We all have our blind spots; goodness knows, I have demonstrated mine recently. But the important thing is to recognize those weaknesses and to not exacerbate them by being tone deaf, as well. As the old saying goes, when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.
Yet Clark County Council Chair Eileen Quiring keeps wielding her shovel. She not only has demonstrated ignorance about the most significant social movement of our time, she has made the situation worse by clinging to tropes cultivated to maintain an entrenched power structure.
Let’s start at the beginning. Quiring insisted recently during a county council meeting that she does “not agree we have systemic racism in our county. Period.”
In a follow-up text to The Columbian, she acknowledged that racism exists and wrote, “Nor do I condone racism in any form.” But she added, “From the sheriff’s office and deputies whom I know, none are racist. I know many of our judges in Clark County, I know none are racist. … If all of these people and departments with our county aren’t racist, there is not SYSTEMIC racism! That has always been my point!”
Perhaps this is simply wishful thinking, a Pollyannaish view of the bucolic slice of heaven that is Clark County — systemic racism exists, but surely not here. Or perhaps it is a blind spot that could be cleared up by speaking with — and listening to — the people in our community. As the local chapter of the NAACP wrote in a letter calling for Quiring’s resignation, “We challenge you to become educated on racism and examine your own privilege and racial bias.”