Mayor Bill De Blaiso is married to an African American woman, Chirlane McCrary, and together they have two children Chiara and Dante. After the recent killing of Eric Garner by some New York Police officers, some citizens of New York held peaceful protest in the streets and downtown even in Macy’s Department Store to draw attention to brutality by police toward citizens of color especially Blacks.
At one of the mayor’s press conferences, he spoke of his conversation that as a parent he has had with his son about how to act during any encounter with a police officer. I thought nothing of his story other than as the father of a Black male he understands the history of racism in this country and wants his son to come home alive if confronted by a police officer who has preconceived impressions of African Americans. I had that same conversation with my son and grandsons.
That innocent statement has some police officers in New York thinking the mayor is siding with the protesters and not them. Mind you the protesters are taxpayers and voters with every right to protest and ask for accountability by their public police force. And the police have every right to not like the mayor for making his personal experience known in public.
And just recently, we had the media broadcast to society their discriminatory view during the airing of the Tournament of Roses Parade.
Miss Crown City Queen Joan Williams was stripped of her crown and pulled from the city’s Rose Parade Float in 1958 when city government learned that Ms. Williams was a light skinned African American. In order to correct this horrible and very ugly embarrassment to the Rose Bowl Parade history and the city of Pasadena, the Tournament of Roses parade committee decided to honor Ms. Williams by having her ride in this year’s parade only to have her snubbed by the television commentators as though she was not there. The officials of the Rose Parade did provide all of the news media outlets with the information and history of why Williams was deserving of this honor but the commentators ignored her and the float she was riding.
Many print media outlets cited that Williams was again snubbed because of race.
It is a disgrace that we have a society which allows some of our citizens to dictate their discriminatory views on the rest of us. In the situation of New York the police are paid from public dollars, of which Blacks do pay taxes, and are sworn to protect and serve all citizens equally and fairly under public laws. The mayor was elected to serve all of the people and oversees a hired staff to assist him or her in doing the job.
Just like the citizens and police who have inalienable rights to protest, the mayor has that same right and parental obligation to educate his son on the obstacles that will confront him in the pursuit of life’s happiness and one of those obstacles is racism by some people in America including those in blue uniforms with badges. Just like all police families want their loved ones to return home alive so does Mayor Bill De Blasio. Every person I have seen on television and those I’ve met in person locally who has lost someone from such incidents shed tears of pain and hopes it does not happen to anyone else.
In the case of Joan Williams it is another example of how deeply embedded racism is entrenched in our culture and society. Many people just go about their daily lives without understanding what people of color go through just to return home safely and prepare for the next day.
My questions to all of us, what makes a drop of blood from a Black human being so powerful? What makes a darker complexion that hated and feared?
Let all of us recommit to making America a better country in 2015.
Hardy L. Brown is Publisher Emeritus of the Black Voice News.