When a Newport City Councilor called for Martin Luther King Jr. Day to be a city holiday with paid time off for employees, she noted that the city is less than one percent black and that “we have no clue what racism is like to experience.” Be that as it may – some city residents and employees pushed back against the implied racial insensitivity of not approving the holiday.
"“To refuse to acknowledge that — racial inequity, racism, classism, sexism, but especially racial inequity — how can we ignore that and call ourselves decent citizens who care about an equitable society?” she asked. The back-and-forths prompted Mayor Paul Monette to rebut Raboin’s assertion that those in the room didn’t know what racism is like. “I was going to not say this, OK, because I am white,” Monette said, before describing how his grandparents and father faced discrimination as Catholic immigrants from French Canada. “My father did experience a form of racism,” he said, adding, “There were cross burnings up on the hill over here.”
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