Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Kimmy Factor

"That this could be!
That I should live to see
Most vulgar Pride, the stale obstreperous clown,
So fitted out with purple robe and crown
To stand among his betters! Face to face
With outraged me in this once holy place,
Where Wisdom was a favored guest and hunted
Truth was harbored out of danger,
He bulks enthroned, a lewd, an insupportable stranger!"
- Edna St. Vincent Millay
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The summer Oldest Daughter was six, we moved to a small cul-de-sac that was home to four other little six-year-old girls. They were a sight to behold that summer! Five little girls, each as cute as the next...roaming from house to house, playing the usual games, and inventing a few new ones. Not every game was particularly charming or benign. In one heart-stopping episode, the five of them stood in the street...blocking, for a very short period of time, the little traffic that tried to pass. Another day, they devised a shake-down scheme that was quite successful in the short-term. They went from Mom to unsuspecting Mom, begging for snacks about every hour. They enjoyed their sugary ill-gotten gains all day long for several days, until the Moms uncovered the scam. My daughter appeared to be the leader of this "little girl gang," so I was sensitive to her culpability. But before long, the gang had an informant. The little girl directly across the street.
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Kimmy.
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Kimmy was the "Sammy the Bull" of the six year olds. After the Snack Caper was uncovered and cookie contributions dwindled, Oldest Daughter's leadership position was obviously weakened. Kimmy saw her opportunity for a play-group coup d'etat and tensions rose. Kimmy began to inform her Mother of my daughter's every transgression. Kimmy's Mom, in turn, began to appear at my door on a very regular basis, demanding resolution and punishment. According to Kimmy and her Mom, my daughter exhibited ONE particular recurring intolerable behavior: the dreaded "You Can't Play in My Yard" pronouncement.
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The "You Can't Play In My Yard" pronouncement had been discussed in depth that summer. Over coffee, Kimmy's Mom and I had agreed on a "It takes a Village Approach"...(though we did not possess that terminology in those days.) We would administer the same justice in the same measure from Mom to Mom. But Kimmy's Mom was troubled that Oldest Daughter had a distinct propensity for outlawing Kimmy from our property. Kimmy's Dad was a noted psychology professor at the University and Kimmy's Mom felt my six year old's statements had some deep psychological and sociological meaning (though if Kimmy and Oldest Daughter were any more "similar," their DNA might have matched.) She would stare meaningfully at me as she questioned me:
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"Why ever would your six year old be exhibiting this behavior? Why is she acting this way?" she'd query.
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"Dunno," I'd answer.
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I felt very guilty, very inadequate, and...frankly, very dysfunctional. Oldest Daughter continued to insist the back-yard banning was most often mutual, with Kimmy giving as good as she got, but Kimmy's Mom assured me that was not so. She would sigh a great sigh of pity for my problem child...and once again, I would acquiesce to her demands.
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And so it would come to pass that Oldest Daughter would watch from her bedroom window, as Kimmy and the other girls played on...without her.
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It takes a village and all that.
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One morning, by an open window, I overheard a stunning statement! Miss Kimmy HERSELF, daughter of the esteemed psychology professor and the perfect mother...telling my daughter, "YOU can't play in my yard." Be still my beating heart! After a summer of punishing MY daughter on their word alone...I had witnessed this turn about MYSELF. Now I approached THEIR door.
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The Village concept fell apart on the spot.
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Kimmy's Mom chose to accept her six year old's word instead of mine.
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"Kimmy says she didn't say it," she told me. "And Kimmy doesn't lie."
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Really?
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The Mommy-rapprochement was never the same. All bets were off. My six -year old returned to the cold streets of the cul-de-sac. Kimmy probably was backyard-banned on a regular basis. I didn't much care. She and her Mother lost all credibility, all sympathy, and all hope of united response from me...on the day they didn't apply THEIR rules, our agreed rules...to THEMSELVES. The day they excused behavior in themselves that they had steadfastly condemned in others. The day they broke faith with our "Village" concept.
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It's the Kimmy factor in the Hoax that has me most distressed. A long time ago, I thought a new generation of us talked about a Dream we wanted for ourselves and our children. Color of skin, someone wise had counseled us, would have no place in our dream....we would revere "content of character." We would be a real community, experience real brotherhood. As a young girl, emotional as I am, I embraced this with every fiber of my being. Yes, a long time ago, many of us committed our very spiritual cores to THAT goal, to THAT plan, to THAT dream. We knew it would be slow, but together, folks of good will and good sense would make it happen. If we couldn't completely change our parents' thinking...we certainly would change our children's thinking. Because it is RIGHT. No pats on the back required...it is RIGHT.
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In the ensuing years, in my real life, in the places I've lived, I've spoken up for that dream. I've quit organizations, severed "social" friendships, ... once called out a guest in my own home, and tangled with a minister's wife whose bias bubbled right under the surface. I won't hear that Dream defamed. Let me repeat: it is right. Like the pact I made with Kimmy's Mom, I have tried to keep up my end.
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That's why one of the worst days for me in this debacle was the day I read the NC NAACP "explanation" of the Hoax events on their website. What an utter unvarnished betrayal of the Dream! It truly sickened me. I could not believe the once revered NAACP would have that screed of lies, excuses, and inaccuracies on its website! That piece stands as the very best definition of biased writing I have seen in a long, long while.
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The dream, the brotherhood, the community, the village has to be all-inclusive to ever mean anything! It cannot replace one set of "favored folks" with another! Call our children hooligans, or homeboys or whatever we wish...we must not favor yours over mine or over theirs...or we have lost it all!
