“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain,” said Chris Tyson, a left-wing law professor at LSU who coordinated Baton Rouge mayor-president Sharon Weston Broome’s transition team.
Ok, no, he did not actually say that. Those words were uttered by the Wizard of Oz in the eponymous film, but Mr. Tyson may as well have said them. Much like the intrepid quartet in the film, we are being asked to ignore the obvious and avert our eyes. Pay no attention to the incompetence in the Mayor’s office. Ignore the misappropriation of federal funds by top level aides. And absolutely, under no circumstances, should we ever talk about BRAVE grant recipients that have demonstrated disdain and contempt for law enforcement.
In his recent tirade in the Bayou Brief, Chris Tyson takes me to task over a Facebook post from this past weekend.
First, some background…
BRAVE is a federally funded program targeted at reducing crime in North Baton Rouge. It was described by the Advocate thusly:
“A community policing program modeled after the nationally acclaimed Operation Ceasefire, BRAVE was based on the premise that violence is rooted in a “group dynamic” and can be reduced when law enforcement, residents and social service providers offer gang members alternatives to a life of crime.”
At the July 26 Council meeting, Arthur Reed (aka Silky Slim) said, “justice came when Gavin Long came,” glorifying the man who killed three Baton Rouge law enforcement officers last summer. Arthur Reed was a BRAVE grant vendor, and was to receive $9,800 from the BRAVE program. Prior to that council meeting, very few people knew about Reed’s contract. The next day, the contract was discovered, and after public outrage over his hateful comments, the Mayor justifiably cancelled his contract.
Donney Rose is a BRAVE grant vendor and is scheduled to receive $7,600 from the BRAVE program in payment. Late on Friday, July 28, Rose commented on the Silky Slim uproar as follows, “the idea that Long’s attempt at vigilante justice being on the hands of BRPD is absolutely correct.” I did not like that. Here again, another anti-police ideologue is receiving money from a law enforcement grant, while demeaning and disrespecting the very agency he is purportedly working to assist.
Under his contract with the City-Parish, Rose taught a poetry class. After vehemently disagreeing with what Rose had said, I stated, “so he should get paid $7600 for teaching a four week poetry course to young gangbangers? I don’t think so.” For some reason, the crybullies went off their meds and filled my inbox and Facebook page with criticism.
Now to the matter at hand…
Crybully-in-Chief, Chris Tyson went to the Bayou Brief and excoriated me for my comments. He said that my “comments reflect deeply racist thinking about black youth.” He stated that “gangbanger” is a racist, pejorative term for black men “that demean them as unworthy of justice.” The Advocate newspaper cited that piece, and added some responsive comments from me. I felt a fuller response was warranted and asked the Hayride to help share my statement.
I am not a racist. I take being called a racist as an insult. It is insulting to me because racists are stupid. To anyone that thinks otherwise, let me be perfectly clear: If you like something that I say because you think that it is racist, you are stupid. Likewise, if you hate something that I say because you think that it is racist, you are stupid. Either way, you are entitled to your opinion.
What you are not entitled to do is to put words in my mouth. You are not allowed to suggest that I was “dog whistling” or using euphemisms for racist terms. In my political career, I have never been afraid to say exactly what I think. I have never bowed to public pressure from the right or the left. What makes you think that I would start to hide my true feelings now?
Gangbanger is simply slang for gang member. It is not a racist term. On July 28, one WBRZ headline read: “Gangbanger connected to murder, numerous vehicles burglaries” Maybe I missed it, but I didn’t see anyone jumping on the WBRZ website and criticizing their use of that word. Calling a gang member a gangbanger is not pejorative. But I agree, that it would be insulting to call a 7 or 8 year old child that word, and I’ve since been told that’s who Mr. Rose was teaching. This creates a dilemma… for Mr. Rose. Either he was teaching poetry to gang members, or he was teaching little kids. If he was teaching poetry to gang members, then I stand by my previous statement. If he was teaching little kids, then he should not have been received money from the BRAVE grant in the first place. Look back at the top of the page. The point of BRAVE is to reduce crime by offering “gang members alternatives to a life of crime.” Teaching poetry to kids is a great and noble endeavor, but it doesn’t qualify for BRAVE funding.
Regardless, Donney Rose has no business receiving BRAVE money. BRAVE aims to get people to cooperate with and trust the police. No person that publicly promotes such a disgusting view of the police should be guiding the relationship of community members with law enforcement. It is the same thing as having a geography teacher that believes in the Flat Earth theory.
And to say so, Professor Tyson, isn’t racism. How dare you.
* “Crybully” is a person who engages in intimidation, harassment, or other abusive behavior while claiming to be a victim.