The Mountain Xpress posted a lot of statements from high-profile Ashevillians. The article isn’t clear about what the question was, but the topic was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Many sound like they’re making stuff up, as if given a grade-school writing assignment due at the end of class. “Nonviolence” seems to be the buzz word, as if it’s a new concept or something. And then, there’s Gene Bell, who is now CEO of the Housing Authority of the City of Asheville. I’ve respected Mr. Bell, almost from the get-go, as being wise and able to get things done. I reprint his sage response for your reading pleasure:

This last few years, it seems like we are looking for enemies. Groups of people are looking for people to disdain. Right now it’s Muslims, but it hasn’t been long since it was Hispanics. Before that the Asians, before that the African-Americans, and before that the Native Americans. There’s always got to be an enemy. And now we’ve come up with more enemies than we ever had.

Black people contribute to this society. Over the years, we’ve contributed through our free labor, through our innovations and our hard work, but we are portrayed as being everything but contributors. I’d like to see more focus put on the contributors, not the ones that are disenfranchised.