So, I’ve been reading the online version of the News-Gazette for about three years now, and by accompaniment the article comment sections. And I’ll be damned if the comments that spark the most prolific and the ugliest discussion are the ones on articles regarding racial matters.
Often, the N-G has the good sense to block comments on these articles, since they rarely evolve into anything more than mudslinging, insults and stereotypes coming from both sides of the argument. However, from the comments about race that do make it to the comment pages, and just by observing your surroundings in this community, it is obvious that racial tension is a problem here.
If more productive and honest debate about race relations in C-U can be conducted on the News-Gazette website, the discussion board is the best place for that dialogue, not on the comment pages for individual articles involving folks who have families and loved ones…people who might come across those comments and marvel at how insensitive how out of place, how ultimately irrelevant they are considering the immediate topic at hand. Just put aside whatever you think about the Kiwane Carrington ordeal if you can, and think about how you would feel if it had been your child or someone else that you loved. Not just having to live with his death, but with the attention and with the often inflammatory commentary about his death by folks trying to push their own personal agendas.
Kiwane just seems like the logical starting point for this subject. I have heard and read so many different opinions about the Carrington case, and the ones that offend me the most are those who claim to know what really happened. That is, they “believed” that Kiwane was at fault, or they “believed” that the officer or officers were at fault. My reaction to that is always, what does it matter what you “believed” happened? Nobody except those that were there will likely ever know. The court system will handle it, and whether or not the outcome it produces is perfect, that is the way it will be. The more productive thing to do for everyone else in this community is to take steps to prevent a similar incident from happening again.
How about the jaywalking kid who got pepper-sprayed on campus a few months ago? He probably learned a valuable lesson about complying with orders from police officers, but he did not deserve that sort of treatment. Is there an offense more minor than jaywalking? I’ve seen signs in small towns noting that those spitting on the sidewalk will be fined. I wonder if anyone ever got roughly handled by an officer for that offense, even if they were less than ideally compliant. However, I do think the mayor might have picked this fight for a little too long, and at the very least he did it in a manner that undermined his relationship with the police department. From my perspective it seems like there was an awful lot of agenda pushing and stubbornness all around.
Finally, I wonder if polar bear hunting will make a return to campus and surrounding areas this spring. I’m sure we can all agree in hoping that it does not. If it does, I hope the city governments and police departments will be devoting all resources possible to stopping it. I wonder if it ever occurs to the “polar bear hunters” how much damage they are doing to race relations in this community. Personally, I don’t really agree with hate crime sentencing, but if it’s gonna be the law then it should certainly be applied to those goons.
Anyway, enough from me for now. Let’s get the comments going, and I hope I’m not naïve in hoping it stays relatively civil.