In a proposed ordinance released Tuesday afternoon, Mobile City Councilman Fred Richardson wants the city to replace the word “race” on all its official forms with the word “ethnicity.”
The action comes as a response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody and amid continuing protests against police brutality. Floyd died after officer Derek Chauvin was videotaped kneeling on his throat. Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter in the case.
Richardson, who has long argued that humans are of one race, but multiple ethnicities, believes if Americans weren’t divided by skin color the events would’ve turned out differently.
“In my heart I believe if the officer who had his knee on the man’s throat in Minnesota was led to believe he was a member of his own race, I don’t believe he would’ve done it,” Richardson said.
Removing the word “race” from city documents and replacing it with “ethnicity,” Richardson said, would allow the person being asked more flexibility in an answer. He believes the city should stop asking about race altogether.
“They ask, ‘What’s your race?’” he said. “Look at me, do I look like a bear?”
The ordinance itself highlights arguments related to one race and includes a Bible verse.
“We, the members of the Mobile City Council, recognize that our city, like other cities of this nation, including the federal government, as well the our states, do still divide our citizens into various and sundry false races, which is the main engine that fuels hate and cruelty among us,” the ordinance states. Whereas we, in the city of Mobile, have pledged to make our city “One Mobile,” whereby all citizens will be offered the same treatment, and opportunities; including equal justice for all.”
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