IBLC challenges Senator’s comments about racism

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State Representative Cherrish Pryor and State Representative Greg Porter

Members of the Indiana Legislative Black Caucus (IBLC) are denouncing remarks made by Senator Andy Zay, who said racism is not real.

Zay, a Republican from Huntington, Indiana, said “racism is not real,” in a comment he made three years ago and which resurfaced last week online.

Senator Andy Zay

“Racism is not real. The biggest minority class in America is the white male. More white males are refused to college, medical schools and law schools than any other group. Yes, there are more, but these so-called minorities are given way more opportunities to succeed and be part of successful programs than the average white male, “said Zay.

“It doesn’t go far enough to say that the members of the IBLC are appalled by Zay’s remarks,” said IBLC State Representative Cherrish Pryor, IBLC chair. “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 to explain himself.

“What this demonstrates once again is the 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 that 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 of so many who demonstrated against the forces of sheer blinding hate. To attempt to leech onto that courage to explain himself away is offensive.

“Racism takes place when one group of people has the power and resources to suppress another group of people simply because of 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.

Senator Greg Taylor

“We would encourage Senator Zay to join the members of the IBLC next session in helping us strike a blow against racism. Join State Representative Greg Porter and State Senator Greg Taylor in their fight to bring the crime 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.

“Beyond that, the members of the IBLC would like to invite Senator 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 a chance to see how wrong it is to say,’ racism is not real.’

“Our offer is made in hope that Senator 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, Senator Zay.’”

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