Thank you Ken Lumpkin of the Insider News for telling the story of civil rights activist Corrine Owens. You can read it at: http://insidernewsonline.com/index.html. I have often been amused by the constant stream of awards bestowed on Owens, as I had no idea what she has accomplished. But thanks to Ken Lumpkin, I have a clearer picture of Owens and her efforts. Owens has shown courage and resolve in taking on the blatantly racist institutions and practices that were common in Racine and elsewhere. For this, she deserves credit.
But part of me believes that Owens is being used. She is being used, via award bombardment, to perpetuate an outdated and unnecessary style of activism. If blacks were barred from teaching in Racine Unified, for example, as they were several decades ago, then Owen's methods of persistant confrontation of racist institutions would be entirely appropriate. But times have changed.
Rather than dwell on Owens and her contributions, we should be engaged in debate and discussion about the present day problems facing the black community. By trotting out Owens every other day to accept yet another award, her followers are in effect saying that the present day problems facing the black community are the same as they have always been, namely, racist individuals and institutions-end of story.
This false narrative of the struggle among black people in Racine may well be benificial for black activist and their cohorts, the guilty white liberal, but it is an open question whether it is helpful to black people in general and black children in particular. I can think of nothing more harmful than to poison the minds of black children by telling them that white society is oppressing them and that any efforts to better themselves will be fruitless in our hostile society.
I respect Corrine Owen's efforts in confronting racism. She deserves to be recognized for her contibutions. And Racine deserves an honest discussion concerning the difficulties confronting the black community.