as in the case of the slain officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, that good officers are as likely to be attacked, as are bad officers.

Many of the problems will exist until we reduce the extent of racism and other biases in our communities and nation. Pablo Pelligrini sings in one of his songs that hatred is taught in the hearts of the young. If you are teaching your children to hate others, you are the root cause of violence, including violence by law enforcement, poor schools, limited health care, poverty, etc.

It is incredible that the presidential candidate for a major party speaks and promotes bias based on gender, ethnicity, country of origin and religion. A study by the Southern Poverty Law Center directly links increased bullying in schools to speeches made by Donald Trump.

One of the seven principals of my faith is to affirm and promote: “The inherent worth and dignity of every person.” This principal, if followed by everyone, would lead to a much better community, nation and world. This is more than being respectful and polite to others regardless of how they differ from you. It requires action on each of our parts. It requires more than voicing our sadness at events and support for those offended and harmed.

We must insist that our institutions are fair and equitable to all.
School funding must be equal. Discrimination in employment must no longer occur. Income equality must be addressed vigorously. Those who oppose increases in the minimum wage and payment of a living wage need to understand that not providing enough to feed children a healthy diet is hurting all of us. Not providing access to health care is a long-term, costly strategy not just for the physical health of individuals, but for the long-term fiscal health of communities and the nation. These failures disproportionately impact people of color.

Everyone should have an equal voice in deciding issues impacting our communities, state and nation. Giving much more power to a relatively small number of financially well off people (Citizens United) is hard to reconcile with the founders’ intent for one man, one vote (as limited as that was at the time).

Voter suppression efforts that many Republican-controlled state legislatures have passed (and often ruled unconstitutional) were aimed at disenfranchising people of color and others because doing so would impact the outcome of elections.

Bob Norris is a social activist living in Longmont.

This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.

  • rkeefe

    “A study by the Southern Poverty Law Center directly links increased bullying in schools to speeches made by Donald Trump”

    That “study” clearly states that it was NOT scientific as it was based on an online survey in which the participants were not chosen at random. The “study” claims to be the result of 2,000 survey replies, yet the same “study” also notes that the SPLC reaches more than 400,000 teachers a month.

    Either 398,000 teachers didn’t bother to respond (99.5% of the sample), or the SPLC cherry-picked the 2,000 participants as they could be counted on to return the “right” answers. Either way, the whole point of the exercise was to allow the SPLC to comment on Trump while avoiding a direct violation of the terms of their 501(c)(3) tax exempt status.

    The fundraisers at the SPLC are famous for their dexterity. http://wp.me/pCLYZ-xt

  • ernie_oertle

    “… difficult to comfort those who have been victim of more than fatal shooting ..” What a peculiar set of words. Does theBW have any editors who proof-read these articles? How can you be a victim of `more-than’ a fatal shooting? If you’re fatally shot, then you’re dead. Right? How do you comfort somebody who is dead?

    I suppose .. this is connected to those awful minders & schizoid enforcers of bourgeois decorum = dah pole-leez, & the outrageous injustice that is always at wherever they go. By-golly, if it wasn’t for bad-luck wit dah cops, the leftwingers wouldn’t have any luck at all. Funny also, how the minions of piggrezzivism – that is to say, the aphonous underclass masses of theDemocratParty who’ve been hornswaggled there is no difference between Wrong-&-right which results in hate-in-the-heart & theLaw is only a stiff-neck tool of Republicans, & cops are impugned —- are ripe for being leftwinger expendable cadre. Not because there is gross injustice in our society – but because there is heinous insanity & Evil packaged as social-justice retaliation. Criminal revenge-taking w/ a terroristic slant.
    Why don’t you make Demands ! Yanno, a dream-list that only totalitarians could fulfill – except on-course, even they wouldn’t. Yanno, school-funding must be equal – which will work so well until you&your-kids have to give up crap for some schmoe in NewJersey. No more discrimination in employment eventho it is YOUR DemocratParty who is flooding the joint w/ illegal-aliens & unvetted foreigners. Income-equality is a bolshevist-sucker laffer – too asinine to address further. An economically-insane $15 national minimum-wage, pushed by ideologic economic-theory illiterate redistributionists. That won’t drive the costs of everything else up. Why are 25mil+ uninsured? Ooh that’s right! – because leftist Economy-destroying policies causes job-elimination, down-sizing, work-hours cut, & employers no-longer able to afford benefits – all as part of a massive leftwinger-trick to wreck the healthcare & insurance-industries w/ the object of the heroic neo-totalitarians coming to the rescue … w/ Single Payer!! Where the SmartPeople socialists & statists & obummunists can take control of 1/6th+ of the nation’s Economy, & remove the individual’s freedom to make one’s own health-choices.
    Everyone should have a multitude of votes to cast in theDemocratParty tradition, giving a façade of participation in a socialist-republic structure. Giving much more Power to SmartPeople state Party elite(ComradesUnited) is hard to alter & correct, once theFounders’ intent of one man one vote & Separation-of-Powers is dissolved because theConstitution was a disgusting unresponsive old rag written by & for white-people.

  • ernie_oertle

    Read history man. TheDemocratParty of the mid-1960s was in a higher percentage AGAINST civil-rights than theRepublican. The sixties started LBJ’s ‘Great Society’ that was supposed to eradicate slums & poor poor poor black-poverty by pouring money into the problem areas. How well did that work out? Can you tell me one major Democrat-led project that has led to the long-term benefit of the at-large African-American portion of society in this country? Which predominant African-American (Democrat)-led city in this country do you consider a success story? I’m waiting.