When enough people of goodwill refuse to be intimidated by baseless accusations of racism and call out the racemongers as the evildoers who refuse to allow the wounds of bigotry, racial oppression, and segregation to heal. I'm referring, of course, to the incessant refrain from so-called black leaders who decry as racist every public decision that doesn't cater to their special interests.
The latest example is a gang led by retired advertising executive Bob Crawford and, no surprise, Kent County Commissioner Paul Mayhue, who have vilified as bigots the Grand Rapids Board of Education for not selecting their choice, a black-owned firm, to supervise the school district's substitute teachers. According to the Grand Rapids Press, Crawford was "absolutely appalled" by the board's decision as appearing "very racist in nature" and typical of a "white power structure [that] leaves us out of most of the governmental and business decisions in mainstream Grand Rapids".
What is actually typical of these disputes is that Crawford's charges are a calumny. He and his group of activists offer no evidence of racism. They simply cite the fact that the board didn't hire the black-owned firm they preferred. Instead the board hired the same firm as seventeen other area school districts because the choice saved the taxpayers the most money. That's it. Zero facts to support the ugly charge of racism. It is for this reason I cannot reasonably conclude that Crawford and Mayhue and their cohorts are acting in good faith.
I would like to think otherwise, especially because I have made common cause with Mayhue in the past on an important issue. But accusing people of calculated bigotry is a serious matter, and I would be ashamed of myself to do so without a shred of evidence. Could it have truly escaped the conscience of both Crawford and Mayhue that they are tarring the reputations of people without good cause? I suspect they are so free with their strident denunciations of the Grand Rapids school board, because they don't honestly believe their own accusations and don't expect anyone of consequence to take them seriously either. Not doubt there is also a healthy amount of end-justifying-the-means sanctimony in that mix, too.
If so, what they are doing is particularly reprehensible.
That's because, if for no other reason, Crawford, Mayhue, and company are refusing to let the wrongs of the past slip into history by stirring distrust and paranoia in the generation raised since the collapse of government-enforced segregation that is now coming into power. They are poisoning the well of comity and exhausting the goodwill of those who have learned the lessons of the civil rights era. I have already explained how this is so here and here, so I won't reiterate those points now. Suffice it to say that I am not giving up on the ideal of a colorblind society and will continue to call out those who would derail us from that destination, even if that means I will be perversely labeled as bigoted or heartless or ignorant for doing so.