Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bakery Fakery and How Racism Plays a Part

An Easton Bakery employee faked a robbery and described and imaginary black male suspect to police.


Posted by: Noel Jones


Although Michael Buck wrote the follow-up report for the Express-Times this week on the fake Easton Bakery robbery, it is Lynn Olanoff that reported the disturbing details of this crime on Nov. 11th for the Express-Times in which the paper reveals that Mitzi Mosellie, a member of the Mosellie family which has owned the popular family business for decades, gave police officers a description of a large black male assailant who assaulted her and stole the money.


Though the infinite stupidity of claiming to be robbed when your business has a security camera that shows no robbery at all is bizarre,

what is really disturbing to me about this story, is that in 36 comments by readers, not one objected to the employee's false description accusing a black male, which feeds into racial profiling issues that police departments wrestle with nationwide. This is racism at it's worst--potentially setting the stage for an innocent person to be picked up for a crime he didn't commit. Thankfully our police department figured out quickly that the both the robbery and the suspect description were bogus.


It is terrible to see a respected family business suffer this kind of shame, and even more shameful that our community doesn't react swiftly to condemned racism when it's ugly head pops up.


In the comments posted to Michael Buck's follow-up article on Tuesday, out of 21 comments, only three protest the false accusation of a black suspect. That's three comments out of 57.


Here are two of the comments posted:


WestWardWarrior says: "...Further, I find her race bating of describing the robber as a 'black man'. That is indefensible. I know, for one, I will not be headed to Easton Baking for some long time to come."


Dutch8 says: "Any business that is run by someone who would make a false police report, THAT INCLUDED A FALSE DESCRIPTION OF A BLACK ASSAILANT, should be shunned.
Easton has a long and painful past with race relations. Many of us remember the fights at the high school and the curfew in '68. It's been a long and slow process to improve things. This hate-tolerating 411 idiot should get with a mindset that says there's no place for racism in Easton. Any mindset that cheers for a business that fosters hate is appalling.
This business owes the entire community an apology before it's granted a second chance."
I have to agree--Special thanks to these citizens for speaking up.

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

I whole-heartedly agree that this kind of race-baiting is inexcusable and should be condemned. The reason you didn't see more comments to that affect on the lehighvalleylive.com blog is apparent if you have ever looked at the comments on a regular basis. The crew that comments regularly are an awful, racist, negative bunch. I stopped trying to inject any sense on that site long ago.

noel jones said...

Anon--you make a good point--when i first started this blog and went around encouraging people to check it out and post comments, the response i often got was,"oh--no, i don't do blogs, the blogs are too negative--the comments are awful and make me so mad i don't even want to get involved." i had to really coax and persuade people into giving Neighbors of Easton a chance, and that is why, although i have only ever had to do it a few times in two years, i will delete vitriol from the comments posted.

It really dismays me that the ignorant bigots of the community would be successful in bullying the intelligent, conscientious commenters off the Express-Times site. I honestly don't know why they don't delete more often--The Morning Call does not tolerate the same level of vitriol.

I'm very proud of the fact that with 5,000 visits to this blog each month, we can successfully have earnest debates that involve civil and passionate disagreement without degenerating into vitriol.

Readers disagree with me all the time, and I love that--we just proceed to try to back up our points with good arguments and links to other articles and information. Because readers are comfortable disagreeing with each other and are able to keep it civil, we are often able to learn from each other and at times affect each other's perspectives.

Julie Zando-Dennis said...

To falsely accuse another of a robbery is a crime. To lay your accusation at the feet of black men is highy irresponsible and damaging to the entire community. This should be condemned in the strongest terms. What if an innocent man was arrested as a result? What if, in making the arrest, that man was injured or killed? To make such an accusation is reckless, destroys trust and creates needless animosity. A terrible shame.

Anonymous said...

I will double up on the croissants at Easton Bakery to make up for these posters who would shun a family due to the acts of one of its members and who would break a long standing and unique business that well serves its community due to the act of one employee.

