1. The most recent comments are at the top and in bold letters for the convenience or those who are following this dialogue experiment. If there is confusion, you might want to scroll to the bottom and read the comments from first to the latest. I thank all those who are participating.
2. This dialogue is not limited to African-Americans. We are all American taxpayers and citizens.
Clyde Edgerton Responds: Insight and recommendations
I’m happy to be a part of this dialogue. It feels a little different from weird back and forth that made me stop doing these on-line things years ago. I’m just beginning to learn about what is happening to Mr. Green. I can only guess from my own experience with the racism I grew up with–and practiced like every single person I knew did (part consciously, part unconsciously)–the racism that so many southerner’s grew up with and still grow up with. It’s like a snake in the grass–you can’t kill it. I would guess that simply because he’s not white, Mr. Green is thought of as a little bit invisible, a little bit not important–both because of the color of his skin. He’s been not lessed, not blessed. Some white people get uncomfortable when black people begin to get a little power. While I don’t know a lot about the case yet, I wonder how officials would have responded to Mr. Green if he were Mr. White instead of Mr. Black. What would have been their first conscious and unconscious thoughts.
I think what you can do is write a letter to the editor or go stand before some relevant board and speak your mind in a way that does not mince words. You’ve got to get comfortable with making certain people uncomfortable. Before I meet Reverend Murphy I never understood the power of free speech and how precious it is. But free speech also depends on newspapers that have not been bought out, and people like Mr. Williams who relies on the power of words. The free speech part of our society is part of the apparatus that can help some of us point out how white power tends to roll over minorities without looking back, and then when a minority has the platform and the courage to speak out about racism, they get this: “Oh, you’re pulling out the race card.”
We don’t have to hate anybody. But it helps if the system makes us very angry.
Bill Gray Responds: Interesting Dialog—My “White Privilege“ Supports Mr. Green
This short dialogue has been interesting. Not having the King’s English skills of Mr. Murphy, I do have a couple short remarks. First, I feel that Ms. Bell had all of her opinion reduced to tribble. Secondly, I request that Mr. Edgerton encourage me how to use my white privilege to prevent what is happening to Mr. Green.
Rev. Dante Murphy’s Response to Jasmine Bell 5/8/19:
I’m still excited that someone is actually allowing their voice to be heard. With that said, I want to elaborate on some valid issues you raise and attempt to bring clarity to some others.
“…currently on a personal vendetta mission regarding several different issues” would imply that I have a personal vendetta against a specific person or specific entity. I admit that I was angered when Karen Ellis Pritchard forced my immediate supervisor to tell me I could not preach, but she has since been forced out and no longer works for DSS. I admit that I was angered with Wanda Marino, former Deputy Director of New Hanover, who had refused to promote any black employees over a period of 20 years of her serving in upper management, but she has since been forced out and no longer works for DSS. And lastly, I was angered by the plantation politics of former County Commissioner Eddie Holbrook, but he was upset in his re-election bid and is no longer an elected official. These being the only people that have really angered me over the years is justification that my motive for social activism is simply a sense of calling. As a strong advocate of the “jury box” and the “ballot box” I have no problem with seeking vindication in court for myself or anyone else who seeks my assistance when wrongdoing is suspected. The tenacity to battle an issue out in court should not be confused with a “personal vendetta.” I am currently engaged in major movements in both North and South Carolina. These movements include an elderly woman who wrongfully had $150,000 taken from her, a university professor who contacted me as a result of an organized school scheme to discriminate against black children, institutional betrayal of child sexual abuse victims, and the Willie Green lawsuit against the City of Shelby and Rick Howell. This does not include the numerous cases of helping people wrongfully terminated or mistreated on their job or in school. Since most people initiate contact with me, I have no personal connection to these issues. I admit that I am as passionate about social justice issues as I would be fulfilling any other calling.
“…..unsolicited emails to several individuals” is not clear to me, but I’m going to assume this means emails that people did not ask me to send them. Social media is a powerful tool that creates a paper trail, disseminates information, and prevents relevant persons from invoking “plausible deniability.” Email is no different than Facebook in regard to the level of control that the owner possesses. Persons wishing to terminate “unsolicited” emails have the option of blocking. Therefore, continuing to receive “unsolicited” emails seems more of a choice by the receiver.
