Rat, Roaches and Racists

by Betty Jean Grant

This writer has read as well as been told that racism is defined as denigrating and limiting social, economic or employment opportunities for a person or a group of people based on the color of their skin or ethnic origin. With this broad definition, it has been assumed that an African American can never be a racist because he cannot control or withhold anything because Blacks do not control the wealth in this country.

With the election of a Black president, congressmen and governors and Black, multi billionaire sports and entertainers who have acquired both money and power,  we may have to revisit the long written assumption and definition of racism. A more pressing question is, are we going to hold our Black elected leaders accountable for conditions that remain in some of our eastside communities even though we have given them the political power and clout  to change them? But now, back to President Trump and his utterance of a vile and racist statement regarding a sitting congressman and a city he represents.

President Donald Trump berated African American Congressman Elijah Cummings by telling him that maybe, instead of criticizing him, he needed to go home and clean up the “Rats and roaches infestation in the city of Baltimore.”  President Trump went much further down that ‘rabbit hole’ when he labeled Baltimore a “dangerous and filthy city.”

We, here in Buffalo, need to call out both Black and White, both Democrat and Republican leaders, when they utter racist statements or allocate community resources based on a person’s color or ethnic group or what part of the city they reside in. Paying rich developers CDBG monies to build rental units that the long time residents cannot afford is not my definition of economic development or creating community neighborhood wealth.

Racism can be and is more than the mad uttering of a delusional and racist president; it is also the neglect of a community or group by people chosen to represent them regardless of the color of their skin.