Several Friends of Unfair Park wanted to make sure we directed your attention to National Public Radio's piece on Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, which aired on Morning Edition as a way of showcasing the blue city in a red state. A couple of minutes in, a certain Observer columnist makes his appearance.
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Not everyone buys Price's "angry black man" act.
"He always acted like a guy, when the cameras were rolling, who was out of control, dangerous, crazy. When those cameras shut off, he was the world's most reasonable, let's make a deal, guy, says Jim Schutze, the political columnist for the Dallas Observer, the city's alternative newspaper.
Schutze has been covering Price since moving to Dallas as a young reporter in 1978. Back then, Schutze says, "Dallas was so backwards that black people would not meet a white person's eye. White people sometimes used the 'N' word in gatherings where there were black people present."
Over the years, Schutze says, he began to understand that Price's angry public persona had subtleties he didn't originally see.
"But he was doing, I always felt, this kind of kabuki theater for the community," Schutze says, "saying, 'This is what it looks like to stand up, and look how I can do this stuff, and I'm still alive -- and they haven't lynched me, and you can do it too.'"