Monday • September 26, 2022
Regional Prejudice Has No Place in Howard County, Especially Not on the HCPSS Board of Education
By Steven Keller
By Steven Keller
Regional bigotry, regional discrimination, regional prejudice, “regionalism”…call it what you will. It can be as dangerous and harmful as any of the other better known prejudices based on a person or people’s personal characteristics or beliefs. It deserves no safe harbor in Howard County….yet Board of Education candidate Jacky McCoy has repeatedly demonstrated this style of prejudice in a variety of public meetings and interviews:
“Even as privileged as I could be, I don’t live like that because I live in Long Reach. I don’t live in River Hill, you know what I’m saying? I don’t live in Marriotts Ridge, I don’t live in the new area……Maple Lawn. I don’t live there…I walk through there…lovely! But I wouldn’t want to live there because that’s…..I don’t want to live in a space where there’s not a level of diversity. There’s a level of diversity with skin color but not economics, and I think we need all of it.” – Jacky McCoy , June 9, 2022, Elevate Maryland Podcast
“I live in Columbia…..when you recognize that a lot of what goes on in the school is a direct reflection of the community where the student lives…you know, I’m sure that the folks in Western Howard County don’t experience the kinds of things that the children on the east side experience, simply because of the disparities.” – Jacky McCoy, January 2022, HCLS & Horizon Foundation Virtual Event: “Taking Action for Health Equity”
“The first bullet [we discussed] was respect. One of the things that we talk about is ‘who’s definition of respect’? We just talked about ‘getting to the point’. Well in some cultures, expressing yourself is an important value…..I hope that we won’t become captive to a European way of doing things so that people are pushed out because they don’t fit that particular mold”.“ – Jacky McCoy , December 14, 2021, Howard County Racial Equity Task Force Education subcommittee meeting
“When you talk about redlining, and people have been kept from having opportunities to develop their wealth...by redlining….well you might think ‘Howard County’s not like that”….well that’s not quite true…I live in Long Reach, and I’m telling you…there are more apartments and more rental properties in my development than there are in River Hill and that affects our property values….so there are inequities, as wonderful as Howard County is, there are built-in inequities.“ – Jacky McCoy, September 4, 2019 , IndivisibleHoCoMD Meeting
“The best example of what happens in this county is what happened with school redistricting. That’s the perfect example, where the people who screamed the loudest got what they wanted. Nothing touched River Hill. Nothing. Why? Because they were there, there, there.
And if the way that things are done is that only the voice that squeaks, only the ones that we identify in our own group that we recognize as valuable….you’re talking about changing people’s value systems. So, you know, I don’t know if [this committee] is about changing people’s value systems, but it needs to be.
It needs to be more than just resolutions….there needs to be some education done to help bring people along to show them what they don’t know because people operate out of ignorance. I don’t care how many degrees and doctorates you have, if you have not dealt with certain things, you’re not going to know about them.“ – Jacky McCoy, December 14, 2021, Howard County Racial Equity Task Force Education subcommittee meeting
Among the above quotes are some accurate insights that McCoy unfortunately takes too far into “regional prejudice” territory.
It is certainly well-intentioned and sensible to encourage healthy discussion that allows for all members to adequately express themselves…..but McCoy takes the extra (revealing) step to proclaim her negative assumptions about “a European way of doing things”.
It is also true that certain areas of Howard County have more apartments and rental properties than others…..however, McCoy goes further and calls this fact “redlining” (making the negative assumption that concentrated housing, apartments & rental properties in modern day Howard County is somehow a result of intentional discriminatory zoning decisions made to favor certain areas like the one she repeatedly mentions: River Hill).
It is sadly also true that disparities in wealth, health and education exist across Howard County and that these disparities need to be studied and solved….but McCoy goes further to baselessly claim that children in “Western Howard County” don’t experience the kinds of things that children on the “East Side” experience.
From her views on “a European way of doing things”, “Western Howard County”, River Hill, Marriotts Ridge, Maple Lawn, and seemingly anyplace that she feels is substantially different to where she lives (Long Reach village in Columbia, MD), McCoy has made it clear that she harbors deep-seated assumptions about “those people” who live in these regions. These assumptions will undoubtedly affect her decision-making as a Board of Education member, even if just at a subconscious level.
Jacky McCoy is running for a countywide seat on the Board of Education…a seat intended to represent ALL residents…yet despite her repeated public displays of regional assumptions and discrimination, she received the second highest number of votes in the Primary election out of eight Board of Education candidates and is currently the “most endorsed” candidate, having received formal endorsements from four partisan political organizations/clubs, the Howard County Education Association (Apple Ballot), The People’s Voice (Ethics Ballot), and the African Americans in Howard County (AAIHC).
Howard County is a community known in modern times for its “Rouse vision” of unity, acceptance and anti-discrimination. It is both sad and discouraging to see so many members of this community hypocritically give McCoy a pass for these open displays of “regionalist” prejudice.
Regardless of any positive credentials that a candidate may have (educator insight, business experience etc.), no one who openly and repeatedly displays prejudice and propagates harmful assumptions based on race, sex, age, religion, nation, region or any other personal characteristic should be granted the privilege to serve as the community’s representative on the HCPSS Board of Education.
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