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« Noted | Main | Southern politics in black and white »

Jun 22, 2006


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sean coon

mr. sun practically told the story of 10 year-old kwame cannon in greensboro's child. all he'd have to do is extend it to say how the little girl (or boy in kwame's case) didn't know how to square all that violence and anger as he grew up, which led to... well, go to the library and rent it for yourself (or order it from the web site... cheap).

Mr. Sun

Sean -- The Kwame Cannon story is a perfect example of how not to make this point. It explicitly brings a highly charged political element into the room and forces people to make conclusions and alliances they are unwilling to accept. Please don't lecture me on the validity of these viewpoints: that misses the point by a mile. The Kwame Cannon story is one story -- his, and yours in your film. Thank you for telling it, but that's not a path to reconciliation.

sean coon

excuse me, mr. sun, but when did i begin to lecture you? i absolutely agree with the focus on the morningside homes. i've commented to that effect here and elsewhere. your narrative is especially poignant and i'm taking nothing away from it.

but there is a segment of greensboro's child (my brother's film, btw) where kwame and his mother talk about what it was like for him to grow up in school as the child of wilema, hearing things like "your mother is responsible for the deaths of those people."

how does that "miss the point by a mile?" it's the same point, told from the perspective of another child caught up in the mix, just as innocent as your daughter.

he was 10 years-old and at the scene of the shooting; he saw people that he broke bread and sang with -- people that knew and loved as friends, not communists -- die right in front of him.

if you want to cast a political cloud over that story -- "that's not a path to reconciliation" -- that's your business, your agenda.

andy's film deconstructs the events of 11/3, but the overall focus is about how it affected kwame, an innocent child.

sean coon

1) i meant to say your daughter "story"

2) also "die right in front of him with the murderers getting completely off"

Mr. Sun

I say a political cloud is over that story, whether I cast it or not. I say it does many things fantastically, but one of them is not bringing to the table those who are absent. If you disagree with that statement, no problem. I see the truth of it as self-evident. I am beyond weary of standing by while two polarized sides wage a rhetorical war. I'd rather ruffle the feathers of true believers and carve out a middle ground with a big "KEEP OUT" sign where the messy work of moving the masses a little closer together can be achieved.

sean coon

carry on.

Mr. Sun

Let me also answer a private e-mail I received, summarized as "So, what do you recommend, Mr. Big Shot?" Fair question. It's really not a mystery what could happen, and it's not momentous -- but I see it as a victory for Greensboro. Here's how it could go. Keith Holliday, Tom Phillips and those with similar views say something like this: "I opposed this process, and I oppose much of what I have read in the TRC report. That hasn't changed. Something else has changed, however: my commitment to bringing Greensboro together and helping it grow. I'm going to keep all my grievances, but I'm taking them with me into some discussions and I'll try to find points of agreement and ways to come together. I may find none, I may find many -- but I'm not a quitter and I won't give up trying." Nelson Johnson, the GTRP, and the TRC say something like this: "We have a past that many disagree with and a proposed path to a shared future that many do not want to follow. We understand that. We're going to keep our roadmap, and even if we can't convince others to follow it we'll work as hard as possible to find common mileposts and shared destinations." Then, the two groups will arrive at a very few, extremely vague points of agreement. Maybe more, maybe less. They'll issue a candyass announcement overstating the success of the process, and many will then pounce with ridicule. But, many won't. I won't. I'll be happy for the practice they got talking, listening, and not taking the easy way out. I'll be proud that when a stage presented itself, they took it as statesmen. I'll be glad they fought the instinct to separate and fight and instead took a step towards the middle. A curtain has been drawn and a moment has been made -- I'm not asking for paradise, just a good faith effort to show up and make the best of it.

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