[image-1] Charleston’s latest publicized brush with institutional racism landed in the New York Times on Tuesday night.
The Times‘ Atlanta-based Southern politics and culture correspondent Richard Fausset told the story of Melvin Brown, a Charleston-native MUSC doc who was denied membership at the Charleston Rifle Club in October — he would have been the social club’s first black member.
Fausset captured the bleak reality of an all-white club, in a city fraught with racial turmoil, that is just fine to stay that way.
“It has forced Charleston to consider which lines have been erased and which remain, in a former slave port more recently reborn as a tourist destination and glittering global arts hub,” Fausset wrote.
But as CP staff writer Adam Manno found in his talks with Brown and others, it does seem like some are attempting to change the Rifle Club from the inside. An unsuccessful bylaw change proposed earlier this year would have made it harder for a small group of members to block someone from joining for any reason.
But those efforts were not enough when it came time to vote for Dr. Brown.
Former Charleston Mayor Joe Riley didn’t mince words: “What this is is an aberration, and a slight from these few bigoted people in that club … They’re not representative.”
NAACP Charleston president Dot Scott laid things out as well: “We are a very polite city … But even when our best and our brightest show up, the color of your skin is still the one thing you can’t change.”
In this week’s paper, columnist Dwayne Green shared his experience having known Brown since they went to school together at Porter-Gaud.