Price Take Two
I am writing in response to Jeff Hoffman’s comments in “Another View: Constituent Comes to Suzie Price’s Defense” (Grunion Gazette, Dec. 17).
I have also listened to the City Council meeting recording of Councilwoman Price’s questions and the subsequent remarks of Dr. Davis and Councilpersons Richardson, Mungo, and Price at least twice, and have read the Open Letter from Concerned Black Women of Long Beach and Price’s subsequent apology at least twice.
Nowhere did I see or hear anyone calling Price a racist. It was her actions — her line of questioning about Dr. Davis’ credentials — that was called out by Richardson at the Council meeting as unfair and in the subsequent Open Letter as unprofessional, disrespectful, and discriminatory. The tone of the Open Letter struck me as stronger and harsher reading it the second time than the first.
But I can see why its authors felt the need to be firmer and more explicit when at the Council meeting, Richardson’s gentler (by comparison) remarks were dismissed and Price and Mungo doubled down on their position. It was clear then that Price did not see the issue. It is clear from her apology on Dec. 10 that she does see it now, and the way she has responded makes me proud that she represents my district and city.
Implicit or unconscious bias is usually perpetrated by someone who is well-intentioned; that’s what makes it implicit or unconscious. If Price were a racist it would be overt, intentional bias. No one has accused her of that. This is why implicit bias is so insidious and harmful, because we often don’t even understand how we’re hurting those we wish to help. This is how we could have thought we’d made more progress than we have. We need to listen to be a better Long Beach.
I do agree with Jeff Hoffman on this: demonstrations at the private homes of public officials should be out of bounds (ethically and morally, not legally — I understand freedom of speech). One of my main takeaways from the portion of the Council meeting I listened to is how hard our officials are working and doing their best, even if we may not agree with all their decisions. As long as they are reasonably accessible, they deserve some private sanctuary.