The following letter was sent from Jansen M. Robinson of the African American Democratic Club of Harford County to Del. Mary-Dulany James. A copy was provided to The Dagger for publication:
Honorable Mary-Dulany James
Lowe House Office Building
6 Bladen Street, Room 404
Annapolis MD 21401
Delegate Mary-Dulany James:
Many within the community are alarmed that a fight between sibling staffers working in your legislative office resulted in a false accusation that a 6’2” black male had been the perpetrator responsible for one staffer’s injuries. Unfortunately it’s an old lie that has significant history in this country. Law professor Katheryn Russell-Brown documents 67 racial hoaxes in the period between 1987 and 1996 in her book “The Color of Crime.”
You may recall it was not so long ago that a White mother from suburban Philadelphia lied when she told the police that two African-American males snatched her and her 9-year-old daughter from their SUV and abducted them in the trunk of a black Cadillac. All of which was a lie.
This type of allegation has often led to frantic searches and national news coverage that play into profiling images of marauding black men and giving the idea that it is acceptable to employ the Black Man Did It accusation.
Unknown numbers of black men have been incarcerated and some have even lost their lives based solely upon such allegations. Claims such as the one made by your staffers only feed into these stereotypes and are harmful to race relations.
We, the members of the African American Democratic Club of Harford County are writing you because of our concern regarding this matter, specifically the silence demonstrated by your failure to publically repudiate the actions of your representatives.
While we understand that you were not present when this incident took place, we do however believe that the behavior of those who work for you, are a reflection upon you, the community, and definitely those whom you were elected to represent.
Harford County residents have a long history of working together to build a cohesive, vibrant and diverse community. But the actions of your representatives do not reflect the shared values of those you were elected to represent.
I like many African Americans saw the hope in having Barak Obama elected as our first African American President, that the rest of America would take a renewed look at African-Americans and look at us for who we are and not what the stereotypes suggest.
On behalf of the African American Democratic Club of Harford County and all of the good and decent people of Harford County, I would urge that you break your silence on this matter; and to publicly condemn the actions of your staffers; and apologize to the Harford County community for the harm that may have been done to race relations and the image of our community.
Jansen M. Robinson, Member
African American Democratic Club of Harford County, Advisory Board