I’ve had too much to think tonight – 8/16/06
August 16, 2006
Pensacola is a town segregated by choice. Whites and blacks accept the separation.
Whites don’t see the blacks, can go through their days without any social interaction with a person of color.
Blacks are tired…no point in fighting it. “Keep your head down. Keep moving. Smile when spoken to.”
Three black men are killed in the Escambia County Jail. There is no outrage.
Elderly black couples are evicted from Morris Court, forced to pay double the rent in some cases. We ignore the problem… they’re impeding progress – the construction of more desirable workforce housing. Again no outrage.
The only black county commissioner, Marie Young, smiles and sits quietly. No angry, no outrage, no leadership. She’s no more a voice for the black community than Kevin White.
Black media instead of speaking out, holds its hands out for the white advertising dollar. Don’t upset the good thing.
Non-profits, bank and hospital boards look for the black person of the moment to add diversity. Few board members make any difference. It helps build the resume.
Rebuild struggled because its leaders misunderstood the poor people it was trying to help. Political leaders are clueless. Black leaders are too reluctant to speak out. It’s safer staying quiet and promoting the status quo.
Change will happen when the white community pushes out of its comfort zone and meets with the black community on its turf. It requires listening and not throwing just money at the problem. The black community is concerned about the same issues we are- education, healthcare, affordable housing, better paying jobs.
They don’t need us to solve their problems… listen first, ask for their input and work with them on the issues. Take risks, expect mistrust at first, but in time the walls of segregation will evaporate.