Friday, May 14, 2021

Racists? Here? Let's see 'em

by CHRIS SHELTON/Guest Opinion
| March 20, 2021 1:00 AM

I read with great interest the “There’s work to be done here” opinion by the Human Rights Consortium. In it, there were many claims made as to the status of racism and hatred that they say lingers here in North Idaho.

Not sure which North Idaho these folks live in but it certainly isn’t the North Idaho that I live in. Maybe I just don’t hang out in the same social strata as the members of the “Consortium.”

I might also add that in an effort to make their point, there were, shall we say, liberties taken with the accuracy of their claims.

There is not a racist bone in my body and I don’t care if you're purple and have 12 arms and legs: If you’re a good human being with compassion for others, we’ll get along just fine. I can even disagree with you. What? What a concept!

My issue is the tone and content of the opinion. It seems to me that the authors were trying to whip up rage against those they perceive as racist or harbingers of hate.

In the first paragraph the authors point out the “widespread demonstrations for social justice in cities around the country.” I can only think the authors mean the riots that caused an estimated $1 to $2 BILLION in damage to private businesses in many U.S. cities as well as approximately 25 deaths as a result of these “demonstrations."

Ironically, there is a saying that is quoted in the opinion that states, “what you permit, you promote; what you allow, you encourage; what you condone you own.” Seems pretty clear to me that the Consortium, on the basis of how they framed the unrest, not only promotes this behavior but owns it as well.

The opinion also states that five people were KILLED during the Jan. 6 riot in Washington, D.C. For the record, the actions by those who participated should never have taken place because violence is not the answer. However, let me clarify for the readers what took place related to the deaths of those five people.

A Capitol Police Officer died after engaging with some rioters. He went back to the station where he collapsed and died. Cause of death is still unclear but his mother has stated that it was a stroke.

Kevin Greeson, a participant, died of a heart attack; Ben Philips, a participant, died of a stroke. Ashli Babbit was shot to death in the Capitol building by a Capital Police Officer. She was unarmed. Rosanne Boyland, a participant, died of an as-yet-unconfirmed medical emergency.

To state that these five people were killed is a gross misrepresentation of the facts. We can only assume what the motive was is stating that they were killed. And by the way, you can spin it any way you like but it still doesn’t change the facts.

If I may ask a question. Who has the perception that North Idaho is a region where white supremacist ideas, anti-Semitism and hate have taken hold and exist today? Who thinks we still struggle with DEEP-SEATED racism and bias? Can you name names or instances? Other than the two instances over the last two years that were identified in the opinion. Which, by the way, are two too many and are denounced by myself and any other sane person.

Don’t know how any meaningful dialogue can be had as stated in the opinion if the tone of the opinion is that if you don’t agree, you are either blind or a racist.

Lastly, the opinion states, “… learning about ways in which all community members can begin to identify and correct our own biases ….” This was the last straw and is the statement that prompted me to write this.

You don’t know me; you don’t even begin to understand who it is that I am and what I believe. To make a statement like that shows just how disconnected you folks are from the real world. If you are serious about meaningful dialogue, then let’s have it. Your opinion states many things as fact but in reality, they are not factual. No wonder that this country is in the state it’s in.


Chris Shelton is a Coeur d'Alene resident.