Monday, August 14, 2006


Who played the race card in the Webster Smith case? Was it Commandant of Cadets Doug Wisniewski and CWO2 David French? Or was it Webster Smith’s defense team? Could it have been the news media? Someone certainly did, because the race of the accused was reported before the trial began.
Excerpts from The Day newspaper said as follows:
Defense lawyers say race is a factor in the case.


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Blogger ichbinalj said...

Color-Blind Society,
White America wants us to believe that we now have a color-blind society. Blacks and whites have been playing cards in America for over 350 years, and we just discovered that the whites have been cheating. So, now the whites are saying let’s start over and we will play fair. Let’s not have any special treatment, no affirmative action. We promise to play fair from now on.
That would work fine except, whites have all of the chips on their side of the table. After 350 years of stacking the deck and dealing from the bottom of the deck, whites have all of the chips. They have all of the chairs at the New York Stock Exchange, all of the chairs at the Ivy League colleges, presidents of all of the banks and brokerage firms, CEO of 498 of the Fortune 500 multi-national corporations, all of the insurance companies, own all of the private property outside the ghetto, control all of the inner cities, and have 99 of the 100 United States senators, 95 per cent of the Congressmen, and control all of the means of production in America.
Black people have nothing but a crust of bread, and a corner to sleep in, a moment to laugh and an hour to weep in; a pint of joy to a peck of trouble and never a smile, but the moans come double.
Dogs have a natural gift for recognizing scent or odor. Bloodhounds can follow a trail of scent. Other dogs can be trained to recognize the scent and presence of drugs and explosives. It is the use of a talent. Black people have acquired the ability to recognize discrimination when they see it, feel it, sense it, or smell it. And I smell discrimination here. I smell racism. I smell something rotten. I smell a RAT.
White denial is evidence of white indifference to black suffering. At some conscious level white folks simply do not believe that black suffering matters.
Poverty is the most intense form of violence.
Let’s play fair. Let’s have a color-blind society. Race will not matter. But, first give us back one-fifth of all the chips your stole. Then we can all play fair.
We will not play the race card.
Gambling Man.

9:34 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

Are Men the Problem?
Bruce Fleming | August 14, 2006
I guess I don't get out much any more. Otherwise why would I still be chewing over one whole thread of call-ins for a radio show I was on weeks ago? All of the callers in this group were women. All seemed to suggest that “male aggression” had to be stamped out and “macho behavior” given zero tolerance -- at the Naval Academy, that is, where the topic of the hour was the court-martial of the quarterback accused of rape. The problem, I was hearing from callers, is men.

The quarterback was cleared of rape charges, but convicted of “conduct unbecoming” for having had (forbidden) sex on campus. The woman was granted immunity from prosecution even though she too was engaging in sex. (She was also a habitual underage binge drinker.) The man was acquitted of rape because the jury believed his story that the (forbidden) sex, for which he was convicted of “conduct unbecoming,” was consensual. Like many things sexual, this case was a minefield of grays. As I emphasize over and over in my classes, and in these columns, life isn't usually true or false -- it's both. You have to pick the better alternative, not the correct one—because there usually isn't a correct answer.

But what came through loud and clear from the callers was the conviction that testosterone itself was the problem. We had to put a stop to this guy business once and for all. One had heard an apocryphal story that plebe summer companies eliminated the letter “J” from their numbering system because in international radio-language alphabet-speak that stood for “Juliet,” which was girly and undesirable. “They're so macho ,” she said, her voice dripping with sarcasm.

Hello? Macho is a good thing. Testosterone is a good thing. I hear males and females alike at the Naval Academy praise each other constantly for being “ballsy.” Me, I believe in gender equality, so I usually throw in an admiring phrase like “hey, that takes real ovaries!” Still, it's pretty clear to me that everybody knows that what comes from the testicles, the very essence of being for 49% of the human race, pure gold in human form, is what's behind YUT! It's what's behind GET SOME! It's behind NO WHINING. It's behind anything that was every hard to get and nonetheless was got. Even women need testosterone to have a decent sex drive. Women who want to get huge muscles take shots of the stuff.

