When I first started Staten Island Community News a few months ago, I had no intention of politicizing my blog. Its purpose is to provide information based on facts, personal accounts by people who experience them, etc. It is a way to show the good in Staten Island.
I saw a video today that made me sick to my stomach, and as small as my platform is, I felt the need to use my blog to express my absolute disgust with NY-11 congressional candidate, Nicole Malliotakis’ response to a genuine question.
Let’s Breakdown the Video:
This video was filmed by a white woman at the Shoprite on Veteran’s Road West, who approached Nicole Malliotakis to talk about her boyfriend’s experiences as a black man on the South Shore of Staten Island. She asked Nicole Malliotakis how she planned to make the South Shore safer for BIPOC. Malliotakis evaded the question by saying she’d be happy to speak with her boyfriend but would not answer the question on the spot. Malliotakis then followed up with “I support the police” and subsequently ignored the woman who had asked her the question.
Nicole Malliotakis Has A Moral Responsibility
I came to the conclusion that speaking about this video is not a political statement for or against a particular candidate but rather against characteristics and behaviors we need less of, not more. What Nicole Malliotakis did is simple: She disregarded another human being’s pain. End of argument. It is of utmost importance to hear out and acknowledge a person’s pain. When you acknowledge that a person is hurt, you are making them feel validated as a human being. Compassion goes a long way. This woman felt like her potential congresswoman disregarded the racism her boyfriend endured. At BARE MINIMUM Malliotakis could have offered her words of comfort and encouragement. As a leader in our community, Malliotakis’ actions set an example for people to follow. This is not the example she should have set.
Her response, “I support the police” is irrelevant to a report of racism. Racism is wrong any way you look at it. To conflate a person’s experience of racism with anti-cop rhetoric is irresponsible. One does not have to do with the other. What do the undertones of that statement suggest? Do people who are racist towards black people support the police and therefore Malliotakis supports them? Are all black people and allies who speak of racism on Staten Island anti-cop? Why is it hard to admit that some people do bad things? Is she afraid of losing votes? Does she know those are the type of people who will vote for her and not Max Rose? Why would she want those kinds of votes anyway? It’s all incredibly disturbing.
Empathy is Needed in Staten Island
Loathe that I am to admit it, there is a good chance that Nicole Malliotakis will win the congressional seat and represent Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn at the federal level. There are more than just white South Shore people living in the NY-11 constituency and it would be in Malliotakis’ best interest (and ours) if she acknowledges that there are experiences that people endure that she has not. She should acknowledge these issues exist, even if she has not experienced racism herself. Calling for people to show respect, kindness, empathy, and good-will towards neighbors of all walks of life should be a natural and easy thing for anyone -particularly a congressperson- to do, especially when that congressperson represents such a diverse body of people.
On October 18th, Staten Island Community News requested Nicole Malliotakis to engage in a non-partisan interview with us but she has yet to respond. We urge her to participate in an interview and we hope that she will be open to discussing cultural diversity and the impact racism has on Staten Island.