There is a very interesting, disturbing and hypocritical trend going on in the VI regarding racist commentary. It should be of great interest to note that numerous editorials and columns have appeared about the racist comments demeaning Rutgers female basketball players made by Don Imus; yet, virtually nothing has been made public about the racist comments made by two of our Senators in demonizing some white people. The silence suggests a double standard and does not bode well for openness and honesty in addressing issues pertinent to the VI. If the VI is to be an inclusive paradise, we must address all issues openly, fairly and honestly. Silence is a means of passively condoning, quietly accepting and directly perpetuating the validity of a persons views; it is aversive racism. The disparity in providing the public commentary about both racist incidents suggests an unwillingness to face the reality at home or to be critical of our racially biased elected officials! The difference in treatment between these two racial incidents, especially when an editorial which asks our so-called leaders to comments on the verbal behavior two of our elected officials has not been make public, should awaken everyone to some of the subtleties of racism. Readers of the news should call or write to their informational source to voice an opinion about the unequal coverage and to take some kind of action, in protest or in support, of silence regarding racism at home. For the public to not voice an opinion makes us a part of the problem rather than an active agent for resolution.
Behavioral change is needed everywhere in the U.S. and here. A way to change the behavior of people is to inform them that their behavior is inappropriate and then to take some kind of action if they choose to ignore honest concerns. Disagreeing with concerns is a completely different issue. The former is precisely what has gone on with events related to Act 6905. Commentary about its inappropriate passage have been made by the public but ignored. Recall petitions have been signed and sent to the involved parties by the public, which also have been ignored; but the latter action got the attention of the involved parties. Now, further action needs to be taken. Members of the public should notify all of the major newspapers in the U.S., CNN, 60 Minutes, Department of the Interior, the Congressional Black Caucus, travel agents, and other organizations as to the racist hypocrisy going on in the U.S.VI. While one should never want to take an action that harms another person, it may be necessary to be cruel in order to be kind. It may be time to take an economic action.
As an example of something that could have a major impact to encourage behavioral change: someone with appropriate contacts should consider approaching the owners of a cruise ship that docks in St. Thomas. Ask them to show a videotape of the two senators racial remarks and then ask the passengers on the ship to vote on whether they would prefer to dock on St. Thomas or to dock on St. Croix. A change in venue, affecting tourism, would send a clear message to all of our elected officials about racism. Addressing issues with economic consequences definitely will get the full attention of the perpetrators and their silent supporters and bring about behavioral change. That is what could happen with the Recall Effort if it goes to the next level of public notoriety or action that affects tourism in St. Thomas. Economic forces contributed to Don Imuss apology and dismissal. For public and religious leaders to remain silent about unethical behavior, as our other elected officials have, is to be a part of the problem. For the public to not act, after speaking up, will give those who have made transgressions no reason to change their behaviors. After all, the act of speaking out against inequity, injustice and immoral behavior is precisely what all of our religious prophets have done! Should we not follow their voices and actions?
Peace and love to those who choose to fight for fairness, honesty and ultimately peace.
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