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Hoax Enablers, you've scammed the dream! You've sold it out!
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When I was young I'd hear people say, "What do you care? You don't know THEM. They're not like us," they'd say, "Stick by your own." The understanding was that "They" could be casually sullied and conveniently lied about, because they did not matter as much as US. THEIR reputations were of no import. "THEY" weren't us. I found such talk disgusting. Still do.
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Now the NCNAACP in 2006/2007 seems to adopt the same sickening standard against Collin, Reade, and Dave. They have never even run a correction to the obvious untruths in that article. They appear unashamed. Perhaps someone in the NCNAACP hierarchy is parroting those voices from the past, "Those white privileged Lacrosse kids don't deserve any better. They are not like US. Stick by our own."
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Or as was said at the IWF Forum: "Some crimes are so important, even innocence is no defense."
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Shameful.
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I remember the words, "Kimmy doesn't lie," from a defensive Mother. Now we hear Crystal doesn't lie. Crystal is a full time honor roll student, working nights, the NCNAACP tells us, to spend more time with her children (item 14 ). By now, we all now what and who Crystal is. And how she spends her time. We know the "content of her character." That's the real discovery in the DNA and the witness statements. And to use the overused Hoax phrase..."We know YOU know." But some, in a tragic reversal, now see only her skin, and on the basis of her color, discard all else and crown her "a sister survivor."
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Yes, I remember the archetypal, pot bellied Sheriffs of the Old South who insisted white women, no matter the evidence to the contrary, never lied about rape too.
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Same thinking.
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You have become what we all most despised.
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You may say she is troubled. Reach a hand out to help her and ask us to assist. We are all vulnerable. Our troubled children come in all colors. But don't ask three young men to go to trial or to prison for her lies...to save face, to show racial unity, or to flex political muscle.
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You may say you were duped by Nifong. Many of us were too. But don't give your tacit approval to Nifong's corrupted tactics because now you feel you can't turn back! You'll be haunted by that hypocrisy. Your approval NOW of this shameful Hoax will be a burden to be borne in the future by many others, your sons and daughters and ours. Individually, they each will have good cause to remember that YOU CONDONED CORRUPTION, and pushed it down the road TO THEM. You are sowing dangerous seeds here.
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Don't make colluding with a conspiracy to railroad these boys, the only defense against being called "racist" by your Hoax "cohorts!" Don't make that word "racist" cheap and meaningless as you flail about, searching for some way to prop up Nifong and Crystal. You are flailing at old friends, true friends...friends with a history of staunchly standing by your side.
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Long ago, I decided there was no Club I needed to be in, if I had to sacrifice my intelligence and integrity to be accepted. That applies here too. The entry fee for being exempt from the charge of racism in this case is far too costly.
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When I was a young Mother, I stood at Kimmy's Mom's door, and asked her to apply our rules fairly, as we had agreed. In a much, much more important way, a lot of us are at a threshold today, asking "do unto others in our Justice system, as you would have done unto YOU." A rush to judgment, indictments without evidence, rigged line-ups, witness intimidation, suppression of exculpatory DNA, a D.A. morally unfit to serve...and on and on and on. I'm asking you, Hoax supporters and the NCNAACP, how much will you wink and nod at, how much will you condone in your need protect and promote this egregious case? And, for God's sake, WHY?
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It would seem that many of the Hoax supporters are putting out a new manifesto, a new set of Village rules. "Yes, indeed," they seem to say, "when our children are nifonged, slandered and smeared...yes, we EXPECT you to stand with us, dig into your purse, expose corruption, and DEMAND real justice. Call in Project Innocence! It's your moral DUTY!"
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"But when YOUR children are nifonged, and the girl is "our own"...don't come to our door. Sorry, we must close our eyes and our ranks. We must flex our political muscle to demand a show trial, to show our strength. Despite what the evidence and our intellect tells us, we owe her at least the "something must have happened" defense. "Something Happened is our minimum....because she's our own."
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"Every contorted excuse that can be found will be used blatantly to buttress her lies...to counter the inconvenient truth. Defiance and denial, and denigration of everything we once held dear...all for her!"
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"Thank you for standing with us to remove a North Carolina District Attorney who used a racial expletive in a drunken bar exchange unrelated to any pending case. But, no, we will protect Nifong's right to smear your children in the media in pre-trial publicity over 50 times."
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"Our leaders will reward false accusations with full scholarships."
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"Our sons will say, "Even if innocent, they should go to trial."
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***
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The world has turned upside down.
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With this apparent new thinking, those of us who ask for an equality of justice in this case...in ALL cases...are now branded "racists." Those of us who cry out against a biased corrupt prosecutor are now unfair to an "African Queen." Those who demand ALL receive the same treatment regardless of color, creed, or content of their Daddy's wallet, ... are out of step with the NCNAACP.
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But long ago, after the marches, high on hope, bright-eyed with the vision of a new, better future for ALL our children...we embraced each other and those very same phrases, principles, and ideals. All the ones you abandon now in your pursuit of Collin, Reade, and Dave.
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I do not understand.
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But one thing I do know, no matter how you spin it now.
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Long ago.... that was our dream.
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Joan Foster

