Dallas Schools yesterday released copies of the complaints against school system trustee Bernadette Nutall that have spurred an ongoing external investigation of her conduct. The complaints include a reference to something I reported here a week ago having to do with Nutall socking somebody.
I hope, if anyone intends to make something out of this, they've got a lot more than this. In the complaint (see below) a school district executive who was herself the target of an investigation tells the superintendent of schools she heard a rumor that Nutall once hit somebody and was worried about getting popped herself by Nutall. I can see that as the subject of a legitimate nightmare, but I'm not sure I would have included it in a written complaint.
Nutall, for the record, told me last week that she has never had a physical altercation with anybody at the school district.
In a letter to Superintendent Mike Miles complaining about Nutall, district executive Tonya Sadler Grayson tells Grayson that Nutall basically called her a whore and told her she wasn't black. Grayson said Nutall said to her, "'You ain't black. You're one of Miles' people.'" Grayson also said Nutall said, "'Do you know what a trick is? It's like you.'"
A "trick" is a term for a street prostitute. The racial slur is a reference to an ongoing behind-the-scenes controversy at school district headquarters having to do with racial identity and community credibility. Another trustee, Joyce Foreman, has questioned Miles' blackness in the past because of his opposition to some community leaders on school district issues.
A second complaint filed by Miles' driver said Nutall questioned the driver's manliness and blackness after the driver failed to intervene to protect her when school district police, summoned by Miles, tossed Nutall out of a school last month. The driver, Freddie Jackson, said Nutall had told him she had lost respect for him for failing to come to the aid of a black woman.
Ahem. Well. Do you hear anything in here yet that warrants calling in the FBI? Lady with axe to grind against Nutall says she heard Nutall hit somebody once. OK. Nutall called her a whore. Not good. But not FBI yet. Superintendent's driver says Nutall challenged his manhood. Some of us can't get out of the house in the morning without that happening.
I don't know, folks. I tried to reach the school district media people yesterday afternoon to see if this was all there is, but they seemed strangely prematurely Holidayishly hard to reach. But surely this is not all there is.
I believe that part of the allegation against Nutall, not revealed in these complaints explicitly but suggested, is that referring negatively to the race of school district employees is racist, because it would be considered racist if a white person did it. But that's if a white person did it.
I don't know about you, but I think we all understand that some things -- the n-word, for example -- are materially different and have different meanings out of the mouths of white people as opposed to black people. Don't believe me? Well, here's a scientific experiment you can do:
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If you are white, go to Jim's Carwash on MLK when it's jammed on a Sunday, and you will hear the n-word out of the mouths of black people all around you. And they will all be laughing. Now you walk around the car wash and loudly call people the n-word. Do they laugh? Do you wind up running as fast as you can all the way to Frisco? See? Different.
So we will see. Paul Coggins, an attorney who has carried out a previous external investigation for the district, is looking at this stuff. Right now unless he has a whole lot more than this to go on, I'm going to guess he's yawning.