I found the headline “Residents seek change in RH” in the 7/9/20 issue a bit disingenuous. “Residents” is being generous — the change sounded like it came from only one resident’s opinion, with a few group names thrown in to give it more consequence. While change can be necessary and good, it needs to be of the right kind, with useful and/or measurable results.
While some of Mr. London’s suggestions possibly have merit, most of them amount to politically correct posturing. These help the African-American community, how? He wants to remove the General Lee statue and put up only statues of black leaders in our park. This is equitable, how? And who will pay? Proper history requires a balanced view, not an exclusionary one. He wants to ban the display of the Confederate flag in Richmond Hill. I’ve yet to see a Confederate flag just waving around in the city when I go about my business, so why does this have to be formally legislated? If people want to put a flag in their yard they have that right— just as Mr. London can put up a BLM sign if he wants.
Remove the word “plantation”? This is just silly —silly and costly. Will black people feel “unsafe” because they see the word “plantation”? Grow up! I daresay black people live in the some of the neighborhoods with the “plantation” name in it. If it was so offensive, why move there? Once again, such an initiative does nothing to actually help the African-American community. It’s more posturing without substance - as is the idea of renaming streets.
These requests are simply a way to “virtual signal” while doing not one iota to actually help African-Americans in Richmond Hill. Additionally, requests of this nature make his entire proposal ridiculous and detract from the importance of the issues that may need to be addressed. If Mr. London truly wants to benefit black residents, he should use his talents to find ways to create educational or job opportunities for minorities. The fact that our mayor and city council has promised to give all his suggestions “full consideration”, seemingly regardless of merit, is disturbing. Again, nowhere is the cost of all these expensive initiatives addressed. People are afraid to speak out against these kinds of ideas because of possible backlash, so decisions are made without proper investigation and cool thinking. All I ask is that the city look at any suggestion made and examine its worth, cost, usefulness, constitutionality and ultimate result for the people of the city.
Betsy DeBry, Richmond Hill