I’m a 72-year-old white man. I’ve been watching with interest as the Clark County Council attempts to address whether to hold a listening session on systemic racism in the county. The Columbian reported last week that the Clark County YMCA, NAACP Vancouver, the League of United Latin American Citizens, and the Clark County Volunteer Lawyers Program made the request.
My first impression was that people were overreacting to Eileen Quiring’s statement that systemic racism didn’t exist in the county. Not because systemic racism doesn’t exist in the county — it does. But acknowledging that racism exists within us and our society is difficult. It isn’t an easy step for most of us to take.
I felt Quiring should be given an opportunity to come around. But I read in today’s paper that she wants to wait until things “get a little less heated.” If that’s her strategy for dealing with this, she is losing my support. People of color have waited for a very long time to have this conversation.
The time for waiting is over. I urge the council not to wait any longer. It is time for all of us to listen — now.