Ron Perry | Our Common Identity?

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

In response to Valerie Bradford’s letter of Oct. 26: Indeed, in the 1950s, then-L.A. Police Chief Bill Parker paraphrased Kipling’s “Thin Red Line” in a television show produced by his department. Chief Parker coined the term “Thin Blue Line” to further reinforce the concept of the L.A. Police Department as the barrier between law and order and civil anarchy. The phrase was further utilized in a 1960s pamphlet printed by the Massachusetts state government, referring to its state police force. Since then, the term has spread to police departments across the United States as a symbol of police officers everywhere and their duty to protect and serve.

But, Ms. Bradford, if carrying the Thin Blue Line flag onto the football field is racist, then let’s take a look at other things that are being taught in our schools today. Are they not also racist?

Let’s take a look behind many changes taking place in our schools. Constant conversation about race, including compelling students to identify and sort themselves along racial lines, is meant to resist “colorblindness.” Endless workshops teach students to overcome their “white fragility” and embrace “antiracism.” Efforts to end standardized testing are taken to be a blow against the “myth of meritocracy” — the presumption that educational outcomes reflect an individual’s natural talent and hard work. Most important, students must be repeatedly reminded that theirs is a racist, white supremacist nation, in whose crimes they are daily complicit. (Manhattan Institute, June 17, 2021).

By differentiating students by race or ethnicity and privileging certain categories over others, affinity groups may promote bullying — as, for example, Jewish students at one prestigious New York prep school said, as reported by the Manhattan Institute:

“For many of Fieldston’s Jewish families, several told me, what distinguishes the problem at their school can be traced to the recently implemented Affinity Group program.… At the time, several families asked the school to add a Jewish affinity group; they acknowledged that no other religious group was offered, but argued that Jewishness should also be seen as a marker of ethnic and minority identity — not least because it has been seen so for centuries by oppressors of Jews. According to several parents, they were politely but firmly told that no such group would be forthcoming.… As certain teachers remodeled their courses, Jewish students found that their concerns about anti-Semitism were met by classmates who plainly suggested that, first, they should be considered white and privileged — and that second, as such, they could not be considered victims of discrimination.” (Manhattan Institute, June 17, 2021).

Antiracism practices are distinguished by an almost compulsive willingness to label behaviors or policies as racist. Proponents say that doing so is key to combating racism, but critics argue that constantly identifying racial difference simply reinforces it.

I choose to be a member of this latter group because if we keep dredging up the past it will do nothing but sustain an open wound.

I identify as an American. Not Black, brown, white, Italian, Irish, Jewish, Muslim, or any other thing you can think of. I am an American!

PS. Look up the Thin Blue Line Foundation, and see the good they do for all races serving as police men and women.

Ron Perry

Canyon Country

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