End racial paranoia

The city's charter? Work harder to improve the city's character

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Yogi Berra's wry advice -- "when you come to a fork in the road, take it" -- would be of even less use than usual to Augustans right now.

The two forks in front of this city lead to vastly different places -- and eras.

Some local black leaders -- Augusta commissioners, legislators and black ministers -- seem to be telling the community, like the haunted forest sign in The Wizard of Oz, "I'd turn back if I were you!" They appear to feel as if any step forward might be a land mine for blacks.

So, eschewing progress, they're opting for the tired, well-worn path of racial conflict.

They've sought a state legislative opinion and even filed a lawsuit against the city for its ongoing reorganization that would give city Administrator Fred Russell more power to hire and fire employees.

They won't let go of their anger over white commissioners being slow to agree to name the new courthouse for a local prominent black jurist.

And they oppose closing a portion of Laney-Walker Boulevard to create a pedestrian mall for students and faculty at Georgia Health Sciences University, which the street intersects -- even ludicrously claiming blacks would be asked for ID to stroll it.

"They'll take your soul," one black leader warned with no sense of the hyperbole.

"They seem to think we are out to get the black employees," one white leader told us regarding the restructuring at City Hall.

As The Augusta Chronicle's Sylvia Cooper reported Sunday, regarding comments at the Augusta Baptist Ministers Conference's town hall meeting last week, "The overall message I heard was, 'Wake up, or the white people will screw you over.'"

Local white leaders are, in these scenarios, assumed to be racist and cynical and diabolical.

The problem with that is twofold: 1) the fact that it's farfetched, anachronistic and paranoid; and 2) that some folks in positions of leadership actually believe it's true.

We can argue and fuss and go to court all we want about the city government restructuring -- but it's clear the area's problem goes way beyond the city-county consolidation agreement of 1995.

The problem isn't the city's charter. It's the city's character.

Racial healing? We're not there yet, obviously. But some want to take us down a road that leads back in time to paralysis and racial distrust. Been there, done that. We need a new direction -- the other fork in the road that leads to unity and a better future for everyone.

That's the spirit of Mayor Deke Copenhaver's calm and reasoned reaction to all this: "That's just not pervasive anymore," he said of the distrust expressed by local black ministers and other leaders. "I'm just not going to worry about it. I'm trying to focus on Augusta's future, and not its past."

Absolutely admirable. Yet, we fear the good mayor is being overly sanguine about the situation. Racial distrust certainly isn't as pervasive as it used to be -- when the distrust was infinitely more warranted. Still, the paranoia is getting in the way -- of city business, of progress for the medical college, and of individual lives and their potential. The "victim" mentality, after all, is a claw trap that holds people firmly in place.

So, while going forward, we can't ignore the baggage we carry with us. We need to deal with it. The community can take the road that leads back to conflict -- or can work to put the paranoia to rest.

Everybody involved has that choice to make.

We call on the black ministers, as men of the cloth, to take the lead in choosing the wiser fork in the road. Don't go to court; go to City Hall. Seek out common ground and understanding. Lay your concerns on the table and see what can be done about them. Let go of rotting grievances.

As for local white leaders -- six of the 10 commissioners, as well as the mayor and others: Reach out to help put the paranoia to rest as best you can. Find ways to build trust.

The first step, for all, is to stop assuming the worst in each other. There's no good place you can go from there.

Which fork will it be, Augusta? Conflict? Or camaraderie?

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copperhead
1035
Points
copperhead 04/20/11 - 01:40 am
0
0
It is a known FACT that

It is a known FACT that ANYONE that disagrees with ANY black person is a raging racist filled with hate!

charliemanson
1
Points
charliemanson 04/20/11 - 02:38 am
0
0
"I fear the Greeks, even when

"I fear the Greeks, even when they bring gifts."

Virgil

Rhetor
1082
Points
Rhetor 04/20/11 - 04:50 am
0
0
Indeed. And the ACES is in a

Indeed. And the ACES is in a position to lead the way by disavowing the birther idiocy and condemning racist elements in the Tea Party movement (such as the Tea Party darling who depicted the President's parents as chimps). I'm waiting......

