Greenfield: The Improvidence of Providence, Rhode Island

During the long hot summer of Black Lives Matter race riots, Providence’s Mayor Jorge Elorza announced a truth and reparations commission, accusing the city and all of Rhode Island of perpetrating “generations of pain and violence and systemic oppression”.The leftist racist, who has been steadily sending the city down the drain, urged the 33% of white people still left in Providence to “heal by discussing and accepting these uncomfortable truths”.

The commission would not be looking into Elorza’s alleged systemic racism which resulted in a lawsuit by the city’s former Department of Public Works director claiming that he was fired over a principled refusal to hire unqualified people “because of their ethnic backgrounds” while being banned from hiring “qualified applicants of a different ethnic background”.These “uncomfortable truths” were not on the truth and reconciliation menu.Instead, Elorza pushed forward with a plan to offer $10 million in reparations even though Rhode Island had actually been the first state to ban slavery and was founded by Roger Williams: an opponent of slavery. The tiny state had mobilized 25,236 soldiers in the Civil War including the 11th United States Colored Heavy Artillery Regiment. 1,771 Rhode Islanders paid the ultimate price and twenty were awarded the Medal of Honor.That, not Eloriza’s $10 million grift, is what actually fighting racism looks like.“These funds move us one step further towards closing the present-day racial wealth and equity gap,” Mayor Elorza falsely claimed.With 28,834 black people living in Providence, that $10 million amounts to a $346 check for every black person. That’s enough to cover a week of groceries for a family of four.Meanwhile, only “14 percent of Providence students are proficient in English and 6.8 percent are proficient in math.” The good news is that Providence students are so illiterate that they don’t even realize that Rhode Island wasn’t a member of the Confederacy.And they know so little of basic mathematics that they have no idea how much $346 is.Elorza’s racist virtue signaling doesn’t close any gaps. And it’s now under fire because it’s insufficiently racist since poor white people can also apply. That’s because the racist mayor chose to use cash from Biden’s inflationary $1.9 trillion stimulus plan which can’t exclude non-black applicants. Like the mayor himself, his reparations have failed in every possible way.“You can’t just throw around $10 million for this-and-that program and call it reparations, because then it will be done without ever really having a conversation about what repairing the harm would look like,” a member of Elorza’s African American Ambassador Group complained.Elorza’s racist crusade has thus far toppled a Columbus statue, and eliminated “plantations” from the city’s historic name in time for Juneteenth: even though the name had nothing to do with slavery. But expecting a city of illiterates to know that may be asking too much.Meanwhile, Providence still has a 23% poverty rate: more than double than the state average.The 92% of minority students in the Providence School District, most of them Hispanic, have reading proficiency scores that are half that of the state average and math scores that are almost a third that of the state average.Homicides rose for three straight years: hitting a high that hadn’t been seen in a decade.In 2021, 75 people were shot and 23 were killed in Providence. More than half of the entire state’s murders in 2020 took place in Providence even though the city holds only a fifth of Rhode Island’s population.Asked to explain this phenomenon, Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha pointed out that, “If you shoot 22 rounds into the air, the odds of hitting someone go dramatically up, which in part leads to more outcomes resulting in death.” This is as undeniably true as it is irrelevant.More relevantly, pro-crime policies, like those championed by Mayor Jorge Elorza, such as the Providence Community-Police Relations Act, have worsened crime in the area. To paraphrase the attorney general fired by the Trump administration, If you keep pandering to criminals, the odds of them committing crimes go up which leads to more outcomes resulting in death.Mayor Jorge Elorza and his allies keep blaming racism for Providence’s miserable state, but Democrats have run Providence for 86 of the last 100 years.If there’s any systemic racism, it was their system. And it’s so now more than ever.Elorza has been running Providence into the ground for the last 7 years. Whose fault is all the misery? Taking down a Columbus statue or requesting a report about events 400 years in the past is a convenient cover-up for who’s actually in office now. And it ain’t Christopher Columbus.Providence has a Democrat mayor and an all-Democrat council.In 2019, former Providence City Council President Lou Aponte, one of the most enduring politicians on that body, pleaded guilty to felony embezzlement. In 2018, Majority Leader Kevin Jackson was sentenced to a year in prison for stealing over $100,000 from a youth charity.What Providence really needs isn’t a truth and reconciliation commission, but a commission to stamp out the corruption and organized crime that the state and city have become infamous for.Behind all the racist virtue signaling are uncomfortable truths about crime and demographics.A Matter of Truth, the truth and reconciliation report commissioned by the mayor, blames racism for black people getting COVID and quotes BLM co-founder Alicia Garza boasting that “black communities have the power not just to save the country, but to lead the country.”Not so much in Providence, Rhode Island, where Latinos have long since become the dominant minority group. Mayor Jorge Elorza is the son of Guatemalan immigrants. Of the 15 city council members, all Democrats, 6 are Latino, some of African heritage, but only one is black American.And behind the virtue signaling and wokeness are some ugly realities, Councilwoman Carmen Castillo, the Dominican immigrant who became the subject of a documentary for going from hotel cleaning lady to the city council, was charged in a hit and run crash. While Castillo might have faced a 6-month prison sentence and a ban on running for public office, instead she got a slap on the wrist with no prison time and a $3,500 payout to the victim.Asking about that would be racist. Obviously.Castillo defeated NAACP president Gerard Catala who faces an investigation over campaign finance violations including depositing a political contribution to his personal bank account.But that’s just Providence politics which brings together corrupt Democrats of all races and creeds to screw over the illiterates who can’t read or add, but keep voting for them.Even after they’re dead.Providence’s Latino political elites keep pushing the ‘white guilt’ button while using black people as human shields. Most of the city’s minority population isn’t black and sleazy racists like Elorza are using false accusations of racism to seize power and distract attention from their abuses.America isn’t racist, but Providence’s political elites are as corrupt as they are racist.

Daniel Greenfield

Daniel Greenfield is a blogger and columnist born in Israel and living in New York City. He is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and a contributing editor at Family Security Matters. Daniel's original biweekly column appears at Front Page Magazine and his blog articles regularly appear at Family Security Matters, the Jewish Press, Times of Israel, Act for America and Right Side News, as well as daily at the Canada Free Press and a number of other outlets. He has a column titled Western Front at Israel National News and his op eds have also appeared in the New York Sun, the Jewish Press and at FOX Nation. Daniel was named one of the Jewish Press' Most Worthwhile Blogs from 2006-2011 and his writing has been cited by Rush Limbaugh, Melanie Philips, Robert Spencer, Daniel Pipes, Judith Klinghoffer, John Podhoretz, Jeff Jacoby and Michelle Malkin, among others. Daniel's blog, http://sultanknish.blogspot.com, is a daily must-read.

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