There have been many troubling occurrences regarding racism over the history of our Country. This is a difficult topic for many to address. We want to believe that we have moved past the racially motivated events that have taken place in America. Racism is “terrorism” and it is America’s original sin. We will likely not move past it until we can embrace the idea of talking about it, honestly and openly.
Two terrible incidents have occurred this week. One resulted in a man’s death and the other illuminated an ugly reality for many members of our society.
George Floyd was the man killed by police officers in Minneapolis. Terrible rioting has ensued as a result of this incident. Riot participants are racially diverse and they are expressing concern regarding the future of our Country and the ability of each and every American to enjoy the freedoms that our constitution provides. Follow this link to hear the remarks of Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAjUeXTf56s
The other incident did not have a violent ending, but it could have. It harkens back to the same refrain. “Racism” that is so deeply ingrained that decent people who would swear under oath that they are not racist might find that they have some soul searching to do.
This incident involved a white woman Amy Cooper, who was walking her dog in the Ramble area of Central Park in New York City. Signs are posted, requiring all dogs to be leashed if they are in that area of the park. The victim of this incident was an African American gentleman (Christian Cooper, no relation to Ms. Cooper). Christian Cooper is an ornithologist and was bird watching that morning. He politely asked the woman to please leash her dog, as that section of the park mandates. She refused and became aggressive. Mr. Cooper began videoing the encounter. The woman became hysterical, threatening him and saying that she would call the police. He calmly reiterated that the dog should be leashed. The woman again refused and proceeded to call the police, when, in fact, she was the one violating the law. After the call to the police, the woman did leash her dog and the man went back to bird watching. There was no further incident.
This brings up so many thoughts. Why did this woman call the police when she was clearly wrong? One would think that she was an intelligent person. She was a Vice President for Franklin Templeton Investments. She is supposed to be one of the enlightened ones. An intelligent leader in society who would follow the rules and be a champion for the rights of others. Yet she was not abiding by the law and she created a situation that could have resulted in a very bad outcome for Christian Cooper.
It is important to mention that Christian Cooper (no relation to the woman) is a Harvard graduate, Board Member of the Audubon Society and a highly contributing member of society.
It is also important to mention that John James Audubon (1785-1851), after whom the National Audubon Society is named was an African American man of French and Haitian descent. He is notable for his extensive studies documenting all types of American birds. He created beautifully detailed illustrations that depicted the birds in their natural habitats.