No big black, white, or yellow man or woman is a victim of her crime which was in a making false crime report and having to specify a size and color. Who cares if she was politically incorrect? For whatever reason in these desperate times people are between rocks and hard places with respect to money. That was probably the motive for this crime not race baiting. You who are jumping all over this are just being righteous and MEAN. Let justice take its course and let her punishment suit her crime. Stop piling on. If Easton Bakery goes down this town will be the worse for it.

noel jones said...

Anon 7:19--the family would do well to make a public apology on behalf of the one wayward relative. No one has hurt her but herself, but she, on the other hand, has hurt her family business, her family's reputation, and lied to police officers sending them out on the street to look for an innocent 6' black male suspect. This kind of race-baiting happens all over this country and cannot be tolerated by by any community who claims to not support racism. It's just as racist to make excuses for racist people as it is to commit other racist acts.

Luckily our police officers looked to the most obvious source of evidence first--the surveillance camera, which proved she was lying. If that bakery had had no surveillance camera, they would have been alerting all officers to be on the lookout for a tall black male, and then suddenly any 6' tall black male walking down the street would have been viewed as a possible suspect. Very harmful to the community--very harmful.

And that is to say nothing of wasting our officers time.

Why anyone would want to make excuses for this behavior is beyond me.

Now, Easton Bakery is a very popular and successful family business, and people for miles around love their donuts. This has nothing to do with that. The family should just come forward with an apology and ask the community to continue to support the business. That would be respectable.

Julie Zando-Dennis said...

Anon 7:19:
You are right to want to defend a long-standing, respected West Ward business.

But this is not about the bakery. This is about an individual who, for her own unknown reasons, made a false report to uniformed police, and in making this false report -- a crime under our statutes -- scapegoated young black men and damaged race relatons in the neighborhood.

I disagree with your assertion that "No big black, white, or yellow man or woman is a victim of [Margaret "Mitzi" Petty's] crime which was in a making false crime report and having to specify a size and color."

Whoa. Let's back up. No robbery was committed. Ms. Petty did not "have to" specify the size and color of a perpetrator. The bakery wasn't robbed and thus Ms. Petty didn't "have" to generate this lie. "Political correctness" has absolutely nothing to do with feeling outrage over being scapegoated for one's race.

You argue that Ms. Petty was motived by "hard times" and not race baiting. Would you feel that "hard times" excused a false accusation of robbery against YOU???? Doubt it.

Anonymous said...

We need to soften our approach.

The criminal complaint is just that, a complaint. There is a day in court and a hearing before we have our public hanging. You all have tied the noose and dispatched the alleged.

I think there may be more to this story than what is on the surface, and we need to wait and see if that-if any-comes out. Don't believe it is appropriate for anyone to offer apologies at this point. Family relationships are very hard and complex for those outside of the family to understand and, perhaps, we need to let those relationships deal with this problem.

Julie Zando-Dennis said...

This is not about the bakery, or about the social, emotional, and/or financial state of the individual -- who has admitted that false statements were made to the police.

This is about our community.
Are we going to condone racial stereotyping, or are we going to speak out to say that such stereotyping is reckless, harmful to community relations, and morally wrong?

Anonymous said...

Yes, this is about an individual, who will get her day in court. After her public explanation of this, criticism, if deserved, will be justified. Until then, I am going to sit back and wait. I would suggest we all do the same.

noel jones said...

Anon 7:00--while I appreciate your appeal to keep the tone civil (always a good thing) and while there may be more to this story, as you suggested, there is one thing that has happened for certain, and that is that someone who faked the robbery of her own family business lied to police officers and damaged race relations by making up an imaginary black male assailant--this has already been proven, before her day in court, because she told it to police, police reported it, they reported it to the papers, the papers reported to the people, and then when police observed no robbery at all on the video camera, she admitted it, the police reported it, and the papers reported it to the community. It's all out there--there is no taking it back. A public apology, means humbling yourself to the community you have harmed--the community who has supported the business for years--to condemn the race-baiting (not just the fake robbery and wasting of our officers' time), and ask for continued support.

