Happy New Year and Ugly Threats
I'm celebrating the new year by taking a short break. The next issue of
themail will be two weeks from today, on Sunday, January 16. Please keep sending your
messages for that issue. And please write about something other than what I write about
below. Let's get back to informing each other about what's going on in our town.
Now, about the Reverend Willie Wilson, and his appointment to the Board of
Trustees of the University of the District of Columbia. Let me make this very simple, and
very clear, because there seems to be some confusion about it. It is wrong to threaten or
intimidate other people because of their race. It is wrong regardless of the race of any
of the people involved. It is wrong even if the person who does the threatening and
intimidating is a black minister. No one who does it should be rewarded by being appointed
to a high honorary position that involves the education of youth.
At least, that's what I believe. Mayor Williams doesn't agree, and so he
appointed Reverend Wilson to the Board of UDC. Rev. Wilson, and Mayor Williams's decision,
are being defended by arguments and threats such as those advanced by Jephunneh Lawrence
below. Mayor Williams does not repudiate those arguments or those threats, and hopes to
benefit politically from them. In the past year, I thought that Mayor Williams was just
unable or unwilling to confront and face down racial divisiveness in this city. Now, I
suspect that he is willing to create, exacerbate, and exploit racial divisiveness, just as
Mayor Barry did so frequently and skillfully. If Mayor Williams does not withdraw his
nomination of Rev. Wilson, I am afraid that my suspicions will be proven right.
Majority White DC City Council Turns Back the Clock
on Racism in the District of Columbia
Jephunneh Lawrence, email@example.com
Members of the majority white D.C. County Council would have us believe
that they can fairly and equitably represent Black residents of the District of Columbia.
The long awaited litmus test surfaced this week when a trio of small minded racists white
women displayed their racists mind set in opposition to the nomination of the Rev. Willie
Wilson to serve on the UDC Board of Trustees. In spite of their many protestations, the
reticence of the majority white city council is clearly based on their lack of a
sufficient comfort level with a Black Man who dares to speak out against disrespect,
racism and injustice against Black City residents.
With the last councilmatic elections in D.C. the majority Black District
of Columbia did not vote and awoke to discover that they were represented by a majority
white D.C. City Council. It is abundantly clear that this trio of small-minded racists
white women from the majority white City Council, finds Rev. Wilson a tad too strong and
outspoken for their taste. Clearly they would prefer a more docile and meek nominee to the
UDC Board. Frankly, I find it ironic that a majority white City Council is now positioned
to confirm or reject leaders for the Black community and to decide the direction of post
secondary education for Black young people in the District of Columbia.
It is often said that those who forget the mistakes of the past are doomed
to repeat those mistakes. This majority white City Council seem to have forgotten the
horrible lesson of the 60's when outraged citizen with a book of matches and a
brick changed the course of history in the District of Columbia. God forbid that
this myopic and short sighted majority white D.C. City Council would turn back the hands
of the clock to a less tolerant and racially insensitive time in our history. Will they
next bring out the water cannon and attack dogs to sic on Black women and children who
speak out against disrespect, racism and injustice?
It is untenable that a democratically elected official, sworn to uphold
the Constitution and Laws of the United States, would state publicly that another United
States Citizen should be castigated and ostracized because in the view of that white
elected official, the Black Citizen allegedly used language that in the view of that white
elected official seemed in some instances racially charged. If indeed Ambrose, Patterson
and Schwartz would condemn all those who historically spoke out against disrespect, racism
and injustice, this trio would have lynched George Washington with the same rope used to
dispatch Patrick Henry. Maybe such a denial of freedom of speech was acceptable under
Hitler's Third Reich, however, is it repugnant and un-American here.
This trio of the majority white D.C. City Council, have set themselves out
as quite a racist lot. Left to their own devices, this trio would have us believe that no
Black person in the District of Columbia is qualified to serve on the UDC Board or indeed
qualified to serve in any leadership capacity.
Shame on Ambrose, Patterson and Schwartz for again raising the ugly
specter of racism here in the District of Columbia. The trio of Ambrose, Patterson and
Schwartz should promptly resign from the D.C. City Council or be recalled as unfit to
serve in a democratic and free society. One would think that every other D.C. City Council
member would want to clearly disassociate him or her self from the racist mind set of
Ambrose, Patterson and Schwartz.
