Today is International Day for the Elimination of Racism. It should be changed from March 21 to EVERY DAY!

I don’t usually post two days in a row, but there are exceptions to everything and this is one of them. Today is International Day for the Elimination of Racism, and it needs all the help it can get. There are two things in this world that cause me more anguish than anything else that is wrong could be so much better in this world, never-ending racism and increasing inequality. Racism and inequality negatively impact millions upon millions of people every day. Why?! Why the blankety-blank doesn’t this change? Why can’t we evolve to see each other for what we all are, just people? All of us, just people. And that’s how we ALL should be treated. With respect.

Fellow blogger John Persico, at the provocatively named blog Aging Capriciously, wrote a powerful post last month on the scourge (aka evil) of racism. I’m going to reblog the beginning of his post here and encourage you to follow the link to read his further analysis. If you’re looking for thought-provoking reads, Aging Capriciously is always the place to go!

The Tale of a Little Nine Year Old Girl Who Deserves to be Remembered

Here is a story that I heard on NPR this week.  It is a tale of a remarkable little girl.  A tale that deserves to be retold.  It goes like this.

In a small town (Population 9,027) located in northwestern Essex County, in the U.S. state of New Jersey, about 16 miles (26 km) west of New York City and 6 miles (9.7 km) north-west of Newark, a little White girl aged nine went out to work on a science project and to help her community.  She had learned that spotted lanternflies were a nuisance species and she decided to collect as many as she could and use them in a science exhibit to educate others about them.  Until this week, the most noteworthy thing about Caldwell was that it was the birthplace of Grover Cleveland, the 22nd and 24th President of the United States.  He was the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms, was born in Caldwell on March 18, 1837.

As the little girl went from tree to tree collecting these bugs, a former council member and neighbor named Gordon Lawshe saw the little girl going from tree to tree and picking something off the trees.  He was not sure what she was doing but he decided to help her.  He put his jacket on and went out to see how he could assist her.

Wait a Minute!  Hold on there Persico.  You have got your facts all wrong.  That is not how the story goes!

Oh, that’s right.  I forgot.  It was not a little White girl; it was a little Black girl.  It was a former city council member named Gordon Lawshe.  However, he did not go out to help her.  Seeing a nine-year-old Black girl going from tree to tree terrified him.  He wasted no time calling the police on our little budding scientist.  You can probably guess Gordon’s skin color so I won’t bother telling you.

After the police came and traumatized little Bobbi Wilson, they realized that she posed no threat to the community.  Fortunately, her mother had come out before they took Bobbi away in handcuffs.

Now there are many in America who say that racism is dead.  They believe that Black people are always playing the “Race Card” when they talk about unfair treatment or systemic racism.  Just the other day, the Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction (Tom Horne) said in an interview that there is NO MORE systemic racism in the USA.  This man is in charge of education in our state! [ … Click on this link to continue reading John’s post.]

The story John relates is just one small example of what it’s like for people whose skin colour doesn’t happen to be white. In your own country (and not just the U.S., for sure), even in your own home, you can never be sure about how your innocent actions may be misinterpreted. Just because of the colour of your skin. Think about that for a minute.

Let’s all think about what we can do as individuals to help eliminate racism. And then let’s follow up those thoughts with actions. Smiling helps. Assuming the best of your fellow human being helps. Helping others overcome misinformation and unwarranted fear helps. And remember, if we don’t speak out when someone we know makes a racist remark, we’re part of the problem.

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29 Responses to Today is International Day for the Elimination of Racism. It should be changed from March 21 to EVERY DAY!

  1. Margaret says:

    Why do all these International Days escape me, Jane?!

    Like you I can’t abide racism in any form and in the early 90’s I learned a very valuable lesson. A community social worker, who had black skin, was talking to us about his experiences of racism. We were encouraged to share our own experiences and I told him about an occasion from the late 60’s when I was about 18 years old. I changed my usual behaviour in a specific situation due to the people involved being black and me not wanting to be seen as racist. I asked his opinion and he thought I had been foolish. He described it as ‘positive racism’ – seeing people as different and changing my usual behaviour so as not to offend. Quite an eye opener for me all those years ago!
    The other day I was listening to James O’Brien, a LBC radio presenter, known as a ‘leftie’ and ‘woke’ because he calls out the lies, hypocrisy and disingenuousness in today’s world. He was discussing ‘refugees’ with a caller and James was asking all the right questions – the caller was blatantly racist – to no avail. The caller just couldn’t acknowledge or see how his comments were racist.

