All About The Bait - Alan Teelander is Not A Racist
Alternate title for this might be: Controversy - A Tale Of Two Baits.
In my opinion the only thing Alan Teelander is guilty of regarding the name of the Lowell Showboat is that he took some bait from a group calling itself Progress Michigan. They sent out an email about the name of the boat to a few people in Lowell - Alan made the mistake of answering the email.
I know how difficult it can be to NOT answer bait - be it on social media or an email. Many times I have gone ahead and jumped into a fray that was pointless. One of the best things I ever read in Mindful magazine was the advice to pause and breathe before hitting the "send" button. I cannot tell you how many times I have typed in a response on social media and then either not posted it or else have gone back to wipe it out. That is why bait works - it is tempting!
The other Bait in this tale is that tossed out by MLive.com. MLive is brought to you by what used to be a bunch of newspapers. Disclaimer - I used to write a column with the same name as my blog for the Advance Newspapers which were a part of the big corporation that publishes many papers and is respnsible for MLive. No, I am not shooting at MLive from the perspective of a bitter ex-employee. I quit my weekly efforts because I simply did not have time to properly research the kids I typically profiled in my column.
Once upon a time the Advance Newspapers had some 13 editions that were thick with local news, high school sports (my former baliwick) and advertising. Yes, Virginia, businesses used to buy ads in printed newspapers. I mention this because I witnessed firsthand as the net took away revenue from print. Sad to say, MLive has chosen to fight back by decreasing the amount of research they do for stories and increasing their use of sensationalized headlines in order to get you and I to "click" on the story which now generate a host of ads and thereby generates the revenue that used to come in from print ads. Anyone else notice how many ads are in your face in order to find out who the 10 Best Donut Shops are?
As I said in MY headline - Alan Teelander is about as far away from being a racist as a white guy with two bi-racial grand-children can be. (Hey - MLive - didja know that about Alan? Well, if you did you MIGHT have mentioned it.) In fact, if you read the article to the end it should be clear that Alan's opinion of people who own other people would be included in the "ugly" part of our history.
Am I defending the name of the Lowell Showboat? Hell no - I have never understood it. My limited knowledge of the history of Michigan is that we fought against Lee in the Civil War. Why do we have his name on there? Are there boats in the South with U.S. Grant on their stern? Another thing my limited knowledge of history indicates to me is that America in general does not normally honor the losing team from our never ending history of conflicts. Please correct me if I am wrong on this.
The sad part of this whole story is that Alan resigned for the primary reason that he did NOT want to endanger the grant money headed to Lowell for a new showboat. He knows how much the Showboat means to his favorite town - Lowell. The ultimate irony is that my RESEARCH gives me the confidence to declare that the new Showboat will lose the Robert E Lee name. I came to this conclusion by seeking out the opinion from a wide range of people, including some who really do not have a problem with the name. If the community supports it, and I believe they will, the new showboat will honor a Lowell resident who gave immeasurable time and materials to help maintain more than one of the Showboats in Lowell's history.
Hey - MLive to "research" something means to ask questions of several sources and do your best to get the whole picture....like maybe finding out about Teelander's grand-kids or even finding out that the community as a whole is in support of a new name for the new boat.
In conclusion, I might have an even better title for this post if I were the type of blogger chasing clicks: Progress Michigan - Hypocrisy At Its White-est. In case you don't follow - I took a look at the people running Progress Michigan and the top brass is all white guys. Take a look: http://www.progressmichigan.org/staff-bios/