This e-mail scared the hell out of me

I’m not proud of this blog post.

In fact, I waited a month after receiving the inflammatory e-mail below before publishing it.

I didn’t want to promote the writer or his book.  But since links have been posted on Comeback.com, I thought it best to confront it head on.

Our objective is a better Birmingham, but I think it’s important to hear the good and the bad.

WARNING: Stop now if you don’t want to read the words of a virulent racist who has dragged Birmingham into the middle of his twisted mind.

I received the following e-mail on the afternoon I posted a blog titled, “Article on Birmingham will make you vomit,” about a piece authored by John Bennett. Mr. Bennett was brutally critical of Birmingham, and in my opinion, blamed Birmingham’s problems on African-Americans. (He claims it was cultural—not racial).

Sir,

If you “vomited” reading Mr. Bennett’s truthful – albeit tame – article about Birmingham at the American Thinker, you better get a large bag to prepare your stomach for the upcoming book “The Tragic City: Birmingham 1963- 2013”

Just as black people DESTROYED Detroit, the story of Birmingham is no different.

Birmingham escaped much financial ruin in the 2009 bankruptcy of Jefferson County, though the 98 percent black Birmingham City Schools continue to put up test scores rivaling those of a third world nation.

Birmingham will “come back” when blacks are forced out of all government positions and whites ‘come back’ from over the mountain, leaving the thriving communities THEY created behind to clean up the mess of black Birmingham.

Then, businesses and commerce will return to downtown Birmingham by the dozen, Legion Field will be cleaned up, the wall separating the black community from Birmingham Southern College will be torn down, and UAB will stop being in the business of a jobs-program for otherwise unemployable black people and get into the business of medical advancement/innovation.

“The First 48” will have to stop filming in Birmingham too, once the black community (and the crime they create — remember Larry Langford’s ashes and burlap sack incident to stop black crime?) is out of Birmingham and whites create thriving neighborhoods/communities where vice, squalor and depressed property values existed since the black takeover of the city.

No — John Bennett didn’t go far enough.

But his piece was a f***ing great start to show what a disgrace the civil rights has been when you consider the metrics usually used to determine whether a city is thriving or dying…

Paul

The author’s name is Paul Kersey.  He included a link to his website.  If you want to read more of his writings (Stuff black people don’t like), please feel free to Google him—I’m not going to make it easy for you.

His book is now available on Amazon, but I’m also not posting a link.

Birmingham doesn’t own racism, but we feel obligated to allow the negative voices to prevail–both white and black.

Let’s hear from those of you who love Birmingham and are tired of racist rants.

Remember the quote by Martin Niemöller (1892-1984), a prominent Protestant pastor, who emerged as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–

Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–

Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–

Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.

Let’s turn Birmingham around.  Click here to sign up for our newsletter.  There’s power in numbers. (Opt out at any time)

David Sher is a co-founder of Buzz12 Advertising and co-CEO of AmSher Receivables Management. He’s past Chairman of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce (BBA), Operation New Birmingham (REV Birmingham)), and the City Action Partnership (CAP).

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12 thoughts on “This e-mail scared the hell out of me”

  1. I remember reading the American Thinker article when it first circulated.  The author may wish to argue he was criticizing culture and not race, but the article went out of its way to connect the cultural problems with our government to its racial demographics.  Perhaps what bothered me the most was the article’s juxtaposition of Jefferson County’s problems and Birmingham’s government.  This purposeful blurring of the lines between Birmingham (majority black) and JeffCo (majority white) suggests the author’s opinions were indeed motivated at least in part by race.  

  2. David (and your readers) – please forgive the prior post, as there was an error in two of the words. 

    Were you to magically remove all the white residents of Jefferson County, what would you get? What would you be left with?

    Were you to magically remove all the black residents of Jefferson County, what would you get? What would you be left with?

    For the former, the people who create “white” culture would be no more — and you’d be left with a county-wide replication of what has happened in Birmingham over the past forty years (the domination of the culture “blacks” create).

    For the latter, you’d have the economic situation (low crime, stability, great schools) found 15 years ago in a place like Mountain Brook.

    The city of Birmingham would no longer have any need for the cameras of “The First 48″ to film there, and the Birmingham City School system would look a lot like that of Vestavia Hills, Mountain Brook, or Hoover – well, 10 – 15 years ago, before black people started fleeing the mess they created in the BCS system…

    Finally — why do you live in Vestavia Hills, Mr. Sher? Is it because you wish to see your wealth (much of which is probably tied to the valuation of your home) protected?

    And why is property value so low in the black parts (West End, all around Legion Field) of Birmingham?

    Of course race matters. That’s precisely why Birmingham (74 percent black today) must be the “comeback town”… it has to dust-off forty years of being run – in the words of Steven Hoyt – as a city where every decision has been made for the benefit of black people.

