[eDebate] Future of Debate

Ede Warner ewarner
Mon Apr 14 23:54:58 CDT 2008

Amazing.  I send a note saying that my rhetoric about Okolona was inflammatory and unnecessary while trying to write a broader apology that will include further apology to both you and Okolona, only criticizing your instance that NO Klan activity exists. 
You choose put words in my mouth right after saying I should do it to you (about the CJ), dismiss and challenge some of the evidence that does exists, ask for proof about other evidence (surely so you can find ways to debate it) and then tell me what I should be doing in the community because you know best.  All irrelavent to the issue of whether I was unfair in my characterization of Okolona and Bullitt County, which I've conceded.  Truly amazing.


From: <MWBRYANT at aol.com>
To:<e0warn01 at gwise.louisville.edu>
CC:<edebate at ndtceda.com>
Date: 4/15/2008 12:37 AM
Subject: Re: [eDebate] Future of Debate

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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