After reading the comments related to the story about Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates’ arrest in Cambridge and then the comments related to the local story about the National Baptist Convention coming to town, my brother’s words were never truer:
Anonymous comments on Internet message boards have done more to confirm the existence of rampant racism than any amount of colored people griping ever could.
The comments on any mainstream newspaper seem to draw out the most racist, prejudiced, bigoted, idiotic people with, oddly, a lot of free time. People with sense don’t even bother to wade into the cesspool that the comment boards at most papers have become.
Those who know me know – I don’t read comments on my work. If you want to e-mail me and can find my e-mail address (I’m not making it easy for you to spout craziness), then we can try to have a dialogue – and sometimes, I actually do have a decent discussion with someone who disagrees with me.
I know in my heart, and from all the people I’ve encountered through Common Ground, the initiative I started to try to improve race relations in Memphis (odd, isn’t it, that a racist – as I’m often called – would start a race-relations initiative?) that Memphis IS NOT LIKE WHAT YOU READ. It’s not. It’s full of beautiful, kind, thoughtful people who truly want to see the city thrive.
That’s why it’s such a shame that locals’ perception and outsiders’ perception of the city is so warped by the comments. Please know that the posters are a minority – 100-200 people at best – who have a lot to say but I’d bet my check they don’t do diddly most days to improve the life of anyone.