Op-Ed: Melvin Wants You to Know He is Not a Token

Submitted by Melvin Patterson

What’s the difference between White Privilege and Ally/Solidarity?

Here’s an example of what it is:

A powerful white woman applauses a Black man for bluntly saying to an elderly white straight man, “You are a racist!”

But, if the Black man refuses say that to the white man, this powerful white woman goes postal, ranting, and raving with her criticism of the Black man towards other POCs to manipulate them into action against this Black man.

Instead of using Black people against other POCs, can’t she be an ally to Black Community where she can stand up for them and say directly herself to the elderly white straight man, “If you are a racist, you are not the right person to run an organization.” Why not?

Why in the world did Julie Rems Smario, a government employee working at the California Department of Education headquarters, and a PhD student in social justice, call me a Black man, a token?

Let’s take a look at this quote from the article posted by theDeafReport.com on April 4th - “DCARA Board Hires Questionable Investigator and Ignores Staff Requests.”

“….the board hired a token person to publicity claim that they are not racists. It’s so broken.”(Rems Smario)

These 18 words generate 4 red flags:

·HIRED: DCARA didn’t hire me. I voluntarily came onboard to support the DCARA Board with their legal accountability and standing up to absorb accusations by some staff and community members. In short, to protect DCARA as an agency that serves the WHOLE community in its service area.

·TOKEN: Dictionary definitions - “A token is a person chosen by way of tokenism as a representative of a particular minority or underrepresented group” and “Tokenism is the practice of making no more than a token effort in offering opportunity to minorities that shows only minimal respect or effort of equality.”

In her quote, Ms. Rems-Smario said that I am on the board as a token to represent the Black community to appease that community, and getting only minimal respect from the board. Fortunately, the Black Community is not dumb and they are highly attentive and alert. In what way am I appeasing them?

I am not a token. To call me one is an insult to the board, to the Black Deaf community, and to me as an individual.

It appears that my respect of DCARA as an agency by fully participating in the board during this time of crisis, and being fully embraced by the board has thrown a wrench in her plan to use racism as a way to control the whole agency thus the community. Who is actually practicing racism here, I wonder?

·NOT RACISTS: Ms. Rems-Smario made a claim that I as the “token person” said “they are not racists.” Despite Rems-Smario’s multiple high profile positions throughout her career, it seems to me that due diligence is not a tool for her to confirm facts before she made that claim about me. I have NEVER said that.

In this video (see 1:02:00 or 39:06 remaining https://www.facebook.com/DreamingDragon77/videos/10158246426667802/), I gave the example of Obama’s beer summit in handling the racial profiling and tension between the police and a Black Harvard University professor that was arrested for trespassing in his own house.

My point was to say that approach would have been much more effective and healing for DCARA than accusing the board of racism and demanding them all to resign.

·BROKEN: “It’s so broken.” No, Ms. Rems-Smario, the DCARA Board members have not sat idly by and do nothing. They are unbelievably busy having numbers meetings to make sure that DCARA is appropriately running. What’s more, the board has been in touch with our attorney to get appropriate legal advice, and quite many community members have been in touch with us to share their concerns which are often very different than what Ms. Rems-Smario is claiming.

In closing, simply the main reason why I joined DCARA Board is to help us all to seek a healthy way to end racism in our community.