Many Black residents of the District of Columbia can remember all too well
a time when a Black person could not eat in a public restaurant in the District of
Columbia. They can remember when Blacks could not go to public movie theaters and when
Black children were not permitted to go to the Glen Echo amusement park. They can remember
when Black persons were not allowed to try on clothing in the department stores in
downtown D.C. The trio of Ambrose, Patterson and Schwartz should be exiled from the
District of Columbia and encouraged to return to the racist backwater from whence they
came. We do not need that bigoted mindset in the District of Columbia; surely we have
enough legitimate problems without this trio of small-minded racists white women igniting
another race war.
Believe me, we have been there and done that and it was quite ugly.
Some will argue that the election of this trio of small minded racists
white women is the consequence of the failure of an overwhelming number of Black D.C.
residents who, for whatever reason, did not go out to the polls and vote. That is a
failing that must never be repeated.
Your diatribe on the nomination of the Rev. Willie F. Wilson to the Board
of the University of the District of Columbia has caused me much sadness. Not because you
speak critically of him but because you obviously have not stopped to investigate the man
and his considerable mission on behalf of struggles of his people. Before calling names,
why don't you look into why there are more Asian businesses in African American
Neighborhoods than there are businesses owned by African Americans? Have you ever stopped
to investigate why there are so many African American men in jail than are in schools of
higher learning or heading households? Why aren't you speaking out passionately about the
overwhelming number African American children in the DCPS who graduate each and every year
without mastering the three Rs? Why aren't you investigating this hideous fact? Never mind
all the other questions that go along with that previous one. Yes, UDC needs someone on
that Board who know the struggles of the common people and will attend to and speak out
about them. After all, the UDC student body is made up of people, many of whom hold full
time jobs and many of them looking to turn their lives around.
It's been only a few decades that blacks were not allowed in that part of
the city where UDC is located. (Look it up). Could that be the reason there was a move to
relocate the school? And were you a part of that effort? Would a slave master or overseer
of slaves want anyone speaking out on behalf of the slave? No, I think not. Have you ever
been a party to helping some one of color pull themselves up by their boot straps? Have
you ever paid or helped to pay someone's tuition to UDC? Have you ever contributed to the
economic development of the black people of this city?
There has never been a single article, before, during or after the Korean
store incident, that said Rev. Wilson did anything illegal or hurt anyone physically.
However, there have been many that point to his work on behalf of the citizens of this
city, in particular the down trodden, the addict, the criminal, etc. As far as I can tell,
he has looked long and hard at the life of Jesus Christ and tried in his own human way to
assimilate it. Yes, Jesus was born to a poor family in a highly politically charged time.
And when he became a man, spoke out on behalf of the down trodden, the poor, etc. Tell me,
why is it that you can't understand the hurt and pain that exists in the minds and hearts
of a people who have only been free of Jim Crow laws since the late 50s? Many of the
ministers of this town understand that and are working to free their people of the pain
that still exists today by telling them that with the help of the Almighty they can make
it. Some go even further by actually helping them get up. As they should, Jewish people
continue to talk about the Holocaust that took place over the span of 20 or 30 years. How
do you think African Americans can forget an event that spanned four centuries?
Please look further into why some things are said and if you must be
critical, be critical within the context of historical events and present situations.
Comments on Comments
James E. Taylor, Jr., firstname.lastname@example.org
I have read opinions regarding the Reverend Willie Wilson, the failures of
Mayor Williams, to the Failures of Chief Ramsey. I think that we all so temper our
attitudes and comments about each other until we know the whole truth. I say this because
of my own personal experience of living in Anacostia. In terms of Reverend Wilson. I might
add who does not need my support, nor endorsement, but he has been accused of being a
racist because of his stance against a Korean entrepreneur involved in a gun incident in
Anacostia. The comments made against the Reverend Wilson did not include the recent
climate, in Anacostia, which has changed for the better BECAUSE of the interaction of
Reverend Wilson and other leaders within this community to impress upon the Korean
businesses in this area of their attitudes in dealing with resident's of this community
with cordiality and respect. I was rudely treated on several occasions in Korean stores.
There is a history of this kind of treatment by Koreans, in Korea during the Korean Police
Action. We were not welcomed into many establishments in their homeland because of their
learned dislikes for blacks. Racism is a strong word. I hope that we on both sides of the
issue use it with care because it is a strong indictment. Outspoken, yes, a racist, no
The comments about Mayor Williams is however, on target in terms of the
promised changes in the way this Government interacts with residents of this city. I wrote
the mayor over six months ago about an street without any lights and nothing, absolutely
nothing has been done or said about it. Oh! I did get a letter from the mayor
acknowledging my E-mail, but no lights. I have given up until someone is injured and the
Government is sued before meaningful action will be implemented. All I see is more dance
and song, to impress and get along. Deja vu! Chief Ramsey is not a magician. There are
cliques and attitudes in bureaucratic circles that are not as easy to change as we would
like to think. As this mayor is limited, so is the Chief of Police. Politics are so much
involved. If the police chief does something you don't like just visit your Senator or
Congressman and complain. Who is likely to prevail? What progress did the former chief
make? He knew the system, and the personnel. Maybe this Chief will fail, maybe he doesn't
understand the politics of this city to be successful. Maybe he should be more political
to succeed. If he did become political, he still could not please everyone, especially
those of us east of the river who has benefited very little from politics. If we were
politically stronger, we would have street lights. Happy New Year!, to all of my fellow
citizens of this potentially great city.
