Dwaine Caraway Wants Dallas to Talk About Race, and Not in Anonymous Blog Comments

Categories: City Hall

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Yesterday, Councilman Dwaine Caraway issued a call for a formal, citywide discussion on race. It isn't scheduled to take place until September 21, probably at City Hall, but it got a head start in the The Dallas Morning News' comments section.

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It's easy to be cynical about Caraway's intentions. He's prone to grandstanding and has a weakness for the grand but quixotic crusades, like his interminable anti-sagging initiative.

This is different. Caraway's concern is sincere, and he's not offering any ready-made solutions, merely trying to spur a frank and honest dialogue.

"First off, I want to make it real clear," Caraway told Unfair Park on Tuesday. "This is not a Trayvon Martin-driven subject. This is something that has been long needed in the city of Dallas. ... This is strictly about trying to gain a better understanding with the different races in this city and giving us the opportunity to talk about it without being accused of playing the race card."

This suggestion isn't particularly new or groundbreaking; calls for a grand discussion on race have become an almost-tired refrain in America. But there's clearly something toxic in the way we talk about race. Blog commenters are a case in point, he said.

"Some people, some of the racist comments that they make hid[ing] behind fake names --- it tells you that Dallas still has a long way to go," he said. That, Caraway said, is symptomatic of how many people feel. It's just that they're too scared to say it when they step from behind the anonymity of the Internet.

The details of the September 21 are still being hammered out. It's not going to be a lecture or a series of speeches. It's going to be a forum where community leaders -- he's sending invitations to the various chambers of commerce, the Dallas Citizens Council, black, Hispanic, and Asian groups -- can come together to talk honestly without being shouted down. Grievances will be aired, but that won't be the focus.

"There are things that happened in our past that we can forgive," he said, "but do understand that those things that happened in our past we'll never forget." Because unless Dallas' toxic racial history is understood, we're doomed to repeat it. To illustrate, he cited a modern example.

"Prince Charles and Kate's new baby today had nothing to do with the past, so you can't hold this baby today for what happened in the past -- unless this baby is taught that," he said. "This baby is taught the same things of the past and is practicing those things in today's 2013. That's a problem."

The problem (racial division, not the royal baby) can't be solved just by talking, of course. Bridging Dallas' gaping racial chasms will require undoing the intense geographic segregation, both racial and economic, that characterizes Dallas. That's a mind-bogglingly complex proposition.

Conversation is the logical place to start, but it's only a start. Caraway said he'll make sure it won't end there. He plans to charge participants in the September gathering with going out in the city and making things happen. What? "Well, who knows," he said. "They will leave with homework."

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37 comments
NateHiggers
NateHiggers

Coons are basically born and raised with extreme self hatred..They hate education,make terrible parents,glorify thug culture,they are arrogant,loud,obnoxious,ignorant & racist to the core..Bill Cosby even says so...The less I interact with 'em, the better. 

Just-Sharon
Just-Sharon

I always wonder why the press allows people like Cararway  to get away with their hypocrisy of not supporting equality for gays and lesbians.  If you are going to have an HONEST talk about racism then it must include the hypocrisy of their homophobia.

...Question.....Why is okay to discriminate against gays if all men are created equal?  Were there exclusions in Martin Luther King's dream? 

TexMarine
TexMarine

"Prince Charles and Kate's new baby today had nothing to do with the past, so you can't hold this baby today for what happened in the past -- unless this baby is taught that," he said. "This baby is taught the same things of the past and is practicing those things in today's 2013. That's a problem."

Credit the DO and other operations for continuing to remind post civil rights generations of the past.

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

It's going to be impossible to have an open discussion about racism without allowing the racists to remain anonymous.   Racists are inherently cowards.  The ONLY way to get them to open up is by giving them something, behind which they can cower.

They're like cockroaches - once the light comes on, they scatter.

markmelton
markmelton

This seems like a good idea to me - at least in theory.  I think tolerance for others begins with understanding, and understanding begins with empathy, which in turn begins with observation and experience. By having open and honest conversations about race, it seems to me we'll begin the process of gaining the observations and experience to empathize, understand and ultimately to tolerate other points of view.

