straight from the heart

Poverty, Basic Needs & The Different Faces of Bigotry

In Politics, Racism, Society on February 8, 2016 at 7:48 am

Racism in America exist. Still does and sadly it appears it always will.  You see it everyday in their eyes, their responses. You feel its presence in interactions. You read about it in the news.  You see it play out in the media. I mean how is it that Floyd Mayweather gets roasted for his boastful antics, but Connor McGregor isn’t?  Now I am not a fan of how Floyd promoted himself – I am a big fan of his skills – but McGregor is just as boastful and disrespectful to his opponents yet is categorized as a colorful, exuberant character?  Huh?!? BUT this blog is not about that type of bigotry – more on that at another time. This is about the bigotry that transcends race, color or creed.  It’s the bigotry of the rich vs poor, the haves vs have nots.  This has never been more evident than the water scandal in Flint, Michigan, a hard scrabble, blue collar city.  If this was a more affluent city, do you really think this would have happened AND continued once the problem was brought to light?!?  Come on now!  This has been a disgrace. Children have suffered all in the name of money.  Think this would happen in Scarsdale, NY? La Jolla, CA? I think not.  It doesn’t stop there. How many times have you heard or read about some wealthy person who gets away with a crime cause they could afford to sweep it away.  The other day I was at a dinner in Baltimore with some attorney clients of my firms. The fact they were all Caucasian, while usual, wasn’t the focus.  The conversation turned to a couple of people, teenagers & adults alike, who had committed an injustice or crime (regardless of the severity) and due to connections or money for proper representation, were able to “get off” with nary a fine.  Being a man of color, with modest means & a hard scrabble upbringing, it rankled me. It’s not like I did not know this occurs, but to hear it then & there, coupled with the mater of fact sound in their voices – I had to comment.  I told them of a recent story I had heard when a truck driver, who was a man of color, was delivering some equipment to my home.  As I usually do, I chatted him up as I appreciated him delivering my shipment. Somehow the conversation turned to him advising he had done two years in prison. When asked why, he explained assault.  Apparently, he was at a bar when he got into an argument with another patron, someone he knew of, who had been harassing his son.  He admitted they were both a little inebriated so it escalated. Noticing it was getting heated, he decided to walk away, but the other patron, a younger Caucasian male followed him outside & tried to attack him.   He defended himself & apparently “beat this boy down.”  He of course got arrested and charged, even though he had witnesses collaborating his story.  He could not afford a good attorney and thus was forced to take a plea deal, which resulted in his two year stint, even tho the injured party decided not to press charges! If he had money would he had done time?  I think not!  The table grew somber for a few as they took in every word.  Their eyes told the story.  This story happens everyday all over the world. It doesn’t make the news, but affects many. Bigotry and injustice comes in all forms.  Working class and people with less monetary means (I hate using the description of poor people, cause they can be people of character, joy, dedication and thus never a “poor person”) feel it everyday on our roads, in our schools and with our healthcare.  The people of Flint deserved better.  It is their right as humans to drink water without the fear of getting sick.  It was a travesty without reproach and needs to be used as an example for all humanity’s sake.

A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both. 

           – Dwight D. Eisenhower

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