Unethical Quote Of The Week: Mayor Patsy Capshaw Skipper of Midland Alabama

Patsy-Skipper-Facebook-post

“I lost. The nigger won.”

—Soon to be ex-mayor of Midland, Alabama, Patsy Capshaw Skipper, in a Facebook response to a friend  who asked about the recent election.

Mayor Skipper was defeated by Jo Ann Bennett Grimsley, former assistant city clerk and an employee of the Dale County government for 27 years. She also happens to be black, which is apparently what Skipper thinks is most important about her.

A few observations:

1. What an idiot! I wonder how long Facebook and Twitter will be around before people learn that you can’t post anything “secretly”?

2. Such a disgusting statement being made by an elected official on a public forum does incalculable harm to societal bonds of trust and race relations. It appears to validate the worst suspicions and fears of African Americans, not just in Midland, not just in Alabama, but everywhere. It also is ammunition for those who derive power and influence from promoting racial discord–Black Lives Matter, race hustlers like Al Sharpton, Democrats.

3. Skipper became mayor when her husband, who was the previous mayor, retired in poor health [Notice of correction: the original post erroneously stated that he had died. My mistake, and I apologize for the error.]  and the good, lazy, irresponsible people of Midland decided that simply having the same last name as the previous mayor was qualification enough to run the town. It is just mind-blowing how often this happens, and there is no justification for it. Let’s see: Sonny Bono’s wife Mary, with no relevant experience at all, was elected to replace him in Congress after he died in a skiing accident. Lurleen Wallace took over for her husband George as Governor of Alabama when he couldn’t serve another term [Notice of ANOTHER correction: the original post erroneously stated that Wallace’s shooting prompted Lurleen’s ascension to power. Again, I missed it by careless reading. Thanks and gratitude to the Wallace-literate reader who informed me of the mistake.]  had died. My mistake, and I apologize for the error.] . Jean Carnihan took over for her husband as junior U.S. Senator of Missouri after he died.

And then there’s Hillary, of course.

4. What should be done about Skipper, at this point? She is an avowed racist, condemned by her own mouth. Any apology would be a sham, necessarily of the Pazuzu variety, as in “I don’t know why I wrote that; it isn’t who I am.” The town should shun her and shame her, but you know it won’t. It won’t because everyone probably knew she was a racist all along, and there are enough racists among the citizens that her statement on Facebook was neither shocking nor surprising to most of them.

5. The problem is not that she used the word “nigger.” It’s just a word. The problem is what her use of the word in that context signified: contempt and disrespect for a woman based on her race alone.

6. The progressive site Raw Story, reporting on the incident, goes on to note that Skipper’s 2015 Facebook feed included damning praise for God and Republicans:

“She posted various pro-Christian and pro-Republican memes, including an image of the White House that reads “I want a White House that honors God. Share if you agree!” and another with a quote by Republican former Pres. Ronald Reagan that reads, “We are never defeated unless we give up on God. Share if you agree!”

This is relevant, you see, because it is further proof that Republicans and Christians are racists.

Raw Story’s editors are just as bigoted as Patsy, just against different kind of people.

7. Many on the progressive end of the spectrum would like to make a post like Mayor Skipper’s illegal, as “hate speech.” On the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s  political panel show “Q&A,” editor Brendan O’Neill, editor of Spiked, attacked Section 18C of Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act, which prohibits speech “reasonably likely… to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people’ because of their ‘race, colour or national or ethnic origin.”  O’Neill said…

“I love hearing hate speech because it reminds me I live in a free society…The real problem with Section 18C is it actually disempowers anti-racists by denying us the right to see racism, to know it, to understand it and to confront it in public. Instead it entrusts the authorities to hide it away on our behalf so we never have a reckoning with it.”

Exactly. Thanks to the freedom U.S. racists and fools have to let us know exactly how vile they are, we have opportunities to counter their cultural poison, and, unless you’re from Midland, keep them from having more power and influence than bigots can be trusted with, which is to say, any.

______________________________

Pointer: Amy Alcorn

 

16 Comments

Filed under U.S. Society

16 responses to “Unethical Quote Of The Week: Mayor Patsy Capshaw Skipper of Midland Alabama

  1. To their eternal peril people forget the difference between “Love” and “Send.”

    “Send” is forever!

