Friday, July 20, 2001
Boycott deserves boycott
I'm boycotting the boycott. Along with anyone connected with Cincinnati's latest crisis.
Need to clear my head. Write about something else.
Something away from downtown.
Something that makes sense.
Not that Cincinnati's racial and economic problems aren't serious. They are. Not that they don't need to be addressed. They do.
These serious problems just cannot be addressed in an irrational manner.
Too much is at stake. Such as the well-being of the city's future.
Cincinnati's no-nonsense image is changing. The town's official language is becoming nonsense speak.
Yes means no. Stop means go. Hurting means healing.
Don't try to figure it out. That way lies madness.
Nonsense speak accompanied the call for a worldwide economic boycott of Cincinnati to achieve racial reforms in the Queen City.
The boycott's organizers, a coalition of activist groups, called for justice and equality.
The coalition believes in equality when it comes to its intent and its membership. It is equally vague about both.
In detailing the boycott's intentions, the coalition spouts slogans, not specifics.
The coalition speaks for a questionable constituency. Some groups are well known. The Cincinnati Black United Front sued the city over alleged racial profiling by police.
Some groups listed on the coalition's initial pro-boycott roster have since said they do not support such sanctions. Count two religious organizations, the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance and Concerned Clergy, among that number.
Some groups, such as the Cincinnati Zapatista Coalition, raise the question: Who? Only during these crazed times in Cincinnati, a town where it's tough get a decent taco, would a group of unknown activists be named after a long-dead Mexican revolutionary.
The loosey-goosey coalition is just part of my reason for boycotting the boycott.
The other part stems from nonsense speak.
The Rev. Damon Lynch III supports the boycott. He also co-chairs the mayor's Cincinnati CAN commission dedicated to healing the self-inflicted racial wounds the city suffered during the April riots. Seems to me he's working at cross purposes. But not to the Rev. Lynch.
I don't separate my roles, he has said. They are one in the same.
He has also said the idea behind the boycott is not to hurt anybody.
One of the boycott's tactics calls for choking off the city's supply of tourist dollars. Conventions are being pressured to skip Cincinnati.
No convention business would lead to layoffs at hotels and restaurants. People would be out of work. Their bills would go unpaid. Their children unfed. To me, that sounds like a world of hurt.
Not to the Rev. Lynch. After the boycott was announced, he said, we still haven't turned the corner toward real reconciliation, healing or justice.
So hurting businesses and their employees will help heal our city?
Somehow, the logic of that escapes me.
That's why I'm boycotting the boycott. Unless, of course, nonsense speak causes news to break out. Or, reason returns to Cincinnati.
Wanna bet which happens first?
Columnist Cliff Radel can be reached at 768-8379; fax 768-8340.
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