I am writing to remind readers of the importance of facts. I am responding to clarify some of the statements Deborah Diltz wrote in her letter on Aug. 14, where she made several assumptions about race, racism in America, me, my family and my immigration status.
Unlike her assumptions, facts are based on evidence. Assumptions are just that: Assumptions.
Ms. Diltz writes that “America is the most successful diverse country in the World, as well as the most tolerant and generous.”
This is an assumption.
America was built on the stolen land and labor of Black and brown bodies. America has never been tolerant or generous toward Indigenous people. This country has also used Black people as property for economic gain, and this has sustained, long term effects that are still felt today. These are facts.
Ms. Diltz writes that I am judging “our entire history on current events” and that everyone has “equality of opportunity.” These are assumptions.
Current events do not exist in vacuums. They must be viewed in connection to history.
Black people in this country have never been afforded equal opportunity. From slavery, to Jim Crow, to mass incarceration, to current day prison labor that is legal under the 13th Amendment, Black people have had their rights systemically stolen. This is a fact.
Ms. Diltz urges us to “guard (your rights) with your life.” This is literally what the Black Lives Matter movement fights for: the freedom, liberation, and justice for Black people. In essence: equality.
Ms. Diltz writes that “78 percent of our Black Americans live in the suburbs” and, therefore, are “doing very well.” This is not a fact.
A Google search and multiple sources reveal that as of 2000, 78 percent of Black people lived in the suburbs ... of Atlanta. This is a fact.
Ms. Diltz referred to me as a “fairly recent immigrant,” but even as an immigrant, I’m fairly certain that the city of Atlanta does not represent the entire country. (Also a fact.)
Suburbs have more resources from higher taxes, but they are not racism-free zones. Suburbs, like Chester and Warwick, are mostly white, and people of color who live there can still face microaggressions and stereotyping. This is a fact proven by the reactions to Warwick’s firehouse sign.
Ms. Diltz refers to a Rasmussen Poll that stated 36 percent of Black voters support President Trump. It’s unclear why Ms. Diltz would connect voter support for Mr. Trump in a conversation about systemic racism, but be aware that the Rasmussen Poll has a C+ pollster rating by FiveThirtyEight, an organization that uses data to analyze polls. Rasmussen polls people through automated calls using landlines, but more than half of American households only have cell phones. This means that their data is incomplete and therefore, inaccurate.
Facts are important. It is far too easy to accept something shared on social media as the truth, but to be responsible members of society, we must find multiple credible sources before believing assumptions. Believing and spreading misinformation is not only irresponsible, but it is also dangerous.
If you choose to believe false assumptions about equality, you choose to accept the violence and atrocities, both historical and current, against people of color in America.
Former Chester resident