When readers opened last Sunday's paper to read Dick Feagler’s column in response to the beating of a white attorney
by seven black teens in Shaker Heights, many thought they’d accidentally picked up a copy of The Klansman Gazette.
Feagler unapologetically painted the beating as a race issue, blaming the influx of black residents to and near Shaker Heights as the main source of the violence, and hailing white-flight as the only real resolution:
Let's haul it out. It's a white person's dilemma. How do you draw the line between racism and reality? The answer is, you don't draw the line. If you're white and you're uncomfortable and you've got the money, you move away.
Feagler may have been simply channeling the beliefs of a good pecentage of Greater Cleveland. The middle class evacuation, both black and white, pretty much speaks for itself. But the old codger's audacity for saying it, coupled with his gift for indelicate prose, made him the city's latest lightning rod. Even his fellow columnists couldn't keep their mouths shut.
The following Tuesday, Phillip Morris took Feagler to task
His logic is shockingly shallow, perhaps revealing. Not only does Feagler's amplified fear-mongering provide solace to race baiters, small thinkers and the fearful, it wrongly paints race as the problem. That couldn't be further from the truth.
Morris goes on to remind readers that the problem isn’t black people, but a small subset of shitheads who prey on black communities far more often than they do white neighborhoods. At least in Shaker Heights, victims don’t have to worry about being shot if they identify their attacker. That’s a privilege reserved for our black brethren on the East Side.
Morris and Feagler will continue the debate tonight on public TV's Feagler & Friends. The sure- to-be-lively debate will be aired 8:30 p.m. Friday and noon Sunday on WVIZ Channel 25. -- Denise Grollmus