“…threats, demands, and ultimatums….” requires clarity regarding the level of such acts. A “threat” has legal implications and I believe that my emails have not involved criminal activity, else I would have served jail time. Threats, demands, and ultimatums are also terms that define what social activism is all about (e.g. Harriett T. carried a gun, Rosa P. was defiant, MLK spent a few nights in jail, Dr. William Barber lead a group to take over the NC Legislative Building and many arrests took place, etc.). Freedom, justice, and equality has never been freely given by the oppressor, but rather demanded by the oppressed. People, especially women and minorities, have suffered greatly because they lacked the means to demand fair treatment. Consequently, every threat, ultimatum, and demand I ever made had everything to do with justice. You should also note that it is my practice to inform relevant persons when I am about to do anything that may compromise safety. Threats, demands, and ultimatums are widely used tactics in bringing about results in our society. For example, supervisors and managers often use these strategies to maintain control in the workplace-mostly deemed as fear and intimidation. I have personally found this to be an effective strategy when fighting against racism, discrimination, and corruption.
“bully” is almost a compliment for a social activist. Most corruption, abuse, and discrimination is perpetrated by bullies. Consequently, it often takes a similar suited person to adequately deal and cope with a bully. History books would never record it as such, but MLK was a “gangster” preacher who took strong and courageous stances against white superiority. His untimely death may have been linked to his unwillingness to back down. You may refer to an article published on Robert Williams website to get a better understanding of this concept (Trump’s Brand of Civil Disobedience).
“….if any individual in Cleveland County or any county has an issue, he may not be the best advocate” is a judgement best suited for those who call me for assistance in various matters. One must consider that I am nearly five hours from Cleveland County. I’ve been called upon numerous times since leaving to assist residents in a range of matters. Even I wonder at times why I am still being called upon when there are other preachers in the area who have the ability to assist in local matters.
So, this issue brings me back to where I started in this writing. What is the real issue: social justice or Rev. Charles Webber? There are those who would strongly agree with you that calling out Mayor Anthony and Rev. Charles Webber for a concerted effort to gain support in the black community was disrespectful, pitting black against black, preacher against preacher, causing division in the black community, etc. I get that. At the core of this conversation is a painful truth that white people, mostly white men, are constantly in search of a perceived black person who will assist unwillingly in the announcement that black people are being treated fairly. Some blacks refer to this as “coons” or “sellouts.” These are by no means bad people or people who do not care about justice and equality, but rather, they have a different approach to social justice issues. As stated in a previous article, this has always been a debated issue among African American leaders as some believe that black inferiority is a reality and we should negotiate what we can and leave well enough alone. Booker T. Washington was a proponent of this ideology and suggested that blacks should “Let down your buckets where you are.”
I do not know your connection to Mayor Anthony, Rev. Charles Webber, or Mr. Eddie Holbrook, but commend you for your defense of them all, especially, Rev. Charles Webber. I am saddened that you seem to be the only one, especially when there is much to gain from this conversation.
Lastly, we still have to deal with Willie Green v. The City of Shelby and Rick Howell. The other side to this matter is that Rev. Charles Webber chose to sit on the Shelby City Council. “To whom much is given, much is required.” He has influence and a say in the matter and therefore faces a moral and ethical responsibility to do the right thing. The public filings so far indicate serious improprieties during negotiations that negatively impacted Mr. Green. Among the worst things that can happen is that the perpetrators receive no reprimand. It is also an unfortunate reality that lawsuits does damage the reputations of all involved persons. Even buying a car becomes difficult because once the salesperson googles your name and sees that you were a participant in a lawsuit, then they fear the same if something goes wrong with a purchased car. Being litigious is advantageous for social activist, but not for citizens wishing to live out their calling in other areas. Mr. Green, importantly, is hoping to assure justice and restore his life to where it was prior to unfortunate and wrongful events. This issue is now far from just building a sports complex, but rather Willie Green’s name having been defamed, his credibility damaged, and no indication from council members that they are willing to right the wrong. I personally will use all of my God-given ability to assist in seeking justice in this matter and the prevention of plantation politics by corruption and cover up.
Rev. Dante’ Murphy