When Race Becomes Real...again and Again and AGAIN

Missing Marty Haag
News Director (1973-1989), WFAA-TV, Dallas, Texas


Bernestine Singley © 2004, 2011, 2016


“H. Martin "Marty" Haag, Jr. (1934–2004) was the news director at the perennially dominant ABC station, WFAA-TV, in Dallas, Texas from 1973 to 1989. During those 16 years, WFAA won five DuPont-Columbia Awards, more than any other local television news station during that time, and a George Foster Peabody Award in 1988.” https:/​/​en.wikipedia.org/​wiki/​Marty_Haag

It's 2016 and Still...#NewsroomsSoWhite


Part III
31 Jan 2016

#DearWhitePeople, TWELVE YEARS after my original post, I'm still waiting to hear how you explain why #NewsroomsSoWhite make newsrooms of 30 years ago look like Nirvana. Any brave body? Mil gracias.

Part II
Jan 2011

Note: SEVEN YEARS ago, I wrote my tribute (below) to Marty Haag, WFAA-TV’s longtime News Director, a few days after he died around this time in early January 2004. I tried to get it published—first in print, then on the air—in Dallas where Marty reigned.

It didn’t happen.

But, after watching the nonstop coverage of the mass murders in Tucson last Saturday, I dug out “Missing Marty Haag.” What I wrote then still applies now.

The Original "Missing Marty Haag"
Part I
14 Jan 2004


I have few regrets, but they increased by one last Saturday afternoon when Marty Haag died. Although I knew him for nearly twenty years, I was probably in his presence only three times. Still, I had the inside scoop on Haag because I sleep with the media, which means I know the way a spouse can know the real deal about how bosses do their jobs.

Gary, my husband, is a Marty Haag protégé and, consequently, an award-winning, veteran television news reporter who returned to WFAA-TV after spending five grueling years as a network correspondent.

Gary is a reporter because he loves the news. Unlike what seems to be the major motivation among newcomers to TV journalism, Gary did not grow up wanting to “be on TV.” He grew up wanting to "do the news."That makes him Old School, a relic from “the Marty Haag era.”

The Marty Haag Era: back when news reporters pressed hard and dug deep for the story; when managing the news was about more than ensuring the sanctity of the shareholders’ investments or inflating ad revenues; when “news” wasn’t something that got on the air mainly because decision makers could imagine an event happening to them, their relatives, friends, and neighbors, or others who looked--almost always and only--like them.

Marty reigned over an elite crew whose relentless energy fueled the pace and passion surging through the newsroom. “If it bleeds, it leads” was the office joke, not the universal news standard and ratings winner many count on it to be today. Marty’s shop was always #1 because his people didn’t know any other way to be.

Even more impressively, they didn’t have to think about being #1, plot it out, or pay big money to consultants to gather test audiences to suss out color schemes.

In their beloved, frenetic newsroom community (which always looked like chaos to me!), Marty demanded better than his staff’s best and backed them up with whatever they needed to do their job. He shaped the values and careers of journalists who are, today, newsroom leaders at virtually every television station in this city, throughout this state, across the country, and whose influence extends around the world.

Listening to throngs of people gathered in his name and sharing their “Marty stories” all across the city last Tuesday, it hit me hard: twenty-five years ago, Marty Haag did what nobody had else in the country had done. He hired the best people in the business and created a newsroom that looked like and reflected the best of America. That was what made him—and them—truly #1.

Haag accomplished back then what the majority of this nation’s decision makers still refuse to do. He did it without chest-thumping and, apparently, without asking permission.

Now, racial amnesia seems to have sucked the memory of why print and broadcast newsrooms, and therefore newscasts and newspapers, look they way they do. For anyone serious about dismantling these racially homogeneous workplaces, Marty Haag’s protégés of color are glittering testimony to his brilliant sense of business and ethics.

To name a few, at Channel 8, award-winning African American and Latino journalists shaped by Haag and now at the top of their game, include anchors John McCaa and Gloria Campos; senior news reporters Gary Reaves and Anna Martinez; executive producer Marjorie Ford; and Chief Photographer Cliff Williams; at Channel 11, anchor Michael Hill; at Channel 5, news manager John Jenkins.

On the national front, a tiny pool of African American TV executives are all Marty Haag people: Paula Madison, President and General Manager of KNBC-TV and Regional General Manager for NBC/​Telemundo in Los Angeles; Drew Barry, General Manager for WMAQ-TV, the Baltimore Scripps Howard affiliate; and Janet Johnson in Atlanta, Senior Vice President for the Weather Channel.

John Seigenthaler Sr. is an esteemed dean of print journalism and a Haag peer. Former editor, publisher, and CEO of Nashville’s The Tennesseean and a founding editor of USA Today, Seigenthaler is also white and a Southerner. In his personal essay in my book, When Race Becomes Real: Black and White Writers Confront Their Personal Histories, Seigenthaler admits that he struggles “to understand the…racial intolerance…so dominant in [the South] for so many years.” Then he goes on to say:

Racial profiling, police brutality, pink lining, affirmative action and voter disenfranchisement continue to challenge journalists to explore and expose issues more subtle than the blatant segregation that once provoked street demonstrations and evoked the strains of “We Shall Overcome.”

There was a time when I listened to that anthem and wondered whether “they” would, indeed, ever overcome. Now I wonder whether we all will. http:/​/​www.siupress.com

All the emotion-choked outpourings and laughter that laced the grief Marty’s crew shared this week added up to a single message: From now on, in the work those they do every day, Marty lives.

Marty's tribe was part of an authentic American newsroom. He challenged the way journalists—reporters, photographers, producers, staff, and newsroom managers—perceive and report stories, period, and most definitely stories involving race.

Marty Haag didn’t just wonder about overcoming. He did it.

I’m really, really, really missing Marty Haag.

PART II. Still Missing Marty Haag
(11 Jan 2011)

Seven years ago, Nann Goplerud also wrote her ”Tribute to Marty Haag.” Posted on the Poynter Institute’s website, Goplerud chronicled her and her colleagues’ mutual love and admiration for Haag:

Marty demanded the best from his staff. His expectations were high, his devotion to the craft of journalism even higher.

He expected us to read and understand the community and world around us. He expected us to work our beats. He expected us to generate good ideas. He expected us to be great storytellers. He expected us to be courageous. He expected us to be first. Mostly, he expected us to be right.

http:/​/​www.poynter.org/​uncategorized/​20308/​a-tribute-to-marty-haag/​

Imagine that today: Courageous reporters with good ideas who're first on the scene, telling great stories framed by their knowledge of their community and the world, required to get it right.

Imagine reporters working to those standards, breaking the news of the Tucson massacre, that ironically unfolded on the anniversary of Marty Haag's death.

Instead, as I posted on Facebook last Saturday:

I feel like I'm playing one of those multi-level chess games, you know, where one layer is stacked on top of the other and you're playing them all simultaneously because the other thing that keeps slapping me upside the head throughout all this is the maleness and the whiteness of the reporting/​commentator field for all of this coverage.

I mean, WTF?!!

What happened to the sistas doing the news? (Even the young blondes with the valley girl cadences on the mic ain't gettin no play in this one.)

What happened to the reporters/​commentators of color?

I just saw Christiane Amanpour, my girl with solid creds honed in death spots globally, all glammed up on ABC News, babbling something inane.

And Pierre Thomas, a fine brotha, did a package right before Amanpour where he was listing the common characteristics of the deluge of mass murderers since the VA Tech massacre.

What did Thomas list? "Young, angry, troubled, and with a gun."

What did he completely sidestep? "White, male."

But I can't be too hard on the brotha. He's got editors (do I need to say "white network news editors"?) and he's tryinta keep his job. Apparently, that goes for Amanpour, too.

Seven years later to the day, I repeat: I'm really, really, really missing Marty Haag.


From the Archives
(September 2009

I had planned to delete all of the comments below. But then I decided there's real value in these first person, unabridged responses delivered well into the 21st Century.

For those who claim we live in a post-racial America, read these posts...and think again.

Knocks & Kudos

All reader responses are reproduced verbatim and are posted in the order they are received. Names are included where website visitors who post here have chosen to include their names. All email messages are identified by the sender's initials.


Steeped in Stupid
(Excerpt from a Commentary by Bernestine Singley)
"When reading about last week's controversy over white University of Texas law students who threw a "Ghetto Fabulous" party, I found myself equal parts despairing and outraged about what hasn't changed.

"Not even three months into their first year of study, these aspiring lawyers, perhaps so stressed by the rigors of their studies, went looking for a way to chill. And what did the cream of Texas' intellectual crop come up with? A party mocking the black and brown urban poor -- complete with 40-ounce cans of malt liquor, fake guns, "ethnic" names, do-rags, jeweled grills on their front teeth, and loud jewelry.

"Fully tricked out, UT's best and brightest young white adults didn't hesitate to use overtly racist images and behavior for a bit of fun and frivolity. Not surprisingly, some of the black and brown law students weren't so happy when photos of the party showed up on the Internet, and this private party for white folks suddenly became very public." Read the entire Houston Chronicle Op Ed, October 17, 2006

Ghetto Fabulous Party
Readers Respond

Oh, it is amazing how little distance we have come from "some of my best friends are Negroes." I had a judge tell me that when he asked me if I was "trying to Jew him down" on someone's bail, that the phrase had no racial animus. But, of course, your Honor.

What your article lacks, in my opinion, is some remedy or resolution to the indictment. Given what the jackasses did, what should be the consequence? It is your task to answer that question ... and I'm sure you know that. Can you send a few of the offensive photos that appeared on line ... or direct me to them? Have you seen any of the blatantly racist attacks on Deval Patrick couched as attacks on those whom he chose to defend.

Not by rage alone darlin' ...
--B.R.T.--


Dear Ms. Singley,
Please accept my apologies for the stupid and racist U of Texas law students. There is no excuse, no explanation, no "boys will be boys" (by the way, were there any women?) statement that can explain away the absolute crudeness of this event, and more important, the effect upon you and your community. I'm so very sorry.

I assume you've seen the below, but if not:
http:/​/​www.counterpunch.org/​jensen10162006.html
--C.P.--


I think it is a bit unfair to lay blame wholly at the feet of the students throwing the party. True it was crass and tasteless but they are only mimicing behavior put forth by a segment of black society. It would be just as crude to throw a "white trash" party where everyone puts on their ugliest trucker hat and Lynrd Skynrd T shirt and drinks cans of Lone Star beer. It would seem that the only real difference between the two is color. Both of these stereotypes do not exist in a vacuum. It would be more productive to address the issues of social class that these "parties" raise. What we really have here is affluent young people mocking the lower classes, and
that's a real problem.
--W.G.J.K.


