Honoring diversity — really

What was I saying about liberal concern being a bit self-absorbed?

I went to a presentation by the Downtown Austin Alliance, whose mission is to improve property values. They do this by asking downtown businesses to pay an extra tax and then providing extra security and clean-up.

A question came why this group did not take in the neighborhood east of IH35, (traditionally a minority neighborhood), closing with an accusation of racism.

The response was that the people in that neighborhood were typically unhappy with rising property values. Their concern is to keep gentrification out. The answer could have been also that that is and has always been an established Hispanic business district, mixed with homes, and the leadership there has no interest in being subsumed into “downtown.” The answer could have been, why ask them to pay extra tax for something they most certainly don’t want.

The response could not have been an answer to the charge of racism, but the judgement of the audience might have been in that area. It is all well and good to be sensitive to issues of equality, fairness, justice, and diversity. However, hurling around charges of racism is probably the reverse of helpful.

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