The trick will be about how to have open and honest conversations (maybe smaller breakout sessions instead of a large forum).  My experience has been that many racial issues are taboo for older generations to talk about, but the younger generations seem to be able to have more open and honest conversations about race.  I hope this forum will include younger leaders and others who are willing to hear opposing points of view.  For this to work everyone needs to show up with an agenda of understanding the other side...not making the other side understand them.

mcdallas
mcdallas

Will Arthur and Archie be there?  What is their race?  What about JWP?  Will he tell all the white people to "go to hell"?  

Getting the popcorn ready...

Tim.Covington
Tim.Covington

Well, in some ways this (and other things Caraway does) appear to be grandstanding to me. But. I can also understand where he is coming from. And, I applaud him for trying to address issues in his own community as well as the city as a whole.

Are there racial issues that are holding some in the minority communities back? Yes. But, there are also cultural issues holding them back. Let's face facts. Just about anywhere in the USA, a well groomed African-American (or any other ethnicity) male wearing a polo shirt, khakis, and carrying himself with good composure will face little hassle. At the same time, a white male (or any other ethnicity) wearing poorly fitting pants hanging off his butt, a baseball cap at some odd angle, and who slouches while walking down the road is likely to face a hassle from someone. It is not a racial issue, it is cultural.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

We've tried to have the conversation.  It ends up being, "well, I think..." SHUT UP YOU RACIST!  YOU SIT THERE AND LET ME TELL YOU WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU THAT YOU DON'T KNOW ABOUT!

I've had enough lectures about what someone else thinks I think.  Pass.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

My only reservation with this discussion would be the groups listed by Carraway to be invited.  The various chambers, DCC, black, hispanic and asian 'groups', etc etc (I'm assuming various church leaders will be in attendance, along with the politicians they get elected).  These are not community groups, these are socio-political fiefdoms that each have a vested interest in keeping things as they are.  If Carraway is serious about this being a start for bridging the racial divides in this city, it has to start with Nick and Nancy Neighbor, the people.  If you don't change things on the lowest levels, it won't mean a thing.

rzimmerman1
rzimmerman1

Hey Dwaine,

I'm a 52-year-old white guy, but I made the poor choice of stopping at a fast food restaurant in a fairly sketchy neighborhood. As I got out of my truck I heard a black man carrying a backpack yelling about a block away. I ignored him and headed into the restaurant. As I stood in line I again heard him yelling as he stood at a bus stop in front of the restaurant. I turned around and saw that he was screaming and shaking his fist at me. I was the only white person in a restaurant that was about evenly split betwen blacks and hispanics. Eventually, the guy threw down his backpack and charged into the restaurant. He knocked my drink out of my hand and started screaming in my face. He called me "a cracker-ass nazi, aryan brotherhood, slave-owning white devil" and told me that he was going to kill me. Nobody got up to help me, but the black manager on duty called 911. Then the man shoved me into the soft drink machine with his shoulder and went into the restroom. I got my food and headed to a table and heard the sound of the restroom being trashed. He came out, cursed me some more and went back to the bus stop. The cops pulled up, spoke to him for a few minutes and let him board his bus when it pulled up. They never came inside to get a statement from me or the restaurant manager. As I left the restaurant, I thanked the manager for calling 911, but also told him that it was a safe bet that I'll never come back to his restaurant or this neighborhood.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

This man is radio gold.  He was on with the Musers again this morning and as I read this, I cold hear his voice in all the quotes in this story.  Get that man a weekly segment... Baleedat!

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

Much better issue to advance than saggy pants.

Rumpunch1
Rumpunch1

@Tim.Covington I agree with you from the standpoint of cultural issues.  Dress and behavior, make a lot of the difference.  However, I believe race comes into it as to the level of hassle.  Basically, I believe that a black guy dress as a thug will be subject to more hassle from the police than an white guy wearing the same clothes.  Needless to say, if they weren't dressed like thugs, then their would probably be no hassle.

I believe that this is something which must be dealt with in all races.  If someone was on trial for your murder, would your behavior history or dress be used as reasonable doubt of whether they acted in self defense.  This behavior includes Facebook or other online activities.

An example of this is comparing Trayvon Martin to the kid in Saginaw suspected in the 6 year old murder.  Both 17 years old.  One white, one black.  Based on their behavior and their Facebook profiles, both appear to be thugs.  No race issues necessary.