29 comments:

westpole said...

Joan
I am a new fan. You are wonderful. ONe of the most remarkable clearheaded and compelling writers I have ever read. Thank you!!

virshu said...

I came to this country (Los Angeles) in 1990 with the same rosy-eyed attitude. It wasn't long before Rodney King riots shattered all of that. I've never lived in the South, or in the 60s - but the victimization culture of NAACP is obvious for last 15 years to anybody who is not blind!

QuadDog said...

Thanks Joan. I am shocked to see the blatent racism exhibited by the NAACP. It is truly sad.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Thank you again Joan. I wish this were printed in every newspaper across the country.

Costello7

bill anderson said...

Wonderful comments, Joan, and so true. I recently received an email from someone close to Nifong and it was the usual claptrap that one expects from these enablers.

Look, Al Sharpton still insists that Tawana Brawley was raped. We are dealing with deliberate dishonesty. There is no other explanation.

Anonymous said...

Only the truth counts. It is neither black nor white. The truth has no color.

The NC NAACP in this case cares not about truth. It has become racist endeavor at all costs.

Clearly I doubt there is another case, which has so much exculpatory evidence, and evidence the accuser is lying.

Maybe it is time we honestly look at groups, which call them a group based upon Color, whether they are Black or White. Maybe it is time for them to disband.

Anonymous said...

As always, Joan, you are more than on point and say things many of us just can't frame.

How we beleived in those days!! That if we were just smart and good and kind, we would make a difference. That men and women of all colors and classes would be equal. That women would have the right to choose their paths. That the "village" was going to be more important than the old boys club....

This case has has been profoundly depressing for many reasons. We worked and believed so hard ---
To see our faith and labor so betrayed on so many levels is truly disheartening.

People often ask me why I care so much about 3 young men I never met from a school with whom I have no affiliation. This is exactly why.

Bless the Defense~!

Far Flung Jen

madder than a hornet said...

Dear Joan,

Dismay is the only word I can use about the blind side of the NC NAACP. I am sickened by their prejudice and I know Dr. King would be too.

I can feel your outrage through your words and they reflect my feelings. Thank you for helping us all to walk the long hoax road.

psych said...

Joan what you said is so true. I had the same thoughts you stated so eloquently. I feel so betrayed.

I am sure it will be harder for me to get emotionally invested in situations that affect African Americans than it has in the past.

What a sad state of affairs.

Anonymous said...

Carolyn says:

Oh, Joan. You have described more accurately than I ever could this case's ugly betrayal of race by racists.

Anonymous said...

WOW!

Anonymous said...

The NAACP has been a part of the "race hustler" genre for a couple of decades now.

They are a VICTIMIZATION organization.

Have been for years!

Welcome to reality

Anonymous said...

the only blatant racism shown has been by the lacrosse players.

Anonymous said...

This has been very hard for me throughout this hoax. The realization of just how naive I am.

I believed and supported and fought for the same dream. I raised my children to continue "our dream". I believed everyone had the same dream.

My awakening came with the election (Durham DA) -- with the polls showing a huge racial divide. I was stunned. It actually brought me to tears a couple of times as the realization of what was going on set in. To me, the election was about restoring justice; not race, not politics. I was truly stunned to see so clearly that to many it was very much about race.

