Saturday 4 February 2023
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An Open Challenge to Local “Anti-Racist Activists”

Op/Ed By Howard Eagle

howard newI am thankful to Ms. Andrea Raethka for bringing the issue (at the link above) to our attention. When I read her article, my initial reaction was “Darn – you learn something new and important every day.”

Her discussion reminded me of the fact that there was a time in U.S. history when some savagely-racist, white supremacists were so inhumane, they produced post cards depicting African-American children literally being used as alligator bait (just as some later produced post cards of black people being lynched, and in some cases, burned alive).

Had she not brought this to our attention, most people probably wouldn’t have noticed it, but, now that we know, it is very important to spread the word, so that everyone will take notice.

Not only that, but, with all the TALK going on in the so-called “greater” Rochester community over the past two or three years, via scores of so-called anti-racist initiatives, and so-called “racial justice” committees (FREE, UNITE, YWCA, METRO JUSTICE, ROCHESTER ACTS, ACTS ROCHESTER, COMMUNITY TASK FORCE ON SCHOOL CLIMATE, SOLUTIONS NOT SUSPENSIONS, DIALOGUES WITHOUT BORDERS, SPARC, etc., etc.), I have been raising the question for months:

“When will representatives of all these various so-called “anti-racist” groups get together in one room, and hammer out a decision regarding at least one concrete idea, or issue, that they/we agree to work on together?”

Especially relative to concretely, and measurably, impacting the most damaging and insidious aspect of the dual-headed beast and illness of individual and institutionalized racism, i.e., its INSTITUTIONALIZED form?

I believe Ms. Raethka has just handed us such an issue on a silver platter.

Thus, I am openly, and publicly, challenging leaders of the groups listed above, and others who are genuinely interested in doing something (other than exclusively TALKING) relative to racial justice, to work together to have the RACIST SYMBOL removed from Charlotte Beach, and placed in the back room of a museum somewhere, for educational purposes.

Such as in the Rare Books, Documents, and Artifacts Section of the University of Rochester, way down in the basement (back in a corner somewhere).

This is a real (though minuscule), concrete, measurable, anti-racist goal that we can achieve (COLLECTIVELY).

This way, when people ask, ‘What have y’all actually done?’ At least we won’t have to sit, wringing our hands; attempting to rationalize, and make things up.

We’ll at least have ONE concrete accomplishment at which to point.

I don’t want to be misunderstood.

I am not suggesting (by any means) that this will represent anything major. IT WILL NOT, but it will represent another baby-step, beyond (exclusively) TALKING. This just may be exactly the kind of activity that’s needed to help energize, and get/keep more people involved in anti-racist work.

Thus, the critical question is, “Who will call for a meeting (SOON), for this sole purpose?”

My thoughts are that we should begin by organizing, at least, a 500-person protest, and speak out at the beach, which could represent the launch of our COLLECTIVE, ‘TAKE IT DOWN CAMPAIGN.’

And, even while we’re in the process, we should be thinking about our next COLLECTIVE PROJECT. I have at least one other idea, which I’ll share at a later time.