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 04/20/11 - 05:03 am
0
0
Me thinks blacks ask for much
Unpublished

Me thinks blacks ask for much more than they deserve. How about an apology for the whites intimidated by the new black panthers in Philadelphia? I know that is too much to ask of the naacp.

cparker
83
Points
cparker 04/20/11 - 06:14 am
0
0
I think there is racial

I think there is racial paranoia for white and blacks. Don't try to explain blacks get more than they are entitled to when white farmers abuse farmer subsidies at the same rate. Government has to find a way to work for all the people. That is a difficult task because whites never read the annual Combined Federal Funding Reports. White just assume blacks rob the system and whites get nothing. Then there is the problem of all races hiding in forums like the AC and letting there racial prejudice be known. Personally I wish the AC would go bankrupt and not exist because they spew hatred for Augustans. People segregate according to race. Don't think this is an attack on whites because I know many blacks that want to move to Columbia county becuase they don't want to live among blacks. All people have become paranoid because Satan needs us to hate one another. Even during a time we need more unity to help our country, economy, and our children.... We can't reason on any of these issues without first establishing who's the most wrong racially. God would never pick his people, feed, and save his people according to race. The problem is we have decided who deserves to saved according to race. Good luck with that!!

DuhJudge
206
Points
DuhJudge 04/20/11 - 06:35 am
0
0
If you don't like stalemate

If you don't like stalemate politics then stop making kings. The commissioners simply want their relevance and sometimes risk their credibility to keep it. Show some respect instead of painting them with you inky fingers.

copperhead
1035
Points
copperhead 04/20/11 - 06:40 am
0
0
There is ONLY "collective

There is ONLY "collective salvation" godhussein has declared it so. No single person can receive salvation ONLY the many.

onlysane1left
223
Points
onlysane1left 04/20/11 - 07:06 am
0
0
Finally, Kudos, ACES, great

Finally, Kudos, ACES, great article addressing a very real problem that is even going now by certain person commenting. From what I know, black completely distrust whites. Why? Because, white completely distrust them. Is this right? Not one bit. It just doesnt help when you read what people write on here like it is gospel, when they barely associate on a regular basis with anyone who is from another race or ethinicity. The prejudice is so embedded that most don't even realize what they are saying is offensive. Blacks want as much as whites do. There really is no difference between the goals and wants, it just a some sect of blacks that maintain their "ghetto" mentality, but what makes them any different that those white who maintain their "redneck" mentality? (The music, the stlye of dress, and the attitude are different, but is any of it appropriate in a place of business, church, or school?) There are poor people in both cultures who are trying to get over on the government and taxpayers, but if you only read the comments, it would make you think only black were poor and trying to get over. The divorce rate is 50% in the United States. There are parents not lving together everywhere, yet, the 70+% black females is the cause of crime? Really. There is a major distrust between both groups,yet whites feel like there is no problem on their end, its all within blacks, yet, they take total offense when the reverse is said about them. That is why, we cant overtake China, India, and Japan. They have worked out their social differences and are willing to work together to get things done. We have too many groups who distrust each other thinking the other is trying to get over on them due to what happened years ago. Instead of fighting, try talking and working things out like the adults, we say we are, but I feel that will be too difficult because, most peope can't seem to tolerate any type of change......

TheFederalist
1
Points
TheFederalist 04/20/11 - 07:06 am
0
0
Sorry ACES, but IMHO you are

Sorry ACES, but IMHO you are asking the impossible. The "victim mentality" is so deeply ingrained in the black culture, that they will always fall back on their tried and true history and play the race card whenever they don't get their way. Ultimately, and sadly, the way forward must be the road less traveled, forged without their help and despite their protestations.

onlysane1left
223
Points
onlysane1left 04/20/11 - 07:07 am
0
0
PLEASE GROW UP, COPPERHEAD!

PLEASE GROW UP, COPPERHEAD! Sorry, but it has to be said!

onlysane1left
223
Points
onlysane1left 04/20/11 - 07:14 am
0
0
Federalist, while the

Federalist, while the "victim" mentality is ingrained in black culture, I have yet to hear a while person claim that affrimative action was fair for them. There is a modern "victim" mentality brewing in white America. "The hispanic are taking our jobs." "We can't say anything about them because blacks will call us racist" "he was only hired because is was black." If you havent heard those comment before, just listen they are here.

Riverman1
93649
Points
Riverman1 04/20/11 - 07:19 am
0
0
Being the realist I am I try

Being the realist I am I try to recognize the truth that gets past the emotions. Richmond County has a predominantly black population that is increasing. The blacks are going to control county government before very long. Just as every other American city with a black majority moved to black officials, Augusta will do the same.

