Betty Watkins, Carl McGee and Errick Simmons on Tuesday voted to send Police Chief Charles Patterson, Capt. Andrew Kaho and Lt. Xavier Redmond to Jackson to attend the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Region III conference. The cost is $288.50 each.
Ann Hollowell, Kenny Gines and Lee Owen voted against.
However, the motion passed when Mayor Heather McTeer Hudson broke the tie by voting in favor of approving the travel expenses.** (end of article by Terri Ferguson of the DDT)
I have a problem with our city tax dollars paying to go to ANY Race specific event. I would be more likely to agree a need, if the conference had been for Police Leaders in General and not "Black Only". Same goes for the city paying for the Mayor attending "The Black Mayor's Conference". Our tax dollars should be specifically related to the population in general. If these people want to attend a race specific event, then they should be willing to pay their own way. If Lee Owens requested funds to attend a "White Council conference", can you imagine the roar from those who do the same???
If we are going to get past racism, we need to get at least past the tax dollars paying to support race specific events and groups.
African Americans who continue to differentiate themselves as members of "black" organizations are simply perpetuating the stereotypical views of "separate, but equal". Are there black and white "laws" and are they enforced differently by our police officers?
Do black mayors manage cities differently than white mayors? What are these "members only" secrets that need to be segregated by race?
This "labeling" only perpetuates racism and serves to further divide our communities. However, as for our mayor's approving these "black" travel requests, I am afraid that she would appear a bit hypocritical had she not voted to approve any one's travel requests, given her last year in office.
Continuing education is a good thing which should be supported by community leaders; however, the stink about this issue is the use of the term "black" as somehow being "different". If we are all truly equal, why do we need to differentiate ourselves as black, white or purple?
We will never get beyond racism until all races quit pointing to our differences, rather than our similarities.