/ DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION
Race Relations: It’s ABC By Tiffany R. Peebles
ROWING UP, I NEVER THOUGHT MUCH ABOUT how most of my neighbors, school,
and classmates were Black. It was all I knew. Unbeknownst to me, my parents wanted a better environment for me. When I was a sophomore in high school, my parents made the decision to move us across town to a primarily white neighborhood. I distinctly remember being infuriated. Our family would now be one of three African American families in the area. We were in a nicer home and clearly a better neighborhood, so why was I unhappy? This move was indeed positive for my family, but it didn’t feel that way to me. Riding the bus on the first day of school was the first time I felt like a minority. My world had changed; I was no longer in the majority and no longer comfortable. I felt vulnerable and threatened. Sound familiar? It should. I don’t mean to preach, but from my pontificate, this is the cause of a great deal of the division in our country: the perception of somehow being threatened. I am confident we can see a change by going back to basics. The Jackson 5 1975 hit song, “ABC” was one of my favorites. They sang, danced, and entertained the world— Blacks, whites, all races. Music opened the door to unity. However, while they could perform in concert halls, clubs, and restaurants, the reality is they were only “good enough” to entertain in these establishments but not welcome to patronize them. A vital message regarding race relations can be gleaned from their lyrics: “ABC, it’s easy as 123.” Acknowledgment, Boldness and Compassion are imperative to creating change.
12 PARKING & MOBILITY / APRIL 2021 / PARKING-MOBILITY.ORG
Acknowledgment Improving race relations starts with acknowledging there is a problem. We cannot continue to deny the inequities, injustice, and inhumanity that exist. Black men account for 5 to 6 percent of the total population in the U.S. yet represent 50 percent of those currently incarcerated. If you commit the crime, you should do the time, however, my concern is the time. Does the punishment always fit the crime? Many African Americans are incarcerated because they were denied the opportunity to obtain skills, leading to a higher likelihood of securing jobs, which results in reduced crime. Employment in the Black community has been negatively affected as a result of individuals in prominent positions making decisions that only exaggerated systemic racism that was already in place. Redlining, restricted bank financing, and housing restrictions were all policies designed to oppress Blacks and limit their ability to achieve success. When success
Published by the International Parking & Mobility Institute. parking-mobility.org