I was a waiter for a number years working for affairs that were white, Jewish and Roman Catholic; being a black waiter I was like the invisible man and the things I heard these people say about others who were not of their group would never make the morning paper.
--J.H.--


Ms. Singley- I would like to thank you for your insightful and, I believe, largely correct, analysis of the "Ghetto Fabulous" party held at UT.
Sometime last year an article came out in the Washington Post which described a similar party which occurs weekly in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
As a white person myself, I was really surprised to discover that other white, well educated, self-proclaimed "liberals" (though probably not progressive/​radical) thought this was a reasonable way to behave. In response to your question "Who is accountable for producing this next generation of lawyers who have become adults steeped in such racial
oblivion that they have no sense or sensibility about their own profoundly offensive and racist behavior?" you say, "Their grandparents? Parents? Other relatives? Teachers? College professors? Religious leaders? Friends and colleagues?"

Unfortunately I would add to this list the media, and the racist American government/​legal system (sorry, I know you're a lawyer). As a student of sociology, I tend to think it's not a good idea to "individualize" the problem and put the blame on particular parents, teachers, etc. I think this is clearly a social problem, and therefore we need to look at the
larger, structural factors that produce such racist behavior.

Thanks again for the article.
--E.F.--


Xlnt article.....and really zeros in on the young today.....The kids today are lazy do nothings...and this example of blatant racist actions is typical.....so f- ing stupid and blatant.....as you say...these are not kids...they are adults....
I'm an old activist from the Civil Rights/​Women's Movements ...we were college age...and we were demonstrating/​protesting/​working for change all the time.....Today the young are apathetic/​non involved/​non interested ...care nothings...The youth of today pi$$ me and other "old" activists off........Sad to say the "lazy/​do nothing label applies to both blacks and whites....

That party was a disgusting display of ignorance....I don't care how "smart" they claim to be............

Thanks for a "right on" article Bernestine !
--J.P.--


I liked how you used intellectualism - intellectual arguments, to illustrate - bring out, common sense observations. Very nice article.
--D.M.--


'Twas a nice piece on a nasty subject.

I don't know if my take on it will cheer you up or not.

The US population has been subjected to some intense pro-rich/​anti-poor propaganda over the last several decades, ever since we freaked our masters back in the 60's. (Barbara Ehrenreich wrote what I found to be a pretty enlightening recap of that, I think it was in _Fear of Falling_, set in a perspective that fit right into what I knew and changed everything--even though I'd lived through it all, wondering all the time "Wha happened?")

Racial/​ethnic prejudices make an effective vicious circle together. True, successful black people dress twice as respectable as their white counterparts and still get pulled over and huffed-at. But economic
prejudices and fears put edge on the stereotypes, increase the hostility that comes out in such encounters. And racial hostilities exacerbate the
authorities' ongoing war against poor people, increase the common misperception that these people are "some other kind of being" and hence fair game.

White would-be professionals who have just put in some years of unpaid mental shitwork in hopes of "making something of themselves" in this
increasingly inhumane, senseless and insecure economic world... What do you suppose goes on in their beady little heads?
1) They put a high value on economic 'success'.
2) They can't know if they're going to get any, and if they don't, it'll turn their desperately cultivated self-image to crud. (They ain't at
Harvard!)
3) They have been trained to dispise poverty and poor people, while the goodies they want are precisely the same goodies that the poor of the world won't get, if they 'succeed'. (Yes, they know it's a zero-sum
arrangement.) So there's always the risk that they could feel guilty. They want to keep that a very small risk.
4) Among their defenses against #3 are stereotypes of ghetto life that enable them to tacitly _envy_ poor people. (!!!!!!) (~"Maybe they've had to sell dope and turn tricks, but they haven't had to go to law school and end up working for sleezy corporations!")

Maybe those people would be willing to roll over for some lessor charge? I don't imagine they're worth the cost of a jury trial. And there's always a chance they'll go straight...
--F.C.--


A Ghetto fabulous party is the epitome of racism? Give me a break. These kids (and yes as college students, I will refer to them as kids) were having a masquerade. I'll bet they were drinking too. That is also immature behavior. I think you were too quick to try and trump with the racism card here. Have a look at BET some night - watch all the coolest videos. Gangsta! Hoods and Cars and Grills and booty's bumpin' Welcome to the new cool. People emulating this are not de-facto racists because what they
mimiced is black! It is disgusting that we have let this (or any) segment of our society down so that their 'fair shake' can come as easily from toting a 45 as it could from an incentive to higher education. That to drink from a bottle-bag is a slow poison method of dealing with the inequities of the REAL world, is a problem we could be addressing at its roots. Don't sit back and feign shock at bullshit like this. Look at the shape our country is in and what shape that is putting the world in. Then make a
fuss that will make a difference - you have voice enough that I could hear you - put it to some good.
--M.T.S.--


Just what would you have the University do about a "Ghetto Fabulous Party" other than denounce it, which they did? Are you suggesting that we deny these students their right to free speech, however offensive? What would the ACLU say? Were you against the depiction in New York City of the excrement-smeared Madonna? How offensive do you think that was?

I'm afraid that "your case" is riddled with logical errors, does not hold rhetorical water, and is inherently offensive.
--J.S.--


I am a nerdy old white boy, raised in Gulfport, Miss. By age 18 I understood how truly oppressed blacks have been in the US.What I have never understood is how blacks have remained so accepting of their treatment.The white poor are just as bad.Lord,I yeaen for a little social justice.I am 64 with a bad heart.I do not think I will ever see the day. I dreamed. I fought. I marched.I will die a crochety old cynic angry at our oppressers, but exceedingly more sorrowful regarding the weak ,pitiful response my generation has offered to these asses.Be well
--L.D.--


Loved it. Keep kickin' 'em!
--K.N.--


Just what would you have the University do about a "Ghetto Fabulous Party" other than denounce it, which they did? Are you suggesting that we deny these students their right to free speech, however offensive? What would the ACLU say? Were you against the depiction in New York City of the excrement-smeared Madonna? How offensive do you think that was?

I'm afraid that "your case" is riddled with logical errors, does not hold rhetorical water, and is inherently offensive.
--J.F.


I agree, completely.
--M.C.—


Well done! I hadn't heard about this. What an outrage. It's all so
discouraging. I also just saw a post on www.blackprof.com about it.
--K.R.B.—


I read it this evening at www.commoindreams.org. I am a 69 year married middle class white woman. I most certainly agree with the points you made in your article, and I find it all very depressing. I am a member of our local City Council. At our most recent bi-weekly meeting, I requested that the City Manager order our local police department to stop identifying by race those arrested who are Hispanic and African-American, when they do not identify by race those arrested who are white (whatever that is). It never ends.
--R.I.—


Maybe instead of focusing on what the 'white boys' are doing, you should be concentrating on the root causes of the 'ghetto fabulous' mentality. That term was not coined by whites, nor was it around 30 years ago.
With the Love of Jesus,
--B.T.—


Ms Singley,
Yes! and thank you.
--T.D.—


Bernestine. I agree wholeheartedly that the law students who dressed up as people associated with "ghetto life" (black and brown individuals) knew very well that they were mocking people of color. The University by its defense of the students is not fessing up to the problems that these party goers have. They and the party goers are of the belief that by assuming the identity of people of color and the stereotypes assumed for many to possess that they were "just having good clean fun." But at whose expense are they having a party? As you rightfully point out, they beat out the competition so they must be smart. Well, I know many smart people who are also racist so I do not think it is a matter of intelligence only. It is also a matter of class privlege and white privlege. I am not living in Texas but in the so called liberal Bay Area of California. We are supposedly very politically correct in California but this is also the state that elected Reagan, Dukmajean, Wilson and now The Grabinator (Arnold Sh-----). He recently made a statement that brown follks were hot tempered because they have a mixture of African and Indian blood in them. This kind of racist nonsense goes on all the time. My wife is watching Eyes on the Prize in the next room and I cannot help but ponder that even though we have come a long way in the fight against raciam and social equality, in many ways our society is just as bigoted and racist as we were when segregation was the law of the land. Thank you for your article and for reading my rant.
--S.B.--
Some of my colleagues that are white would probably comment "what's the matta, S___, can't you take a joke?"


Hello Bernestine,
I have grown up in Europe and live now in Australia, so I probably am not
aware of all the issues tha play in your article.
But where those students not basically using the all present theme in rap
videos for their party? Wouldn't it be more appropriate to chastize the
media for romantisising the life in the Ghetto?
Was this party not the mere reflection of how the black gettho community
is depicted in music?
If I look from the outside then you can't think but that those rappers
have it quite good. Parties, beautiful women, lots of money.
So as student that whole image looks quite attractive, especially aspiring
lawyers.
Again I stand by my disclaimer that I am not aware of all sentiments and
issues.
Regards,
--M.H.—


Is that all you have to do.
Who cares..
--D.—


It seems that the U. of Texas students have hit on a fabulous solution. No one likes to be made into a laughingstock and a joke. Just the perfect way to show the sick depraved little street-thug wannabe's how absolutely despicable their behavior truly is. By the way, it's white kids who overwhelmingly celebrate this lifestyle, or perhaps you didn't notice who buys most of the pro-violence "rap" garbage that passes for music with their kind. I think I'll start planning our own local "Ghetto Fabulous" party for Holloween this year. Maybe the local street punks will be so embarrassed they'll pull up their pants so we don't have to look at their underwear. By the way, what are you trying to do, set the ground-work for some kind of class-action lawsuit?
--M.H.—
(Different M.H. than one above.)


I agree with you. Unfortunately, the rich are totally disconnected from the realities and values of the rest of us. There is a class war in America--but no one wants to recognize it.
--J.C.—


Sounds like bill cosby is right.
--E.—


Don't you think it was we lawyers who failed them? They can't help but pick up the signals we're sending out.
Lynn Stewart got a 27-month sentence yesterday for doing her job as a lawyer. The legal profession didn't rise up on her behalf. The navy lawyer who beat the government in the Hamdan case got passed over and tossed out of the Navy. The legal profession said nothing. Lawyers were heard briefly when the ABA declared that Bush signing statements are unconstitutional and a betrayal of his oath, but the bar shut up promptly, took no action whatsoever against the lawyers who draft these statements, and hasn't been heard from since the release of its weak remonstrance.
The latest affront is the enactment of the military commissions law. This amounts to a military takeover, contrary to every law and principle ever expounded in our courts, and lawyers stand silent. Nothing from Dershowitz. No criticism from Taylor or Totenberg or Kmiec or Starr or Giuliani. Nader will say something, probably, but he probably won't have any unkind words for lawyers. Even Ratner doesn't condemn the profession for its indulgence in rogue government.
Today's lawyers (and I'm one) act like a band of outlaws. Misbehaving law students simply follow our unprincipled lead.
--S.F.--


Good Morning!

