In an aggrieved follow-up to his controversial piece from Marathon County, Wisconsin, which he painted as a hotbed of bigotry, New York Times reporter Reid Epstein garnered a “Times Insider” Page 2 story, “When a Local Rift Grows Wider.”
Epstein’s initial May 21 piece, based on a fight over a proposed declaration that Marathon was “a community for all,” suggested the mostly white residents of Marathon County, which welcomed Hmong refugees after the Vietnam War, were against racial equality for the “people of color” within their community, and was rewarded with front-page placement of “County Sought To Be Inclusive. Not All Agreed.”
That’s because there was more to the declaration than those benign four words, “a community for all.” The actual document called on the county to “achieve racial and ethnic equity to foster cross-cultural understanding and advocate for minority populations.”
“Racial equity” is a left-wing idea that’s escaped from the college campus – demanding forced equality of results, as opposed to the traditional civil rights goal of equality of opportunity:
Epstein rather defensive follow-up Thursday continued to take the radical side pushing the town to make a stand for “racial equity,”
When my story about a Wisconsin county’s struggle over whether to declare itself a “community for all” was published last month, I knew it might be uncomfortable for some readers.
What I didn’t anticipate was that it would lead to even more strife in Marathon County, which is now more than a year into a civic debate about the value of diversity and inclusion. At issue is what many in the community view as a long-overdue acknowledgment of systemic inequalities, while others deny that such hurdles exist.
The backlash was swift. Opponents of the resolution dug in even more.
[Mayor Katie] Rosenberg was accused by a local conservative talk radio host of recruiting The Times to Wausau to write a negative story about her community. A false allegation; I first read about the dispute on the website of Wisconsin Public Radio.
The only foul-ups Epstein located were on the conservative side. And Epstein is one of many Times reporters to assume as fact the highly controversial issue that America is a land marinated in “systemic racism.”
The board’s conservatives invited an anti-abortion activist from California named Kevin McGary to deliver a presentation about why the “community for all” resolution was unnecessary.
Mr. McGary, who is Black, spoke for more than an hour and delivered a broadside against the idea that white people were responsible for racism. He attacked Ms. Rosenberg, saying she “says community for all, but she’s all in for fully exterminating people, Blacks.”
This did not make things better.
Kurt Gibbs, the county board chairman who has opposed the “community for all” resolution, issued a public apology to Ms. Rosenberg for allowing her to be accused of genocide without a rebuttal.
The highly ideological core of the initial call for “racial equity,” the impetus for the proposed declaration in the first place, is barely mentioned:
Meanwhile, the resolution at the center of Marathon County’s fight is going through a seventh revision. Gone is the call for equity, which became a hot-button word as resolution opponents argued falsely that it would give authorization for seizing private property from white residents.….
What’s next is unclear. There’s no indication that any compromise resolution can win support from enough conservative members of the county board, given the opposition and denial of systemic racism, a rift reflective of local political chasms across the country.
Epstein let the mayor, a supporter of the “racial equity” side, falsely rendered the controversial move harmless and hypocritically blamed the conservatives for the poisoned relations in town.
“We have ripped our relationship apart,” she said in a recent interview. “I don’t know why it’s so freaking hard. It’s not a hard stance to take.”