I love being a guy. And one of my not-so-guilty pleasures at being at the Naval Academy is the pleasure I get at the clouds of testosterone spewed forth by so many of my students. Of course, I also love women, my wife in particular. I'm firmly convinced that being happy about being a guy is a necessary precursor to loving a woman.

The callers were wrong. The problem is not testosterone. Testosterone is the life force. What about male aggression?

That one just makes my jaw drop. You really and truly don't want that in the military? I sure as bejabbers do.

And not just in the military. Fact is, though the man doesn't always have to take the sexual initiative, the human race would die out if he didn't ever, or if that wasn't the dependable default. The hard-charging “I've got this under control” aspect of men is, in my experience, what makes men attractive to women. What woman will go out on a second date with a man so indecisive he can't even suggest an activity, but asks her over and over what she wants to do? And it's always the guy who gets up in the middle of the night to check out that mysterious creaking -- and the one who fixes the toilet.

So what's the problem? The problem is that nobody says to guys what I've just said -- that testosterone is the elixir of the gods -- as a prelude to saying, “And that's why you can't abuse it.” Abusing testosterone is when you use your greater power (and most men are still physically more powerful than most women) to subdue. Abusing testosterone is when you use contemptuous trickery (date rape drugs) to “get your way,” or if you have anything (and I do mean anything) to do with a drunken woman, except dropping her off at her home and handing her over to her roommate. (The quarterback came over in the middle of the night to have sex with a blotto-drunk woman, according to newspaper reports of the trial. Not good.)

The problem is not, repeat: not, male aggression. It's unchanneled male aggression. You channel aggression by educating men and by explaining to them that with power come responsibilities. Sure, most men are physically powerful enough to commit rape, but that's not an expression of power -- it's low and hurtful and cruel: just what a real man doesn't want to be.

Men aren't dolts. We can be reasoned with. But reasoning with us doesn't work well if somebody kicks us first in our beloved balls by saying, for instance, that the problem is testosterone or male aggression. We know that can't be so, because that's what makes us who we are. Me, I believe that God made male and female. Male wasn't a mistake.

Now we get to the hard part: how do you express this forward force -- this YUT! -- in the bedroom? Answer (pay attention, this is subtle): Only a real partner can really appreciate it. That means the woman has to want it. How do you know what she wants (this was Freud's question)? It's not what she says; it's how she reacts. There's no rule book for this -- you just have to pay attention. Is she laughing at your jokes? Is she leaning forward, looking at you intently in the eyes? Is she looking languid? Giggly? Are her eyeballs distended? (And quick time-out for this reality check: Is she still sober? All bets off if answer here is “no.”) Is she acting like a partner in this business, or like a hunted thing? All men know the difference between these two things, but they have to learn to pay attention to the signals. Usually these go way beyond language, so it is technically true that one time in a hundred, “no” can mean “yes.” Men have to be told this is so exceptional they should never, but never, assume this is that case. At least not without overwhelming evidence of this other sort to buttress this conclusion.

Sexuality is like dancing. The man has to offer to take the lead, and be good at it. But he only leads by paying perfect attention to the motions of his partner. You have to treat her like someone who knows what's going on, not like someone you're trying to con. If she objects, you stop. No, there's no rule book for this. But you know what? There's no rule book to life either.

That's what they don't tell you at military academies. I think they should. One day after class (the subject had become this very rape accusation) during which I outlined these things, a female midshipman told me I should be asked to talk to the Brigade. (I've written a book about this stuff, called Sexual Ethics) Fat chance, I told her. That would be to acknowledge that people are having sex, and to talk about the right and the wrong way to do it. It's far easier to simply forbid it and then swoop down in gray-area cases as if you were going to set things right once and for all. Good luck.

(Bruce Fleming is a professor of English at the US Naval Academy and the author of Annapolis Autumn: Life, Death, and Literature at the U.S. Naval Academy,and Why Liberals and Conservatives Clash. His latest book Disappointment is also now available. He is the author of fifteen books on subjects ranging from aesthetics to cross-cultural perceptions to dance, and has just been named one of the two recipients of the 2005 Antioch Review Award for Distinguished Prose. He graduated from Haverford College, and holds subsequent degrees from the University of Chicago and Vanderbilt University. He also studied at the Free University of Berlin as a Fulbright Scholar, as well as in Paris and at the University of Siena, and taught at the University of Freiburg and the National University of Rwanda.