While I agree with your position, and concerns..........I hope you look at another issue here........

The ghetto fabulous culture is alive and well in the inner city........and it needs to be condemned by such educated people of african american descent as yourself in my not so humble opinion anymore.........
Black culture is getting sold out..once again.......the videos of today portray black women as a piece of ass...nothing more ...really.if your not offended by that, i would be surprised...........
And usually, its some white guy filming this crap and making money off it..........
this is sending a message to the kids, all of them, in the world, since everyone everywhere sees this stuff now thanks to the internet and global communications, that this is black culture........
its not........i dont think it is........
Are you upset about that?
I am the father of a bi-racial boy, who will be treated like a black man in this country because of his complexion, and i had to chew out his mom and grandma because they werent paying attention to him and his cousins one day and they were watching this crap and my then 7 year old hears and says the word or phrase nigazzs like its ok.........you concerned about that? and the effect that the children of the world are shown and taught that this is black culture?
Your culture is being hijacked.......I sure hope your complaining about that.......
If you, and educated african americans dont complain loudly enough about it, expect more ghetto fabulous parties to continue, because people are making this shit up..........
i complain about it, but i get tired of being called a racist by ignorant people of color, and white liberals who are to condescending(to blacks usually) to understand me..........
Just had to vent......thank you
--D.C.—


I enjoyed your article and as a White Boy raised in Georgia I agree with you. They are not kids and knew exactly what they were doing. As to who should be blamed with their conduct , look no further than our " anti-moral " education system. Their conduct is evidence our institutions have failed to train children in responsible conduct to their fellow man. While you might not agree in the "Ten Commandments" or treating others as you would want to be treated , practicing them certainly helps preserve social structure.
--C.R.K.—


Ms. Singley,

Let me preface my statements and question with a little context about
who I am, so that my comments do not leave you with an incorrect
impression. I am a 42 yo, African American single father of 4,
including three teen sons and a 10yo daughter. I am originally from the
South Bronx, NYC and grew up there mostly. I grew up poor, and in an
environment that offered lots of opportunities for me to go wrong. I
mention this because when I look back, the one guiding principle
(besides reading A LOT) that I think made a huge differences for me was
that I never focused on what other people thought about me... And that
goes for other African Americans who DID consider it "acting white" to
get good grades or endeavor to speak Standard English (as well as
maintaining the ability to speak like everybody around me in my
neighborhood..."code switching".) as well as "white" teachers, guidance
counselors etc. I never focused on other people's expectations of me.
I set high expectations of MYSELF... Along with that, I luckily realized
that NOBODY can hold me back, if I am of a mind to do something. That
is because I come from a long line of survivors.... By definition. I
come from powerful stock. Unfortunately, I didn't have the money to
finish college, and didn't realize I had other options, so instead, I
went into the Navy for 10 years, where I learned IT as a trade, and
after leaving the military have been lucky enough to rise through the
ranks in a corporation that puts more emphasis on my abilities than on
my lack of a college degree. I am now their IT Director.

If I were the type of person who worried about a bunch of "white" law
students making fun of how some other African Americans choose to
dress... I would have been stopped a long time ago by feelings of
despair and hopelessness. Instead, I was lucky enough realize early
that I can neither control nor influence significantly what the majority
of other African Americans do, how they dress, or pretty much anything
else. (I sometimes wish I could, frankly...especially my teen sons who
like most love to wear their pants hanging off their butts). But I
can't.... So, along with that, I have learned to not take offense on
behalf of others and the choices they make. Those are not my choices,
and do not reflect upon me. Because I CHOOSE to take that attitude.

So my question to you is twofold:

1) Why do you feel the need to take offense on behalf of people for whom
those stereotypes are valid? Let's face it: All you have to do is turn
on 106th and Park or any youth oriented hip-hop show and you will within
minutes see attitudes and choices reflected that I'm sure don't conform
to your choices. Images that are probably VERY accurately depicted by
those "white" law students.

2) Do you get as upset when you see the REAL characterizations (the
"black" folks with 40s, blunts, doo-rags, etc) ...as you did when you
saw the caricatures of those "white" law students?
--F.D.W.—


I’m sickened.
--B&G—


Bravo…dead on indictment…marvelous statement…Thank you…
--P.W.—


I don't know where I have been, but this is the first I had heard of this "Ghetto Fabulous Party." And your telling of the tale is thoughtul and insiteful. I was thinking of the "dress-up" parties I attended as a young adult in the early 70's. I know that I dressed up as Kathleen Cleaver one time, wearing a military shirt, a tiki, and a "natural" wig (I am white). I thought it was telling that so many of my friends didn't recognize me and talked to me in a stilted, overly-polite way, showing their inadvertant racism.

But, I also find myself wondering about the people who DO dress themselves in these costumes that to me make them appear ridiculous. The outrageously over-sized clothing, crazily expensive shoes, jewelry that is austentatious, all this stuff that just looks like costumes for people bound for nothing else but prison. And, these indivuduals are black. And, often, rich! When someone dresses up like a clown, how can they expect to be looked at with respect?

Back in the 70's, black people started growing out their hair naturally. To me, it looked beautiful. Dressing more naturally and even tribally, expressed respect for themselves and each other. It seemed an expression of dignity (as well as rebellion).

But, these guys today are a travesty. All they are is tricked out consumers, literally wearing their price tags on their sleeves. Objects for derision, distain, seemingly militant in their objectifying of themselves. They invite charicature. Rich black men who have it made and can do whatever they want, then choose to act and dress like pimps and playahs do not evoke respect.

Maybe in addition to being rascist assholes, the law students were acting out their ambivalence - their attraction/​disgust in coming to terms with the fact that these people are destined to be some of their best clients.

It's a warped world now. So sad. The dream has become a nightmare from which we can't awaken. This is just one more aspect of our generation for which we can be ashamed, and look at the next one with horror.
--P.C.—


Humor transcends all inventions, intellectual or otherwise, and
lampooning outrageous social behavior is certainly fair game.
On the other hand, they're only law students ... what else should one
expect?
--D.M.—


I certainly understand your position, but theme parties have been going on at colleges for a long time. “G’s and Hustlas”, “Pimps and Hos”, “White Trash Parties”, I’ve been to all of them. They’re stupid fun, and I don’t think that satirizing the behavior of “ganstas” or “pimps” is an overtly racist act. It’s not making fun of African-Americans, it’s making fun of types of behavior portrayed constantly in film and music. Just thought I would give the perspective of an idiot party guy who doesn’t think that dressing up like a moron and having some drinks makes me some kind of racist. I mean, don’t you think gold grilles look ridiculous?
Respectfully,
--M.M.—


Do you think Hollywood is Racist?
--T.F.—


Bernestine Singley-

i was recently forwarded your article "Ghetto Fabulous Party' Steeped in Stupid" and unfortunetly i could relate all too well. As a white person i grew up basically my whole life in a white suburb that (unkown to me at the time) people constantly mocked poor urban Black and brown existance. Flowing between outright stealing culture to simply mocking it, that was the background in which i was raised.

Coming to a "liberal" and "diverse" school, i thought it would be different. But the more things change the more they stay the same. Recently i found a profile for a Black toy doll on the college online social site facebook. i am ashamed to say it was made by some of my friends. It was one of the most disgusting and racist things i have seen coming from people i associate with.

Me and some of my friends looked at it last night in disgust and anger. Initially i wrote a response that was equivalent to an end to my friendship with these people. It is something that i need to decide if that is what i want to do.

However after reading your article i think i might send it to them. It sums up the disgusting racist nature of what they are saying so very well. And it is much more elogant and thought-out than my rant.

i especially like when you ask who is responsible. You then go on to question if friends are responsible. i like this because i feel that as i try to be white ally in the fight against white supremacy, that it is my job first and foremost to confront racist whites head-on. To hopefully stop some of the pain you speak of in your article...

i am sorry this was so long, but i was truly moved by your piece. We forwarded it around to other people who are equally as outraged at this profile. It was so suiting and i think you for it.

Solidarity,
--R.N.D.--


I recently read your article which was posted on commondreams.org. The description of the party reads to be a spoof on 95% of the rap videos out today. Perhaps this is the problem. These rap videos are really easy to poke fun at and if one does not see the humor in them, then I would believe that's the real problem. To word it better, the videos and life style shown in these videos is not funny as it perpetuates stereotypes, however that is the image and if one doesn't see it as inherently stupid to portray this then they are missing the issue. In my opinion making fun of this is not wrong, it is simple parody.

This being said...if the party really was an exclusively white party, that is the real issue right? None other than whites were invited, is this correct? Because that is unacceptable.

The causal issue, which is the real issue that needs to be corrected and straightened out is the term "ghetto fabulous" and the image that is associated with it. This demographic of law students does fall into the group that watches music videos. These white students know these rap videos, and if the are indeed the least bit intelligent as they should be, they would see them for what they are: something that ten years from now will be made fun of and disregarded as non sense. Taking the videos seriously would be the real problem.

