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Diversity Committee Statement: Uncovering Racism

Tuesday, June 30, 2020  
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Uncovering Racism in 8 Minutes and 46 Seconds

A statement from ACR's Diversity Committee; endorsed by the ACR Board of Directors

A video of eight minutes and forty-six seconds provided a glimpse into our country’s law enforcement system.  Watching the video was like driving pass a horrible car wreck – traffic slows down because drivers are rubbernecking.  Some turn their heads away upon seeing the devastation and others continue to stare because they cannot believe their eyes.
 
COVID-19 sponsored the video and provided the audience due to self-isolation, quarantine and stay-at-home orders. Almost nine minutes of video was enough to display a snippet of the racist system in which we live. While the video only exposes the law enforcement component of the operation, the larger system shrouds all aspects of our lives on a daily basis - criminal justice, education, healthcare, housing, employment, business, voting, wages, politics, climate and many more.
 
For over 400 years, racism has wreaked havoc upon Blacks in this country.  Before May 25, 2020, those who were directly affected by the system often cried out about the unnecessary and unjustified brutality imposed upon them by the police but they were not believed.  The thinking was that the law enforcement part of the system was just and whatever punishment was meted out was justified.
 
Most in this country and, in fact, the world who have seen the video are shocked and disgusted over what the video exposed - the execution of George Floyd by police officers. Calls for change are in the air.  Organizations have made statements calling the actions of the police reprehensible.  What we must understand is organizations are part of the larger racist system that supports the law enforcement component.   In addition, because organizations are created, led and run by people, individuals are responsible for the actions organizations take.  Thus, on the one hand, being part of the system, organizations are part of the problem.  The vestiges of insidious racism, implicit and explicit, are present in all organizations including ACR.  On the other hand, because organizations are created, led and run by people, organizations have to be part of the solution. A statement on behalf of an organization condemning the law enforcement part of the system is not enough. Such a statement is typically not the consensus of the entire staff and membership and of the organization’s supporters and stakeholders.  As we have experienced in the past, after a period of time and some system improvements, people move on and the cycle continues.
 
Knowing we cannot speak for the entire ACR organization, the ACR Diversity Committee can state that its members unanimously reject the insidious racism that permeates our law enforcement and criminal justice systems.  Understanding that racism is present within other components of our society, the Committee urges every individual who was shocked or disgusted by the George Floyd video to be careful not to let the speed of our technology impact our attention span so that a quick fix becomes acceptable and we turn the page and move on to something else.  We need all of us to make an ongoing, continuous effort of focus, creativity, determination and persistence in order to begin the transformation of the enormous racist system we are living in. Such a dramatic change will not happen overnight.


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