[eDebate] Going home

Ede Warner ewarner
Mon Apr 14 07:26:06 CDT 2008

Good Lord Bear,
I live off Mt Washington Drive, less than 1/2 mile from Bullitt County.  Last night, when I drove to pick up my son from his friend's house, I passed 3 Confederate flags.  One of the parent's on our team brings a flag to baseball practice and his younger son carries it around.  At the bottom it says, "Not coming down".  My immediate community is very racially integrated, in fact, my surrounding neighbors are Black and Latina and white.
I am generally safe.  Those flags bother me.  Going to the Walmart and seeing the massive collection of hunting weapons in the Sports department bother me.  Knowing that most everyone at our baseball league has a gun in their trunk bothers me.  Knowing that you don't see it, doesn't really bother me.
In spite of the threat of crime, I spent my life growing up in neighborhoods like the west end you describe.  My five years in Gary and my 3 in Detroit were all in predominately Black neighborhoods that were destroyed by post-industrialization.
There may be a lot of reasons that I can't build coalitions with others that are of my own doing.  But I suspect that one additional one is that whites who claim to be down with the Black (read perspective not color) experience spend most of their time trying to force and filter our experiences into theirs in an effort to disprove them.
You are invited to our baseball practice today and make your own judgements about my world.  5:30 at Overdale school.  Take Preston Hwy to Mud Lane (Wendy's on right; Bob Evans on left), make a right and make a left on Brooksline Street.  You will see Overdale in about 2/3 mile on the left.  Make a left turn, you will see a Methodist church, we practice in the back.  Then I'll let you decide whether to validate my claims or not.
Perhaps had I said near Bullitt County instead of Okolona you would have felt differently.  I said Okolona  because technically that is where I live.  Sorry for the lack of accuracy in my overstated claims.


From: <MWBRYANT at aol.com>
To:<e0warn01 at gwise.louisville.edu>
CC:<edebate at ndtceda.com>
Date: 4/14/2008 08:03 AM
Subject: Re: [eDebate] Going home

In a message dated 4/14/2008 12:08:26 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, ewarner at louisville.edu writes:

When living in Old Louisville, amidst the Klan's declaration that they were taking over "the downtown", I decided to cut to the chase and move into their neighborhood.  We moved to Okolona, a section of Louisville known for poor whites, confederate flags, and white supremacy.  So far, the folks in my son's new all white baseball league have been some of the coolest (although not the most progressive on a few things) folks I've ever met.  As long as we keep our relationship about baseball, and as long as I know what streets not to accidentally get lost on at night, we should be okay here.  So I guess that's a step home.

Dr. Warner,
Having lived in Okolona since returning to Louisville in 2001, I am somewhat amazed at your characterization of the community. You seem dedicated to perpetuating a style of essentialism that doesn't seem to be in line with your complaints regarding discrimination. There are many of us that take great offense to you characterizing our home as a "Klan neighborhood."
While I do not know where you live exactly, but living off of Outer Loop, I have plenty of black neighbors. If your son plays in an all-White baseball league, it might be because you chose to live in a part of Okolona where even "poor whites" can't afford to live.  The rest of the community is the most ethnically-mixed community in southern Jefferson County.
Your characterization of the streets of this community being dangerous for a black man sound a bit like paranoia. I am willing to bet a large sum of money that you are far safer in Okolona than you are in the West End of Louisville. I know that you don't travel the West End, at all, during the night. I know for a fact, that I can't go into many West End neighborhoods after dark.
I don't pretend to understand the intricacies of your project. I do not understand why it gives you the right to treat some people the way you do with your words and actions. I really believe that your project has insulated you from building the coalitions necessary for fighting discrimination in both debate and in Louisville. 
But, undoubtedly, my view lacks your intellectual perspective. I'm just a white man living in a Klan neighborhood. I guess I'm just unable to see how your approach is really making anything better. 
I can only imagine what labels you would attach to me (and may anyway) if I had described aspects of your life in a manner similar to how I feel you have described Okolona.
Okolona-Highview, KY

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