Now all that being said, the real issue is throwing a "white" party. That is wrong and that should be the issue examined.
Sincerely,
--A.D.—


I am an attorney in las vegas, and I have been in practice for 24 years. Even though you claim to be a lawyer, your hypocrisy and illogic surprises me. You complain that white students at a party act in a discriminatory fashion for their personal entertainment, while ignoring the fact of our law, which discriminates against whlte males (that are not perverts) at the local, state, and federal level, and which places self-designated "minorities" in jobs that they do not merit, over more qualified white males (that are not perverts).
Obviously unlike you, my hero was Reverend Martin Luthur King, who, if alive today would have been honest enough to denounce our overtly racist laws, and their poverty pimp godfather, jesse jackson, as Reverend King's goal was to remove race from the field entirely-not to establish a "new world order" of racial and sexual preferences. How can a practicing racist like you denounce racism, hmm? To the extent Reverend King failed after his death is the extent that black folks have been the victims of liberal ideas. To a lesser extent, Bill Cosby has been trying to tell this to black folks now, but he has been ruthlessly attacked by people like you for being an "Uncle Tom", all because he tells truths that people like you know to be true in your heart but do not want to hear.
Finally, look around you, if you have not lost all reason: our Constitution is replaced by the personal destructive preferences of liberal judges, and this has lead to tyranny, chaos, madness, and this will, by necessity, get worse, until it will be illegal for me to present these ideas to you. People like you are already putting Christians in Jail (e.g., Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, San Francisco), while people like you ignore over 1 million black Christimas killed (and still being killed) by Muslims in Sudan, as we speak. I guess that kind of real prejudice does not interest you, huh?
From a real attorney that lives in the real world.
--M.R.—


Do you think all the black commedians who mock the ghetto life style are
rascist? Wouldn't going after nationally exposed rasicim be a better
way of attacking the problem
--M.T.—


Looks great. I'll be interested in seeing the responses to it as people try to explain
why these future Justices of the Texas Supreme Court and Court of Criminal
Appeals really were guilty of nothing more than momentary lapses of
judgment... And will thus now walk away from this incident more aware of
their obligations to bring an open and fair mind to the "bar" of justice.
---J.M.—


Excellent.
--N.F.—


Bernestine,

You may recall that students at Highland Park High School did something similar for Halloween in 2005. I think there was a recent article in the DMN indicating that HP students would tone down this year's event. My, my if this is an example of our finest what does this say about the United States' role in educating and transforming the world.

I had an great professor, Ski Hunter, at the U of TX at Arlington Graduate School of Social Work in 1975. She told our class that "white people are the source of racism, and until we do something about it, racism will continue to haunt our country." I'm paraphrasing, but that was the gist of my white professor's statement. You know I wonder where have all the good white professors gone, like Howard Zinn and Dr. _____ Linn when I was a freshman at Spelman College in 1962.

In 1903, W.E.B. DuBois wrote in The Souls of Black Folk that "the problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color-line, - the relation of the darker to the lighter races of men in Asia and Africa, in America and the islands of the sea." Here we are 103 years later and the problem of the color-line continues to be a major issue in the twenty-first century.

My hat is off to the black and Latino law students who confronted authority about this recent demeaning event at UT. Hallelujah! When a group of people make a conscious decision to mimic or harm another group they need to be able to take the heat or get out of the kitchen. The legacy of Al Jolsen, in blackface, singing "'My Mammy" lives on in 2006 with whites imitating some hip-hop musicans and hip-hop lifestyles of some of this countries African Americans. Too bad the white UT Law students couldn't imitate Senator Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Tavis Smiley, Gwen Ifel, General Colin Powell, Condoleeza Rice, or Faria Chideya. If they are going do black face 2006 why not be dapper like the late attorney, Johnnie Cochran. Oops, I forgot the are not interested in uplifting the race, just degrading the race.
--E.R.—



Bernestine:

Get a grip! Let's ask a legal style question. What law did they break?
Or maybe you'd prefer a racist style lynching in the manner of the kids
(white) at Duke? Have you written any columns about that sewer?

Was their conduct offesnsive? Clearly it was to the likes of you - and
I'm not refering to your color. As a lawyer (as I am) you should know that
we have a right in this country to be offensive. In fact I find your column
offensive.
Instead of criticising the environment of the UT law school, perhaps you
should focus your attention on truly criminal behavior - the football teams
at the University of Miami and Florida International University. As near as
I can tell all of the players involved in this wonderful display of
sportsmanship were black. Maybe you could address the culture that gives
rise to such barbaric and repugnant behavior in the future.
Have a nice day
---D.E.---


Dear Steeped:
I don't care about their stupid party. I'm sick of hearing liberals wackos bitch about racism.
I don't care about racism. If you don't like racism, then go have intercourse with yourself.
'Cuz I don't care.
How about doing something useful instead, like telling the urban poor to learn how to read and write and get jobs instead of shooting each other to death at the drop of a do-rag!!!
The problems of blacks and others of race, gender, and sexual orientation are not caused by stupid racist law students getting drunk at stupid parties. Their problems are caused by their own irresponsible choices. Go bitch at them.
--J.S.—


Ms. Singley,

Thanks for a great article. Your point proves my theory about White
Americans, they are inherently racist and in denial of the over all
negative effects (legacy of slavery) of the privileges that have been
allowed all classes of "White Americans" in this country. As an
African-American female born in the early 60's to a Mid West
(progressive middle class) Black family, I am outraged at the state of
this Nation when it comes to Black people, discrimination and
institutionalized racism that continues to polarizes the basic rights
of Black people. Land of the free ?? Home of the brave?? Maybe if you
are White. Not to mention the amount of our young Black males either
dead or in jail in the prime of their lives. I am grateful for the
privileges that have been afforded me as an educated, attractive and
spiritual Black American women, however in sight of the overall well
being of my AA brothers and sisters, I once again stand outraged. I am
currently writing a book, somewhat memoir, academic, expose of my
experience in this country. Yes I have lot's to say. I have been
doing a personal study and survey on how average people look at the
term race. I ask 3 questions; What is your cultural identity? What
is your ethnic identity? What is your racial identity? I have given
this survey to hundreds of High School and College students here in
Hawaii over the past several years. My point is that most people don't
understand they belong to the Human Race and that we are more similar
than we are different regardless of our ethnicity and cultural
background and history. It is my hope that once a human under and over
stands this principal of unity not separation, they join in the quest
of making this world a more humane place full of human beings that
actual take care of each other. I know it's a lofty notion, however I
refuse wholeheartedly to believe any other way.
Aloha,
--L.R.—


Miss Singley,

You and the 'black and brown students' are upset by the white UT students throwing a party mimicking the black gangsta/​thug/​pimp/​dealer stereotype.

Instead of being offended by white UT students making fun of that stereotype, why don't you channel your disgust toward those who the UT students are mimicking? Or is it that you aren't concerned with the images (good or bad) of your own race? After all, it's so much easier to cry about others slighting you than it is to right your own wrongs.

Quite obviously, you all have missed the entire point of their party, and have instead fallen back on the generations-taught mantra of black America: 'it's all the white man's fault.'

Look within your own race. Nobody is keeping blacks down anymore, except blacks. Bill Cosby is right; perhaps more blacks should pay heed to what he has to say instead of lionizing gang-bangers, drug dealers and gangsta rappers.

Respectfully,
--D.S.—



Ms. Singley,
Doubt that I will hear back from CBS news, but hope that somebody pushes this, since UT officials prefer the old smokescreen, and sweep-it-under-the-rug. Deny, deny, deny.
UT Law School has a segregationist history that had to be slapped down in 1950 by the USSC. But it lives on!
What theme for the next party: Fat White Chicks on Diet Pills? That's a recognizable stereotype where the costume could be almost any garb, with 3 pillows worn under the attire. At least, it would be clean of any racial theme.
Lawyers damned well know better; and, yes: the thing speaks for itself and should bear a burden of clear-cut liability. But hey--this is the South.
Thought about contacting Evan Smith, editor, Texas Monthly, but they have a staff (Burka and Spong, both lawyers) and don't look to lowly me for input.
Hope somebody raises hell.
Best,
--J.R.—


Ms. Singley:

I read your article captioned above, and obviously it is your opinion that since you found these students' actions offensive, everybody must find them offensive. As is customary for the easily-offended Left, you resorted to the tired old adjectives of "racist" and "offensive" numerous times when presenting your opinion, and, of course, you never missed an opportunity to point out that these were white students.

Personally, I believe that these students are entitled to "freedom of association", and if they were breaking no laws and causing no damages, other than damaged little egos, they were perfectly within their rights to enjoy their party.

Quite frankly, the "ghetto folks" with their mannerisms and dress leave themselves wide open to caricaturization such as this. If it were the "ghetto folks" who were putting on this party, these same sorts of costumes would have undoubtedly been seen, but then it would have been considered to be "cool" and part of "who they are". Of course, if the "ghetto folks" had decided to have a similar party in which they intended to caricature "rednecks" or "preppies" and had mocked the white folks, that would have been perfectly acceptable in your opinion, I am sure, and there would be no outcries of "racism" and "offensiveness".

Respect is a two-way street, and in order to merit respect, you need to have respect for others. As long as the "ghetto folks" believe it is acceptable to mock and degrade other groups, they can expect to receive the same sort of treatment in return.

Sincerely,

--D.A.A.—


Hi Ms. Singley : In 1959 , when I was 17 years old , I naively attended the Kinsman Club Minstrel Show in our small town of Simcoe , Ontario , Canada ( directly across Lake Erie from Erie,PA ). Thankfully long gone , these shows were considered to be worthy of financial support by moral,upstanding citizens because Kinsman International along with Lions Club, Kiwanis Club and of course Shriners are the benevolent organizations that fund libraries,music festivals,hospitals,swimming pools and other altruistic endeavours.

Reading your gritty expose of the legal-preschool,fratboy exhibition of consequence-unaware insensitivity reminds me that forty-seven years ago I should have stood up boldly in that auditorium and told those Al Jolson-wannabees and the audience comprised of parents of my best friends that whom they mocking were sentient human beings and mocking was wrong.

I now live in Vancouver , BC, Canada where many citizens claim Chinese,Pakistani,Indian ( India ) and First Nations ancestry. As you can expect , there are the predictable racial slurs from friends who should know better. I derive the utmost satisfaction from watching their collective mouths drop when I scold them for talking potty-mouth like five-year-olds in a sand box.

I like your Latin. My favourite is habeas corpus. Too bad we've taken it for granted .

Thank you and commondreams.com again for your bold illuminary.
--R.W.—


While I agree the party was indeed steeped in stupid, you might bear in mind
that they were making fun of a lifestyle they thought worthy of ridicule.
In fact, the poor "black and brown" people I know thought the party was
idiotic, but they also think that made-up "ethnic" names, do-rags, teeth
grills and flashy jewelry are pretty stupid as well.

Those accoutrements may not mean the same to you, but to them it says "rap
culture" which they find vulgar, disrepectful of women and dismissive of
family and work. They loathe it, and if any of their young kin show up with
signs of it, they are instantly chastised.

