MLK Jr once said “History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”
Of all places the third event has taken place in the Council. In that chamber and outside that quote, is sad to say, a reflection of the state of affairs in Oz.
The practice of racism and/or religious bigotry is not a white exclusive. Even here in Plainfield despite political leadership’s self-blandishments of municipal diversity; there are African-Americans who are active advocates of restrictive discrimination against Whites and Latinos.
An example of that practice openly surfaced once again at the Council Agenda Setting Session when nearly an hour was given to an ongoing conflict over youth baseball.
This time the complainant was not the long standing independent Queen City Baseball League who during the previous administration had been the subject of discriminatory practices by the Recreation Division?
About three years ago the Recreation Division which had made its facilities available to that group for its local activities decided to sponsor its own league, something it had never done.
Roland Muhammad was placed in charge of that league and an unpublished policy was instituted to exclude the QCBL from use of the city’s facilities during acceptable hours for their programs. This was the subject of many Council meetings when members of QCBL requested remedial action.
The Recreation league’s teams were to be named after those in the old Negro League teams. There should be no objection for any youth baseball league to have teams named after the old Homestead Grays, Crawfords, Black Sox, Elite Giants of the old major Black baseball leagues; as well as the present day Yankees, Cardinals, Dodgers etc.
Nor is it wrong to memorialize for future generations a history of the times in which there was blatant discrimination.
After the previous director of Recreation had resigned; under the new administration for 2014. The Rec. sponsored league and players with the citizen operated QCBL were absorbed into one league.
The 2015 PNBL is an effort to recreate the contentious group sponsored by the previous Recreation Director and led by Muhammad. It was evident that the intent was then and now by its name to have a segregated league that excluded whites and Latinos.
The very name of this group, Negro, is racist implying that Whites and most likely Latinos would be excluded. The Council leadership should not only never have permitted proponents of such a discriminatory group to appear on its agenda, but above all show support.
Unfortunately members of the previous Administration and Council have openly displayed a close relationship with those advocates of racism. That must be condemned, it is anti-American and dangerous.
To have members of the City government’s Administration or Council support racism in any form is reprehensible. Yet this has happened in the past and seems to continue to have support now.
We should look to our own house before we complain about others.