State Rep. Alan Green, D-Florissant, wants his Missouri legislative colleagues to take what he calls “Unconscious Racial Bias Training”. His call is in response to recent racially charged comments made by a visitor and a state lawmaker.
“It is important that we continue to foster a work environment where employees feel comfortable and free from hostile or offensive language. This type of behavior and prejudicial discourse should have no place in our state, let alone this institution and I am in full support of the Missouri House providing mandated diversity training. By implementing this training, it is my hope that we are able to work diligently to avoid racial bias in the workplace as well as more sufficiently ensure increased awareness among our employees,” says Green.
An August Facebook post by State Rep. Warren Love, R-Osceola, said Confederate memorial vandals should be “hung from a tall tree with a long rope”. A recent visitor to the Missouri Capitol was also asked to leave after saying something racially-offensive.
State Rep. Bruce Franks, Jr., D-St. Louis, says training won’t solve the racial problems.
“You can’t train somebody how not to be racist. You can give all the unbiased and implicit bias training in the world but that’s not going to stop somebody from feeling the way they feel about me,” says Franks. “You’re not born racist. These things that should be taught to you by the people that you love most: your mother, your father, grandfather, aunt and uncle.”
Franks thinks there’s a better approach.
“How about you take that person to that community full of people that look like you that come from the same community, so they can have a real conversation with the people, not somebody who’s been trained to teach people how not to be racist,” he asks.
Franks has actively protested in a non-violent manner in the St. Louis area in recent weeks after a September court ruling that freed a former police officer of first-degree murder in the shooting death of a black drug suspect. Franks was also an activist in Ferguson after Michael Brown, Jr. was shot and killed by a former police officer.