The Racialization of the Purple Line

It looks like we are getting close to the point where the Purple Line in Montgomery County is going to get dragged down an unnecessary road.

To make a long story short, there is a lot of opposition to the construction of the purple line, and the Columbia Country Club is at the vanguard of that movement because the proposed course may or may not be on land that belongs to the club (yes, it’s a pretty convoluted story).

Well, what first drew my attention to Eric Luedtke’s post today about the issue was this:

The Purple Line is mass transit, and while mass transit helps everyone, the socio-economic group that most benefits are those who live below the poverty line.

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Which, of course is patently absurd. Mass transit does not help everyone. It only helps people who use mass transit. Ask some of the folks who live near the Light Rail line if they have been helped by mass transit when it brought crime into their neighborhoods.

Unfortunately, that was only the beginning. Because Luedtke then jumped to the assumption that it’s a racial issue:

Now, I absolutely don’t believe that David or most of the other Purple Line opponents I’ve met are intentionally being elitist. But they are advocating for an inequity, in the same way that a person who is not at all racist can unknowingly support elements of institutional racism. And the Columbia Country Club, whatever its role in their effort, is the poster boy for that whole issue.

Emphasis mine. Luedtke makes the same fundamental mistake that Michael Dresser made in the Sun last week by assuming that opposition to mass transit is fundamentally race based. And this is a card that the fringe left seems to be starting to play more and more every day. The left is trying to make any opposition to mass transit not based on the need for construction, the route, or in this case even the violation of private property rights (well, maybe). They immediately assume that the Columbia Country Club and the people who oppose the Purple Line are doing it to keep minorities and lower socioeconomic classes down. That of course further clouds the issue as to where and if the line should be built, burying behind an unneeded haze of identity politics.

I really don’t have an opinion about the Purple Line itself, but I do not see why the debate about its construction needs to join many other topics that have needlessly been impacted by race. The introduction of race into the discussion of the mass transit by Luedtke, Dresser, and others is unnecessary and just makes it harder to discuss issues where racism is a legitimate problem.


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