[To Ed Barron:] Your attempt at humor at the expense of UDC (themail
Predictions) is just the kind of divisive false information that continues to beleaguer
the already embattled university. Your comment is divisive because true supporters of UDC
know of the success of its graduates, and cite that success as a primary reason to promote
the full funding and general support of the university. Those who are less aware of UDC's
true educational value will read your posting and assume that the university is not
preparing its students for the workforce or graduate studies. These ill-informed souls
become the detractors of UDC.
The truth is that many UDC students let alone graduates are
already employed by major corporations. The truth is that many UDC graduates are business
owners, executives and or entrepreneurs. The truth is that UDC is pumping out computer
programmers, engineers and biologists year after year. The truth is that many UDC
graduates continue their studies in law school, masters programs and doctorate
disciplines. The truth is that the nation's first and only African-American-owned national
automotive magazine (African Americans On Wheels Quarterly circ 750,000+)
was founded by a UDC graduate.
The truth is that in spite of occasions of administrative mismanagement,
UDC's academic programs have been sting enough to accept and educate students poorly
served by our public school system, bring them up to proper collegiate standards, and
prepare them to compete in the tough career market. The truth is that many of these
students would never have been accepted by other universities, but have a chance at
education because of UDC's open admissions policy. The sad truth is many people will read
your comments, assume the worst about UDC and add to the divisiveness that we all claim to
Try telling the truth about UDC for once. It may not make for light
banter, but it sure will serve our city better.
In making predictions for the coming year, some correspondents have
decided to vent their gripes by engaging in my least favorite form of criticism: Tony
bashing. It's really sad to see people such as Mr. Suderow blame all the city's problems
on the mayoralty and politicians. While they are, admittedly, less than stellar, I don't
think they deserve to be vilified. I find Tony Williams to be an honest, hardworking man
who's TRYING to tackle the horrendous, Barry-inspired mess that he inherited one year ago.
The verdict is still out on whether or not he will succeed, but he seems to be doing his
best, so I believe that we should give him a break with the griping and stick to
constructive forms of criticism. Let's build on the baby steps that the administration and
city have been taking, rather than try to tear them down.
One other thing, regarding Mr. Whiteside's rebuttal on Dupont Circle: yes,
the lights are timed wrong. However, the previous correspondent had a point when he/she
noted that people with out-of-state and suburban tags are poor circle drivers. If I had a
dollar for every time I've been cut off in a circle by a car with Maryland or Virginia
plates, I'd be a rich man! More often than not, these people fail to yield at the entrance
to a circle, and then proceed to ignore the lane lines. Tenley, Ward, Sheridan,
Westmoreland, Chevy Chase, Thomas, 16th Street I've seen it everywhere. I'm not
saying this simply to gripe about suburbanites these people often just don't know
how to navigate our older, narrower and more complex streets.
Happy New Year to all!!
Starpower and Cable Modems: Our Soap Opera Finally
Richard Robin, email@example.com
After 10 days of twice- and sometimes thrice daily calls to Starpower, our
family's cable modem connection is finally fixed! Turns out, it was first a bad hub, which
had knocked out the cable TV. They fixed that five days after the original outage. Then
there was a bad connection in the cable box at our house. The tech simply bypassed the
box. Gee, if I had a cable line tester, I could have done it myself. (Next stop: Radio
Shack to get my own cable line tester!) Of course, the sad thing is that it took
call after call after call to get some action. My advice: if you get Starpower and you
need a repair (not just technical assistance), latch onto a supervisor (get the exact
number and extension) and make that person responsible for getting the job done.
This may be old news (and, if so, my apologies), but while out walking
this afternoon I noticed that there is ESPNZone establishment going in on the
north side of E Street, NW, between 11th and 12th. I assume this is a good thing
part of the continued revitalization of the old downtown area. There is a similar (or
identical) place at Baltimore's Inner Harbor. Has anyone been there? Is this the kind of
place that DC locals are likely to want to visit? Or is it more like Planet Hollywood
and/or Hard Rock Cafe, which seem to be patronized largely by tourists?