I am very sad about this because they have always seemed a great family business and I had even hoped to do a blog post on them soon to feature them, but after this, if the business cannot be big enough to come forward publicly and condemn the race-baiting of their family member and employee, I will not be able to support this business anymore, or recommend them to anyone else.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes you need to give people a chance to sort out things before we leap to condemnations. I don't know what happened or could I ever explain the mentality that exists. That is not my job; that is for someone else. West ward businesses hang on by a thin thread. Unfortunately, this event has already placed this business on the road to closing. Perhaps, instead of being so quick to condemn, we should ask for answers and less about condemnation. The events did occur, I read the papers. I am sorry to say that for most of the people of this town, judgment has already been made, and we are looking to get our doughnuts elsewhere. I liked their stuff, but oh bla di, oh bla da, life goes on.

noel jones said...

I will support them personally and on this blog if they make an apology to the community regarding wasting our officers' time and race-baiting. A family should not be blamed for the actions of one wayward relative as long as they are big enough to condemn those actions and apologize to the community.

When harm has been done, it is always important to allow room for reconciliation and healing. If they apologize for both issues, I will support this family business whole-heartedly. In fact, if they were to apologize, they would overnight go from harming the community to leading by example as to how as a community we can make mistakes and still hold ourselves accountable to heal harm that is done. It will take integrity and humility for them do so--let's hope they have both.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
noel jones said...

as a reminder to anyone who would like to disagree while still contributing to the conversation civilly (like the other Anon posters here so far) i will delete anyone who posts with outright bigoted vitriol, like the most recent commenter.

Anonymous said...

the truth hurts. nice clothes, Emperor.

noel jones said...

Anon 12:17--what "truth" would that be? speaking of the emperor's invisible clothes-- interesting criticism, coming from someone who posts anonymously.

let's try to refrain from personal attacks that don't contribute to the conversation (like the last comment posted). this is not a place for people to simply throw around insults without making a point (although it tends to happen when one doesn't have a point to make, or when one does not have the self-control to make points in a civil tone).

Anonymous said...

Hello i am anonymous from 7:19. Some here suggest that I am a racist for defending a racist. Question: Who has proved that there was a racist race baiting in the first place? And how, exactly, has the community been injured other than some here saying so? According to the police they get called out all the time to settle things and issues between neighbors black white and all else in between. Cries for help. This lady has been known to hire and work side by side with white people, black people, tall and short, men and women, gay and not. Fact: a crime was committed but we dont know what was behind it and no injuries have as yet been reported. Fact: If she is guilty as charged she will be punished. Fact: it is a life changing event for this family. Question: Could you give them some time to sort it out before having to apologize to you? Question: What do you think it means to be a community?

noel jones said...

Anon 5:30--thanks for disagreeing and presenting your points and questions civilly. i will respond later tonight--thanks!

tachitup said...

I have a hard time believing there is any racial element in this thing.
Of course the cops will ask gender, race, height, weight, clothing, etc. She needs to provide answers.
Is this woman bashing all males too?
Stop with the Al Sharpton knee-jerk.

Julie Zando-Dennis said...

The issue is not about the quality of the baked goods at Easton Bakery, or whether or not an accused individual will have their day in court.

This is about the shameful legacy of whites falsely accusing blacks when whites can't own up to their own misconduct. See below.

In 1991, Susan Smith, a South Carolina mother of two young sons, drove her vehicle into a lake with her sons strapped in the back seat. She then convinced authorities that a "black man" had car jacked her vehicle and killed her sons.

A mother residing in Bucks County who liquidated $12,000 from her husband's bank account, falsely claimed that two "black men" threw her and her daughter into the trunk of a car and sped away. http://www.smugtownbeacon.com/news.php?viewStory=287

In October 1989, Charles Stuart drove his late-term wife from their Lamaze class at a local Boston hospital, through a "rough" urban neighborhood, shot his wife to death, then told the police a "black man" had committed the murder. According to The New York Times, "Stuart played on Boston's racial fears to cover up his horrendous crime." http://www.nytimes.com/keyword/charles-stuart

In 1990, a female student at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., falsely stated that a white woman had been raped at knife point by "two black men." The day following the school newspaper's publication of her account, the press was informed that the story was a fabrication.

