On July 12, 2019, Chanda McGuffin recommended that Waynesboro’s new arts center be named after Daryl R. Brooks. Then, Tom McDonald opined that “reverse discrimination” motivated her to do so; moreover, that such is her “main agenda” now “as in the past” (Letters, July 18, 2019). Could it be that what we are seeing is his own discrimination projected in reverse onto her?

Racial discrimination involves a majority oppressing a minority through an imbalance of privilege and power over a long period of time. Reverse or otherwise, it is not when someone is nominated for an award that we don’t want them to have.

The phrase “reverse discrimination” is but an attempt to “turn the tables” away from what many among us are experiencing around our many tables.

Racism was our country’s “original sin” as incarnate in slavery. What has been gained through amendments to the United States Constitution and such Supreme Court decisions as Brown v Board has largely been muffled, even denied outright.

Minorities do not oppress the majority. What sometimes looks like — and is claimed as — the “reverse” might be incidents of minority individuals acting out prejudices against the majority. But the “proper order” is soon restored — or even tightened — because minorities alone do not have the means to completely reverse discrimination.

Racism is systemic; that is, “baked into” the system like ingredients in a cake. It was so in our Constitution, in decisions made by the Supreme Court and lower courts, throughout the Civil War and Reconstruction, during the Jim Crow era, and through segregation in all of our institutions; sadly, where we might least expect it — in churches.

The laudatory comments about Mr. Brooks in Ms. McGuffin’s nomination, in Mr. A.D. Weaver’s accolades above Mr. McDonald’s complaints, even in McDonalds’ guarded praise of Brooks, and in opinions elsewhere, lead me to support naming Waynesboro’s art center after Daryl R. Brooks.

Rev. Russell Waldrop


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