Dan Haley was unconscionably out of line with his May 18 column on the closing of St. Angela's Church in Austin ("After abandoning Austin, whites mourn their church").
I was with him with the sadness of it all and his mention of the profiteering, blockbusting, weak politics and failure of the churches behind the massive change that happened in Austin around the church. I was even with him when he pointed out the misguided notion of the betrayal of the church in that situation.
But then for Haley to use a broad brush charging the whole West Side community with being "afraid, stupid and racist" for being part of the massive white flight of the past is horribly stereotypical, arrogant and just, just, well...stupid.
His statement allows a feeding-frenzied real estate industry, myopic and incompetent government and the ineffective, short sighted clergy of the time, to be partially absolved by his blaming the first of many victims.
He certainly hit a few deserving targets with his charge, but a whole community? What an arrogant statement. I smell the stink of superiority that he seems to imply the Austin Boulevard line defined. Oak Park figured it out, outside of us, everyone else is stupid and racist. There were good, moral battles fought on both sides of Austin Boulevard, but on vastly different political landscapes. The extraordinary insight, faith and perseverance needed to overcome the circumstances of that time unfortunately escaped the West Side. I wish that was different too.
Count the blessings of the battles won in Oak Park with just the right approach, within just the right combinations, don't damn victims that happened not to be so lucky.