In April 1992, Jesse Anderson, a white man, told the police that while leaving a suburban Milwaukee restaurant he and his wife were attacked by "two black men." According to Anderson, the men stabbed him and his wife. His wife was stabbed multiple times and died following the attack. After a five-day search for the fictional black criminals, Anderson was arrested and charged with his wife's murder. Anderson had called his wife's insurance company one month prior to her murder to determine whether her $250,000 policy was in effect.

In January 1996, Robert Harris claimed that he and his fiancée, Teresa McLeod, had been shot and robbed by an "armed black man" wearing a camouflage jacket and black and white pants. Harris was shot once and McLeod was shot several times. McLeod died at the scene. Within two days of the murder, Harris confessed to his involvement: He had hired a hit man to rob and kill his fiancée.

On the website Topix, this question was posed: "Why do white people kill but tell the police a black man did it?" For all of you in Easton who think that racial scapegoating does no damage, reflect on this comment posted in response:

"It makes me so angry when white people do this, but yet they wonder why certain black people walk around with so much anger inside them."

http://www.topix.com/forum/afam/TB2H5PTV4C02LTQPM

Julie Zando-Dennis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Noel - posted twice. Can you fix please?
-J

noel jones said...

Anon 5:30--Julie did such a great job of responding that I will not be redundant here.

But I will say this--it's worth all of us looking internally and asking ourselves what motivates us to post in a certain way, or to defend certain acts?

Now if you want to have a debate about semantics, that might make sense. A friend pointed out that 'race-baiting' might not be the most accurate term--it might be more appropriate to say that she contributed to racial profiling.

Either way, as Julie points out in example after example, this is a pervasive problem in our country--white people committing crimes and blaming them on black people.

Chris said...

I was made aware of the problems at the Bakery by an article in the Express, which, by the way, found it necessary to bring the whole Mosellie family, including a deceased parent, into the situation. I have only two statements to make:
l. While we know that there was no black robber, no one knows what caused her to make the call to the police. Don't judge if you don't know all the facts.

2. I have known and respected the Mosellie family for more than 35 years. In fact, we were neighbors of the Bakery for many years. My family is mixed - I'm white, my husband is black and we have a bi-racial son. We have experienced nothing by kindness, friendship and generosity from these people.

My son lives in Colorado now, but when he gets home to visit, his first stop is to the Bakery where he as many wonderful childhood memories.

These are valuable members of our community who have done great things in our neighborhoods for years. Don't judge - It's not your job!

I for one will be back at the Bakery Sunday a.m.

Chris Mitchell

Julie Zando-Dennis said...

I agree that it was totally improper for the Express Times, when reporting this story, to picture the entire Mosellie family in a large photo that accompanied the article.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this blog of thoughtful and civilized debate.
But - hopefully in this country you only get nailed for the crimes you as an individual commit. She filed a false report. To go beyond that without evidence of her intent or by associating her with crimes committed by others elsewhere or by imagining injuries to others that are to date non existent may in itself be a form of "scapegoating." Also, this particular community has problems but diversity and the ability to tolerate diversity is one of its strengths. Regarding Easton Bakery - they have been good neighbors - hiring and working side by side with short fat tall thin gay straight men women and people of all colors. Let us be good neighbors. Lets not jump to judgment. Lets offer compassion and support.

Cathy Stoops said...

Noel - I am curious about the comments and comparisons of the Express Times with the Morning Call and wonder if this could be a separate post sometime. I want to read a local paper every day. Living in Easton I choose the Express Times even though as a resident I have noted they more represent the points of views of non residents - advocating for the prison, being against pedestrian improvements to Larry Holmes Drive etc. What also bothers me is the complete lack of editorial judgement when choosing their letters to the editors. I understand representation of different opinions. But embedded in many of the letters they choose are misstatements of facts - yet there they are for the low info voter to take as fact. The Express Times does a disservice to our community through this lapse of judgement. Is the Morning Call better? I will change my choice today if I could determine that. Thanks.

carinne said...

