Tuesday, October 30, 2007

timeline of a slur

following up a bit on my previous post, here is a timeline:

  1. october 26: indy star editorialist rishawn biddle authors a post called "coons for power" (or some such variation). we know this was the original title because the filename of the post remains "coons_for_power.html". we do not know exactly what this post said, as it has since been replaced in the google cache with later versions.
  2. at some point, rishawn revises the post and retitles it "Didn't coonery end with slavery?" this presumed second draft of the post contains the typo "laxy" (instead of "lazy") and does not include a disclaimer noting that the post has been revised.
  3. rishawn fixes his typo and adds a disclaimer that the post has been revised. this is presumably the third draft of the post.
  4. rishawn thinks better of having the word "coon" in the title of his post, and retitles it "The Indianapolis Black Democrat minstrel show". instead of calling all indy black democrats coons, he decides to only refer to city-council president monroe gray as a coon, stating that gray's recent actions are "more Zip Coon than honorable statesman".
  5. october 29: apparently now proud of his post, rishawn sends out an email bragging that expresso is back online. ruth holladay responds enthusiastically, quoting rishawn's "zip coon" passage and approvingly stating that "Someone at the Star needs to be saying this stuff." when the post's racist language is pointed out to her, ruth responds that she doesn't really know what "zip coon" means and speculates that "this may well be edited out".
  6. gary welsh picks up on the story and remarks that "The post makes some very salient points on the state of Democratic black leadership in the city right now, but most would agree the Zip Coon analogy is way over the top."
  7. i read about the post on gary's blog, post about it, and begin scouring the google cache for the original version of rishawn's post. i'm unable to turn up the true original post, but i do manage to locate a couple previous drafts.
  8. october 30: rishawn deletes the bit about "zip coon" from his post, but he leaves in all the parts about minstrel shows and shuckin' and jivin'. so his post isn't really any less offensive; it just has one fewer slur. unfortunately, it is too late for him to take those words back, as the story is now all over the blogs, prompting a post at TDW.

i feel compelled to point out once again that rishawn isn't just some jackass blogger; he is an editorial writer for the largest newspaper in the state, and his bizarre race-baiting is taking place on that newspaper's web server.

14 comments:

Wilson46201 said...

damn good research on a gawdawful disgrace...

I hope Barb Henry and Dennis Ryerson take some action about a Gannett entity publishing such racist crap!

Anonymous said...

No worse than Amos Browns race baiting, and if you took out the racial epitaph, his points are all sound....

stAllio! said...

if you take out the "racial epitaph" [i think you mean epithet], there wouldn't be any post left. rishawn's entire argument boils down to "indy black democrats are acting like n-----s!"

there are definitely good arguments to be made against some of these people, but rishawn doesn't make them.

varangianguard said...

Wilson, you need to complain directly to both of those people you mentioned. Complaining here won' help anything, now will it?

Wilson46201 said...

I Emailed both Henry and Ryerson last night about the openly racist crap being posted on a Gannett entity by a Gannett employee.

Will the Star next be calling Beth White "a dumb c*nt" ? Maybe LGBT activists as "silly f*gs"?

TDW said...

My apologies for being late to the game today; this whole pregnancy thing means I'm tired all the time, which, in turn, means I'm late to a whole lot of games.

Nice work catching all the cached stuff.

At the very least, I hope RiShawn's work goes through an editor in the future.

Steph Mineart said...

Some of the rss feed readers that are desktop applications will let you archive the various revisions of blog posts and allow you to keep posts indefinitely, which helps when this sort of thing occurs.

In addition to reconstructing the writing of others, I've used it to have a backup cache of my own writing when I've had site hiccups that lose a post.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Rashawn got out his fiddle and played "Turkey in the Straw" for the newsroom before he left...???

Seriously, Rishawn may have been annoying, but he was never afraid to say some real shit. It's too bad he's been muzzled. Voltaire anyone...

Wilson46201 said...

Some wise-ass once cracked that "Freedom of the press is for people that own the presses." Biddle may stand on a street corner and say whatever he wishes. He may even start a blog and say whatever he wishes. However, as an employee of an entity with a large website he has no free speech rights whatsoever.

Biddle hasn't been muzzled - his corporate giant megaphone simply has been taken away. Gannett has no responsibility to provide him (with pay!) a pulpit to preach from.

varangianguard said...

See, Wilson? Your letters helped after all.

Anonymous said...

Have any national media followers published any of this story? I forwarded it to media bistro because the issue of blogging/journalism or blogging for a newspaper (which unlike regular bloggers obviously pays and affects how the newspaper is perceived). But if anyone has seen it anywhere else, I'd be interested to know about it.

Anonymous said...

12:31 again here. I meant to add, I forwarded a link to stAllio!'s blog that has the links to the cached versions.

stAllio! said...

12:31: the story hasn't quite broken nationally yet, but rishawn used to live and work in LA before he moved here so as news of his firing trickles to people over there, it'll probably get some attention. that's already begun to happen.

stAllio! said...

yep, now roger ailes is on it. man, i forgot that rishawn wrote for reason. this story could potentially be quite big.