On the international level, the example is South Africa that has seemed to have finally gotten past the transition and now has a booming economy with black leadership and white expertise.

The stressful time is as the transition is being made and the whites attempt to hang onto power even though they are the minority. It simply won't work to have fewer whites controlling a black majority.

There will be peace when there is a wise black mayor, majority commission, sheriff and other officials. But they will have to be as dedicated to ensuring the rights of the whites as they demand the current white run government is with them. The old Augusta is gone with the wind....or actually now in Columbia County.

seenitB4
97501
Points
seenitB4 04/20/11 - 07:54 am
0
0
Boy.....this sure makes me

Boy.....this sure makes me want to move to Richmond county...
NAH.....NOT REALLY!!

seenitB4
97501
Points
seenitB4 04/20/11 - 07:57 am
0
0
River....We have a common

River....We have a common sense black mayor in Atlanta now...but guess what....the give-it-to-me-now crowd (all colors) are fighting him tooth & nail.... until we get rid of that crowd...it is useless... imo.

seenitB4
97501
Points
seenitB4 04/20/11 - 08:07 am
0
0
We have a crowd of people(all

We have a crowd of people(all colors)that think if we beat the drums-protest-showup at the courthouse steps..make a LOTof noise...we will get what we want...sometimes they do.....the tv cameras show them24/7....the"good" preachers come out & share their opinions with the crowd..(everyone has to get tv time)....what some can't understand is MOST people are working at jobs so they can't showup & give their opinions....the majority opinion has been lost by the wayside soo many times.......when we get the backbone (guts) to stand up & push these non-performers to the background...where they belong...maybe then we will get things on the right track.
A very small % of people have been wagging the dog for too long!!

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 04/20/11 - 08:11 am
0
0
This country needs serious

This country needs serious racial reform. For years now, minority races have been coddled and given special favors and deals. I say no more.

Stand on your own two feet and stop expecting handouts and special programs. As a nation, we have basically told 3 generations that they deserve special programs and treatment. They have solidly come to expect it too.

seenitB4
97501
Points
seenitB4 04/20/11 - 08:34 am
0
0
Gone With The Wind....playing

Gone With The Wind....playing in Columbia county....River if you will play Rhett.....I'll play Scarlett.....but who will play Melanie..Corgi, maybe??
NAH......:)

mickl
0
Points
mickl 04/20/11 - 08:43 am
0
0
TheFed, ‘The "victim

TheFed, ‘The "victim mentality" is so deeply ingrained in the black culture, that they will always fall back on their tried and true history and play the race card whenever they don't get their way.
The "victim mentality" is so deeply ingrained in the black culture’ because it has been taught in black communities and black churches for the last 40 years. The Rev. Wright who said, ‘NO, NO not God bless America but GD America’ was invited and preached at Second Baptist Church on May 24, 2010 in Aiken.

mickl
0
Points
mickl 04/20/11 - 08:48 am
0
0
Retired Army, ‘When Democrat

Retired Army, ‘When Democrat LBJ rightfully strong armed civil rights legislation into law in 1965 he said that "he was afraid that he had lost a generation to the Republican party".’
Senate: 77–19
• Democrats: 47–17 (73%-27%)
• Republicans: 30–2 (94%-6%)
House: 333–85
• Democrats: 221–61 (78%-22%)
• Republicans: 112–24 (82%-18%)

Riverman1
93649
Points
Riverman1 04/20/11 - 09:01 am
0
0
SeenitB4, you be crazy not 4

SeenitB4, you be crazy not 4 :).

constituent
164
Points
constituent 04/20/11 - 09:10 am
0
0
Some white leaders kick the

Some white leaders kick the can when they found out our new judiciary center was to be named after a black civil rights jurist from Augusta John Ruffin Jr. The city gave work to a shady construction contractor who tried to finish the job without putting the John Ruffin Jr logo in front of the court house entrance, but our black commissioners and jurist David Watkins got it rectified.

follower
92
Points
follower 04/20/11 - 09:23 am
0
0
cparker 7:14am, the very fact

cparker 7:14am, the very fact that you wish bankruptcy on the AC is very telling. Out of one side of your mouth, you make broad statements about unity and the need of government to bring fairness to all people, and then state your desire for the demise of an entire company [that certainly employs a percentage of blacks] just because you disagree with their ideology. Do you not see the irony?

A call for unity as long as those in opposition change to your belief system is hardly sincere.