1.A family should not have to apologize for one of their adult members. They did not do this, one individual did. She alone should apologize to the community, as a member of the community, and a business employee of the community. I also feel it is important to not immediately demand the apology because that in itself lessens the power/ meaning of it. If the family feels like publically getting involved then a “we do not support or agree with her” seems more appropriate (than “sorry”).
2.I will feel differently about the racial element of this story as it relates to Mitzi, when and if more facts come to surface. No matter what, I agree that it is beyond despicable, and plain wrong to create a false “black man” criminal. All good points have been made and anyone who would disagree is out of their racist mind. The details I would like to know is did Mitzi come up with this “character” before calling or did the dispatcher, or the police? In other words, who is MOST responsible for this part of the story? I have heard of and been witness to the dispatchers and police throwing out the “black” guess before race is stated in legitimist crimes. For example a caller says “a man is threatening a woman…” Dispatcher says, “Ok, so you said it was a black man…” If already anxious about her false call, Mitzi may have said “yes” to a similar scenario without much thought at all or panicked. No matter which really happened, there is a greater problem that this community has a few bad seeds in their enforcement that contribute to this type of issue. I think the Easton Police have improved greatly over the years. It must be awful for all the good cops that there are still a few not so great ones on staff. Same for any dispatchers.
3.The only reason I have even considered this many possible angles to this post is based on the fact I have heard so many wonderful stories about Mitzi herself. The most recent was from a past black male employee if that matters most. Personally, she has always struck me as one of the kindest and most sincere Easton business owners. I have to trust my gut on this one and say there MUST be more to this…

On another note, all this thinking about it has made me crave some of the best tomato pie in the world...

carinne said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
noel jones said...

Cathy--another reader might be able to speak better to the differences in letter to the editor with regard to printing misinformation between the two papers, or you could compare and contrast the two for a couple of weeks to see what you think, but what I can attest to is that The Morning Call is far more discerning in what it allows in terms of on line comments.

My guess (and it is only a guess) as to why the ET allows such bigoted vitriol on a regular basis in commentary on line is that those readers are self-absorbed and obsessive enough to hit on the site many times a day, which increases traffic, which is what enables them to sell advertising to support the paper.

I agree, this might be a good topic for another post--I would be very interested to get readers' perspectives on the quality of various aspects of the two papers.

Anonymous said...

This one's simple, perhaps the easiest question you've ever asked on this blog.

The Express is a 100% rag. No reason to buy it or read it.

noel jones said...

Carinne--thanks for contributing new points to the conversation--by the way, I deleted your second post because it was a duplicate of the one before (it happens sometimes if people double click too fast).

You make a very good point, which is that racial profiling happens at several levels, and people at all levels can contribute to the overall problem. As Julie outlined, there are unfortunately pervasive incidents all over the country of white criminals claiming to be victims of black assailants. Then there are issues with racism within police departments that they wrestle with nationwide--like the police department in New Jersey several years ago that got in trouble for racial profiling with regard to traffic stops. Then there are dispatchers that feed racially biased descriptions to callers--I have heard of this before in Easton from residents who have called for police, and because of that, if I call police and the perp is white, I make sure to emphasize that he is white. It also happens in the media--in papers, on line and on television--that often white criminals will be reported without their pictures, but pictures of black or latino suspects are shown more readily in the media, contributing to a misperception in society that almost all criminals are non-white.

What disgusts me about commentary on the ET on line, is that often when there is an article published about a crime committed where a photo is not posted, and the name is not decidedly African-American (or Latino), the criticism from these commenters is mild, but if there is a photo of a black or latino person, or if the name of the suspect is decidedly latino or black, these bigots come out of the woodwork with their hair on fire, with all kinds of comments about "animals" and "scum" and all kinds of bigoted comments like the one i felt compelled to delete earlier that accuse black residents of everything under the sun and basically being responsible for the demise of the city.

When three white criminals beat a latino immigrant to death last year, I actually read comments on the ET site SUPPORTING these white criminals, asking if the immigrant was illegal or not, and asserting that if he was illegal, that no crime was committed. These are the kinds of hate-filled bigots that defend racism and give Easton a bad name. Unfortunately, the good non-racists folks of Easton get so disgusted by it all that they tend to only post once or twice and then leave the forum completely, leaving anyone researching the area and contemplating buying a home here to think that we have a bigoted majority in Easton, when Easton is actually a very liberal, permissive town historically.

noel jones said...

