IBLC extends invitation to State Sen. Zay to see why racism is still real
INDIANAPOLIS – State Rep. Cherrish Pryor (D-Indianapolis), chair of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus (IBLC), today issued the following statement on behalf of the organization regarding recent revelations surrounding State Sen. Andy Zay (R-Huntington), who claimed three years ago in a Facebook discussion that racism does not exist in this country:
“It doesn’t go far enough to say that the members of the IBLC are appalled by Sen. Zay’s remarks.
“Or that we are stunned that he has yet to apologize for them.
“Or that we are shocked that he had the astounding bad taste to hide behind the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., when he did try and explain himself.
“What this demonstrates once again is a shocking trend in our country that has risen in the past couple of years. It is keyed on the belief that those who have played a large role in perpetuating racism in our society now believe they are the ones who are the most oppressed.
“Such beliefs completely ignore the history of African-American people in this country, a history that was defined by such people as Dr. King, whose life stands as an example of the courage so many demonstrated against the forces of sheer, blinding hate. To attempt to leech onto that courage in order to explain himself away is offensive.
“Racism takes place when one group of people has the power and resources to suppress or oppress another group of people simply because of their skin color.
“If statistics are needed to back up the realities of what Sen. Zay is ignoring, here they are. More than 80 percent of U.S. businesses are owned by White Americans. Ninety percent of this country’s elected officials are White Americans. Eighty percent of our country’s universities are run by white presidents.
“But here is a chance to provide what is called a teaching moment.
“We would encourage Sen. Zay to join the members of the IBLC next session in helping us strike a blow against racism. Join State Rep. Gregory W. Porter and State Sen. Greg Taylor (both D-Indianapolis) in their fight to bring a hate crimes law to Indiana, a fight they have been waging for many years. We also ask that he join us in seeking a plan to require diversity training for both legislators and staff, which is being spearheaded by State Sen. Eddie Melton (D-Gary).
“Beyond that, the members of the IBLC would like to invite Sen. Zay to meet with us and talk about his remarks. Better yet, we welcome him to come to our districts and meet with the folks who live and work there. Talk to people, understand their experiences, and you will get the chance to see how wrong it is to say ‘racism is not real.’
“Our offer is made in the hope that Sen. Zay truly believes that all people should be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin.
“If he cannot, or will not, all we can say is, ‘Shame on you, Sen. Zay.’”