Proposed public drinking ban… is racist

A Columbia city Councilwoman is being criticized for proposing a drinking ban in a local park because the park is located in a predominantly black neighborhood.

(Columbia Tribune) — Citing a desire to improve public health and make Columbia parks more family friendly, First Ward Councilwoman Ginny Chadwick has proposed banning alcohol in Douglass Park.

Chadwick requested at the June 2 Columbia City Council meeting that city staff draft legislation that would make Douglass the fourth city park with an alcohol ban. The other parks, all located downtown, are Flat Branch, Paquin and Village Square, which is at Ninth and Walnut streets. Drinking is only allowed at those parks for people who secure a permit from the Parks and Recreation Department.

“When a public park is perpetually being used for alcohol consumption, I begin to question if our goal is being met to create vibrant outdoor spaces for our citizens,” Chadwick said in a statement.

Chadwick said her concerns extend past Douglass Park, which sits just north of Douglass High School in a predominately black neighborhood. She said she would like to look into policies to curb alcohol use in all city parks, but the issue of drinking in Douglass Park was heightened for her because the park is near her residence.

“We need easily enforceable ordinances in parks where there is continual unhealthy behavior,” Chadwick said.

Fred Schmidt, Chadwick’s predecessor in the First Ward seat, raised the issue of banning alcohol in the park, a proposal that Mark Flakne, the former president of the local libertarian group Keep Columbia Free, derided as “white, liberal paternalism” in a post on the group’s website.

Bishop Lorenzo Lawson of Chosen Generation Ministries, who works as executive director of the Youth Empowerment Zone, said he sees a “tremendous problem” with alcoholism in the central city and in “pockets of poverty” throughout the city. If, say, Chadwick wanted to ban liquor stores in her ward, Lawson said, he would stand beside her.

But Lawson said targeting Douglass Park for an alcohol ban could potentially take away a venue for low-income central-city residents to socialize, and that prohibition could be used as a tool to oppress people.

“This is their relief from the harsh reality they are living in,” Lawson said.

Mike Griggs, director of Parks and Recreation, said the question of whether or not drinking should be allowed at Douglass Park was raised before Schmidt weighed in on the issue, and the idea has been shot down every time because it was viewed as “racially motivated.”

Griggs said the circumstances leading to alcohol bans at other central-city parks included excessive panhandling by park users who often were overly intoxicated and “camping problems,” where “the guys would be so drunk they would just end up sleeping there.”

A few thoughts on this:

  • It seems that alcohol consumption in this park in particular is actually a problem but doesn’t seem to be a problem in other public parks.
  • The people who are excessively consuming alcohol in this park are monochromatically black.
  • The Councilwoman is being criticized because, apparently, trying to curb persistent alcohol abuse in a public park which is intended for family use is racist because the people who are abusing alcohol in the park are black.
  • Opponents of the Councilwoman’s proposal seem to prefer ignoring the problem because of perceived racism; and that the community is so horrible to live in, its residents need to get wasted in the public park to drown their sorrows…in a public park.

I think this thought process is typical of the way the political left problem-solves concerning minorities.  Don’t address or even point out problems in minority communities because simply noticing a problem is racist.  It’s best to ignore it all and pretend it don’t exist.  Abortion rates, single motherhood, unemployment, dropout rates, and now public drinking are all off limits.

Does the alcohol abuse epidemic in this park need to be ignored because its location is in a black neighborhood?  Is it racist to address the issue because those causing the problem are black?

 

Comments

  1. As for racism, correlation is not causation. To attribute a personal motivation of racism requires an uncanny epistemic access to a person’s heart. To attribute a systemic cause of racism requires a theoretic toolkit that can be acquired at the local university. Not that I would trust it.

    Yet, I wonder if the libertarian in the article would attribute the 1965 Civil Rights Act to “liberal, white paternalism.” From what I see in this article, poor reasoning abounds on both sides.

    • Race is one of those topics that is near universally tiptoed around. Virtually no one is willing to be open about their feelings and ideas on the subject because it has been demonstrated that the political left will demonize anyone who doesn’t speak glowingly about their assigned chosen classes of people.

      No one can speak of rampant STD rates in the gay community because doing so makes you a homophobe. No one can address this and like issues in the black community because doing so makes you a racist. No one can discuss illegal immigration because doing so makes you a zenophobe. And the list goes on. I long for a day when we can actually talk about life’s issues without having to worry about which group will become offended.

      • No one speaks about race because there is a double standard at work. Anything that can be construed as racist is typically taken to be racist. Guilty until proven innocent. Actually, just guilty, period. But in all other spheres (excepting other identity politics enclaves such as gender), people try to avoid judging people for what they say.

        When someone claims another’s action or speech is racist, patriarchal, sexist, or whatever, insist to know how they came to that conclusion about that specific remark. If we do that more, it will force people to be more careful in what they say.

  2. sounds like a no-brainer. No alcohol in public parks without permits. The parks are primarily for family and kids, not losers who need to drink to drown their sorrows. Screw the charges of racism. Demand such charges be explained and justified.

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