1:04 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

Activist, lecturer and director of the new Association for White Anti-Racist Education (AWARE), Tim Wise works from anecdote rather than academic argument to recount his path to greater cultural awareness in a colloquial, matter-of-fact quasi-memoir that urges white people to fight racism "for our own sake."

Tim Wise is the author of two new books: White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son (Soft Skull Press, 2005), and Affirmative Action: Racial Preference in Black and White (Routledge: 2005). He lived in New Orleans from 1986-1996. He can be reached at:

In White Like Me, Tim Wise offers a highly personal examination of the ways in which racial privilege shapes the lives of most white Americans, overtly racist or not, to the detriment of people of color, themselves, and society. The book shows the breadth and depth of the phenomenon within institutions such as education, employment, housing, criminal justice, and healthcare. By critically assessing the magnitude of racial privilege and its enormous costs, Wise provides a rich memoir that will inspire activists, educators, or anyone interested in understanding the way that race continues to shape the experiences of people in the U.S. Using stories instead of stale statistics, Wise weaves a narrative that is at once readable and scholarly, analytical and accessible. Webpage is

6:21 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

Citadel's Color-Blind Survey. Many reports of sexual assaults, BUT no mention of RACE!
Almost 20 percent of the female cadets at The Citadel last spring reported being sexually assaulted since enrolling at the state military college, according to results of a survey released by the school 23 August 2006. The state-funded Citadel military college in South Carolina opened its doors to female cadets 10 years ago. Last year, 118 women and 1,770 men were enrolled. About 4 percent of the male cadets also reported being sexually assaulted since joining the formerly all-male school.
All the women and about 30 percent of the men were asked to complete the anonymous online survey. The sexual assaults in the survey included unwanted touching, but 16 of the 27 incidents reported by women and 15 of the 23 reported by men involved unwanted sexual penetration or oral sex.
Most of the reported incidents involving women happened in the barracks or elsewhere on campus, and the perpetrator was another cadet, according to the survey. Some of the cadets reported being subjected to more than one sexual assault.
Tara Woodside, a junior who helps instruct cadets in the Values and Respect program, said she has been subjected to comments, innuendo and name-calling since arriving on campus.
But nothing I haven't gotten walking down the street downtown or in New York or Germany, she said. I think the spotlight is on the school because a higher standard is expected.
A survey of the U.S. military academies released last year found that more than 50 percent of female respondents and 11 percent of male respondents experienced some type of sexual harassment since enrolling. That survey also found 64 incidents of sexual assault among the more than 1,900 females at the service academies.
The Justice Department has estimated as many as 25 percent of women could be raped or experience an attempted rape while attending college in the U.S.
Associated Press Writer

12:53 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

The U.S. Coast Guard Court of Criminal Appeals has scheduled oral arguments in the Case of The Appeal of the Court-martial Conviction of Cadet Webster Smith for January 16, 2008 in Arlington, Virginia.
A legal brief filed by his lawyers claims the convictions should be thrown out because the defense team was not allowed to fully cross-examine one of his accusers during Smith's court martial. They say that meant the jury didn't hear testimony that the accuser, a female cadet, Shelly Roddenbush, had once had consensual sex with a Coast Guard enlisted man and then called it sexual assault.
Lt. Cmdr. Patrick M. Flynn, the government's lawyer for the appeal, said 27 November that the jury "heard enough" and the trial judge was within his rights to impose reasonable limits on the cross-examination.
"They didn't need to hear the additional details the defense is arguing they should have been allowed to hear."
The defense also is asking the court to set aside Smith's convictions on two lesser charges of failing to obey an order and abandoning watch.

10:20 AM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

International Herald Tribune - France
(The Associated Press) WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2007
Lawyers for a former cadet who was the first student court-martialed in the 130-year history of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy's are seeking to reverse his convictions for sexual misconduct.
Oral Arguments before the Coast Guard Court of Military Appeals is set for 16 January 2008 in Arlington, Va.

11:00 AM  

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