I truly don't understand the urgent need to keep messages small. My
feeling goes like this: Sometimes people have something to say. If a message comes up that
just isn't interesting (and it does happen, albeit no more than once/quarter or so), I use
the >Page Down< key, and continue with the next message. I am not saying that
messages should never be edited for content or poor/rambling writing, but I believe that
there is a need to not necessarily limit the length of a message.
[This issue of themail is a good example of why messages should be kept
short. It's a slow time of year for themail, when many people are on vacation or don't
have time to write, but the issue is still long. E-mail doesn't lend itself well to long
missives, and busy people don't want to have to page down through several screens of a
message that doesn't interest them to get to the next message. Keep your messages to two
or three short paragraphs, one screen of text, and you'll be read. Gary Imhoff]
Dear Friends, My very best wishes for a year of necessary comforts and
unending joy, of good health, good friends and the opportunity to be of service. May you
be blessed with abundant love, and pass that blessing on to all who cross your path and
all who share it, especially elders, children and those who have lost hope. Welcome peace
and do not question happiness when it finds you by surprise. Live the coming year one day
at a time. Invest in people instead of things. Trade in fear, remorse, resentment,
confusion and anger . . . for gratitude. Be of good cheer. Be yourself. B GOOD 2 U in Y2K.
U R Loved always, and all ways.
Hypnosis Gets Credible!
Wayson P. Lee, firstname.lastname@example.org
Since no one believes me, look in The Washington City Paper,
soon. Yours truly gets a coveted Best Picks of the Week spot. Basically, the
last Saturdays of the month at the Cleveland Park library, 3:30 - 5:00, 202/282-3080,
until a club, group, or individual pays me the bucks! Performed at Borders Books, college
reunions, exchange students, other libraries.
Good Home Needed for Sweet Cat
David Black, email@example.com
A sweet, affectionate, playful about a year old- everything you could want
in a cat. His only drawback: he doesn't get along with cat number one. We took him in as a
stray, neutered him, gave him his shots and hoped to become a two-cat family. Sadly, it's
not working out. Rather than drop him at the shelter, where he might be eventually..., we
are determined to find a home. If you're interested and you'd like to visit him in Woodley
Park, respond to firstname.lastname@example.org or
Samaritan Opportunity Cheap Car Repair
Paul Penniman, email@example.com
I have an indigent, sick friend who has a sick husband and two kids. They
also have a sick van which needs engine work to the tune of $600. Is there anyone who
could do it at a more charitable cost? She seems to have exhausted options in the
Gaithersburg area, where she lives. Thanks.
NW/Zoo: large attractively furnished house for rent. Available January 20
for 12 months, possibly for 18 or 20 months. This is a great house! 4 bedrooms, 2 full
baths, living room with fireplace, formal dining room. The house has just gone through 6
months of renovations and has a new high-end kitchen [cherry cabinets, granite counters,
Thermador dual-fuel professional stove, Viking island range hood, Bosch d/w,
40 cubic feet of refrigerators], new breakfast room, new powder room, and new office or
den with box bay. Other features include a small sitting room, large entry foyer, laundry
room, fenced parking for 1 car, 3 porches or decks, central a/c, 6 skylights, ceiling
fans, and natural wood or ceramic tile floors throughout. Fresh paint inside & out,
new area rugs & stair carpet, new window and skylight treatments. (For that matter,
new sidewalks, road pavement & traffic lights.) Sophisticated security system with
24-hour monitoring. Fully and attractively furnished this is a private home, not a
rental property with many unique features. (Not included: cookware, dishes,
cutlery, linens or most small electronics.)
Near Rock Creek Park, jogging/biking/hiking trails, tennis courts and Zoo;
on 2 bus lines to Cleveland Park metro (8/10ths of a mile). Unusual in DC: a friendly,
cohesive neighborhood where neighbors actually know, like and socialize with each other.
Rent will be $2600-3400/month + utilities and is negotiable, depending upon number of
tenants. Prefer small family or group of genuinely adult professionals. $30 application
fee, lease, deposits which earn 5.25%. Tenants responsible for maintaining yards or using
a landscape service located in the neighborhood. No smoking; most pets not permitted, but
a small, well trained, mature dog is conceivable with an additional pet deposit. Sorry, no
cats or coati mundis. The last phases of renovation are in progress and the house will be
ready to show after January 07. Please contact us by E-mail or phone (202-232-2874).
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