Regards,
--M.M.—


White folk are equally offended by rap music---racial threats and crime directed at white---welfare and welfare fraud---Touche`
--S.J.—


Bernestine!
Love your Web site! Love the fire and brimstone of your commentary! And I
especially love that you are doing a Stephen King and downloading your memoir
for free! Totally rad. I'm impressed. I look forward to it.
Thanks for keeping me posted,
--G.G.—


I read through the column "Ghetto Fabulous Party: Steeped in Stupid" column on Commondreams.org, and thought I'd add my 2 cents (or pick your favorite cliché here)

Rather than write a rebuttal, since that would imply a degree of rigorous analysis of the problem, and logic applied in its diagnosis, I thought I would re-write 2 paragraphs to illustrate how silly this issue is from the point of view of this "oppressed" minority member (me).
"Not even eight months off of SNL as a regular cast member, Eddie Murphy, perhaps so stressed by the rigors of his emerging stardom, went looking for a way to chill. And what did the most talented ex-SNL alum come up with when asked to guest host SNL December 15th, 1984? A skit mocking Caucasians called "White Like Eddie" - complete with tight butt-cheeks, an inability to dance, fully annunciating his words with a mocking accent and a evil white conspiracy not dissimilar to that espoused by Louis Farrakhan."
"Fully tricked out, Eddie didn't hesitate to use overtly racist and insensitive remarks, make-up and manners of speaking to stereotype and mock whites. This behavior was repeated in multiple stand-up shows he gave in 2 tours in both 84 and 87. Surprisingly, some of the white and other light-skinned members of the audience (and society at large) couldn't have cared less. In fact, some even continued buying his albums, seeing his movies, and going to his stand-up routines despite the fact that racial humor (mostly disparaging against whites) was a centerpiece of his act. In a puzzling development, white organizations issued no statements of protest, as it is clear that the white-devil has not been raised to walk around with a chip on their shoulder and a constant need to proclaim victim-hood. The lack of outcry over 'white-trash' parties is similarly puzzling."
A bit of irony; when members of the "black community" debase themselves with perpetuating silly stereotypes with violent images, silly looking teeth ornaments, drugs and malt-liquor, its "culture" and "dey keepin it riz-eal". When white people make fun of the image advanced by that segment of "black culture", they are racist. But Eddie Murphy isn't........strange
Sincerely,
--J.M.--
Someone whose last name would normally allow me to claim victimhood, but the lack of racism directed towards me makes me a sellout and no longer "brown"

The following responses are to the same commentary published Wed., 18 Oct 2006 in the Houston Chronicle.

Editors:
Singley's thin-skinned, paranoid, persecution-complex laden rant for a false sense of political correctness is both laughable and irrelevant to me. She needs to both lighten up and get real.
Here's what's relevant to me as an inner-city teacher: that I teach in a classroom with leaded paint peeling off the walls, with broken or cracked glass windows that let the winter chill in forcing students to wear their coats as they sit in their grafitti-covered broken-down desks, that there aren't enough funds for up-to-date science equipment or textbooks, that my desk sits in an odd place because that's the only place the roof doesn't leak, that no parents show up for parent-teacher conferences or open houses (many don't even know if or where their kids are attending school), that when the social worker makes home visits a parent or guardian will often run out the back door; that outside the foggy windows we can witness the construction of a tax-subsidized sports stadium for millionaire ballplayers and their billionaire owners.
Take that chip off your shoulder editors and Bernistine and lets get real. (By the way, most of my students wear do-rags, use ethnic names, wear loud jewelery, carry weapons, deal drugs, do not value education, and have no support systems at home.) And your plan to address this is to rag on about a "Ghetto Fabulous Party"? Gee, just the publicity we need!
---R.P.—

I'm white and I won't go to Texas. Stupidity is just too rampant there. I'm a
musician who used to do a lot of touring, but I finally had to refuse any
tour that meant even one gig in Texas...yes, even the so-called "sophisticated"
towns. There are some good-looking people there, but every last one of them is
dumb as dirt.
--M.C.—

I read your article.
You are living in an ivory tower. You are a lawyer and associate with
college educated blacks. Take a drive around the city of Hartford. Go
through the North End where most blacks live, and drive by any Hartford
school when it is letting out.
You will see all the stereotypical "thug" trappings that upset you so much.
It is the norm, not the exception. Today's black youth in the cities thinks
it is in a rap video. They are unaware of the civil rights struggle made by
people before they were born. This includes white people like myself.

I saw blacks make great strides in the Sixties, Seventies, and Eighties. Now
with the hip-hop generation, they have set themselves back 50 years.
--T.G.—

From one writer to another, that was a striking,
well-crafted piece. Thank you.
--S.L.—


Bernestine Singley,
What you say might have a little truth to it but what do you say to the
musical world. In this world where the images is embedded into the minds
of our society, they have no problem with showing the images of urban poor.
They have no problems with the 40 ounce malt liquor cans or any other type
of alcohol beverages, in these musical videos they are waving around or
showing off of fake guns, they are speaking or shouting out their ethic
names or even giving themselves these names, I do not see refusing to wear
those do-rags on their heads, I saw no one preventing them from buying
those loud jewelry or having jeweled grills or even have their bodies
tattoos all over their bodies.
It must be nice to have one group of peoples to blame all of your problems
on and dissolves yourself of all blame for the type casting that you get
due to this one group of people. This blame game that is used or the racist
card is getting old. You have the power to change things for yourself that
is if you want to change things for your self. No one can do it for you
accept your self. As long as you disrespect your self then it will be hard
for other to do it. Everything starts with what you want as a person and if
you fail to pull yourself up then you are the only one to blame if you fail
to step forward. Success in ones life has many meanings or values that you
can use to define your success. It is not always shown by your flashy cars,
jewelry, clothes or the house you live in but in the entertainment world
this is what shown to define this or use to measure our society with.
There have only been a few who has stand up and said that the poor urban
might be their own enemy and that some of their problems is the images that
they display for themselves to the world.
--T.J.W.—


Good article.
Will you share with me your thoughts about what it is that causes such highly educated and successful students to act in such a manner?
--K.D.—


Ms. Singley -

I am not a lawyer. I am a 58 year old female who resides in Texas. I just read your comments regarding the UT law school partygoers impersonating the partying black and brown. The students need to be corrected for their actions. They certainly should have known better.

I don't think they were making fun of all blacks - I really don't. . . only those who make a spectacle of themselves. The correction of these law students will not change the loud behavior, defiant remarks toward whites, disrespect toward women, and the general sloppy appearance of some black youths (rich and poor). I was taught that even if you were born poor, you could still respect yourself and your appearance and work to become something positive in the community. The day rebellious punks raise their pants to their waistlines where one doesn't have to look at their underwear; quit grabbing their privates; develop some manners; learn to speak the King's English; that's the day they will command my respect.

I commend you for your accomplishments. You can list your credentials and titles a mile long, but it doesn't change the actions and influence of some youth of your color. We all as individuals (black and white) must take responsibility for ourselves - we must respect ourselves if we want others to respect us. Why not write about that topic?

Respectfully,
--J.R.—


Great insights on what took place at UT. Keep being the voice for what’s right.
--R.T.—


Ms. Singly:
Posting you e-mail address is pretty brassy. I hope you can stand the heat.

The caricatured images at the party are true caricatures, exaggerations of reality. Black urban culture is violent and debauched. The "black family" is virtually extinct. "Stagger Lee" spends his last dollar on bling & booze and he is a cultural icon.

The African American community labels men like Colin Powell, Clarence Thomas, Ward Connerly, et al as "Oreo" and "Uncle Tom". The African American community thinks O.J. was entitled to kill his honky bitch because he owned her.

The Congressional Black Caucus is virtually treasonous. Many are common criminals. African Americans choose these scum to represent them in Congress. I bet 50% of black voters would vote for Al Sharpton for U.S. President if he were on the ballot.

Your wandering around with a chip on your shoulder, protesting too much, is laughable. You need to criticize and demand change of those ghetto negroes, not some honky law students poking fun at the depraved, criminal culture of the black ghetto.
--J.B.—


Ms. Singley- if you are really serious in your concern of the portrayal of black people, you must go to the grass roots and see how they exhibit themselves all over MTV, VH1, and many other examples. I don’t think you can hold UT students responsible for repeating behavior that has made many black people rich. Your sort of attack went out of fashion 30 years ago precisely because it is not mocking, but rather imitation. You deem the imitation unflattering, which is the real issue.
--D.J.—


I would think being a lawyer you would have a little thicker skin and not
take things like this so seriously. Sure, it was immature and in poor taste,
but nobody was physically hurt. If the case had been black students
potraying white students as Conferedertate flag waving, shotgun toting,
hicks would you feel the same way?.....Lighten up!
--M.C.—


Ms. Singley,
I read your editorial. As a white person who grew up in a overwhelmingly
Black area(I'm 49). I don't ever pretend to understand what you have gone
through. I honestly thought by this year(from my childhood) things that
racial tension would have disappeared. I believe the African American
Community has caused this chasm in their pursuit of the almighty dollar. Rap
and Hip Hop glamorize violence, living and leaving the Ghetto is the end
all, horrible treatment and total desensitivity toward woman, sticking it to
the "Man" and "the powers that be" (other euphemisms to hate white people)If
white suburban kids didn't buy this music, didn't try to emulate it ,
glorify it or deify it... then rap and hip hop would still be just niche
marketing. You condemned this UT dumbasses yet they have grown up on the Rap
and Hip Hop experience since they were in Elementary school. Why are they
being condemned for buying into this experience?
What harm did they cause? none It was a private party.They emulated what
they have been raised on MTV.
By the way who released the photo's of the private party.. the partier's or
someone offended by white people acting out like a MTV video? The Rap and
the Hip Hop producers should be happy with the fruits of their labor.
--L.H.—


Bernestine, Thank you for your wonderfully insightful comments on the UT students. These are not kids, they are fully-grown, responsible adults who should know better. I'm always amazed that white folks can be kids well into their 30s, while black boys become legal men in the prison system at 17. Go figure.
--Sharon Egiebor (Dallas)


Today's Houston Chronicle published your piece on UT law school example of how the south has not changed. Opposite your column is an editorial on Senator candidate Barbara Radnofsky who is running against the epitome of the old Texan South, Kay Bailey Hutchison a relic of the same type UT Law Ghetto celebrants. Radnofsky may not win on qualifications this year but is undeniably better qualified and will win the position.
--T.M.C.


My advice: stop being such a pussy.
Cheers.
--SRJ


C'mon. I'm 65 and white, and southern male.. your stereotype of a racist. I think those white kids should be kicked out of the law school. I'm not a racists anymore than you are.
--B.A.


Ms. Singley,
So you think I can't laugh at peoples dress and life style choices such as drinking 40-ounce cans of malt liquor on the street, carrying guns, using "ethnic" names that they (blacks) also use, do-rags on the head, jeweled grills on their front teeth and loud jewelry. Well I can and will make fun of them just like all comics do. We are all subject to jokes and are made fun of. Watch Leno or Letterman. Blacks are not sacred cows and may be the subject of humor like everyone else. My tank of white guilt is running on empty.
Sincerely,
--P.G.


