If you are someone who thinks racial slurs and insults are appropriate behavior, if you really believe that somehow you are better and smarter because of the color of your skin, you are an idiot.
Some of you might be wondering where this is coming from. A few weeks ago, the Indy and the Colorado Springs Business Journal, our sister paper, co-hosted a virtual event for local businesspeople designed to encourage discussion about women and people of color running for office. We were talking about the requirements for city council and barriers to entry for almost everyone. Suddenly, we were interrupted. We made the mistake of posting the event’s Zoom link on the CSBJ Facebook page and people took it as an opportunity to stop in and share their views on people of color.
The remarks they made — and things they said in the chat — are too disgusting to reprint, and they violate our policy prohibiting racial slurs or other hate speech at our events and on our social media. It’s enough to say that the comments were jarring, insulting, ignorant, rude.
Racist hate and white supremacy are unbelievably stupid. It means you don’t know about the myriad accomplishments achieved by people who aren’t white — and you are too dumb to go find out. It’s sheer ugliness and there’s no place for it in the 21st century.
So stay out of civilized circles that accept people based on the content of their character. You belong with organizations that are as ignorant and vile as your beliefs. Go find them. The rest of us will continue making progress to better our community.
And… based on reactions from some of the 30 or so people gathered for the Zoom event, this is not unusual. Among the people of color who were present, some were angry — but few seemed surprised. It was just another barrier. More proof that equity is still a goal not yet achieved.
So let me be perfectly clear: Racist behavior on our social media and at our events is simply unacceptable. We don’t need more hate in Colorado Springs. Not now, not ever.
Divisive behavior will only hold all of us back. It’s not good for Colorado Springs, Colorado or the nation.
Can you imagine a business community that grows out of equality? Where everyone is in the inner circle and everyone has access to the same lending, the same opportunities for growth, the same real estate? Where redlining never existed? Where school funding is equitable?
Can you picture how much more robust our city would be without food deserts and health deserts, both of which are reminders of inequity that stems not only from race, but from lack of wealth?
We’d be an economic powerhouse. We’d be a city that other people visited to figure out why we are so successful. We’d be stronger economically, socially, culturally. We really would be that shining city on the hill.
We aren’t there yet. But we will be.
And never forget that words are powerful. They have meaning. So use yours to bring people together, not tear them apart.
And if you can’t bring yourself to love your neighbor, at least stay out of their Zoom meetings.