A story last week led a reader to accuse me of being racist. I first rolled my eyes over the accusation and deleted the message, but I decided to pull it out of the trash and run it here. I still haven’t replied to the message; rather, I’d like you to, by posting a response below. I’d especially like to hear from people who are the victims of racism: do you see his objection as being valid — is it really akin to the racism you have suffered? How — or how is it not?
Let’s start with the story in question:
Two teen girls broke into a tattoo parlor in Fairfield, Maine. But first, they had to get past the alarm system. “They used hair spray” to do that, said Deputy Police Chief Steve Trahan. “They wanted to spray it so the fog would come out and they could see the beam from the alarm system, apparently so they could walk over it or avoid it or crawl under it.” They didn’t come up with the idea themselves. “They said they saw it on TV.” But it didn’t work: the hair spray is actually what set off the alarm, bringing officers in for the arrest. Brittany Blow, 18, and her unnamed juvenile accomplice were charged with burglary. (Waterville Morning Sentinel) …What they don’t tell you on TV: television shows are fiction.
Do you see the “racism”? I have no idea whether Brittany Blow (great name, eh?) is white, black, or other — and it doesn’t matter. But I’m still “racist” because of my slug (title) for the story: “Legally Blonde”. That’s right: joking that someone named Brittany might be blond after she does something stupid is “racist,” according to John in Florida, who writes:
Comments like this are just as racist as the word ‘nigger.’
I wonder if my readers agree — whether they’re black, white, Asian, Latino …or blond. You can comment via the form below.
If you’re particularly interested in the topic, I’ve written about racism in True before. Here’s one example.
17 September Update
Over 350 comments have been posted on this entry — and I have approved 199 of them. I think it’s all been said, so I’m turning Comments to this entry OFF so I don’t have to reject 150 more.
August 2010 Update
I noted above that I turned off the ability to comment since pretty much everything that could be said was said. Until now! I got a comment from a gal who says she’s the girl in the story. By the writing style, I think I believe it! Here you go — and, per my usual policy when I hear from people featured in the story, it’s presented here completely unedited:
sooo.im sure seeing as to how you felt it necessary to make fun of my last nme in the blog you wrote ABOUT ME…im sure you already know who i am.i was accualy looking for the picture of me getting arrested and found your blog.read it..and if i doo say so myself…i was pissed.yes it was dumb what happend..buuut neither me or tabitha colby the girl who was just a few months from being 18,and was the accualy one who went into C3 tattoo parlor..said that thats what the hair spray was used for to anyone.why would we.thats fucking ignorent.we were young girls..not to far fetched that we had hair products in our purses.aprently the fairfield police thought it would be funny to poke fun at two 18 year old girls lifes being turned upside down and going threw horrible things.hitting rock bottom at even that young of an age and ended up doing something as stupid as breaking into a bussiness.needless to sayyy…i was most upset when i realized IIII couldnt leave a comment…on a blog..writen about me…:) good job and i enjoy this site now that ive had a looksie at it..yes im blonde btw.and no i dont think that you are RACIST..a jerk yes.but no..not racist.
So, if I understand her definition, a “jerk” is someone who does a “good job” and writes an “enjoyable” site. Got it. Note she does confirm she’s a blonde.
Though I’m not sure how commenting that Blow is a “great name” is “mak(ing) fun of” her “last nme”.
September 2010 Update
After reading the August update above, a reader pointed me to another story in the same paper, dated simply “February 21” — no year given (but confusingly, a site search shows the date as October 23, 2009).
In summary, the story says that police and firefighters “scoured Head of Falls Thursday by land and water searching for Brittany Blow” after she reported she was assaulted. Then, “a few hours later, Blow was indeed being held against her will — but this time in Kennebec County Jail” after Blow, 20, admitted her report was not true. She was booked on a charge of filing a false report — plus a charge of “violation of conditions of release because she was out on bail for burglary and theft at the time.” Ah hah!
Blow’s boyfriend Robert White, 23, the report continued, “a transient,” was arrested and charged with violation of of his probation for domestic assault.
Yeah, she really knows how to pick her friends.
A later report in the same paper reported the conclusion (and confirms the October date): “Brittany A. Blow, 21, of Clinton, false public alarm or report Oct. 22 in Waterville, 30-day jail sentence, $500 restitution; violating condition of release Oct. 22 in Waterville, dismissed; violating condition of release and failing to give correct name, address or date of birth, both Oct. 30 in Oakland, combined 20-day jail sentence.”
So if I read that right, she was given 30 days in jail plus ordered to pay $500 in restitution for the “false public alarm.” The “violating condition of release” charge was dismissed, and an additional charge later of “failing to give correct name, address or date of birth” resulted in another (concurrent?) 20 days in jail.
Why do I get the feeling the world hasn’t heard the last of Brittany Blow?
At least a search of recent news stories found nothing — but still in an amusing way:
No, I didn’t mean “Brittany Blew” — but thank you, Google, for another laugh!
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