Good morning, Ms. Singley:
I had to write and thank you for your editorial comment printed in today's
Houston Chronicle. You eloquently captured the undeniable truth about the
intent and purpose of this party. When I first read about this incident, I
was simply at a loss for words after reading Dean Sager's defense of these
"kids" and the feigned innocent response of some of the attendees. Thank
you so much for your effective dissection of this facade of innocence and
holding all of the guilty parties accountable for their actions. You have
made my day. I am framing your editorial response and sending it to every
e-mail address that I have.
May God continue to bless and keep you!
--A.V.


The first admendment of the constitution grants the freedom of expression. If these were black students, you would not be offended. Confront your own racism.
--Anon.


As you wrote in your article about the students I am always amazed at the way people seem to forget and overlook. I never here any out cries over the way blacks and Spanish portray themselves in music videos or lyrics. But let students have a party and dress the way the blacks and Spanish people portray themselves and the world goes up in anger. Maybe
people should look deep in themselves and see the racist inside themselves and quit trying to fix other people faults and fix their own.
Should they have known better, perhaps. Did they do anything wrong, no.
They were having a good time and just dressing and acting the way the people they were portraying look and act. We are not talking about them imitating poor people here, even though they dress and act this way, but the rich and famous. The ones to blame are the blacks and Spanish people who allow other blacks and Spanish people to portray them that way. Do not blame the ones who see it on TV every day and then act that way.
Find something that truly is wrong and spend your time and efforts on that instead of just poor judgment as this was.
Thanks,
--R.S.


Ms. Singley,
I think you are being a little over sensitive to this whole thing. For one thing it was a party! You dress up for certain parties. You talk about the blacks wearing do-rags and jeweled grills. Do you understand that has nothing to do with being poor or from the ghetto. It has to do with a style and getting attention. Black teenagers from all walks of life are dressing this way. They are trying to ban the grills from schools. If they don't want to be made fun of why do it?
Take us Texans for example, the northerners have made fun of us since the beginning of time. They dress up in cowboy boots and cowboy hats and try to imitate our drawl. When President Johnson was at the White House it was a daily occurrence. Do we go ballistic and try to sue or ruin someones life over them poking fun at us. We dressed up as Indians as children and Pirates and anything else that was popular at the time. This is absolutely ludicrous. You are way out of line. You do have your own opinion. This is why the press gets so much bad publicity because of writers who try to make something out of nothing.
--S.B.


Ms. Singley - There are very few times when I would defend the "other" school across the state. However, I fail to see why you are not doing more to help the "black and brown urban poor" behave with a modicum of decency and clean up their general act as to not attract the "mocking" and ridicule of others - white or otherwise.
I am sure with your experience and education that you are aware of the statistics from this group of people - most crime, most on welfare, on and on. It is time for the black and brown leaders to stop whining about the race card and start motivating their people to get off their rear-ends and change the community. No more gangs, drive by shootings, drugs, households with unwed mothers, welfare recipients. Get your message out to them -- if you don't quit acting in this manner - which is completely contradictory to our societal norms and values - then you leave yourself open for ridicule.
It truly doesn't matter that it is the "black and brown" people who act this way. If it were white people as the segment of society who refused to take responsibility, then it would be a "honky" party - making fun of those people just the same. It is unconscionable that no "black or brown" leader is willing to stand up and say - "Get your head out of your rear-end and get going."
And, by the way - I am not a racist. Am I college educated? - you betchum beaver (that is a southern saying, in case you don't recognize it - nothing to do with race.) I hold an accounting degree from Texas A & M University. I've worked with the 2 of the top accounting firms in this country alongside with some of the most delightful, well educated, and articulate brown and black people.
However, I do not condone the culture that says it is okay to be in a gang, wear your pants down to your ankles, do drugs, promote violence, and have a population of unwed mothers who feed off of my tax dollars. That culture is what you should be targeting. That culture is what is being made fun of - not the black or brown in it.
I also would remind you that you have probably been to parties in your career in Texas that were "hoe-downs" or hay-rides or whatever they may have been called. Did you write a column at that time lambasting the party because a group of people got together and made fun of country folks and their way of life? I seriously doubt it - and you probably had fun at the party while wearing your overalls.
Take care,
--A.J.


Letters,
I am sick and tired of "black outrage" toward behavior which is socially acceptable when directed toward whites, but is politically incorrect and offensive when directed toward blacks.
The motivation for this statement is the op-ed appearing in the Chronicle 10/​18, "Testimony against guilty UT law school partygoers", by Bernestine Singley.
The activity of these students was, basically, no different from Southern, rural whites being characterized and parodied as "hayseeds", “rednecks" and uncultured.
How about the liberal elite's, and the main-stream media's, verbal assassination of President Bush for his communication skills, his Christian faith, his wearing western boots and his "cowboy" approach to Washington politics?
The point of Ms Singley's "outrage" - white boy's having fun at the expense of a socially questionable, cultural image - shows why our society will continue to be racially divisive until "black racism" is recognized, acknowledged and addressed.
--G.H.


Ms. Singley
I read your op-ed on the Ghetto Fabulous party printed in the October 18, 2006 issue of the Houston Chronicle.
I find your outrage completely unsupportable.
How can you use the term “overtly racist images” when those images are the current cultural reality, glorified on MTV videos and in hip hop music. Do you really believe a “gangsta” has the right to cap his teeth in gold and rap about mysogeny, but it is racist to parody that behavior?
The Ghetto Fabulous party mocked what I suspect those students believe to be a ridiculous sense of fashion, mores, and culture prevalent in hip hop culture today. Of course those students knew the theme was insensitive, that was the intent. The hip hop culture is damaging to our society and deserves to be ridiculed out of existence. That, Ms. Singley, is the issue, and you missed it.
Where is your op-ed castigating virtually any lyric composed by 50 Cent?
You fail to distinguish what that party was not. It did not trivialize morally repugnant and illegal examples of racism – for example, it was not a Ku Klux Klan party, nor a Poll tax party, nor a Plessy v. Ferguson party, nor anything that celebrated a true vestige of racism. It poked fun of hip hop gangsta culture. Frankly, Ms. Singley, you, as a black female, and me, as a male WASP, should approve of that.
If the UT Black Student Organization wants to go off campus to a private residence (a fact you conveniently omit) and host a Biff and Buffy party, complete with cups of Starbucks, plastic surgery, tales of back biting at the PTA meeting, affairs with the tennis pro, and Valley Girl speak, more power to them. It is their first amendment right, and funny.
Whether it is true or not I can’t attest, but a blog entry I read from an attendee at that party noted that it was attended by 15 hispanic and 2 black students. If true, are they racists also, or do they simply possess more accurate judgment of their peers’ behavior because they did not grow up in an age of segregation and legalized racism.
--R. Y.


...on www.commondreams.org.
I really don't understand why the "Ghetto Fabulous" party offended your senibilities and warranted your scrutiny. Rascism, cultures, and subcultures are rich in material for ridicule and derision. The fact the participants were white law school students is irrelevant.
I would argue,in fact, that rasicism is the funniest subject comedy has ever dared to entertain by some of the most accomplished comics (Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor, Martin Lawerence, Chris Rock etc). I'm asian and I want to see the dumbest activites that asians engage in mocked and made fun of. So what? Society is full of people with racist inclinations, it's just a matter of degrees.
I mean what are the realistic alternatives? I don't understand what's your vision.
--H.H.


Ms Singley:
For crying out loud, are you so wrapped around the axle of despair and outrage that you have lost all touch with reality?
It doesn’t seem to me these young people were mocking “the black and brown urban poor,” certainly not the unfortunate and the downtrodden ones, certainly not the honest and the hardworking ones whose only sin is lacking the skills to make a lot of money like lawyers.
Rather, according to the description in your column, it seems they were “mocking,” if mocking is indeed the right word, a specific phenomena, the Gansta’-Rappa’ mindset, of which no one should be proud and which no one, no matter how altruistic, should defend. This sub-culture of mostly young people themselves, flaunts the image of lawlessness and
disrespect. They project a “We-are-to-be-feared” image and sell the idea that living by violence, crime and drugs is easier and smarter than working for a living. Why aren’t you, as an educated female and a primary object of their scorn, questioning their racial and moral motivations?
You ask, “did these white men and women lawyers-in-training know, or should they have known, that their cavorting was stunningly racist and profoundly offensive?” My answer is “No, they did not.” Nor would anyone not viewing events and actions under the unforgiving microscope of wrongs long unrighted. The way these cavorting white men and women are
portrayed in your article along with your reference to white supremacy shows a bit of heavy-handed racial prejudice in itself. These students are presumably still in their early 20s and possibly still a bit
immature. Perhaps we can give them just a little slack until they are ready to carry the full weight of social consciousness.
And anyway, who says that just because one is in law school, one automatically becomes a "best-and-brightest” and a “cream-of-the-cropper?” It seems to me that there are more than a few attorneys, black, white and brown, serving the awesome majesty of the
law with less than selfless idealism.
I wonder what your position would be if a group of young black students had a theme party ridiculing, say, female lawyers?
Yours truly,
--V.H.M.


Greetings Bernestine;
You began with, "Thirty years ago, I was a black female student in a white law school................" Question, Are you still black, and are you still female? You know, some have changed in that many years.
Thirty six years ago, I was a white male that began teaching in a project that was 99% black. My wife, who is also white, and others friends from several churches worked together to teach the Bible and take the kids to a local church.
I was born in Missouri, but was moved to North Louisiana and raised in a segregated society with three brothers and a sister. When I was 11 years old we were transferred to a small town in south Arkansas. I caddied at a private country club, for several years, for the most part I was the only regular white caddy. It was "hey boy", to me, as it was to all the other caddies, so they did not show preferences to the white or black caddies.
We, the whites, as well as the blacks, for the most part did not have plumbing, electricity or phones. All peoples were poor by todays standards. But I knew of no one white or black expected the rich oil people at the country club to give us anything free, but we were willing to work for it.
Back to the Bible classes, one of the first things we learned, Do not give away things (if you did it was soon broken and trashed) we found it best to let the kids earn everything they received, even a Bible. They treasured everything they earned and kept them for years.(That was no small accomplish for them).
One of the lessons I taught the kids was, "None of us asked to be born white or black, none of us chose our parents, I did not even chose the state or country
that I wanted to be born in, not even the year." So we should not be proud of these things, neither should we be ashamed. Then what should we be, we should be thankful.
When I was in service (the US Army) most of my sargents and many of my officers were black. You know what the best part was, when we busy doing our jobs we forgot what color the other person. that's the way it should be.
Now I don't defend those students at UT, neither do I condemn them on the basis of what I know or what they knew. But I do know I would not have done it.
Many of these kids from both white and black homes really don't have the whole picture.
You wrote; "So I personally know not only the law, but also how white supremacy works in the ghettoes of cities and elite law schools." Well, let me say, I know how black predjudices and black supremacy works in the projects also. So it is not one sided! All have plenty to go around. So none of us can get
sanctimonious.
I like what one radio talk show host always says when asked, "How are you doing Dave?" He always say, "Better than I deserve."
Bernestine, I'm sorry to say this, but your bitterness and hate is showing through. Bitterness and hate will not make it better, but worse. When these things happen to us, "We can become either bitter of better."
Sincerely;
--L.T.
P.S. I reccommend for reading, the Bible; and "Black and Free" by Tom Skinner.


