2002-03-11 Holland Sentinel What equal opportunity

What equal opportunity?
Holland Sentinel

To the Editor:

Sadly, I must once again wade through a commentary pertaining to an event the author had not even thought to attend. Mike Lozon, how is it that you felt you must spend your time writing, what seemed to you, a well-thought-out critique of the 2002 Ottawa Area Summit on Racism (Sentinel, Feb. 26)? As I read your words, I couldn’t help but think how attending the Summit would have helped engage him in a dialogue of the issues it actually addressed, rather than those he assumed it addressed.

I don’t believe any of the discussion at the summit focused on racism being the root of out-of –wedlock pregnancy, school failure, poverty, crime and incarceration, and not on individual choice as you infer. However, had you attended, you would see that insidious racism pervades, even here in “tolerant “Holland. Fair housing, equality in jobs and health care, social equity, and cultural awareness remain huge goals for the local diversity alliances and of course for our community at large.

Perhaps Mr. Lozon has never had the “equal opportunity” to be followed in a store as if you were there to shoplift, told an apartment was “no longer available” once the landlord saw the color of your skin, or been stopped by law enforcement just to see “what you business was” while driving in a certain area. Stories like this of our wonderfully “tolerant” area abound, and it is because of these types of stories that those of us who refuse to accept the status quo, press on with our “utopian” ideals.

I agree with Mr. Lozon that Holland has made strides in race relations, and its diversity is a beautiful thing. Until, however, we all refuse to sit still and accept the white privilege that pervades, we do a disservice to our minority brothers and sisters. I warmly invite Mr. Lozon to attend the Ottawa Area Summit on Racism 2003. Perhaps when one day racism becomes everyone’s problem, it will begin to be mo one’s problem.