Claudette called

Today I must retract a statement I made yesterday in this post.

I assumed that Councilwoman Burroughs-White decision to forward her motion to adopt the T&R related resolution, and, “…The quick second of the motion by Bellamy-Small seemed to demonstrate that Claudette’s motion had been in the cards all along.”  It was not.

In a follow-up article on Tuesday’s council vote to oppose the GTR process, the N&R provides a quote from Claudette about her motion and the widely reported “gentleman’s agreement” among members of council that no resolution would be offered…When they decided to do that, I wasn’t there,” she said. “I wouldn’t have agreed to it anyway. I felt we needed to vote up or down.”

In addition, Claudette called me this morning in response to what I wrote to make sure I understood her postion and reiterated that she had not been privy to any back room plans for the Council to not offer up a resolution.

Claudette and I had a long conversation about Tuesday night’s vote and the events of 1979.  I expressed my consternation as to how this debate over the Truth and Reconciliation process had become a racial issue.  She set me straight with a few questions.

She asked that I not confuse issues of race with issues of racism – because they are not the same thing.  She explained that the events of Nov 3, 1979 were the result of a racist system so the issue surrounding the race of the people involved was secondary to the event.  Her point is that we need to take a fresh look at the whole affair because many of the trappings of the 1979 era system of racism still exists today in Greensboro.  When I told her that such racism is hard for me to see, she offered this, “Your perception of racism is dictated by your history.  You have never been on the receiving end of racism, so you don’t really know what it looks or feels like.”

She asked me to look at Nov 3, 1979 with my “black eyes” to get a different view.  As an example, she asked me to consider why the ‘Death to the Klan” march was held in mostly black Morningside Homes instead of lilly-white Irving Park?  “I doubt that a parade permit would even have been issued for the march if they had wanted to do it in Irving Park“, she said, “but if it had been held there, the entire Greensboro police department would have lined the streetsThat certainly wasn’t the case in Morningside Homes“ 

Hard to argue against her point, isn’t it?

I’ll say it again.  I support the work of the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission but I hate the fact that we seem to be splitting apart, along racial lines, on the question of if obtaining either truth or reconciliation is a good or bad thing – or needed at all. 

My conversation with Claudette this morning confirmed for me that we have a long way to go before everyone will see issues of race through the same eyes.  But one thing is for sure: we will never get there if white folks insist on keeping their eyes closed and if black folks insist on thinking white folks can never understand.

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