    By the way — congrats on the opening of Regions Park. I agree, this $64 million investment in revitalizing Birmingham was needed (hilariously, the city was excited that 61 percent of the construction/design was by ‘minority’ contractors — what happened to the whole “content of character” thing), but should it really be considered a ‘transformative’ moment? 

    In most other cities, the grand opening of a sporting arena, grocery store (like the Whole Foods in 84 percent Detroit), or shopping complex wouldn’t be greeted with such hysterical euphoria…. it would just be another day in the city. 

    That should tell you about the extraordinary situation 74 percent black Birmingham finds itself in — after all, like the plaque says in the Birmingham City Council — “cities are what people make them.”

  3. *I’M SORRY BUT THE OLD WOULD’VE, COULD’VE, SHOULD’VE MIND SET IS NOT WHERE WE NEED TO BE AND IT’S TIME TO GIVE THE PAST A REST. POLITICS ASIDE, BIRMINGHAM HAS COME A LONG WAY TO THE GOOD IN THE LAST FIVE YEARS OR SO. DO WE HAVE A LONG WAY TO GO, YES BUT THERE IS DEVELOPING A MUCH MORE PROGRESSIVE, POSITIVE ATTITUDE THAT WILL HELP US GET THERE.THIS ATTITUDE AND DESIRE FOR PROGRESS IS SHOWING UP IN BOTH THE BLACK AND WHITE POPULATIONS AND THAT’S A GOOD THING. I’M A WHITE GUY WHO LIVED IN ATLANTA FOR 30 YEARS AND HAD A NUMBER OF VERY GOOD, VERY SHARP, BLACK FRIENDS THERE. WE HUNG OUT TOGETHER ALL THE TIME. WAS RACE AN ISSUE, YES, SOMETIMES, BUT THAT WAS LARGELY PUT ON THE BACK BURNER DUE TO ONE OVERRIDING ALL CONSUMING DESIRE. THAT WAS TO MAKE MONEY.  THE BUSINESS OF ATLANTA WAS BUSINESS AND HOW TO DEVELOP IT. IT STILL IS. THE CULTURE HERE IS BEGINNING TO GET THAT AND I THINK THAT’S GREAT. I SEE IT EVERY DAY WITH THINGS LIKE THE NEW FOOD TRUCKS, CONCERT VENUES AND NEW STADIUM. IF WE WANT TO GO BACKWARDS, ALL WE HAVE TO IS LOOK BACKWARDS AT THE PAST AND THAT’S WHERE WE WILL STAY. IF WE WANT TO MOVE FORWARD, WE NEED TO KEEP A FORWARD, POSITIVE MINDSET, THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX FROM TIME TO TIME, AND THE MOMENTUM WE HAVE BEEN BUILDING ON HERE WILL SNOWBALL. PEOPLE, WE CAN DO THIS.

    1. Todd & Mike, Thanks for your very thoughtful post. One of the biggest frustrations I have in publishing http://www.ComebackTown.com is that many of the comments (particularly on al.com) are from Birmingham haters with racist undertones–meanwhile good people like yourselves remain silent. Thanks for breaking that silence!

  4. Mr. Kersey, 

    I hope you’ve done more research for your “book” than your comments suggest.  Birmingham’s problems in inner-city neighborhoods like West End are primarily issues borne of poverty, not of race.  Racists like you — I believe I can fairly call you that — are in large part the reason why Birmingham must “come back.”  

    This city, the most geographically convenient city in the south, was at one point in the early twentieth century poised to overtake Atlanta in population.  But while Atlanta became “the City to Busy to Hate,” bigots in Birmingham began running industry right into Atlanta’s open arms.  Integration convinced bigotive whites to leave previously affluent neighborhoods like Highland Park for the over-the-mountain villages.  When they left, the city suffered, not because all of the white people were gone but because most of the money and education were gone — money and education purposely and systematically withheld from blacks and poor whites.  

    I won’t say much more because I get the sense that this conversation won’t bear any fruit.  I take comfort in knowing that people like Mr. Sher have faith in Birmingham’s bright future, and that, for people like you, the world is growing increasingly lonely.

  5. Person from Massachusetts that moved to Atlanta here. The dynamics of the south are intriguing when compared to the north. I considered moving to Birmingham about 7 years ago, and again about 5 years ago. Glad I didn’t. 

    The term “racist” is thrown out too much. Is Paul a bigot, yeah. He writes some stuff that would make Archie Bunker blush, but does he have a point? Probably.

    As a northerner I can read Paul’s comments and some of the content on this blog and see alot of crossover. You both care about the city, and are bold enough to give uncomfortable facts.