    We see it everywhere don’t we – people saying it’s woke to criticise calling another person a specific name .. “oh, it was in jest” 🤬

    I need to go, my blood is beginning to boil.
    I could talk a lot about aspects of racism Jane.
    Just thought about another example: ‘Black Lives Matter’ – when there were suddenly many statements saying ‘All Lives Matter’ ( well of course they do ) but is this stated when we are promoting and discussing issues regarding ‘Downs Syndrome’, ‘Cancer diagnosed patients’ or ‘white skinned refugees’?!!

    I really am going this time 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jane Fritz says:

      We definitely think along the same lines, Margaret. Maybe someday? The fact that kids in many/most places go to school in multicultural environments these days surely will help alleviate the “we-them” mentality to some, or hopefully a large, extent for the next generation? Fingers crossed.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Amen! We don’t care if dogs are black, white, or sable. Why do we get so worked up over color in humans? What the heck.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Deb says:

    Thank you for this Jane.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s disheartening that racism and inequality still exist in our world today, despite all the progress that we have made as a society. The story of the little girl in John’s post is a powerful reminder of the prejudices and stereotypes that still exist in our society. As you rightly pointed out, even small actions like smiling and assuming the best of others can make a difference in combating racism.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Thank you for commenting, Ritish. Every small step has to help somewhat; I just wish we didn’t need so many of them to become the accepting, welcoming world everyone deserves.


  5. Victoria says:

    Hugs and love for all of this, Jane. The images you selected are potent — just as the story was. For some reason the pic of the labs really hit a note of recognition/ridiculousness. Yes, yes. What are we waiting for when we treat dogs with more inclusive love than humans? 🤍

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Reading your post on racism, I am reminded of the time I was in line for checkout at Costco (back when I lived in Ontario) and started a friendly conversation with the gentleman in front of me…who happened to be southeast Asian and wearing a turban. The combined looks of shock, relief and gratitude that flashed across his face when he saw that a white person was “deigning” to actually speak to him in a neighbourly way has stuck with me to this day. I myself was shocked to provoke this reaction in him, and it demonstrated quite clearly to me that white Ontario (Canada, probably) is not a very friendly place for POC. I keep that in mind to this day, and try to smile and have a friendly word for people I encounter during my day, especially POC.


    Liked by 5 people

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Thanks so much for this response, Deb. I think it’s especially important that White Canadians understand just how different interactions can be for POC. We like to think of ourselves as more accepting, and it has to help that our NDP leader can proudly wear a turban, but anyone who is not White – Black, Indigenous, of Asian descent, East Asian, hijab-wearing, etc – will have had negative experiences, from casual grocery store encounters to the police. It may not be many people who cause these gut-punches to someone’s day, but they’re gut-punches nonetheless. Elimination is the goal, education is key!

      Liked by 3 people

  7. Wynne Leon says:

    Beautiful, Jane! I am voting with you – it should be every day!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you Jane for that one. I’m with your there 100%. We are all the same – a human race. Long and loud may any deviation from this fact be called out.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. People who say: “there is no more systemic racism” are merely deflecting or ignoring the problem. I have long held that education is the way forward, but HOW we educate people in communities that continue to support the Confederate flag or white supremacy is beyond me. I keep hoping that the old guard will die out and be replaced with forward thinking young people. Our last president made it okay to be hateful, hurtful, dishonest, and the like. Kind of the opposite of the proverbial “all I learned in Kindergarten” mantra. I live in Silicon Valley with a diverse population from around the world. People of all colors share a classroom, a soccer team, or a band. That said, we still see signs of racism. It’s a scourge. Thanks for another thoughtfully post, Jane.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Another excellent and important post, Jane. I’m now following John’s blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Roy McCarthy says:

    24 years ago a report pronounced the London Metropolitan Police ‘institutionally racist’. Yesterday a new report pronounced them not only racist, but now misogynist and homophobic. Interesting what they’ll say another 20 years down the line because little is changing only for the worse.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Now there’s a timely – and incredibly ugly – example of how, in many cases, the more things change the more they stay the same (or get worse), Roy. And that from the people who are supposed to be helpful … to everyone. I guess a few govt examples like Windrush also come to mind. It’s such a slow, slow march towards colour-blind (and gender-blind) respect and justice.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Bernie says:

    This is something we all need to channel every day that our actions impact others. If we can all step to the plate and take steps to stop racism.
    I have called out my brother. It was awkward but I had to do it. It might not change his mind but at least he knows it’s not acceptable to say what he did.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. heimdalco says:

    A timely post, especially when racism is alive, well & proliferating in the US. I have NEVER understood it. We are people & why does the color of our skin change that – make someone less intelligent, less capable, less ANYTHING? I have nothing profound to say except it saddens me. I continue to pray for change & know that change starts HERE … with each of us. May we live up to that expectation … sigh

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Sadly, battling the scourge racism never seems to stop being timely, doesn’t it, Linda? You’re right, we just have to keep up our small but steady steps and not accept a society that allows racism to flourish. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

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