Accusations not fostering necessary discussion

Published 12:18 am Thursday, October 19, 2017

Too often, of late, the hottest, public heads in the room are doing most of the talking and unfortunately, the result causes the debate to be about what the person said, not what needs to happen for the greater good.

A prime example of that occurred Tuesday night when former Natchez mayor and current Natchez-Adams School Board member Phillip West spoke up at a meeting in which city leaders were discussing the possible donation of city land to the Natchez-Adams School District.

West chose to tinge the discussion with racist accusations.

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We’ve long supported some of West’s causes and his ability to stir emotions in people, but we disagree with him here.

The matter at hand Tuesday was whether or not the city should donate a portion of the land known as the bean field to the school district as a location to build a high school.

The issue was not about whether or not such a school should be built or the motivations of anyone who believes it should not be built.

And the issue at hand was certainly not about race.

West suggested the speed at which aldermen were moving on the matter was a sign they did not care about the community’s children and that racism was at the root.

Such unfounded accusations clearly cause more distrust and dissension between city, county and school district leaders.

This at a time when all need to come together and talk about the differences, not underline them and circle them with hurtful, pointed words meant to engender an emotional reaction, not actually communicate professionally.

Aldermen were wise to pause on transferring the land Tuesday. Doing so without gauging the public’s mood on the matter would be doing a disservice to the public those aldermen are sworn to represent.