    Where I think you’re missing things, and I’m speaking from first hand experience living within in-town Atlanta, is the the dynamic of living in an area governed by a minority majority. Our govt has coruption issues, makes decisions that goes against the best interest of the community, and there is nothing that can be done. Often if there’s a “D” next to the candidate’s name and their name sounds African-American they have a good chance of winning. Like Birmingham, Atlanta’s schools are cursed because the culture of “acting white” gets people teased. Parents that care, try to put their kids in private schools, or charter schools. This is similar to the talent flight concept because let’s face it, regardless of race, the kids leaving the school system tend to be above average performing students.

    The larger question needs to be, why shouldn’t a city run by mainly minority elected officials prosper? Why tolerate the excuse that Birmingham can only do well if whites and high-earning blacks are there? To accept that these groups must be present for the city to be successful is elitest and has a racial tone of itself. Why can’t the city hold itself to high standards, attract business, and strive to have a low crime rate (bye bye First 48 cameras) when compared to a city of similar size, regardless of racial composition?  

    The talent flight is because people that subscribe to cultural standards and society norms thought the benefits of living in an area weren’t high enough for the risks. People don’t like having to commute an extra 30 minutes, but they do it for a reason. Until a community can have an honest dialogue about the statistics and troubles it faces, things will only get worse. Naming a street, or a park after a civil rights figure isn’t progress, it’s pandering. Progress is getting desirable jobs to come to Birmingham, having its employees live locally and feel confident to go out for lunch and not eat at their desk.

    Paul’s way of wording is pretty brash, but it raises some good points. If Birmingham was evil towards blacks under white rule of Jim Crow, then in theory if you remove the whites from Birmingham and have more blacks move in then the city should be a utopia. If that’s the case, why the need for a comeback town? Looks like the people have voted on what they want Birmingham to be.

    1. JWright, Some people misunderstand the purpose of this blog. This blog is NOT about the city of Birmingham. It’s about metro-Birmingham. Metro Birmingham has struggled and metro-Birmingham is primarily white. Birmingham represents only 19% of the population of our metro. Amazingly, Birmingham is being transformed positively. In a blog a couple of weeks ago, I put links to national publications that have recognized our progress. http://www.comebacktown.com/2013/03/26/birmingham-haters-eat-your-hearts-out/.

      The City of Birmingham is in excellent financial condition. It’s Jefferson County that has financial problems. Jefferson County is primarily white.

      This is not a story about one race being better than another. It’s about poor regional/state government structure.

      The metro area of Birmingham is one of the finest places on earth to live.

      Our worst days behind us. Watch us make a comeback.

  6. I think I have said this before but it bears saying again…..the problem is not really race. Race baiting is merely a symptom of the bigger issue. The problem is narrow minded self interest. Buttering ones own bread to the detriment of EVERYBODY ELSE. Good things happen when we set aside our own interests and do things that are for the greater good. Animals act on instinct for their own good. Humans are different….we have the ability to see beyond immediate gain and gratification and act in a magnanimous fashion for the good of our fellow humans. This why we have heroes and saints and philanthropists. The basic foundation of most religions is this principal. Remember the saying, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

    When voters realize that keeping people in public office because they “look after my interests” instead of judging them by whether they look after EVERYBODIES interest is not really the best yardstick…that’s when things will change. We need to realize that tolerating narrow minded self interest is another form of narrow minded self interest.

    David, I think what you are doing is much needed and I appreciate it. I know you get a lot of flak for publishing Comeback Town but you are an example of what I am saying…you have put the greater good above your own self interests and we are all better for you having done it…THANK YOU!

  7. The bloggers name in the ” scared the hell ….. ” post is   Paul Kersey. .

    That is the name of the Charles Bronson character in the ” Death Wish ” film series . 

    Kersey in the films was an urban professional whose family was attacked in their New York high rise . He over time transforms into a vigilante whose killings mesmerize the media and slow the crime rate . The series essentially showed the uglier side of city/ urban life and how dramatic actions produce a desired effect even though they are unlawful / immoral .*

    I don’t believe your posters name is really Paul Kersey , I do believe he thinks of himself as a sort of Charles Bronson like do gooder , whose warped end justifies the means mentality makes him prone to say anything .

    Note : the film series petered out after a big start and Bronson died best remembered for his role in The Dirty Dozen. as a WWII hero ! 

  8. The haters, who assure us that their remarks are not racially driven, go out of their way to blame people for our problems.  Because they are blinded by either ignorance or hatred, they can’t grasp the fact that the root of our problems are not people, but conditions – poverty, poor education, and lack of family support to name a few.  When the haters recognize this and begin helping to improve those conditions, then Birmingham will ultimately realize its potential, without having to bring race into the discussion.

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