We couldn’t agree more with your recent call for Springfield to continue to talk about race. As co-chairs of the Springfield Coalition on Dismantling Racism (SCoDR), we represent citizens who believe that how you talk about racism is critical to its understanding and undoing.
Our view of racism in the United States is a systemic problem that is rooted in our institutions, both public and private. Our concern with your editorial is the picture it paints. By focusing on individual indiscretions, the conversation quickly turns to guilt, anger, denial and other feelings that serve to maintain the status quo.
Genuine, substantive change requires thoughtful people of all races to come together to explore the historical forces that have promoted racism, those that have opposed it and how racism operates in our current cultural context. This analysis can lead to a willingness to take specific steps to dismantle institutionalized racism.
We acknowledge the willingness of the city’s current administration to undertake this challenging work.
As Mayor Houston announced earlier this year with the creation of the Diversity Council, a group within city government is looking at how racism has become embedded in their organization and how to create anti-racist alternatives. We believe the actions taken by the city can serve as a model for all Springfield organizations.