  2. Steve-O-in-NJ

    In a private message would be one thing, but OUT IN THE OPEN? What an idiot indeed. It’s not even a joke so she could say “oops, only joking,” it’s unvarnished hate. Then again, I know how she feels, I’ve spewed naked hate myself, though not against black people (I’ve worked alongside other lawyers of other colors for too long). When you hate, members of the group you hate lose all individuality, and simply become that group. I’ve said “the Muzzie” or “the terrorist” about Rafiq the attorney behind his back, and I’ve laughed with other attorneys in the department over the successful firing of a police officer we called “the carpet muncher” due to a lesbian affair. I am no longer proud I did those things (and the two other lawyers I laughed with should also be ashamed), but at the time it was just a thinking process, or a non-thinking process, that flowed.

    • Chris

      “I’ve said “the Muzzie” or “the terrorist” about Rafiq the attorney behind his back, and I’ve laughed with other attorneys in the department over the successful firing of a police officer we called “the carpet muncher” due to a lesbian affair. I am no longer proud I did those things (and the two other lawyers I laughed with should also be ashamed), but at the time it was just a thinking process, or a non-thinking process, that flowed.”

      I’m glad your thinking has evolved, Steve. More people should recognize and confront their biases this way.

  3. These situations are so alien to me.

    I was thinking about it yesterday, and it hit me that I hadn’t actually heard someone call someone else that name in real anger (as in, not ironically, on TV or as part of a rap lyric) until I was 28 years old. An 80 year old clerk in one of my stores saw a new hire and said, and I quote “Who hired the nigger? I don’t wanna work with that.” I was blown away. It apparently hadn’t come up before… Which is interesting in and of itself, but it put me in a really weird position.

    This racist, and I don’t know a person more deserving of the term, was a pillar of the community, he’d worked in that store for 52 years, and back in the 80’s when the business was struggling he had loaned the business money so it could make payroll… The company literally wouldn’t exist without him… But that didn’t change the fact that I had a serious HR problem on my hands. As luck had it, he’d announced his retirement and given a month’s notice just before this, and we paid him in lieu.

    I don’t know what I would have done otherwise…. Obviously the racist was in the wrong, and I’m proud to say in thinking about it that terminating the probationee didn’t occur to me at the time. But do you wait until a problem comes to a head and then put it through the process? Do you treat it as a fireable offence, or do you take incremental action? Do you deal with it proactively, how does that mesh with labour laws? So many questions I’d never considered before were immediately and urgently important.

    Why am I bringing this up? I’m making an assumption here, that my experience mirrors the average white, middle-aged person, in that we very rarely, if ever see, experience, or deal with with real, overt, hateful racial rhetoric. I suspect this is generational… Had I not been working with that specific octogenarian, I may not have ever heard someone called that name in malice. Haven’t since, anyway.

    It’s weird… I can’t bring myself to see that person as an evil, moustache twirling villain… But more as a sad vestige of a shittier time.

    • Steve-O-in-NJ

      Not overt, but often we see it come out if we let it be known we are open to it. Many lawyers, cops, FFs and others have revealed their dark sides to me when they thought I was a fellow traveler. 75% of the time I have told the “drinking on the job” or the “flat black” joke as an icebreaker and gotten either an outright guffaw or a snicker-snicker-that’s terrible-ha-ha.

    • dragin_dragon

      That’s an interesting thought, and a relevant one. My father-in-law, who grew up in depression-era Kansas City, was as nice a guy as you’d ever hope to meet, but he was as bigoted as they come. I remember him making comments SOTO VOCE about mixed race couples and marveling that nobody ever beat him into the pavement. Going through three more generations, my grandchildren are color-blind, and I really mean that. They are aware that there are people who have different color skins but they have no idea why it should make a difference. For this, I am extremely proud of my sons, who are as biased-free as their upbringing could make them. Some hope for the future.

  4. Regarding the “80-year-old,” racist. If there was no previous history of racism in speech or behavior, I’d be inclined towards dementia or Alzheimers as a possible, if not probable explanation. A family member, the most moral and ethical person I’ve ever known, began to say some atrocious stuff during the middle and late stages, and our daily outings were always a crapshoot. You sound like a wonderful employer and I’m glad the person was able to separate with dignity.

