While I don’t want to be a pessimist it’s nearly impossible to objectively look at this town without seeing eons worth of racial divisions that taint nearly every popular discussion in local discourse. What’s worse is that during The Great Recession people without cash or prospects have even more time to debate the vast array of inequities which define life in the American Midwest.
Let’s review just a few stories from this week that support my brilliant assertion.
1. It was the week of The Waldo Rapist in Kansas City with a horrific sexual assault to start the week and then a silly (thankfully non-fatal) run-in between a dude with warrants and a Dudley-Do-right wanting save the world with his cellphone by stalking the aforementioned Black dude, who scared him with his mere presence. The latter part of this equation sparked local talk show phone lines so much that folks didn’t notice there hasn’t been much visible progress that the rapist at-large is any closer to being caught.
2. Speaking of vigilantism. After months of the tacit understanding that Black dudes weren’t really welcomed in Waldo. It became abundantly clear that Black men around Kansas City were being unfairly profiled despite a lack of anything in common with a vague composite sketch.
3. Sadly, what impacts the lives of locals far more than any battle over political correctness and racial disparity is the black and white of Kansas City’s financial statements. While the eyes of the metro were focused on Waldo, nobody noticed that Moody’s downgraded Kansas City’s credit rating once again as this town’s fiances are in even worse shape than race relations.
4. But it’s not all bad news, in what might have been a clever move Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon appointed Former City Councilman and longtime anti-crime/Civil Rights Activist Alvin Brooks to the Kansas City Police Board. Despite so much back channel political gossip, Brooks is definitely one of Kansas City’s favorite African-American dudes, at least in the field of politics. And the appointment of the old-timer, who has to be in his 80s, seems like, at the very least, an attempt to look back o the hopefulness of the long gone Civil Rights era.
5. Finally, public discussion of Superintendent John Covington’s School Consolidation Plan was wrapped up this week and the biggest obstacle to the progress of the proposed school closings came from the African-Centered Education school that didn’t really want to be a part of Kansas City, Missouri School District downsizing. Nevertheless, despite the feelings of students, parents and teachers there seems to be a consensus among pundits and so many local professionals that the district needs to get smaller, leaner and smarter if it’s going to survive. But, as always, the discussion of race and disparity is far more interesting than PR spin stressing “right-sizing” and ignoring the history of administrators who have ruined the district over the years, while inspiring families both Black and white to escape their incompetence.
And while issues related to Kansas City’s pocketbook or racial divisiveness aren’t going to be solved anytime soon, the only thing for certain is that we’re going to be fighting about