Saturday, November 03, 2007

More On Double Standards

It's been a long-standing practice in our criminal justice system. A young man gets in trouble for a minor scrape with the law, he wants to join the military to turn his life around and the prosecutor agrees to dismiss charges on the understanding he joins the military. Marion Co. Deputy Prosecutor Daniel Cavallini took this practice a little too far recently. He also asked the man to drop and do 50 push-ups in court as part of the plea deal. That mistake ended Cavallini's career with the prosecutor's office just months after it began. Should he have been disciplined? Sure. Should he have been given a second chance? Probably.

About the same time Cavallini had the young man doing push-ups in court, our City-County Council's chief legal counsel was spewing racially offensive remarks at a member of the local news media. As WXNT's Abdul Hakim Shabazz attempted to interview CCC President Monroe Gray about continuing ethics issues swirling around his tenure on the council, Haith called Shabazz the "grandson of Willie Lynch" in Gray's presence. Lynch, according to folklore, was a prominent slave owner in the 1700s who taught other slave owners how to keep their slaves in line. Hence, we have a source for the term "lynching." Haith and Shabazz are both African-American. Haith, a 3-time convicted drunken driver, received not so much as a reprimand from his City-County Council employer. And nobody in the local news media, other than Shabazz, covered the incident.

On Thursday, area Democrats, led by Mayor Bart Peterson and Rep. Bill Crawford, staged a rally at Martin Luther King Park demanding the resignation of Star editorial writer RiShawn Biddle, who is black, after he published a post highly critical of the city's African-American political leadership, including Gray, and all the local news media showed up. Biddle's post on the Expresso blog suggested Gray was acting more like Zip Coon than a statesman as of late. There's been Gray's ongoing ethical problems related to his operation of a concrete business which has benefitted from city contracts, the lack of decorum he maintains in conducting council meetings, questions about whether he performs any real work in his $83,000 a year job with the Indianapolis Fire Department, being caught visiting an area pea shake house and his involvement in the 300 East bar in the Julia Carson Government Center, among others.

Although the Star's editor had already issued a public apology and fired Biddle for his actions the previous day, area Democrats went ahead with their rally in hopes of drumming up black voter support for the party in next Tuesday's election and creating sympathy for the much-maligned Gray. And let's not forget these same folks conducted a similar rally on the lawn of the City-County Building last year to rally support for Councilor Ron Gibson, who had just been charged with public intoxication, disorderly conduct and battery on a female police officer for an incident arising out of Indiana Black Expo.

Shabazz covered Thursday's rally, where attendees applauded Star Editor Dennis Ryerson's inapproriate presence and announcement at the event that Biddle had been fired by the newspaper. Shabazz asked Rep. Crawford about the comparison between Biddle's remarks about Gray and Haith's racially offensive comment to him. "I will say categorically, and your audience can do whatever they choose to do, That I defend Aaron's right to call you Willie Lynch," Crawford said. "I do not defend your right to use the "N-word" on your airwaves, or to defend anyone who uses the C word. And anyone that equates [those two], is a small minded person in my mind." Am I missing something here? What's the difference between Haith calling Shabazz the "grandson of Willie Lynch" and Biddle likening Gray to "Zip Coon"? Am I a small-minded person to think both are equally as bad. It seems the real problem here is that neither Biddle nor Shabazz adhere to the current "group think" among African-American leaders who think anyone who dares to think for themselves and express views different from their own must be publicly lynched--a "high tech lynching for uppity blacks" as Justice Clarence Thomas put it.


Anonymous said...

Well Gary, now you know just how easy it is for black organized crime to operate in this city.

Is it any wonder that while every other major city in the United States put the illegal numbers racket out of business that it still operates unimpeded in Indianapolis' black community to the tune of millions of dollars?
And those millions go to finance narcotics that are ripping the black community apart here.

Double standard? Naw, just business as usual.

Anonymous said...

All of these recent actions by the administration and council have done nothing but solidify my decision come this Tuesday. I just hope their lemmings see the light before then, but I doubt it. Fear and intimidation is always a good election-time tactic. Just look at Bush this last election.

Anonymous said...

What you say about Aaron Haith and Monroe Gray doesn't surprise me.

The two of them will pull the race card and claim discrimination even among his white Democrat friends. They blasted me at a fundraiser for Julia a couple of years ago, only because I was opposing a development by a friend of his. It was ugly and appalling, and I've been shocked at his rise to the head of the Council.

He's no good. He's gotta go, even if it means the Democrats lose control of the Council for a couple of years!

Anonymous said...

Any discipline or lack thereof in this case was the responsibility of Carl Brizzi, the Republican prosecutor. Your attempts to somehow tie this to the Democrats is sad but amusing.

Anonymous said...

Did Willie Lynch really exist?

Gary R. Welsh said...

There is debate over whether a Willie Lynch delivered a speech back in the 1700s which has been attibuted to him. There seems to be no doubt the term "lynching" was derived from a man named "Lynch" who was negatively associated with slavery. There is no mistaking the meaning Aaron Haith ascribed to it when he called Abdul the "grandson of Willie Lynch" regardless of who Willie Lynch actually was. There was similarly never a man called "Zip Coon". It's just a negative caricature of a fictional black man born during the days of slavery in the 1800s.

Anonymous said...

Oh please don't go there with references to Clarence Thomas. I know you must read SCOTUS opinions like I do, and he's a lightweight in almost every sense of the word.


On this subject, Bill Crawford has lost it. He needs to grow up and direct his anger elsewhere.

Dennis Ryearson's appearance at that press conference was ridiculous and inappropriate. I'm a Gannett stockholder and I am going to fire off a letter to the Chairman about it.