Chris--thanks for posting with your name and owning your words--welcome aboard.

And thanks for your personal story.

I only disagree with this part:

"While we know that there was no black robber, no one knows what caused her to make the call to the police. Don't judge if you don't know all the facts."

There is absolutely nothing that makes lying to the police and implicating an imaginary black assailant ok--so it doesn't matter what the reason was, the harm has been done.

But I appreciate what you have to say about the family and your family's experience with them.

And in light of what you and Carinne have said, I will amend my recommendation--Mitzi should apologize and a representative from the family would do well to make a public statement condemning what she did, to reassure the community that they are not ok with any aspect of what happened at their business.

I'm not sure why anyone would resist that idea--it seems like an exercise in denial--the idea that if no harm is admitted, than no harm was done.

In the end, the family doesn't have to do anything--it's a free country and they can let the chips fall where they may without saying anything--they are as free to do that as other residents are free to criticize them or without their business. If that's the chance they want to take, they are welcome to it.

As I said before, I would gladly support them and even feature them on the blog if they were to just come out publicly with a statement that condemns Mitzi's actions in all aspects, and to ask for the continued support of the community. Until they do I cannot support them. But I do hold out the possibility that the rest of the family are nice non-racist people and might be making a statement at some point.

g_whiz said...

As a 6'1" black man who would otherwise be considered more subject to fitting this profile, I find it somewhat telling that we're a community that would rather rally behind someone who makes false accusations (and yes, falsifying a police report is in fact criminal in my understanding) instead of legitimatley scrutinizing the motives for her doing so. Is it apropriate to extend the culpability in this case to her family? No. Is it appropriate to find fault in the claim she made? Yes. Merely discussing the implications of what this woman has done here and what making claims like this can do to a community is quite a valid argument, as tourism and community perception can in fact be damaged by a city or area being percieved as racist or phobic. Easton is known for its diverse population and a lack of sensitivity here greatly undercuts that.

In response to the idea that people and communities are not harmed when people inaccuratley accuse nebulous maurauding black men of a certain age and height are "out there", when police in the process of trying to find these imaginary men are profiling persons innocent of any criminal wrongdoing related to the case, I do in fact see this as a problem and a violation of the rights of fellow citizens.

Julie underscores the after effects this sort of "black wolf" cry can have. To add a further historical context to this phenomenon, I submit the account of the now nonexistant town of Rosewood, FL.

http://www.displaysforschools.com/history.html

Now, the question becomes, if we as rational adults make assumptions about the criminality of black people based upon a falsified story and someone is unfairly incarcarated or accused in the process, this is an injustice that we should not simply shrug off because this bakery or some other is enjoyable. We shouldn't allow our biases to flavor our justice system any more than we already do. Its extremely disapointing that so many examples of people using the stereotypical idea of a black male threats to cover up their own wrongdoing or criminal behavior exist. Its more problematic that so many find ways to justify or rationalize such behavior.

noel jones said...

meant to say:

"they can let the chips fall where they may without saying anything--they are as free to do that as other residents are free to criticize them or WITHHOLD their business."

noel jones said...

Anon 5:30--I just realized that while most of your questions have been addressed by other reader-commenters, your last question, which is a very good one, has not been addressed, so I will take a stab at it. Your question was:

"What do you think it means to be a community?"

What being a community means to me is acknowledging our entire populace and that we are all part of a social fabric.

In my mind, it is similar to being part of an extended family, in that most families are jumbled combination of various talents, characteristics, quirks and flaws, and that while we may like some members more than others--and actually dislike certain members--in the end, we're a family and bound to responsibility of contributing to the strength and well-being of that family.

So maybe your cousin Joe who has come to live with you drives you nuts at the Thanksgiving dinner table, and at times you may even wish he had never been born, you still recognize that he merits
(cont.)

noel jones said...

(cont.)

consideration and decency, and if an intruder were to break into the house you would still defend him. You can have passionate arguments and in the end you know that you're still family. That is an extreme example but you get my point--hopefully--which is that we don't all have to like each other to treat each other with respect and consideration, and acknowledge each other as equals.

