White Plains, NY -- The racist slur* that Yorktown Republican Town Committee District Leader Tom Pomposello used on election night to describe Yorktown Councilman Vishnu Patel is deplorable.

You can read a news account here: https://www.tapinto.net/towns/yorktown/sections/elections/articles/video-yorktown-councilman-subject-of-racial-slur-on-election-night

That an accomplished and selfless public servant like Councilman Patel -- a three-term councilman, a former IBM scientist, a father of two West Point graduates -- can be the object of such hatred, sadly illuminates the pervasiveness and dehumanizing power of race hatred.  For those who hate on the basis of race, or gender, or ethnicity, or sexual orientation, there's nothing a person can be or do that humanizes them to the hater. 

While the condemnation of Pomposello's statement by the Yorktown Town Republican Committee, and Pomposello's resignation, is appropriate, the video of Pomposello uttering such a slur in a crowded room full of community leaders with such comfort and with no apparent condemnation in the moment is disturbing.

It is not enough to tolerate silently racism in our midst, nor to act against it only when it becomes a public relations problem, nor merely to apologize for uttering aloud what is in our hearts after the destructive work of one's words is done. We must actively confront hatred wherever and whenever we encounter it, in the moment, until it is eradicated from the heart of our nation, and before it grows into something even more destructive than words.

This year, the Westchester County Human Rights Commission has launched a series of Bystander Intervention Training events to empower people with methods of responding to hate and harassment. The latest such event was held on Zoom on November 9. We hope the Human Rights Commission will continue this important training so that everyone can learn how to confront racial hatred in the moment.


* Pomposello said, “Vishnu’s gone. Gone. Gone....That mother****r. That fu****g sand n****r.”