No matter the effort from either side, there will always be racist. There will always be "victims", both real and imagined. And as long as we continue to allow the "race baiters" to rent our head space, we'll never move forward.

Seeing all people as "made" in the image of God would be a great start. Being taught we all came from apes might have something to do with what we are seeing. We shouldn't be shocked. It's merely the manifestation of riding the Darwin train.

And NO, I'm not calling for a religious government. That's why we left England. But there is a need for the influence of a moral people that esteems others as better [or at least equal] to themselves.

mickl
0
Points
mickl 04/20/11 - 09:28 am
0
0
Retired, ‘Those are the

Retired, ‘Those are the Republicans chickens, not the current day Democrats.’
You are correct now the repubs have Adam Scott, Herman Cain and Tim Scott.

seenitB4
97501
Points
seenitB4 04/20/11 - 09:39 am
0
0
What we have here is a

What we have here is a failure to communicate...(yeh--cool hand luke)

Please some one tell me...why is it the black leaders put sooo much attention on names going on buildings/streets & NOT ENOUGH attention on teaching/educating/socializing their young black males??? We know the stats in the prison....does a name on a building makethe same difference a rec center for after schoolkids/a community garden tended to by localkids/ a pickup trash day in their local neighborhoods/mentors going INTO troubled areas & giving time/attention....making jobs for the kids w/o any hope for a better future......tell me ....this is an honest question.

iLove
626
Points
iLove 04/20/11 - 10:30 am
0
0
Well, I guess the ACES has
Unpublished

Well, I guess the ACES has all the answers. Years (350+) of discrimination/predjudice/hate doesn't have a affect of the way people think or act?

Great Job ACES, I needed this article, heck, the city of Augusta needed this article. It is in no way one sided and it totallly speaks to the root of problems that exist.

:/

Fact is that Satan wants God's people (yes, even though, we all are His people) DIVIDED. We need to wake up and realize the times we are living in.
Repubs vs. Demos Black vs. White. Augusta vs. Columbia Cnty. Your Fav. Sports Team vs. Mine.

It is bigger (o so much bigger) than race. #SALVATION

Is the paranioa NOT WARRANTED? From some of the comments here on AC.com alone, I would wonder what type of city Augusta, Ga really is. (if I didn't live here)

My 2 Abe Lincolns

Boogaloo
1
Points
Boogaloo 04/20/11 - 11:05 am
0
0
I believe this editorial

I believe this editorial would have more impact and be more relevant if the local black officials were given a forum (in this paper) to express their side of the issue.

Patty-P
3520
Points
Patty-P 04/20/11 - 11:32 am
0
0
There is definitely a great

There is definitely a great deal of paranoia where race is concerned here. I've been racially profiled on more than one occasion and it really makes me mad. I see the racist sarcasm everyday on the AC.

Crime Reports and Rewards TV
33
Points
Crime Reports and Rewards TV 04/20/11 - 12:27 pm
0
0
"And they oppose closing a

"And they oppose closing a portion of Laney-Walker Boulevard to create a pedestrian mall for students and faculty at Georgia Health Sciences University, which the street intersects -- even ludicrously claiming blacks would be asked for ID to stroll it."

More minorities are being trained to be Doctors and Medical professionals at MCG than almost any place on earth so they need to let them defend themselves against the drivers that have and do hit folks and kill them there on a regular basis.

Sgt Limehouse, a BLACK sergeant and i spent his last night alive in a Bible study while the red, white, black and yellow folks spent every last dime they made partying, so stupid don't come color coded...ha ahha

The county commission forum is a good place to debate. I say let U.S. debate, it's the checks and balances we need to move forward.

It will take 8 votes to change the city charter. This was common knowledge long ago. I hate to keep saying it but we told everybody we could it would take 8 votes and we were right.

iLove
626
Points
iLove 04/20/11 - 12:18 pm
0
0
I agree. Some people are
Unpublished

I agree. Some people are trying to basically shut a few commissioners and FORGET all about the past; you learn from it.

What if Dr. King and ALL of the unknown dead and living soldiers of the Civil Rights Era were "too paranoid"???

Let's not even begin to talk about racial profiling in Augusta, OMG its second nature to me. (profilee)

ACES + The high horse = same ol' same ol', just a different day.

happychimer
19537
Points
happychimer 04/20/11 - 12:21 pm
0
0
To me people are people. None

To me people are people. None of us are completely one race.You might think you are, but if you trace your ancestors, you will find other races.

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