By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Williams: Laura Miller maligns
Laura Miller's latest emotional tirade ["Kress and the merry morons," November 9] is not only an extremely poor example of fair, objective journalism, it could be considered libelous.
In every other of Miller's advocacy pieces that I've read, she has at least allowed the targets of her "exposes" to defend themselves. But even though she interviewed me at length before this story was published, she chose not to include any of my comments. She also did not include any comments by Marvin Crenshaw, Diane Ragsdale, and Al Lipscomb, while she maliciously--and I believe libelously--labeled us "morons" and "bomb-throwers."
Furthermore, Miller's piece is riddled with inaccuracies and half-truths. For one thing, I have never "assumed that because Sandy Kress was white, he was evil," as she asserts. Also, according to Marvin Crenshaw, no one hurled racial epithets at Kress or "shouted him down" as he tried to make his acceptance speech.
Miller also asks what I have done lately for blacks in this city. People who really know me know what I have done for African-American and all disenfranchised people in this city.
When I was on the Dallas Plan Commission, I was one of the few strong voices for minority concerns, and I believe that was a major factor in getting me ousted from that board. Anyone who really stands up to the Dallas power structure, who refuses to be a pawn in the local power elite's games, finds himself or herself being attacked like I was.
I also continue to be a strong presence for youth through my non-profit organization, Rainbow Bridge, and have carried out numerous projects, including a Youth Summit attended by hundreds, through this organization. Also, I am co-author of a book that details the history of Dallas from the perspective of the disenfranchised and those who struggled for justice, one that goes a long way toward helping educate young people--and adults--on what Dallas is really like.
These are just a few examples of what I have done for African-Americans lately. What has Miller done for African-Americans lately, besides infuriate them with malicious name-calling and half-truths?
Miller's childish penchant for name-calling is ironic in that she could not quote any of us supposed "morons" and "bomb-throwers"--a particularly insensitive, inflammatory label in these times--stooping to her level in addressing Kress. None of us called Kress any demeaning names during that meeting Miller cites that I recall. Miller obviously could not find us doing that, or she sure would have printed it.
Our displeasure with Kress stems from his inability to do anything about [former DISDschool board member Dan] Peavy, even though, as Miller says, he knew about his racist ways before this situation reached the crisis point. As president of the school board, Kress was the one person who had the authority to do something, and he chose to ignore it. Miller likes to blame other school board members, particularly African-American ones, but the ultimate responsibility lies with the president, and Kress failed in this situation.
Furthermore, what Miller wrote about us is not true. Miller is in no position to judge whether I am a "moron" and a "bomb-thrower." Whoever wrote the headline for the story is in no position to judge whether I am a "moron."
As defined by Websters New World Dictionary (1990), a moron is "an adult mentally equal to a child between eight and twelve years old." I can assure you I have graduated from high school and attended college, and I read a wide range of newspapers, magazines, and books every day.
As for allegedly being a "bomb-thrower," I have never thrown a bomb, nor have I even thought about throwing a bomb at anyone. If someone does not like something I say, he or she has a right to disagree, but I don't see where that makes me a "bomb-thrower."
Roy H. Williams
Editor's note: Laura Miller reported the comments made at the October 10 meeting based on a verbatim transcript of that session; she based her comments about the swearing-in on the recollections of others who were present.
It is bewildering that Roy Williams is quoting Marvin Crenshaw about the meeting where Sandy Kress was sworn in because Crenshaw has made a point of complaining to the Observer that he was not there. Perhaps that is why Crenshaw's recollection runs contrary to that of media reports, including a story in the June 15 Dallas Morning News noting that "a small chorus of hecklers" became so "disorderly" that "Mr. Kress was unable to complete his victory statement." The News reported that one heckler called Kress "racist! Liberal racist!"
Williams also states that Kress, as school board president, "was the one person who had the authority to do something" about Dan Peavy. In fact, Kress has no more formal authority to do anything about the offensive behavior of Peavy--another elected official--than any other school trustee, black or white. As Miller points out, prior to the meeting where the covertly made phone tapes were released, black trustees remained just as silent as Kress on the issue of Peavy's racial attitudes.