Girls don't like being treated like whores when they dress like one.  I make sure I don't wear a red shirt to Target, or I might be asked for help by another customer.  If you dress a certain way, that's how you will treated. 

observist
observist topcommenter

@everlastingphelps Keep that in mind next time you start talking about what all Liberals or Democrats think.  ;-)

James080
James080 topcommenter

@everlastingphelps  

If the conversation starts with "you can't even comprehend what it's like being [non-white race] in America......," I don't see much to be gained by continuing the conversation.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@RTGolden1

while I agree with your thoughts on a general level, that being the discussion must be bottom up with those who are expected to embrace it in their day to day living, the inclusion of the leadership of the "groups" is how this needs to begin.

they are referred to as "leaders" for a reason, and this proposed meeting should be with the leaders, then optimistically (maybe it's naively...) the leaders will then meet with their members.

the discussion has to start somewhere and this is the correct manner.

casiepierce
casiepierce

@rzimmerman1 So, basically you encountered a crazy person who was off his meds and you're blaming his crazy actions on the fact that he was black? In my "sketchy" neighborhood we have a bunch of those living along White Rock Creek. But they're all white.

James080
James080 topcommenter

@ScottsMerkin  

I heard that segment too. He is entertaining if nothing else.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@mavdog There is nothing saying you couldn't get the residents of a particular neighborhood together, tell the 'leaders' to sit in a corner and shut up until they're asked a direct question, and have the neighbors discuss things amongst themselves.  Our chief of Police had a fun-filled evening of just such an event in the Dixon neighborhood not too long ago.

Starting with the identified leaders might be the correct approach if those leaders had shown any inclination to change things for the better.  They haven't, in the time I've been living in Dallas.  Therefore, taking this to them is a waste of time.  Keep in mind, theoretically, in our system of government and society, our leaders are supposed to answer to us, not the other way around.  It's high time the citizens remembered this and carried themselves appropriately.

TexMarine
TexMarine

@TheCredibleHulk believe it or not, some people don't like being called African-American's over black. Shocking?

rzimmerman1
rzimmerman1

@casiepierce @rzimmerman1 

I'm not qualified to say whether the person I encountered was "crazy" or not. I also didn't blame his "crazy actions" on his skin color. I simply reported the events as they happened. He was black and he attacked me for being white. He had no issue with non-whites in the restaurant. The police officers let him board a DART bus afterwards, so I guess they didn't think he was out-of-line. This was clearly a hate crime committed against me.

Oxtail
Oxtail

@James080 @ScottsMerkin I really would like to hear a formal discussion on race. But I want the discussion  to be with Jerry Jones and Dwaine Caraway. Everyday. 

Just-Sharon
Just-Sharon

@casiepierce @rzimmerman1 ....Example of why it is impossible to discuss race.  Read this guys story and take it at face value.  If you do, you can't rationalize or dance around it.  HE was the victim of a clear cut hate crime. 

Yet, everyone seems to have this need to put the victim down, or explain away the incident as if to say reverse discrimination NEVER happens. 

When organizations attempt to make you believe that the words of Rachel Jeantel are not bigoted, racists or homophobic ....but are MISUNDERSTOOD based on other people's racism......you really have to wake up. 

casiepierce
casiepierce

@rzimmerman1 @casiepierce Then why even bring it up? It sounds to me more like the police were probably familiar with this person and allowed him on the DART because they've had dealings with him before. This "story" certainly reads more like a crazy encounter and less like a so-called "hate crime".

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@rzimmerman1 @casiepierce Did you ever think, that, as the victim of a crime against your person, the best thing for you to have done was to go out there while the police were present and lay your story out?  Who in their right mind wouldn't have?  Why didn't you?  Or did you expect the police to come find you (keep in mind they probably assumed you had fled the area) and hold your hand through the process?  This isn't Mayberry, for a 911 reported disturbance with no continuing disturbance once on scene, the cops aren't going to stick around.

BGBG
BGBG

@rzimmerman1 @casiepierce HE SHOVED YOU WITH HIS SHOULDER?!?!?  Have we commissioned a team of the most qualified investigators to set this right?  Did you give him a Wet Willie or Purple Nurple in retaliation?  WON'T SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?!?!?


Grow up.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@Oxtail @James080 I was excited to learn that the Musers will get to meet Arthur and Archie.  Lets hope Mrs Caraway doesnt chase him to the basement with a steak knife

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