A Poor Choice of Words (7/16/09)
In a speech last week, Mayor Jerry Abramson said before merger the old city of Louisville was "getting poorer, blacker and older."
Several people, including perennial mayoral candidate Ed Springston and NAACP President Raoul Cunningham took offense, saying "it sounded like he was saying the reason Louisville was so bad off was because they had old, poor, black people."
But that isn't what Mayor Abramson meant. He was talking about demographic and economic trends. The city was getting poorer. It was getting older, which is bad for the taxpayer base. And the black percentage of the population was growing.
But - while true - that last item wasn't particularly relevant.
It was a poor choice of words, and I do think the mayor stumbled by referring to race at all. And I admit I cringed when he used the phrase "if anyone was offended" in his apology. It's clear there was no "if" about it.
But in the long time I've known him, I've never met a person who loved this community more, or worked harder to make it better. I've also never heard him make a racially derogatory remark or reference. He simply doesn't think like that.
But he does make a lot of speeches, usually without a script. And if you talk that much, I guarantee you'll also say something sooner or later you'd like to take back.
His critics should keep that in mind.
I'm Bill Lamb, and that's my...Point of View.