August 20, 2014
Inbox — August 20, 2014
West End Coverage
Well, I will say that LEO Aug. 13 wasn’t the series of blank pages the turmoil of the previous 7 days suggested I’d see. As a journalist and activist who has been in love with West Louisville and its many distinct neighborhoods since I was first assigned a story there in 1986, I am pleased to see a wonderfully thorough piece on all there is to see, do and take in in the most maligned part of our city.
More such stories are desperately needed in area media to break through a bias-rooted information blockade, and to see this one bumped (reportedly) at the last minute from, or at least passed over for the cover for a national sports celebrity piece is demoralizing.
Better judgment from this point on would help inspire me to keep reading LEO.
Brian Arbenz, Cherokee Triangle
Enough with Racial Profiling
Last week I attended Louisville’s National Moment of Silence in solidarity with the residents of Ferguson, MO., and the parents of Michael Brown, the unarmed black youth shot to death by a police officer in that town. While at the gathering, a reporter asked me why I care about events happening in another town.
What does this have to do with us? I said, “I am here to say enough is enough. Enough racial profiling. Enough killing of unarmed young men of color and the militarization of police forces throughout the U.S..” We gathered to say enough and yes, to call on our own police force, our own city officials to evaluate their practices and see black and brown men in our community not as the enemy, but as our children, our neighbors, our brothers, fathers and our friends. I have lived in this town my whole life. For half of it I have tried to understand and say no to a system that makes our neighbors of color less than, not as important as a white person like me. I for one have had enough – marched enough, cried enough, seen my friends of color worry for the safety of their sons and others mourn for theirs.
Will you join me in saying, enough?
Carol J. Kraemer, Clifton
Dialogue about Race Needed
The tragic shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., focuses attention again on one of our country’s unresolved problems related to law enforcement and African-American males. In the summer of 1991, U.S. Senator Bill Bradley (D—NJ) spoke to his colleagues on the Senate floor about the dangers of racism in America. He said there needed to be more dialogue between blacks and whites if racial conflict were to be avoided.
“When did you realize there was a difference between the lives of black people and the lives of white people in America? When did you ever experience or see discrimination? How did you feel? What did you do?” Those specific questions would be a good starting point for blacks and whites of goodwill to ponder and discuss today around the table of brother/sisterhood.
I’m afraid Senator Bradley’s plea for national racial dialogue fell on deaf ears back in 1991. Another generation has passed and we are still dealing with some of the same problems.
On Oct. 13, 1995, the Courier-Journal published an op-ed I wrote entitled, “Let the Dialogue Begin.” I took the Bradley challenge and wrote about how and when I worked through the issue of race through my life experiences. I answered the aforementioned questions Bradley posed. I suppose a lot of people read the op-ed, but I never did meet face to face with African Americans and other Caucasians to share my story and to listen to theirs. Failing to do so was/is my loss.
We can talk on and on about the importance of having the racial dialogue, but the hard part is getting it started, getting skilled leaders to promote it and getting willing participants. It seems to me synagogues, churches, and mosques are ideal settings for formal dialogue to begin. Who will lead the quest? Perhaps, inviting native Missourian Bill Bradley back to St. Louis to get dialogue started would be a good idea.
Paul Lam Whiteley Sr., St. Matthews