Dear Ms. Singley
I have read your article, "Testimony against guilty UT law school partygoers", and have some questions, and a couple of suggestions. First, the questions: Where is the clamor against those who mock impoverished southern whites as "rednecks", hillbillies" and the like, and against those who stereotype southern whites as racist or stupid? When people do stupid things, they are open to mocking, but as you know, mocking a class of people is wrong. Impoverished southern whites are regularly mocked despite their behavior. The young people being mocked by UT law students were wearing outlandish clothes and doing stupid things, so why the outrage? Rather than defend foolish dress and actions of the young people being mocked, they should be taught to dress and act in a reasonable manner. Grow up and get over it.
Respectfully,
--C.W.N.


I was disappointed, but unfortunately not suprised, to read your article and find yet another black person who is well educated, has enjoyed a full and successful career, and has had opportunities most Americans will never realize, turn out to be a petty, self-absorbed bigot. Are you so proud of the "Gangsta" life style perpetutated in black movies and music that a stupid theme party mocking it offends you? Too bad! It should break your heart that young black people look up to thugs and drug abusers as heroes and role models. Who has failed the young black people in America and, by extension, the rest of us? You and people like you, e.g. Sharpton, Jackson, etc. During the OJ trial, a news camera showed the student lounge of a black law school. When the verdict was announced, the room erupted in jumping, shouting, cheering, clapping, and hugging by the best-and-brightest black America has to offer because a black athlete got away with killing two innocent white people. So, did these black men and women lawyers-in-training know, or should they have known, that their cavorting was stunningly racist and profoundly offensive? Who is accountable for producing this next generation of (black) lawyers who have become adults steeped in such racial oblivion that they have no sense or sensibility about their own profoundly offensive and racist behavior? Their grandparents? Parents? Other relatives? Teachers? College professors? Religious leaders? Friends and colleagues? (answer: all of the above) In your learned opinion both the law school and these students are failures because (1) there was a theme party mocking gold-toothed gang members, and (2) these students, and school administrators, knew exactly what they were doing, i.e. intending to offend black people. Who in the hell are you to say what was in their collective minds? As a white guy, who has practiced law for well over a decade also, and who has attended and hosted many, many parties, I can give you some insight into white peoples' thought process in planning a party, to wit: No person, or group of friends, planning a party, sit around scratching their head(s) thinking, "What can we do to most successfully offend black people?" Get over yourself. You really are not the center of everyone's universe. Many people go about their daily lives without you or any other black person ever crossing their mind. It was a stupid party! What is next? Will black people burn cars or behead someone for a cartoon they deem offensive. OJ killed people and blacks were happy when he got off. That is racism, although I'm sure you can rationalize that for me. This was a party. Try to have some perspective. There are enough idiots causing discord who believe black people should be treated differently because of the color of their skin that America does not need black holier-than-thous going out of their way to make mountains out of mole hills. When the black community has character free of fault, perhaps your judgmental character assassinations of white people you do not know will have some semblance of credibility. Lose the chip on your shoulder, you'll feel alot better. Res ipsa loquitur, the thing (your article) does indeed speak for itself, you are a profoundly sad little person.
--T.B.J.


I just read your article on the Texas law students in Common Dreams. I am white and from Mississippi, but am not racist in the least. I want the best for everyone, including blacks, but I will not be held back by political correctness.
Dr. Martin Luther King had a dream, but that dream has converted into a nightmare. What would he think were he to watch just an hour of MTV? Or if
he took a drive through my hometown (80% black, high unemployment, low education, piss-poor govonment officials, tons of Ford Caprices with "dubs",
and throwback jerseys color-coordinated with matching tennis shoes and hats as far as the eye can see)?
For centuries whites held blacks back by depriving them of education and jobs, but today, blacks have almost the same opportunities as whites. The
problem is in their aspirations. All of this "bling-bling" junk is what prevents black Americans from raising themselves from lower class. Wouldn't you agree, as a black law graduate who comes from the "ghetto," that the actions of those who live there dig deep into rediculous and border ludicrous? It is not purely a black thing. Many whites also have those same rediculous aspirations to be "blinged-out", riding 32 inch spinners and wearing Gucci shoes. You should watch Boodocks sometime and gain some perspective.
I'm not saying what those kids did was right, but it doesn't justify making them out to be racist biggots. I think the lesson should be, if you don't
want to be made fun of, look into yourself to see what the real problem is.
Making fun of "40-ounce cans of malt liquor, fake guns, "ethnic" names, do-rags, jeweled grills on their front teeth, and loud jewelry," in a party
setting can potentially make those who do that stuff on a regular basis see just how rediculous they look.
All counter-cultures get made fun of. It's a fact of life. Because most blacks (speaking from my point of reference, which is deep south with high black population) have a desire to not "act white," they must maintain this frivilous counter-culture. Blacks don't have to conform to "white" culture, but they should not consider fruitful things such as reading books, going to school, or saving money to be "acting white."
The ghettos of America are full of lost souls. I want a better life for them, don't you? It all starts with introspection. If one can truly see himself and deem it to be undesirable, he has no choice but to change.
--G.P.


Dear Ms. Singley,
If I may, I wish to indulge a moment of your time to respectfully respond to your editorial which appeared in the Houston Chronicle on 18 October. Please let me lead off by saying your accomplishments to become an attorney are laudible. I have no doubt the efforts and sacrifices put forth by you to get where you are and stay there are arduous and demanding. I am sure that many nights you know of no such thing as a 5PM quitting time.
However Ms. Singley, I cannot help but conclude that your editorial reflects an overzealous and ethnocentric response to a group of people who acted foolishly indeed, but probabl meant no harm to you or anyone else. It is reactions such as yours to
ridiculous behaviors such as these, that perpetuate racism and antagonism within our society.
Perhaps you are aware that Fox Sports Commentator Steve Lyons recently lost his job for innocuous comments he made which were perceived by some as racist toward Hispanics. Former Cubs Manager Dusty Baker, a black man, was ostracized for his comments
that black people have greater tolerance for heat and hotter temperatures than do whites. Former CBS analyst Jimmy the Greek was fired after saying that blacks are gentically better athletes than whites. Also, Rush Limbaugh was asked to leave ESPN after his comments about black quarterbacks in the NFL, namely Donathan McNabb.
Now think about this for a moment Ms.Singley, are we a better society in all our pluralities when people are so paranoid to even discuss these issues without someone getting offended? Could the problem be escalated when people such as yourself live every day anxious for the opportunity to get offended and grand-stand their outrage? Do such behaviors by yourself and others such as Cornelius West, Al Sharpton, Jessie
Jackson, and Eric Dyson make the situation better or worse? I believe your editorial reflects an immediate need for vast soul searching on your part to answer this question for yourself.
As you are certainly aware, Bill Cosby recently spoke on this issue(s) of blacks and poverty in a different light. I believe he emphasized 'personal responsibility' as the primary cure-all for the issues these students were mocking. As a result, a literal 'lynch-mob' was sent by angry blacks for Cosby's head. Afterall, how dare he suggest such a
thing. To even offer the notion that 40 years of fighting the war on poverty with welfare has not only failed, but will continue to fail is contrary to the very facets of 'entitlement mentality' this country has so eagerly adapted.
Ms Singley, I believe a responsible black person would look at this party by these law students as an act of ignorance that had nothing to do with him or her, while reminding themselves " This is not me' and "Ignorant fools can think and act like they may, but I am me, this is NOT me, and I take care of my business properly and respectfully" How about it Ms Singley?
Isn't that how you felt? How did these behaviors actually say anything about you?
Perhaps without even realizing it, your editorial gives credence to these ridiculous actions.Afterall, surely you cannot be thinking subconsciously that these students are right? Is this an accurate depiction of black people? Also, if such conditions exist, is it these student's fault? Do you have a hidden agenda here Ms. Singley? I cannot name the case or its current status, but I am aware that the court did strike down an affirmative action policy for admissions to U-T Law School. Are you perhaps thinking to yourself, "Those fools are NOT going to admit ignoramouses such as these if they are going to do away with the affirmative action policy?"
You might have rested your case Ms Singley, but I bet I can make one that you have a hidden agenda here behind this editorial. If not, you have given that appearance, and you are not helping an issue which has clearly over sensitized our society, and has been
played like a drum which has no more sound.
Yes, racism exists in our society and will always exist. It is not right, nor were the actions of these students right. Your reaction, however, does not help.
We must act responsibly when we can, and work hard to take advantages of the vast opportunities that exist for all. At the same time Ms. Singley, we MUST keep our sense of humor and 'lighten-up' If we don't we will NEVER further ameliorate this problem.
Respectfully,
--S.C.


Well, I asked who raised these young UT adults in training to be lawyers and here's a proud parent who weighed in. Or at least someone who claims to be. I don't really know because apparently this parent is so proud of their daughter's behavior that, like their daughter, they prefer to remain undercover.

You seem to be sincerely distressed by the events at UT Law and I am sorry you are offended. My daughter went to the party but I will not apologize for her. I am very proud of her.

I could argue facts about the party, your interpretation of Ghetto Fabulous, how the entire situation was mishandled so that a difference of opinion became a national controversy, the world, race relations, hearts and minds, these kids, my daughter specifically and how she was raised but since you framed this as a legal question I would offer this:

A black woman, in charge of the "Big Brother, Big Sister" organization in which my daughter was an officer during her undergraduate years, acting as a big sister for one girl for three years, wrote one of her recommendations letters to UT Law. This woman actually knows my daughter. Wouldn't you agree she's a better judge of her character than you are.

A black man, from our home town. Former high school principal, mayor, who has known my daughter all her life, offered to travel to Austin to speak on her behalf. He suggested he might speak to the dean and TMLS. Understand that there was, reportedly, an effort to get students expelled.

