Sat 10 Nov 2007
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One of the issues that got short shrift this election cycle was the relationship between Chapel Hill’s fiscal policy, Downtown’s “rah rah” growth plan, taxes and our goal to promote a diverse community.
We know longtime residents of moderate means struggle to keep their homes. We know folks just starting out can’t get their foot in the door. Often the folks most affected come from our traditional minority neighborhoods.
Many of the current Council crew think the decline of diversity is inevitable – that their policies worsening the situation will eventually pay off but, as I tried to discuss this recent election cycle, at what cost to the wider community?
I guess it’s a matter of “small-d” democratic philosophy. I promoted diversity of thought, diversity of opinion, diversity of community because, at least from my observation, communities that honor those values are stronger for it. “Honor”, by the way, does not mean being satisfied with the renaming roads or creating conditions that escalate the demise of one of our traditionally diverse neighborhoods.
From today’s N&O article on the “panel discussion at UNC’s Wilson Library to celebrate the republication of John Ehle’s 1965 book “The Free Men,” which chronicles Chapel Hill’s desegregation”, folks who have some historical perspective observe those corrosive effects.
Several panelists made the distinction between desegregation and integration and said they feel the latter is lacking in Chapel Hill.
James Foushee, who participated in demonstrations, said, “Chapel Hill is going to become, in the next five years, an all-white town.”
“We have desegregated,” Karen Parker said. “Integration is up to the individual.”
“Blacks are priced out. Are the people of Chapel Hill aware of that? No, they’re not,” said Wayne King, who covered the protests for The Daily Tar Heel, UNC’s student newspaper. “It’s harder to notice that … no black people are having breakfast in the Carolina Coffee Shop. … Would you notice?” he asked the audience.
Mr. King, it is not just racial minorities that are being shown the door. If we keep going down the road plotted out by our current leadership – anyone – elderly, minority, blue collar and of moderate of means – will be unable to afford the ticket to ride.