'04 AZ bomb victim: Racism is alive and wellPosted: Updated:
A man who survived a mail bomb nearly nine years ago at the hands of a white supremacist has a different view of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
"I have a greater appreciation for the challenges that Dr. King and other civil rights leaders have endured," said long-time Scottsdale Diversity Director Don Logan.
Logan believes he was targeted by a white supremacist in 2004 solely because he is black. A jury convicted the suspect of the bombing, but they did not convict him of a hate crime. The suspect was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison.
"There is nothing that you or anyone else can say to me that's going to convince me that this wasn't a hate crime," Logan said.
After spending 28 years with the city of Scottsdale, Logan retired in 2007. He spent the last decade with the city as the director of Diversity and Dialogue. Now, Logan travels the country and state giving presentations about accepting diversity.
It is Logan's belief that there has been positive growth in the area of civil rights and racism, but he said there is a long way to go.
"I think there is a segment in this country that feel that now that we've elected a black president, there's no need for this discussion about race relations. I could point to statistics that would show that since we've elected our first black president, in some cases, things have gotten worse, in terms of the assemblage of hate activity," Logan said.
Logan points to leadership as an area where progress has been made. He said more people of color and women are in leadership roles but there is still debate about to what degree that is accepted.
The native Arizonan said he struggles with what is going on in his own state. He said that outsiders he encounters on his travels have the perception that Arizona is a racist state.
"When the president of the United States visits here and he gets scolded, the finger wag, that's troubling for me," Logan said. "And the whole immigration discussion, who knows where we'll end up with that?"
Logan said he thinks Arizona has put forth a strong effort in tackling diversity acceptance and racism, at least in the bigger cities.
The use of social media to perpetuate hate and discrimination concerns Logan.
"Racism is today, I think, applied in a more subtle way. Overt racism has subsided in some regards, but if you really want to see where people's heads are, read a blog. No matter what the issue seems to be, it always seems to evolve into a racial discussion, and that's troubling for me," Logan said.
At the end of last year, Logan self-published his memoirs, Targeted Delivery; Destination: Scottsdale, Arizona.
"This book talks about some of the challenges that I had as a person of color in a white, homogenous and affluent community, that I had reservations about taking on. But 30 years later, it is the greatest experience and the greatest decision that I could have made," Logan said.
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