Good ol’ boys make bad columnists

Good ol’ boys make bad columnists
September 06
00:00 2012

Good ol’ boys make bad columnists

In a recent Facebook post, City Council Member James Taylor thanked those who have stood by him since the Winston-Salem Journal let the world know that he received a speeding ticket in Walnut Cove in July for going a whole 10 miles over the speed limit.

“It feels good to have so many great friends and supporters. Everyday I strive to get better by not repeating the same mistakes that I made on yesterday. However, I will continue to do my best to speak out against injustice …” Taylor wrote. 

Taylor was hauled over the coals by Journal columnist Scott Sexton – whose pen has rarely shed a positive light on black subjects. Sexton took issue with Taylor’s assertion that his stop was racially motivated.

Sexton did what white journalists frequently do: give the benefit of the doubt to other white people involved, in this case, the friendly, colorblind members of the Walnut Cove police force. Sexton had the audacity to accuse Taylor of “pulling the divisive deuce from the bottom of the deck: the race card.”

Sexton sounds like a Fox Network host or card-carrying Tea Party member. They all accuse blacks of using “the race card,” as if racism left us when ‘Whites Only’ signs came down. Can they really be that simple? Do they believe that African Americans, black men in particular, no longer face bigotry and that those who talk about it are simply making it up?

Was the black CNN camerawoman who was called an animal and pelted with peanuts at the recent Republican National Convention playing the race card when she objected to this treatment? Were black and Hispanic homeowners playing the race card when they objected to being duped on their mortgages by major banks? And of course blacks are playing the race card to the hilt when they accuse major media outlets of not giving a hoot about missing black women like 15-year-old Gabrielle Swainson, but jumping through hoops to cover any white women, especially if she is young and blond, who goes missing for just an hour or two.

The fact is many white people simply don’t want blacks to call out racism. They see it as stirring-up trouble. They are uncomfortable with black people, especially ones talking about bigots and bigotry. Their accusations of playing the race card are attempts to silence those who dare to speak out.

When we look at Council Member Taylor, we see a strong, positive, honest family man who has always made his family and his community proud. Sexton sees someone who is dishonest and untrustworthy, someone who would lie about feeling discriminated against. Unfortunately, that is the way that far too many whites view black folks.

If Taylor believes that he was stopped because he is a black man who drives a luxury car, then his opinion deserved to be aired fairly. It is not like the cops in this area are immune to racism – far from it.

Sexton should know better than to dismiss and diminish the perspectives of minorities with this misinformed race card mess. It is fine if he proudly touts himself as a pickup truck-driving good ol’ boy, but he can’t rely solely on his NASCAR values and expect to paint a fair picture of the diverse inhabitants of this city.


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