Add to that the NAACP, NBPP, Duke AAAS, JJ, et al and I'm left wondering if I've done my children a disservice.

"Long ago...that was our dream"

As always, Joan, you put my thoughts to words so eloquently. :rose:

--jmoo

Anonymous said...

Carolyn says:

12:04 AM - Why do I have the feeling you're from the NCNAACP? Maybe because if you're cowardly enough to hide behind race, you'd be cowardly enough to hide behind 'anonymous'?

Anonymous said...

Old, big dreams die very hard.

I'm sorry Joan is only now realizing taht the phenomenon she describes so perfectly has been going on for a good number of years.

There's a sizable number of black Americas who don't want equality.

They want revenge, power as a group..........and more money.

Anonymous said...

The really sad thing is that the NAACP has forgotten what Rev. King stood for; and the new "leaders" of Black Americans, namely Jesse and Al, are making every effort to keep skin color as the issue. I'm sorry that this mess in Durham has caused great damage to racial relations in this country, but sorrier still that three young men and their families have been tortured for over a year and we keep hearing nothing but more racism from the Blacks. If they don't want to follow Rev. King's words, why should we?

Anonymous said...

Wonderful writing, Joan. Your eloquence is so very powerful--thank you, thank you! The hypocrisy of the NCNAACP and other enablers is so evident in this case. The "sister survivor" website and comments are consumed with perpetuating this hoax, with no understanding of what they are doing to their own race down the road if rogue prosecutors are given such power as Nifong has wielded.

Bless you for your way with words, Joan!

duke2009mom

gc said...

Great piece.

Anonymous said...

Thanks once again, Joan, you speak with ringing clarity and deep emotion. You speak for many of us, including me. Thank you!

NYEsq83

Anonymous said...

Joan I agree whole heartedly with you piece. It is brilliant.

However, I want all of us to remember James Coleman, Ed Bradley,Devon Sherwood,....They were color blind and believed in justice. Given the fact that there was a push from the NCNAACP on at the time, their courage is now even greater in my estimate.

Anonymous said...

ronmet says;

The Dream has indeed been betrayed; not just in Durham.

The Mayor of New Orleans, Ray (Chocolate City) Nagin said in a DC Speech, that a Conspiracy exists to keep blacks from returning to New Orleans, so that whites can regain political power.

Many people of good will and all races have been working hard to try to bring New Orleans back from Katrina. If it happens, it will happen despite the Black Racists like Mayor Nagin.

Anonymous said...

From M. Nifongs Website

Picture of Justice Scales
A Victim's Rights
A Victim's Responsibilities
What to do if Threatened or Intimidated
The Victims Compensation Program
The District Attorneys Responsibilities to Victims
SAVAN


Victim's Rights:
You have the right to be given information about the crime, how the criminal justice system works, the rights of victims, and the availability of services to victims.

You have the right to be informed of and be present at court proceedings of the accused.

You have the right to talk with the prosecutor and provide a Victim Impact Statement (VIS).

You have the right to be heard at the sentencing of the accused and at other times as allowed by law.

You have the right to receive restitution.

You have the right to receive information about the conviction or final disposition and sentence of the accused.

You have the right to present your views and concerns to the Governor or agency considering the release of the accused.

back to top

A Victim's Responsibilities:
If you wish to receive notification and to be informed of court proceedings you must notify your Victim Witness Assistant at the District Attorney's officeof any change of address or telephone number you may have.

Anonymous said...

What a powerfully written statement.

Anonymous said...

What a powerfully written statement.

Anonymous said...

Joan...u are amazing. I wish I could put my pen to paper like you do. You certainly can say exactly what I have been feeling for months.
It s a shame that good kids like Colin, Reade & Dave have to lose their idealism at such a young age.
You are truly wonderful...keep up the good work,

Anonymous said...

10:55 -- Thank you.

Anonymous said...

to 12:04

This is EXACTLY the kind of nonsense that Joan is talking about.
As parents we were not happy with the 'ONE' comment about the shirt but racist...hardly. The report from Duke clearly showed that as well as neighbor witness!!!
IT HAS BEEN PROVEN THAT THOSE 'RACIST" REMARKS WERE LIES AS ADMITTED BY THE SECOND DANCER!!!
This 'case' is about justice...am SO tired of race entering into the picture. Seems as if that is an excuse for everything...makes me crazy...what about the FACTS!!!!

Duke Lax Mom AND SO VERY PROUD OF IT!!!!

Anonymous said...

Your words moved me...one of the very best pieces I've read on this terrible episode. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and making me think!