Wick Allison's "Leading Off" column from the June 2010 issue of D Magazine has sparked discussions about racial diversity across North Dallas. A number of readers have written in to share their viewpoints. Below is a sampling:

Ask the People, Not Just Leaders

Dear Mr. Allison:
 
If you want to know why upper-income blacks do not feel comfortable raising their families in the affluent neighborhoods and churches of North Dallas and the Park Cities as you surmise, would it not be more appropriate to ask them directly rather than posing your question to the mayors and ministers of those areas?  After all, unless these families answer otherwise, this is an elective decision made by them and not by mayors and ministers.  When you have an answer, give your readers suggestions for changes to be considered by the mayors and ministers. Do your research before you stir the pot.
 
Thomas W. Newsome

Let's Discuss Race in Church

Hi Wick:

I saw your recent piece calling out North Dallas and Preston Hollow pastors by name on the issue of racial inclusiveness. As somebody who didn't get named, but who does serve a Preston Hollow church, I thought I'd take the time to write you back.

First off, thanks for doing what you did. I wish that the media would call out Dallas' church leadership far more often, and on a whole range of issues related to justice, inclusion and our community. I hope you'll continue to recognize the institutional church as a group worthy of being challenged from time to time.

The issue of racial inclusion on Sunday mornings has always been a challenging one.

In a moment, I'll mention our church, but I also wanted to draw your attention to Oak Lawn United Methodist. They are currently served by an African-American senior pastor; my colleague and friend, Rev. Derrick Wright. I know that he and his church are also always seeking ways to intentionally be open to all in the North Dallas community.

I certainly can't speak for every church, but I can tell you that our church, Northaven United Methodist, has an official welcome statement that, among other things, mentions our desire to be welcoming to persons of all races. In fact, here it is for your information:

The Welcome Statement of Northaven United Methodist Church:
"Because God's love in Jesus Christ has broken down walls that divide us, we embody that love in our congregation and welcome persons of all races, sexual orientations, and economic circumstances."

This statement appears prominently on our church's website, stationery, and has been painted on the walls outside the main doors to our sanctuary.

In other words, making a clear “welcome” to all is very important to us. I know I speak on behalf of all here, when I say we still struggle with issues of racial diversity too, and that we wish we were more ethnically diverse. So I certainly issue a public welcome and invitation here and now to all persons; and I thank you for the chance to write about this.

Sincerely,

The Rev. Eric Folkerth
Northhaven United Methodist Church

What will D Magazine Do?

Hi Wick,

My name is Tasha S. Robinson, and I am a 24-year-old African American woman. To be honest I never really picked up a copy of D Magazine because I felt I wasn’t represented, nor did the company care to actually focus on my demographic. Yes, I read ShopTalk blog every so often, and I follow both of them on Twitter. However, I do not see me in the magazine. I did not feel my voice was being heard until I read your "Leading Off: Race and the Rich" in the June 2010 issue. See, I won a free year subscription to D Magazine from following you guys on Twitter. I have been receiving it since January 2010, but today (5/22/2010) I decided to actually open up the magazine. I normally just put it in my magazine pile. I was astonished to read your words in the opening pages. I applaud those words that you wrote. More and more African-Americans, Hispanic, and Asians are diversifying their own portfolios, and they are not needing "White America." There have been case studies of small towns boycotting "white America" stores and only supporting their own and the damage it can do to a city. Dallas is not a small town but think about, if we truly only support our own. All the black athletes and families, all the Hispanic baseball players, all the Asians who own strip centers. Yes, Dallas has its old money, but the old money is not wanting to mingle with new money.

I personally, launched my own online women's resale boutique online for the fact when I went into ones in Dallas, I didn’t feel at home and did not like how I was treated. I know it was because of my skin tone, and it skins me because I work as hard or harder than most for my money and can afford the same things as the women who reside in Preston Hallow. Yes, I am a pretty girl, but from their world they see something else. They wouldn’t know I have a bachelor’s in public relations, I own my car, have an excellent credit score, I mentor the youth or that I reside downtown in a high-rise.

Mainly, I wrote into applaud you for your writing but to also ask what are you going to do about it. If it’s such a big issue, why haven’t I seen someone I can relate to on the cover of D Magazine? Why are there not more events catered to the demographic you want to reach!!! What is D Magazine going to do? I would love to hear back and see if there is actually going to be change or if this was just a ploy to get D Magazine some attention.

Sincerely Stylish,

Tasha S. Robinson
Owner, Imperfect Concepts