The other choice is the right one
Most of us work really hard to hide our ignorance.
Others plaster it proudly on their vehicles.
“F--- Joe and his Ho(e)” says one piece of evidence slithering along North Idaho roadways.
Almost everybody reading this editorial is white. That’s the overwhelming demographic of The Press distribution area, but we’re going to ask you to engage in a brief experiment.
Let’s start by acknowledging that the vast majority of whites are disgusted by the message above. Now, imagine that you’re not white. Imagine the hateful, racist message above proudly displayed: that the second most powerful person in the nation is a whore because she’s not the right color or political persuasion.
It’s a new slogan but old news to James McDay. McDay has seen racist manifestations almost every day of his 53 years, the last 20 here in Coeur d’Alene.
As a youngster in Arkansas, he was ostracized by some Blacks because his skin was lighter than his siblings’, and he was made fun of because he was bashful and articulate. Through adulthood, he has been targeted strictly because of the color of his skin, and he now advocates for others who simply want to be treated the same as anybody else.
Featured in Friday’s Press, McDay decided to remain a quiet local activist no longer. He agreed to sit down for an interview with the editor, understanding that by exposing his work through two nonprofits - TOC (The Other Choice) Diversity Resource and the local chapter of the NAACP - he was putting not just himself but many of his organizations’ supporters out in full public view.
Unlike the bearers of ignorant, harmful messages, McDay’s approach is to remain steadfast in encouraging dialogue that increases understanding and cooperation, not just for the well-being of the individuals involved but for the community at large.
So far, so good. He’s proud of the fact that none of his organizations’ leaders, volunteers or advocates has ever been verbally or physically accosted.
These are volatile times, thanks to political turmoil, a global pandemic and other powerful stressers. It’s our hope that with greater exposure, TOC Diversity Resource and the local NAACP chapter gain broader local support. To date, most of the donations come from out of state.
In case you need further encouragement, let the ignorant signs of the times send you the other way, in the right direction. A good map is tocdiversityresource.org.