  5. A 03/12/2014 episode of the Jim Rome Show featured former NFLer Tony Gonzalez, NBA coach Byron Scott, and Jason Whitlock discussing a proposed NFL rule change.

    That change? A 15 yard penalty for using the “N” word.

    Factor in the following responses are from memory as I wasn’t able to pull the script.

    FYI, lockdown Corner extraordinaire Richard Sherman had his own rather pointed take: “It’s almost racist.”

    http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/richard-sherman-on-n-word-penalty-its-atrocious-idea-almost-racist/

    Tony Gonzales, who is reportedly Black, was asked how often, if ever, had he heard the word on the field.

    Gonzales: “All the time.”

    Rome: “Ever from a White Player?”

    Gonzales: “Never.”

    Rome: “Ever hear the word ‘Honky?’ ”

    Gonzales: “All the time.”

    I’m thinking not from a White Player either.

    The rule change idea was dropped, and I’d venture a guess based on what Gonzales had to say.

    Had the rule change gone through, all the flags would have constituted a different type of…um…targeting.

  6. pennagain

    Brendan O’Neill is getting it in the face for his wider take on Free Speech (it was a 356 digit URL so I squooshed in at tinyurl.com, a handy little online gadget:

    http://tinyurl.com/gsy43my

  7. Mark

    Her statement does not “appear” to validate the worst suspicions, etc. Sadly, this is what we know. Not only is it ammunition, but it’s live no matter whose hands it’s in. White folks are generally far more shocked and appalled by these little windows into the abyss than any black person reading or hearing about this. People like her create a world where this is more an expectation than a surprise.

  8. Tom

    Slight correction. Lurleen Wallace was elected in 1966 because Alabama’s constitution (at that time) provided that a governor could serve only one term at a time. She was elected on the platform that George would be her number 1 adviser. Your point stands.

    Lurleen had passed away in 1968 and Albert Brewer took over. Wallace run a very racist campaign to defeat Brewer in 1970, had the constitution changed so that he could succeed himself. You could write an multi-volume encyclopedia on the lack of GCW’s ethics.

    Just discovered your blog earlier this week from a link by Scott Greenfield. You express very well much of what I think. Thanks for writing.

    • Thanks for the correction. When I checked my recollection, I stopped reading as soon as I confirmed that she succeeded her husband, and assumed, wrongly, the reason.

      Scott hates my guts (the feeling is mutual, though his blog is terrific), so the link was a shock. I did expose that crazy plagiarist lawyer before anyone else, though…

  9. Exactly. Thanks to the freedom U.S. racists and fools have to let us know exactly how vile they are, we have opportunities to counter their cultural poison, and, unless you’re from Midland, keep them from having more power and influence than bigots can be trusted with, which is to say, any.

    Imagine if Alabama had hate speech laws in the 1930’s.

    Does anyone think they would have been enforced against the people in white robes and hoods?

  10. John Martin, whose comment was spammed for rudeness, writes,

    “The former mayor didn’t die, he retired due to poor heath. How come you didn’t know that? You didn’t see the interview he gave on the news program that discussed the whole issue? It makes me wonder why my minimum research was more substantial than yours and you wrote a whole article on the subject. Research at least as long as you write..”

    As the EA Comment policies make clear, you don’t come on my blog, into my “house,” and talk to me like that before you’ve proven yourself a worthy guest. My reply:

    Thanks for the correction, not that it is anything but tangential to the post. I’ll fix it. And you get banned for entering my realm with nastiness. I have a full time job and a family, write about 3000 words a day while researching the Ethics Alarms posts, for which I get nothing but satisfaction for promoting thought about ethics for the edification and enjoyment of readers. I miss things sometimes, like this, and count on readers to catch them. The ethical ones do so nicely. The assholes do it like you. By the way, the correct information was in the link I provided, which is why I provide links. When I get your apology on my e-mail, I might unban you.

    (And why would I have seen the local TV interview by the mayor of a little Alabama town about his health?)

    • “The assholes do it like you.”

      Reminds me of a quote that I believe was referring to the eminently colorful Bobby “The General” Knight:

      “If some calls you an asshole, ignore him. If he tells why you’re an asshole, pay attention.”

      I think you employed the latter method.

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