Sorry. I haven't felt like wading through these posts lately.
But there's no escaping the madness when it comes to race. I was in Indy when the Andrew Young story broke. Actually, Young didn't say anything in his now infamous interview with the Los Angeles Sentinel that he didn't say in a recent editorial board meeting with the Chicago Sun-Times, except I don't remember him mentioning "Jews."
None of us batted an eye.
I was more appalled that someone of Young's stature--a civil rights leader, former Atlanta mayor and U.N. Ambassador-- had stooped to being a pitchman for Wal-Mart.
Still, I came across an interesting e-mail about Young's remarks.
The e-mail was written by a man who identified himself as "white man" who grew up in South Shore. He went to Mt. Carmel as did his sons. But he has also worked for several predominantly African-American municipalities. Because he sent the e-mail to my private mailbox, I'm not identifying him by name.
But I think what he had to say was right on the money:
"For a white guy, I think I have a pretty good pedigree to reflect on racial issues and stereotyping.
To an extent, what Andrew Young said is true...In the African-American inner-city community, the small Mom 'n Pop stores are almost invariably owned by Arabs, and before that by Koreans. When I drove my kids to Carmel, we passed what everybody called the "Arab grocery store" on Marquette Blvd. Just drive on Western from 55th to 79th and see who owns the liquor stores. My African-American friends and I all refer to the "Arab Liquor stores." We all do.
What Andrew Young was guilty of is laziness--stereotyping, in my view, is more about language laziness than a bad heart. Lazy language pushes us into cultural collisions because it relies on false syllogisms, which in turn lead to overreactions. Laziness begets laziness. For example, we all honestly know that south of Madison, the vast majority of the criminals, the bad people, the "element" are African-American. At the same time we also know t hat the vast majority of African-Americans are very good people. None of us takes the millisecond to articulate the distinction. Lazy language.
I firmly belileve that like Andrew Young, the vast majority of us are good-hearted people. We just need to be reminded of the dangers of lazy language as a mirror of lazy thoughts.
I, for one, thank this gentleman for such a gentle reminder.