Sunday, November 11, 2007

Owens Legacy Used By Racemongers

Thank you Ken Lumpkin of the Insider News for telling the story of civil rights activist Corrine Owens. You can read it at: 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 She is being used, via award bombardment, to perpetuate an outdated and unnecessary style of activism.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.


Denis Navratil said...

This is a historic moment for FreeRacine. I have successfully included a link to another site. Look for more of these cutting edge technological breakthroughs in the future!

concrete katie said...

during the violent summer of 2005 many of the black leaders and activists in this area were asking for real discussion. Ken Lumpkin definitely was pressing for it in the Insider.

I have not met Corinne Owens but I feel like I have because she has become a local symbol for consistency and caring and just doing good. Ms. Owens is very cool indeed. I think it is really appropriate that there is to be a housing project with her name on it in the King/Lincoln (is that what it is called?) neighborhood.

Denis Navratil said...

Hey Kate, when our local black leaders hold a town hall meeting entitled "Problems in the Black Community NOT caused by Racism", I may be inclined to agree that real discussion is sought.

concrete katie said...

Hey Denis, Alfonso Gardner has been talking about jobs ever since I came here. JOBS. Since there is an education problem in this community, there needs to be good alternative training programs. A real concentration of effort....thruout the northern cities of this country which includes us. Not everyone aspires to corporate life or sitdown jobs. Lots of us like to do real do so, there needs to be training.
Having been active regarding the Big Jail issue, I can also say that when an area has become infested with drugs, there needs to be drug treatment programs.
This community will not come together until it really comes together.
I am out of Racine and nowhere near this smart machine for a few days so fire off at me because I will not be able to answer you! You have a good day Denis! Listen to Ken Lumpkin. He makes very good sense. So does Donnie Snow. So does Robert Turner. QA. Guari. And, yes, Keith Fair!

Anonymous said...

What more than Gateway and the Workforce Devel Center does a community need?

anonymous too said...

Businesses are having problems getting good employees for even the jobs that don't require any real education. There are a lot of people out there who just don't want to work, but it's much easier to blame society. There are currently plenty of programs for underprivileged to get training right now like the First Choice pre-apprenticeship program, and others. That excuse only goes so far, a person has to WANT to work.

Back to Corrine Owens, I know her and she's a great lady. But I do not like how they are exploiting her to get the development on State Street accomplished. That is a pure disgrace as far as I'm concerned. Pure exploitation.

huh? said...

what do you mean exploiting??????? the developer has asked for no subsidy from the city. far different than the way it is usually done.

anonymous too said...

C'mon "Huh" you can't be that naive. The only reason there is any support for the project at ALL is because they attached Corrine Owen's name to it immediately. Racine doesn't need any more subsidized housing.

People feel to not support the project would be to not show support for Corrine. So you've even got elected state officials jumping on the bandwagon for it, to show support for Corrine.

And you don't think this was done intentionally? Of course it was.

huh? said...

and what would be the reason not to support it? seems like it fits everything the city wants. and you are saying that racine does not need more subs. housing? take a look at where some people are living. this is a new building in a blighted area.

and so what if it honors someone? even if it did not, there would be no reason not to allow it to happen.