Letter: Ignoring Racism Makes Racism Worse

Published: 3/17/2021 7:47:38 PM

New Hampshire can be a state where people of all backgrounds, races, identities, and beliefs call home, but HB 544 poses a serious threat to this ideal. The bill seeks to ban the teaching of systemic racism and sexism, as well as implicit bias training, for state workers and students. It is an attempt to turn a blind eye to some of our society’s most deep-rooted problems.

Most overtly racist and sexist policies have been off the books in America for a few decades. Yet many of this newspaper’s readers were alive when such policies existed, and national and state-level data continue to reflect that different races and genders have dramatically different experiences in America.

The Black-white wealth gap, for example, is staggering. In 2016, the net worth of an average American white family was nearly ten times greater than that of an average Black family ($171,000 versus $17,150, respectively). HB 544 would prevent N.H. citizens from understanding how systems – policies and institutional hierarchies – create and perpetuate such alarming disparities. And while overtly discriminatory policies are mostly a thing of the past, this does not mean that today’s laws do not have disproportionate impacts on different groups.

Perhaps we can draw on the wisdom of author James Baldwin in this moment, who wrote: “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

Katherine Leswing

Concord




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