I could give a long list of friends who would be better judges of her "motivations" than someone who does not know her.

Would you accept those people as proof that you, like the dean, were wrong to have presumed guilt? And isn't that very presumption of guilt, legally, inappropriate, not to mention narrow-minded? Perhaps you mistakenly assumed the dean spoke to the accused, got all the facts, before he condemned them, he did not.

I am sorry you were upset by my daughter's behavior but I believe your distress is misplaced. Perhaps you think, I am just "steeped in stupid." As I said, I am proud of my daughter. I do not believe she would so quickly, readily, and completely judge you or any one else based solely on race.
Sincerely,
--Still Proud


Instead of a few white first year University of Texas law students being "Steeped in Stupid," maybe it's just a case of being "steeped in Whiteness." What do you think is the cure for that affliction?


Click and type in a question or comment







I think your arguments are absolutely ridiculous. I find it hard to believe that a lawyer would present so nonsensical a position. The way the students acted is just based on the way African-Americans are portrayed in the media. How many of the urban poor have the money to buy guns, jeweled grills on their front teeth, and loud jewelry? In decking themselves thus, they are merely imitating those Black celebrities in the media that dress similarly. I don't understand how they're focusing on the negative side of the ethnic stereotype - if a certain ethnic group is portrayed in a certain way in the media, by members of that group themselves, then why aren't those people guilty of furthering the same stereotype? I cannot believe that there exist some people that even support your argument. I seriously believe that the only reason that you've actually written this article is to get people talking about minority issues. I don't think there's any logic in your argument. I would like to see an rebuttal to my position. Thanks, N.S.

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What I find most interesting in all the comments from Texas is how no one tackles the real issue. What kind of lawyers and judges and lawmakers and leaders will these "kids" grow up to be. UT law students today will be the kings and kingmakers of Texas tommorrow. Is it any wonder that the typical big law firm, like the ruling Republican party, still has only a few token blacks? What do you expect? They are their fathers' children. G.

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It is not against the law to act or say stupid things. I would suggest you get on with life and chill out.


ELECTION THEFT 2004


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Thank you for helping get all the votes counted and aiding the President in carrying Florida. You're a great American.

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Ms. Singley: I read of your voter protection work on the workingforchange.org site. I can't tell you how thankful I am and how proud I am of what you have done. Every vote (when properly counted) makes a huge difference. You got people involved in the system, and that's the only way they will be heard. God bless you for your work, even if it meant going back to Florida! Thanks, Bill Andres a white middle-aged Arizona Democrat

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I read your report on your Tampa experience on election day. I cried. You are a part of what is right about this country. Keep the faith, as will I. Stephanie Dreher

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Thank you for your article on the Tampa voting process. It sickens me that once again, the disenfranchisement of black voters will go largely ignored by the corporate media and the DNC.

I wept when I read your account of helping people in Tampa to vote. You are a heroine. Thank you. Thank God for people like you.

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Nothing fancy, just a heartfelt thank you for showing up in Tampa. I hope I have that much courage some day soon. Kathie Voigt Walsh from Jericho, VT

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I'm commenting on your article as an Election Protection voluntter.

I grew up in Tampa and fled 3 times & have been in Charlotte for 12 years now, but am in Lakeland, where my sister & dad are 2-3 times a year, but I don't like FL. I've been thinking of moving out West to a blue state because I'm tired of the Southern views.

I was an Election Protection volunteer at a precinct this year and experienced hostility from white voters, mostly male, and mostly in part, I think, because my T-shirt had NAACP on it. I have no doubt that if I had been an African-American woman, I would have faced even more hostility and I saw these same voters get the African-American women & girls handing out Black Caucus literature ousted. Since I had to stay neutral, I couldn't interfere although I didn't think this was campaigning.

I did help many African-American voters and some white voters that took my help to locate their correct precinct so they could vote a regular ballot as they were rightly suspicious of provisional ballots or verify their registration when they hadn't received a registration card in time. I also wrote out many grievances, which helped people feel empowered and I can only hope that Election Protection will file these & help change future voting practices.

There was a huge turnout of African-American voters many for the first time. Some of the white voters, who were way out numbered, commented on this rise in turnout, but not in a good way. I guess they thought I might be Republican.

I was especially pleased to see how many African-American women turned out to vote and they were the majority of voters I helped register to vote in Sept. The more women we get to vote the better.

I took some comfort in knowing that my county, one of the biggest in NC, turned blue and I believe it was because of the high voter turnout of African-American voters. If we can increase their numbers in the next elections as long as the 1965 Voting Act is renewed or better yet, made an ammendment, I think we'll win much more.

I strongly believe in everyone who is eligible to voting getting to and without hassel, whether I share that voter's views or not so I was glad to volunteer my time to this effort. However, we still have a long way to go and I was saddened and appalled at the mostly subtle discrimination I saw or heard about.

I was very depressed by the election outcomes last week, but I knew that I had probably less to fear than African-Americans. I'm ready to fight again and especially for non-discrimination at the polls.

I was heartened to hear about so many people like you who were in entrenched red states going to battleground states to help. You didn't say where in TX you live, but I hope it's Austin. I lived there for 1-1/​2 years in the 80s. My fathers family is from TX and I used to love it, but I really don't want to live their now. Marta Carvajal

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TampaVote: Dispatches from the Ground by Bernestine Singley Read your article, respect your investments and wanted to talk. I am losing my faith in the democratic party. I know that if they are elected to a majority of the house, senate and the presidency they will still only do a nominal Job of advocating for the causes of Black Americans, latino Americans, Arab Americans or even white americans like me who despise useless war.

It seems like we are in an time where the stakes are getting too high to ignore and the masses can be motivated. I guess I am just looking for people within other minority communities to talk to and to consider strategies with. The two party system is dead, at least as far as addressing real Americans goes. What can we do together to build for change. If you want to talk about It I do too. Tom Whaley neighborwood@​asis.com

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I enjoyed your article on the Election. I worked in Palm Beach County Saturday through Tuesday. (I started out life as a nice Jewish boy from Philadelphia. My mother lived in North Miami Beach for 25 years.)

My first post was at a black community center in Delray Beach. It included a black clerk who kept other blacks from voting and essentially threw us out when we pressed too hard. My second post was at a mostly white, largely Jewish retirement village in Boca, where I was rudely challenged by a fat white woman; I stared her down, and began to speak to a male clerk. The loud woman was about to begin again when a local black attorney took her aside and politely but firmly told her to shut up.

Rewarding day, and interesting for the way all the old categories were rendered useless (including one-quarter of the Jewish vote going for Bush). I look forward to reading your book. Mark Homer Knoxville, TN

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I think your arguments are absolutely ridiculous. I find it hard to believe that a lawyer would present so nonsensical a position. The way the students acted is just based on the way African-Americans are portrayed in the media. How many of the urban poor have the money to buy guns, jeweled grills on their front teeth, and loud jewelry? In decking themselves thus, they are merely imitating those Black celebrities in the media that dress similarly. I don't understand how they're focusing on the negative side of the ethnic stereotype - if a certain ethnic group is portrayed in a certain way in the media, by members of that group themselves, then why aren't those people guilty of furthering the same stereotype? I cannot believe that there exist some people that even support your argument. I seriously believe that the only reason that you've actually written this article is get people talking about minority issues. I don't think there's any logic in your argument. I would like to see an rebuttal to my position. Thanks, Navaneethan Santhanam

Hey!! after reading most of the comments on this page, I realized how out of the loop I really am living in Costa Rica.. I think that most of the folks that have responded, are urban dwellers and and work as most American do. In factories, offices Schools, etc..with paid vacations that seldom reward them with enough time to live passed what make them a living or killing what ever the case may be,and see that world is much bigger than America...Sadly it seems may have chosen survival over truth.. White American cultural Imperialism in working,and even effecting the way they party. Have mercy!!!!peace AZ


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Hi, I'm not even half way through 'When Race Becomes Real' and already felt compelled to make some connection with the authors. I just finished David Bradley's essay and was so moved I initially started this search looking for his phone number. I was so distressed by his final comment 'I believe that many white Americans want black Americans to be made to stand in fear,' I just wanted to call him and say, 'It's not true!' I felt really sad and helpless. I know racism is still a part of people's daily lives. My biggest concern is that I will unwittingly be a perpetrator of racism by my ignorance. In fact, I'm not certain that the next few things I write won't be mistaken as racism or insults, but this seems like the forum to ask, so here I go. What should I as a white person call a black person? Black or African American? I call myself white, so I usually say black, but I don't want to be offensive which is why I ask in the first place. Maybe even asking is racist, I don't know! And speaking of which I call Asian people Asian and Mexican, Mexican. I don't know why I don't use a color description, I just never have. Maybe I should say European and African instead of white and black. I get all tangled up just trying to say the right thing and not be mean, insensitive or hurtful, but honestly sometimes I think it doesn't matter what I say or how careful I am, I'm going to get it wrong. One last thought. I do see color. I know people are supposed to say they don't see color, but I do. I think there is a difference between noticing how someone is different from oneself and judging them by that difference. When I see a black person, I notice they are black. Same with Indian, Asian, handicapped, weird haircut, bad acne, whatever. I don't berate myself for noticing, I think that is human nature. What I strive for is not judging people based on how they are different from me. I think that's the key. Any thoughts on any of this would be appreciated.
Kim



I stumbled upon your work and consider it a jewel of a site. Please keep me posted on your new endeavors and I promise to keep you in my prayers...





Hi, I met you on the DART train back in March after the Obama rally.se to have.I just wanted to drop a note and say hello.Also please keep me informed about the next writers guild.Send me an email at uchechi26@yahoo.com.-Uchechi

Just saw you on BookTV discussing your book, which sounds wonderful. I also much enjoyed your animation and insight and imagine they contributed greatly to the book's depth. I look forward to checking out your website. Claudia


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Hey Berni, Your site is beautifully amazing! Ashley sent it to me and I am desperately trying to tear myself away from it so that I can "get back to work!" Because even though I am blessed to be working again, I know that choosing not to work in an oppressive society could leave my family in dire straits. However, you and your work keep me inspired and armed with ammo to tear down the walls of racism from within! I love you, Keevy!

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Wonderful site!
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what a great site! i just signed up for your mailing list and can't wait to read more about your site and your book.
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this is Zokwanda and i have just scanned thru your website. Not too shaby i should say. I promise to read each and evry detail it contains! i swear! love you lots and good luck on putting together something to send to your literary agent... lots of love Zokwanda
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