(Community Matters) Evolving perspective. First, some of the facts/observations which are further informing:
1) I haven’t spoken with an African-American who doesn’t consider the Highland Mall closing racist
2) Other large festivals accommodated around town, plenty with incidents: Rep of Texas Bike Rally, SXSW & ACL
3) When UIL talked about rotating between Texas cities, we reacted affirmatively, wanting to continue as host
4) Several non-minority progressives and moderates have written to me or debated with me on Facebook, expressing their perspective that the mall & bar closings could be simple economic decisions. Many also expressed that they didn’t feel any of these businesses had an obligation to serve as a public space
5) I have not yet spoken with representatives of the businesses.
6) I have viewed cited YouTube videos and don’t see the threat.
Some of what my African American friends said after church yesterday (I received permission to blog about the conversation):
“People can lie to themselves. They don’t want to hear the truth. It’s racism and it’s alive and well.”
One of the friends heard about the Mall closing on the radio while driving. She started crying. It felt like a return to the 60s. This woman organized pickets in the 60s and 70s in response to discrimination against her children. Reflecting on those times she recalls thinking, “I’m not going to have my children go through what I went through all my life.”
“Anytime white people feel the loss of control in a setting of black people, they find ways to shut the setting down.”
“Two million people where in Washington DC recently and it was our most peaceful day. The rampages going on are among men who are unemployed. Be concerned about people hardest hit by the global recession.”
“We are stepping backwards not forward.” The voter ID bill is another attempt at disenfranchisement.