[eDebate] Future of Debate

Mon Apr 14 23:36:58 CDT 2008

In a message dated 4/14/2008 11:12:16 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,  
ewarner at louisville.edu writes:

I will address your point more specifically because I need to take full  
responsibility for my actions.  But you stand in error for claiming that  the only 
Klan existence was on the campus.  There have been at least 3  rallies 
downtown in my 15 years here, I attended two of them.  A house of  open white 
supremacists lived in a house on 2nd street in Old Louisville and  were charged with 
killing a man literally one block from our home, at first  and st. catherine, 
leaving behind graffiti all over the corner, the summer  before last.  
Finally, while I never saw them, I received several phone  calls to my house from 
folks saying they were the Klan inviting me to "debate"  them in the basement of 
one of their brothers, and received Klan literature at  my home at Brook and 
St. Catherine for almost six months after I publicly  opposed their presence 
on the campus.

1. I guess there was a news blackout on this. Can you send me any reference  
to this murder in the Courier-Journal (though you probably perceive the CJ to 
be  a racist rag)?
2. Irrelevant. That was downtown. Not in Okolona. My point was that  you were 
being hyperbolic suggesting that Okolona was home of the  Klan. 
3. More about your response to Klan harassment below.

While I can't prove that there are several Klan members in the  
Okolona/Bullitt County there is a recent history of activity in the area.  

That history is very old. The only activity I can find any reference to in  
SCLC Klanwatch data is nearly 15 years ago and in Sheperdsville, which is  
significantly south of Okolona. Admittedly, twenty years ago Bullitt County used  
to post signs telling blacks to stay out. But those days have changed. There 
is  a significant and growing population of African-Americans throughout 
Bullitt  County. And Bullitt County is not Okolona.

That said, my rhetoric was inflammatory and unnecessary general.   But Mike, 
be careful what allegations you toss, because you clearly don't know  me and 
it's obvious you don't know the recent history of the Klan in the city  that 
you feel I unfair target.

I think the story of your personal responses to Klan intimidation  has pretty 
clearly emerged from various posts to several different threads.  
Unfortunately, I now fear that Klan backlash against your public network  media attempt 
to debate them has caused you to overvalue bureaucratic  efforts to convince 
you to tone any real activism down. I think you have been  persuaded to do this 
by manipulation of your fears for the safety of both  your family and your 
team. (Which, of course, is a large part of the reason you  moved your family to 
the comparative safety of Okolona!)
Look, the simple fact is that the Klan is essentially inactive in  
Louisville. The nearest active chapter is in Bowling Green, Kentucky in  western 
Kentucky. Even there, they are hardly viewed as a threat. Even most  racist whites 
look on the Klan in Kentucky as a collection of total fools. The  biggest threat 
they represent is to their own members and sundry  associates.
The Klan is not the threat that Blacks face in Louisville. The real threat  
is the absolute refusal of most whites to entertain any conception of white  
privilege, much less addressing what should be done about it. Your choice to  
avoid public advocacy to protect the ones you love is understandable, but is  
still unfortunate. I think your team could do tons to help make people think  
about things they don't want to think about. I know you think you believe you  
are ending the game metaphor of debate, but all you're doing is attempting to  
re-define the rules of the game. Coalition-building should take precedence 
over  any fear of the Klan. They're not enough of a threat to start seeing them 
behind  every Confederate flag.
But, you are a nice guy. Good luck. It sounds like you may live near the  
backside of the giant subdivision that my parents live in. They enter from  
Cooper Chapel, but there's another entrance on Mt. Washington Road. If you see a  
fat white guy waving at you, relax, it's not the Klan.
If Okolona was really the home of the Klan, I know you wouldn't have moved  
your family to the neighborhood.
Okolona-Highview, KY

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