Quick Hits – March 1, 2016
Black History Month part 3
Who is the happiest white woman in northern Illinois right now? That’s right! It’s U-46 School Board Loon, Jeanette Ward, or as I like to affectionately call her, Vanilla Rice. As Caucasian as she is, her over-the-top efforts to co-opt Black History month were topped by some enterprising young Barrington High School students.
And they just made it in under the February wire.
As part of a history class assignment, a couple of ‘em staged a Roman slave auction complete with PVC chains. I don’t know about you, but I’m thinkin’ what could possibly go wrong with white folks holding a mock slave auction during Black History Month?
Of course, the entire proceeding was cell phone videoed, and now that video and the story are making national news.
To be fair, I don’t think the kids had any racist intent, the teacher said he didn’t review the skit beforehand, and it wasn’t meant to be funny – there really were Roman slave auctions. But this is exactly what can happen when you don’t have black folks around to point out the potential peril of certain courses of action.
You see, of the 10,361 Barrington residents, only 20.7 are black. That’s a whopping .2 percent. So the odds of one scant African American sitting in that classroom are pretty slim. And all it would’ve taken was one black teenager to raise their hand and say, “Uh! My esteemed Caucasian compatriots. Perhaps you might want to consider the possibility that holding a fake slave auction during Black History Month could become problematic. It might even pop up on Youtube!”
And that would’ve been the end of it! But sadly, there weren’t any black folks there.
This is exactly the kind of de facto racism that tends to occur when you have no other point of reference. And the fact that’s something’s utterly unintentional doesn’t make it better either – it actually makes it worse! At least you know where you stand with blatant bigotry.
Before all you white folks start shrieking that “we’re too PC” and “some people just love to take offense” crap, please try remember that none of y’all were ticked off at Beyonce until African-Americans told you it was a Black Panther costume.
That’s why it’s always a good thing to have black folks around!
It ain’t quite so white in Geneva anymore
But everything’s relative in this case. On the one hand, there are about four black or mixed race families in the entire 800 household Fisher Farms subdivision I can’t stand to call home. On the other hand, when you compare Barrington’s .2 percent black population to Geneva’s 1.1 percent, we’re downright integrated down here!
Don’t worry! I won’t start singing “We Shall Overcome” anytime soon because that’s what gets white people in trouble.
As a result of the last good Daily Herald article that detailed our pasty white suburban police forces back in January 2015, I chided my hometown city and police force for their seeming inability to attract minority candidates.
Don’t even get me started on the GPD’s support staff.
Because just like Barrington High School, when you have absolutely no peer reference, you end up citing minority drivers almost twice as often as Caucasians (26 percent vs.14.7 percent in 2014). There’s no excuse for this disparity because I’ve seen how you white folks drive, and you suck.
The GDP also stopped minorities 20 percent more often for equipment violations, though I will give them credit for not insisting upon a single 2014 minority consent search.
But now there’s a little more hope here because, about six months ago, Geneva made the effort to attract and hire a black police officer – Michael Walker. And given my “it’s important for white people to have black folks around” theory, this can only be a good thing.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to put the Officer in an untenable “Great Black Hope” position. C’mon! Genevan’s are still trying to recover from the black president. All I’m saying is, the mere presence of a African-American changes the dynamic as does any move towards balance. Another point of reference never hurt anyone!
So good for the City of Geneva, good for the GPD, and good for us. Welcome to Geneva Officer Walker!
And speaking of Geneva…
One of my least favorite people (and that’s a really long list) wrote yet another one of her overly maudlin and syrupy columns about our latest hometown homicide. If you recall, Julia Gutierrez admitted to killing her husband, Eduardo, with a poisoned smoothie. She is currently awaiting trial.
The truly bizarre thing about this story is, Mrs. Gutierrez tried to do the very same thing back in 2002, but her husband blamed the homicide attempt on his wife’s “environmental disease,” which is nothing more than a catchword for mental illness.
Yes! There are folks out there who react strongly to the toxins that plague this planet, but they are exceedingly rare. Far more often than not, it’s a sign of some serious psychological disorder that, left untreated, only gets worse.
Having worked with the mentally ill for five years, my fervent hope is this tragic story leads us to understand that we need to take care of our mentally ill brothers and sisters. If there wasn’t such a stigma attached to the diagnosis, if we better understood the symptoms, and if treatment was more readily available, I firmly believe Ed Gutierrez would still be alive.