In one earlier blog entry, I shared the letter to the editor that was printed regarding a column I wrote about town council member Jackie Lacy. Today, I wrote a response letter that will be mailed out. If it happens to be read here first, so be it.
December 11, 2006
Mrs. Yvette Lacy Grantham
308 Fox Ridge
Louisburg, NC 27549-9769
I am writing to you pursuant to your letter to the editor of “The Selma News” that appeared in the December 7th, 2006 edition of the paper. You took exception to my column from way back in October regarding comments made in an open town council meeting by your mother, Jackie.
For the record, I like your mother on a personal level. She and I have never had anything but pleasant words for one another. However, I do believe that comments like the one made by your mother are entirely inappropriate, regardless of who made them.
You were obviously not in attendance at the council meeting in question. I was, as were dozens of others who heard the actual comment. Furthermore, the council meeting was audio taped by the Town Clerk. The recording is public record and available for the public to review. I obtained a copy of the recording, knowing that I would have just such a reaction from a reader as you have shown. I took the EXACT quote from the tape. I also took the exchange between Charles Hester and your mother and put it on the internet so that anyone could hear the comments for themselves.
Mrs. Grantham, Jackie Lacy’s comments were in no way taken out of context. You mentioned the comments that I made on the internet, as well as in my column. Had you actually taken the time to read the comments on my web site, you would have had the opportunity to hear the comments yourself, in their context. Your argument about contextual error are just plain inaccurate.
If you took the time to listen to the audio, you will find that your mother was not provoked into her comment. Again, I was there and I have an actual recording of the meeting, neither of which can be claimed by yourself. I can understand wanting to defend the honor of your mother, but please do not make up excuses for her behavior. She is an adult and can either take responsibility for her actions or not. If she can not, then she does not belong in public office and does not need fallacious excuses from people who were not eye witnesses.
I would appreciate an explanation as to why you believe that your mother is deserving of an apology in this situation. She made an inappropriate and racist comment in an open governmental meeting. A concerned citizen and media figure, such as myself took note of it. Wherein is an apology warranted TO your mother rather than FROM your mother? This idea is beyond my comprehension.
Furthermore, if as you state, she deserves an apology, please explain from whom an apology is due. Certainly you can not mean that she deserves one from me. I am the messenger, not the one who created the message. Should a newspaper apologize for reporting news? Should an opinion columnist apologize for giving an opinion? Factually, I was correct and took great care in making sure that I was correct. Ergo, there should be nothing worthy of an apology. Your mother, on the other hand, has yet to issue any sort of apology for her inappropriate and racist behavior.
Your assertion that your mother may have said something other than what I have quoted is just plain erroneous. Your assertion that someone else would have said the same thing just because Mayor Hester is from an “affluent area” of town is not only speculation, it certainly does not provide a sufficient excuse for inappropriate behavior.
If my mother made such a comment, I would not be making excuses for her. I would rather politely and respectfully rebuke her. If the situation was reversed and it was a Caucasian individual making such comments to a Negro, there would be great outrage over it. I would be included among those so outraged.
Please explain to me why it is fine for a Negro to make a racist comment but it outrageous for a White man to do so. This is an inequity that I find totally hypocritical and deplorable by those in the Negro community who are of such mindset. Making excuses for bad behavior does the Negro race and local community a disservice. It is comments like yours that cause people like me to despise characters such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. I hope that Jackie would have raised someone with higher standards than those of Misters Sharpton or Jackson.
Please show me where I am wrong in anything I have said and I will apologize immediately. If you do not have the audio I referred to, you can obtain a copy at Selma Town Hall as I did, you can download it off the internet, or I will even make a CD copy for your listening pleasure.
Author of “LaPlante’s Rants” column in “The Selma News”