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Systems beget Systemic

My town council recently approved a new rule requiring landscapers to register with the town and pay a $50 registration fee.

My town also has had several car thefts in the past year; cars which were unlocked and sometimes with the key fob inside the car.


How do these two things relate? On the surface, they may not. No one is accusing landscapers of being car thieves.


Some of the reasons for the new rule requiring landscapers to register with the town were "so the town can inform landscapers about the municipality’s rules and regulations and better address specific resident concerns." Those concerns appear to have to do with the noise of landscaping equipment as well as the handling of yard waste.


Here is my issue with this. Who normally are the landscapers? White, affluent, college graduates? No, not normally. Who hires landscapers? People who own homes, which in my town, often means people who can afford homes costing between $600,000-$2,000,000.

But who is being required to register, pay $50, and be under the "watchful" eye of the town?

I could say more, but I'm guessing you see my perspective here.


Now let's talk about those stolen cars. Each stolen car requires a police report and follow up, costing the town money. The town has also put out construction-type lighted signs telling us to "Do your part. Lock your car. Put valuables out of sight". Again, at the expense of the town. Additionally, the statistics of theft for the town are affected, potentially impacting the overall desirability of the town, a soft cost to the town.


These are systems that are a clear representation of what systemic racism looks like in the day-to-day. A town looking for revenue on the backs of people of color. A town catering to the white and/or more affluent, even at its expense.


So I say, how about charge a fee to those who left their cars unlocked with the key fob inside, costing the town real money? How about putting the responsibility on the homeowners who hire landscapers to make sure the people they hire know the rules of the town and use equipment that isn't overly noisy?

These concepts would likely get me some very dirty looks at best if I were to have raised them at the council meeting. The new landscaper registration passed unanimously.


So although I see the arc bending toward justice, I still see plenty examples of the long-held systemic issues that persist, even in 2021. Systems favoring white people and creating a disadvantage to people of color. Can you see it too? Both the arc and the systemic issues slowing the bend of that arc toward justice?





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