We begin this week with Douglas Williams, who writes that the more he reads our August 30 feature about The Lakewood restaurant moving into the Lakewood neighborhood, the angrier he gets: "You have, perhaps indirectly, chosen to issue what I would call a blind attack against this restaurant and consequently against the owner and employees of the restaurant. I chose my word here carefully—blind, a word which I think describes your negligence in accurately describing the issue that you perceived The Lakewood to be in the center of.
"I will start with your words and your tone. You begin by saying that The Lakewood 'occupies' the old Davis Baking building. Immediately, I read this as confrontational. And even more, you further almost scoffingly say: "The Lakewood is literally illuminating that corner of the neighborhood by the same name.' Again, I read this as judgmental and confrontational: this place is stealing this neighborhood and its name. I hardly need to go on, paragraph after paragraph of this tone. 'A table at the back that used to be ....' Unless I misread your words, your personal view here is made quickly. Too quickly in my view.
"Why, I ask myself, do you choose to tie together the pain and suffering of Durham's gentrification with the people of The Lakewood restaurant. I think that you were at least tragically unfair in doing them that injustice. You are blaming good people, people that are part of the solution, not the problem, for the ills we in Durham face. It offended me; it literally—to use your word—makes me sick to read your words that fall so hard on these good people."
On our website last week, we reported on both an impromptu march that the activists who tore down the Confederate monument in downtown Durham embarked on and their later claim that they were denied service in the new Central Park Tavern, which they attributed to racism.
"It's unfortunate that the perceived experience of a small group of people can overshadow the reality of the situation at Central Park Tavern," writes Ryan Plankenhorn. "I'm a white guy who lives across the street in the oft-maligned Liberty Warehouse Apartments, so I'm sure that many of you won't care, or believe, what I have to say. The reality is yes, the owner is an old white guy. But this old white guy employs several loyal people of color. Their livelihood, as much as his, is affected by this fabricated controversy. Furthermore, the clientele that is here on a daily basis is much more diverse than any of the other establishments on Rigsbee.
"That's what I love about Central Park Tavern—it's a neighborhood bar that, to me, seems like more of a reflection of what Durham was like ten to twenty years ago. Real people, without a thought about differences in skin color, drinking and dancing and enjoying life."
"It seems to me that the object of these people is not the removal of statues but the destruction of our country," adds commenter Bob Vela. "Their statement that our system of capitalism must be destroyed leaves one to wonder what successful system they plan to use to replace capitalism. Perhaps the worldwide successful communist or socialist systems? We have seen how great those systems have been. The poor have never been used as greatly as by the socialist and communist systems. These young, overeducated, underlearned children need the spanking their parents failed to give them years ago. When you have idle minds and they have no cause to rebel against, you manufacture one."
Connie Chastain Ward offers similar thoughts—and a defense of the Confederacy: "These empty-brained kids worship a political ideology responsible for the murder of one hundred million people in the twentieth century. Confederates and slave owners were moral giants compared to murderous communists and their vacuous worshipers like these."