Don't stumble into the traps of hate, racismWith thousands...

the Forum

March 04, 1994

Don't stumble into the traps of hate, racism

With thousands of children dying from AIDS, malnutrition, neglect and abuse; with thousands of persons with mental illnesses sleeping on the streets of our cities; with guns and drugs threatening to decimate the African-American population, and with world-wide concerns about global warming, ethnic cleansing, apartheid, elderly suicides, polluted waters and corrupt governments, my partner and friend Charles Fogelman and I find little time to fret unduly over the intemperate and ill-advised remarks by one small person whose views we emphatically do not share.

With so much talk about Jews and African-Americans not getting along, we want to be sure that some notice is paid to the larger truth, that many of us do.

My partner and I are like many all over America. Quiet "baby boomer" integrationists with a social conscience, one an Orthodox Jew and one a devout African-Methodist, we run a psychology and psychiatry practice in inner-city Baltimore. We serve all who come in, in their neighborhoods.

The recent publicity given to Minister Louis Farrakhan's insubstantial "rebuke" of his lightning-rod spokesman showed us once again, sadly, how little attention is given to good works and good relations among persons of good will.

Like you, we deplore virulent expressions of racism as expressed by a relatively minor citizen as much as we deplore the insidious systemic institutionalized forms we experience as a matter of public policy in our daily lives -- both are detrimental to the well-being of America and her people. Both must be denounced on all fronts and at all times.

As professionals in mental health, my partner and I are as concerned about the over-reaction of a not-too-friendly media to what could have been ignored ` since it was a statement by TC person not widely known until the press made him a celebrity.

With all the problems in our communities today, African-Americans have far more immediate and serious concerns than the opinion of one person who has little influence and even less power.

Our children need to know that they are loved, are worthwhile and that their heroes stood up for peace, justice and love. There is no need to sow destructive seeds of hate, or to fan flames of intolerance. Now, more than ever, in an ever-shrinking world, we need each other.

Since African-Americans and Jews have both been on the receiving end of vitriolic hate, we question the motives of any group that willingly seeks to exploit tensions unnecessarily.

We fully recognize that neither Jews nor African-Americans are universally loved by the larger "melting pot" society. At best we are tolerated. At worst we are despised.

In such a tenuous environment, where crosses burn indiscriminately, we cannot afford to fight each other. We must teach our children by example that hate is destructive and that love is constructive.

We must learn to love ourselves, respect our unique heritages and respect the heritages that make each other as different, and as valuable, as each of the fingers on the hand.

Love works. If humanity is to move into the 21st century with any chance for survival on this big blue marble where pestilence, plagues, famines and wars are threatening to eclipse what we are calling civilization; if any of us hope to see our children and their children mold a better social order where hunger won't hurt, where race won't be relevant and where creed will be judged by deed, then all of us, Jew, Muslim and African-American should be too busy to hate, too focused to quit and too wise to respond to the enemy's trap of recrimination. We have work to do.

Grady Dale Jr.


The writer is a psychologist and a managing partner in a comprehensive mental health service in Baltimore City.

Give Community Benefits District a chance

In an editorial on Feb. 28, The Evening Sun stated that the problems of Baltimore City's vitality will not be answered by the concept known as Community Benefits District (CBD).

Given the unrealistic, unattainable goal imposed in that editorial, it's no wonder the editors were concerned about the feasibility of CBDs in the city.

It's important to clarify what is being proposed in the state enabling legislation.

The objective of the Charles Village Community Benefits District is to stabilize the neighborhood and provide an environment that will attract and keep businesses and residents in the area.

The CBD also brings together the business and residential communities to address and solve common goals. The money generated by the tax surcharge, which is only imposed if approved by 60 percent of the district's residents, will be spent for three purposes -- promotion, security and sanitation.

Charles Village, like any neighborhood, needs a stable tax base and a vibrant commercial district. A CBD allows the neighborhood to hire a staff person to concentrate on marketing Charles Village as a place where people want to live and where businesses want to locate.

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