Photo Negative p. 9

By: Dorothy Giobbe EDITORS AT AN Indiana weekly were shocked and dismayed recently by the ugly reaction to a front-page photo of a white woman kissing a black, professional athlete.
On Feb. 7, the Mooresville Times ran a photo of a female basketball fan kissing Indiana Pacer Travis Best on the cheek. Best was visiting Mooresville to participate in a local charity event.
After the photo was published, a reader stormed into the Times offices. The man hurled racial slurs and declared that he would not subscribe to a newspaper in which "white women were kissing black men on the front page," according to an account of the incident in the Perry Township Weekly in nearby Beech Grove.
Those ready to write off the protester as a lone miscreant were disappointed. Reporter-Times Inc. president Mark Kendall said that a handful of other readers also wrote to complain about the photo or to cancel their subscriptions.
"I am personally saddened and outraged by what was said by these men," Kendall said in a statement. "However, I am delighted and proud that they are no longer our subscribers. I hope the majority of Mooresville people, and especially its leaders, will take the opportunity to make a special effort to make certain people of color feel they are welcome by and in our community."
After the Times reported the negative outburst, others used the letters to the editor column to denounce racism in the community.
"This basketball player came to Mooresville to help with charity on his own time," read one letter. "This is the thanks we give him?"
Another letter, signed by "15 angered, disgusted and ashamed young citizens," declared: "We feel that it is because of these ignorant, self-centered, white-robe-bearing racists that the town of Mooresville is so often looked down upon. It is very depressing that the 'adults' of this town are so much more childish than the children themselves."
?(Front-page photo of interracial kiss provokes ugly response from readers) [Photo & Caption]


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