Wednesday, March 01, 2006

No Commendation For Finally Telling The Truth (Or At Least Part Of The Truth)

I'm happy that you've made the statement, but I cannot agree with most of my colleagues. See, I don't think an adult of your intelligence ought to be commended, for simply, at long last, telling the truth.

- - New York Senator to Charles Van Doren in Quiz Show

I disagree with the vague generalities about Salemtown by those* who don't currently live in Salemtown. I continue to object to those* who refuse to see Salemtown as we are.

While some* write as if affordable housing is not planned in or proximate to Salemtown, others of us have reported otherwise. Professional journalists are notorious for focusing on race to the exclusion of class. (The reason for that, in my opinion, is that most journalists are economically conservative, but they use social issues to distinguish themselves as progressively sympathetic, crossing over sometimes to paternalism). Some* continue to do so, even as class divisions in Salemtown cut across ethnic lines and will be our primary challenge. But that's just my two cents as someone who lives here. There are those* who signify our problem graphically and oversimplistically as an African-American "district" against "white-collar white" development. Those of us who live here see more. We see both African Americans and whites who have lived in the neighborhood for 20, 40, and 60 years. We see a considerable Hispanic population, ignored by the media. We have a growing gay and lesbian community, but we don't pit it against some monolithic "largely straight district" just to make the story more attractive. We work side-by-side with African-American developers and "white-collar blacks" (to borrow a term from some*). Some of those professionals don't even live in the neighborhood.

So, I don't believe now that some* deserve kudos for finally getting around to telling the truth, especially when the truth is tardy and it remains half-baked.

*By "those" and "some" I mean City Paper editor William Williams who at long last made an attempt to address last week's front-page debacle, even though the attempt was no more than a subtitle in a completely different article buried way back on page 15. I was waiting to write this today to see if anyone would see it and try to refer me to it, but no one did, which I take as a sign that it was basically invisible to any but those who closely read every article in the Business section from beginning to end. So, I am returning the favor by reducing my cite of Mr. Williams' article to an asterisk and the tiniest print that Blogger will allow me. That seems to me to match the scale of today's City Paper retraction a whole week after the damage was done; it is like this fine print: too little, too late.

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