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Friday, February 15, 2008

Identity Black and White in Frederick

Jack Lynch

Frederick County, Maryland has overreacted on illegal immigration.
While larger immigrant population counties have felt the need to send
a couple deputies to ICE training in Georgia, we've elected to follow
the primrose Republican path and send two dozen deputies, over a month
or more of training, equaling a county cost of two annual deputy
salary years.

It is a boondoggle. It is an utter waste of public safety time and
money. Frederick County should be ashamed. While I want my local
police forces to coordinate gang enforcement efforts and ship those
sociopaths to prison or deport them, we are not a people who should
create a culture of fear and terror in response to the fear and terror
and lives in our own hearts at times. A balanced public view should
not be neurosis and public deceit, which is the political side of the

On the cusp of electing, a serious and viable, black Presidential
candidate. When immigrant are soldiers fighting for our freedom,
security, and country, all in order to gain citizenship. When our
national population is swelling with Asian, Hispanic, and other racial
and cultural affiliations – how can we be led to draconian and
wasteful efforts by a minority of old white faces?

Not long ago, the bones of local blacks broke from the ground of a
historic cemetery in the City of Frederick, Maryland . Let those
dead, and their ghosts, and the memory of our living African Americans
of segregation and disenfranchisement, guide us to a better outcome.

On local Frederick County, Maryland Cable 10's "Pressing Issues" show
this week, guest Dereck Shackleford, expressed a real concern about
immigration efforts being a signal of intolerance, racial profiling,
and a culture of fear in our county, one intimately known and felt by
our African American population. His emotions and its impacts are not
only real to him and his segment of the community, they are absolutely
right, and deserve support from the broader community.

In Frederick County, I fear that beneath the surface, we are barely
beyond the effects of segregation, despite school integration and the
national equality laws. People live in smaller communities where old
sins remain, where opportunities still can be limited by social
customs, and they absolutely see lives restrained by individual
judgments that are prejudicial.

Few of our local minorities cross the line to achieve power or
participate in public life at the highest visible positions of power.
There needs to be broader involvement and a clear welcoming of
minority players throughout the community. As we remember Bill Lee,
we should also remember his legacy of service and his quiet dignity
and bravery, building a life supported by community good.

Frederick County rattles racial and cultural chains and a chill goes
up the backs of some of its residents. When special efforts are made
to address ethnic groups and crime, there needs to be careful
restraint and a community dialogue that does not automatically assume
that those who came here with the original dirt deserve to rule.
There are other voices poking up from the dirt. There are historical
memories of injustice.

There are voices, but also a pervasive silence of the status quo that
should concern us all. Our society grew and prospered by protecting
the legal rights of the weak and often powerless, are even illegal
immigrants no less a part of how we fairly dispense our powers over
them? Our answer has been to not even really care, as long as our
majority feels satisfied and secure in their righteousness.

That is not a response that can long hold ground, the bare bones are showing.

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