Arlene Violet: Do as I say, not as….

By Arlene Violet
Posted 7/2/21

Sam Young was a black man who was at Bailey’s Beach every day. As the social register habitues arrived for their swim, this gentleman dressed in gold livery collected their jewelry and held the …

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Arlene Violet: Do as I say, not as….


Sam Young was a black man who was at Bailey’s Beach every day. As the social register habitues arrived for their swim, this gentleman dressed in gold livery collected their jewelry and held the pieces for safe keeping. Legend had it that he needed no list to help him remember who owned what, such was his great memory.

I wondered if the managers of Bailey’s Beach(a/k/a Spouting Rock Beach Association) would have counted him as an example of diversity when the organization tried to explain how “diverse’ it was in the light of the recent flap over Senator Sheldon Whitehouse’s family membership. A woman who answered the phone for the Club was queried by Providence Journal Reporter, Bethany Brunelle, and she hardly clarified the issue. In “explaining itks diversity” she stated “We have Asians, we have Indian. We have a lot of different ethnic groups here”. Conspicuously missing was the iteration of black members.

Most significantly, when queried by GoLocalProv’s editor, Kate Nagle, who described the club as “all-white” and whether they should continue to exist, Senator Whitehouse responded that the club is “a long tradition in R.I….We just need to work our way through the issues”. He further elaborated,” I think the people who are running the place are still working on that and I am sorry it hasn’t happened yet”. Later, he claimed that he was caught off guard and discovered the assertion to be wrong. Whether it was or not, he thought the club was still exclusionary. He’s also has had a long time to think about it. When asked about his membership years ago ,his response was to transfer his membership to his wife so he could say that he wasn’t a member. Too cute.

He still is saying that he’s not a member of the beach club (although the family membership makes him one) He is still dodging his participation by saying he won’t ask his wife or any other family members to resign.

Senator Whitehouse needs to stop feigning. Like far too many people he professes to support racial justice and to eliminate racial discrimination. It is easy to criticize former President Donald Trump. a Republican, but he and his fellow democrat cheerleaders like Congressman David Ciccilline and Congressman Jim Langevin look foolish. They also look like hypocrites. What does it mean to support justice for any group? I daresay it is not your public pronouncements but what you say in the locker room or at a party with your peers. When Senator Whitehouse thought it was lily-white he was still giving the management wide berth to ‘correct’ the problem Black news Tonight’s Marc Lamont captured the situation perfectly: “What’s it mean to be a white liberal who says all the right things on race-they love black people they just can never seem to find one worth hiring, They got none in their real life or who have been to their house."

Senator Whitehouse hasn’t given a second thought since the last time years ago when he was asked about the make-up of the club. He should stop talking a good game and resign. Otherwise, he is a do as I say not as I do white man.

Arlene Violet is an attorney and former Rhode Island Attorney General.

Arlene Violet

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