Kacich on racism in C-U
In this week's "Tom's Mailbag," columnist Tom Kacich was asked about Stephen Bardo's comments. His answer:
As an older, white guy I know I’m not treated the same as a 20-year-old black man, or even a 20-year-old white man. I know, for example, that my sons were treated differently than I was when they would drive the same car I did with the license plate light that was burned out. They’d be pulled over; I wouldn’t.
So I’m not going to pretend that I know what it’s like to be a black person in Champaign-Urbana, Chicago or anywhere else.And I’m not going to criticize Bardo for his comments. He’s right that there’s racism here; I suspect there’s still racism everywhere. But I firmly disagree — and this was likely some emotional overstatement on his part — that Champaign-Urbana “is stuck in the ‘60s.” I doubt Stephen Bardo knows the history of race relations in this community. I’m stunned to read how awful it was here for African-Americans in the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s, including segregated schools, swimming pools, barber shops and more. I agree with the writer above that “emotionalism” is a culprit in a lot of these controversies. In this era of Twitter, Facebook and instant comments on newspaper stories, sometimes the best course of action is inaction. You don’t have to have an opinion on every incident/controversy, and it’s a good policy to hold your opinion until you know all the facts. It’s worth noting that we still don’t know all the facts on the Darius Paul arrest.