Part of the notion of "community" that has disintegrated in this country seems to me to be the ability for most people (especially our politicians and pundits) to engage earnestly in discussion and debate about differing views without tying too much our personal identities to our perspectives and therefore fighting to the death over differences of opinion. We should always be open to being won over and convinced by people who hold different opinions if their opinions make more sense to us than our own, instead of fighting to "win" (or to "survive" where one's sense of identity feels threatened) and not really considering the other person's point of view. If we as a society are going to solve our problems, we have to be willing to consider all perspectives, and not be too rigid and defensive in our own, leaving ourselves a back door to change our minds when it makes sense for our own good, or the good of the community, to do so. We also need to allow ourselves and each other room to take things back, to apologize and accept apologies. There is a trust that builds from that that makes future debates possible and enjoyable.

I, personally, am not attached to my views at all--I will gladly change my opinion if someone else makes more sense to me than I make to myself. As an example, I have already gladly shifted on two points in this debate about the bakery: 1) I no longer feel the family needs to apologize, but still feel it is in their best interest and the best interest of the community to make a public statement that they do not condone Mitzi's actions. 2) I no longer think "race-baiting" is the most appropriate term for this incident, but rather "contributing to racial profiling."

Why have I shifted on these two positions? Because readers made strong points in a civil tone, and after considering their views, I agreed with them.

It's a great feeling when you can have a debate with someone who disagrees with you, and do it passionately but with the confidence that both are good people who are really seeking to exchange perspectives and learn from each other. When people start being gracious, offering new points and conceding some old ones, that's when the discussions get really rich and rewarding. It is great to be able to debate with someone without being afraid that the sky is going to fall, and that you will never be able to like each other or speak to each other again. There is no reason why friends, acquaintances and neighbors can't simply agree on some points and disagree on others. We need to get back to a place as a country, where we really are after the best solutions, rather then just trying to sound smarter than others and prove ourselves "right" all the time.

This has been a great discussion-many thanks to all involved!

tachitup said...

Wow, Noel, my opinion of you just went up a half notch for the 2:44pm. An individual did this, not a family. And that individual had to pick a perp...she picked black instead of white, asian, or latino. I don't get the race baiting.

noel jones said...

Tatchitup--thanks, but only half a notch? You're an awfully tough critic...

Are you completely unconvinced that her acts contribute to racial profiling (as opposed to "race-baiting") after all the cases that Julie and g_whiz cited?

What I really wonder, after what Chris said, is once the smoke clears, if MItzi herself might not feel bad about inventing a black suspect. It's a possibility that she did it in a panic and feels bad about it now...

tachitup said...

I know Mitzi only from patronizing the store. What a great store!
Julie's posts are not inspiring, Mitzi did have to say the race, gender, etc.
But g whiz sounds like someone I'd really like to buy a beer,straight thinking.
Chris sounds like she has her head screwed on straight. I bet there's a middle ground we all can reach.
Probably time to let this topic go, I'll go back to thinking about boobies.

Julie Zando-Dennis said...

Thank you everyone. I feel grateful to have been part of a thought provoking debate. I do think Mitzi Perry should apologize to the community, because she took the easy way out by playing on racial fears to cover up her own distress.

Still, I do not condemn her. Obviolusly, she must have been under duress to fabricate such a story. If an apology were to issue forth, I would fully embrace her for having the courage to own up to what of all of feel from time to time -- fear and mistrust of the Other. Overcoming racial misunderstanding and distrust is hard work. I hope that in some small way, we have taken steps forward as a community to affirm our diversity and support a united community.

Tim Pickel said...

Mitzi screwed up royally. Once she found herself in the hole, she kept digging (not a good thing to do). By naming the fictitious assailant as a black man, the hole got deeper. Whether she makes a public apology or not, she has to come to grips with whatever problem brought this debacle to a head.

In all honesty, a donut is a donut and the ones at the Easton Bakery are not that special.

Anonymous said...

WOW, I was looking online for their number because they did a beautiful job on my wedding cake and I wanted them to bake a cake for my husband's birthday. But after reading this you can bet your bottom that I WILL NOT be going there for anything anytime soon.