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Ralph R. Papitto's Name Comes Off School:

Via Paul Caron comes news that Ralph R. Papitto asked that his name be taken off the law school at Roger Williams University and the school has agreed to do so. Students and alumni had called for Papitto's name to be removed after he used a racial epithet during a discussion of diversity at one of the school's Board of Trustees' meetings.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Ralph R. Papitto's Name Comes Off School:
  2. Students Seek New Name for Law School:
Smokey:
I suggest renaming it the Louis Farrakhan School for Racial Harmony.
7.19.2007 1:08pm
dearieme:
Will nobody forgive the sinner? You unchristian people, you.
7.19.2007 1:08pm
texas lawyer (mail):
The guy asked the university to take his name off of the law school.

People can debate whether that request was coerced, but it was at his request—not over his objection.
7.19.2007 1:18pm
Jeek:
Since that word is officially dead and buried - and no longer in anyone's mind - how can a problem exist?
7.19.2007 1:35pm
Harry CENSOREDmun:
I long for the days when we forgave dottering old folks a bit of anachronistic behavior with a bemused smile or a pat on the head.
7.19.2007 1:43pm
Benjamin Davis (mail):
What's the big deal? In the old days the Chairman of the Board could use the N-word and no one would respond and the place would stay lily-white. Now, he gets called on it as was Imus. Isn't this what all you folks against affirmative action wanted to have happen - people making a private choice in this case to throw out the name of the purveyor of racism. Of course, for sensibilities and because of what he has done for the school I would imagine, he gets the face saving step of asking his name to be removed. We know all about those approaches but it seems there is no need to kick him while he is down and a little grace is elegant.

If private efforts at racial imbalance are perfectly fine, why not private efforts for racial balance?

As to forgiveness, I can forgive but that does not mean I have to forget. God is the only one who can forgive the sinner and I know I am not god. And in these days of aggressive hostility to integration of blacks into this society, I would prefer we air on the side of calling people on these kinds of actions.

In a related point about these times that no one has picked up, anybody here read about what is going on in Jena, Louisiana 2007? Back to Jim Crow days in a second.
7.19.2007 1:48pm
Justin (mail):
Aw, Jeek and Harry, isn't racism so FUNNY?
7.19.2007 1:51pm
Benjamin Davis (mail):
Couple of typos that I want to correct so someone out there does not immediately conclude I must be ignorant because I make typos. Seen that before.

What's the big deal? In the old days the Chairman of the Board could use the N-word and no one would respond and the place would stay lily-white. Now, he gets called on it as was Imus. Isn't this what all you folks against affirmative action wanted to have happen - people making a private choice in this case to throw out the name of the purveyor of racism. Of course, for sensibilities and because of what he has done for the school I would imagine, he gets the face saving step of asking his name to be removed. We know all about those approaches. It's ok with me it is done that way as it seems there is no need to kick him while he is down and a little grace is elegant.

If private efforts at racial imbalance are perfectly fine, why not private efforts for racial balance?

As to forgiveness, I can forgive but that does not mean I have to forget. God is the only one who can forgive the sinner and I know I am not god. And in these days of aggressive hostility to integration of blacks into this society, I would prefer we err on the side of calling people on these kinds of actions.

In a related point about these times that no one has picked up, anybody here read about what is going on in Jena, Louisiana 2007? Back to Jim Crow days in a second.

Best,
Ben
7.19.2007 1:53pm
Harry CENSOREDmun:
No, but the assumption that a single use of an epithet accurately captures someone's innermost belief system sure is funny. You cast all the first stones you want though.
7.19.2007 1:56pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
Couple of typos that I want to correct so someone out there does not immediately conclude I must be ignorant because I make typos.


It's not the typos that reveal your ignorance, it's the content.
7.19.2007 2:03pm
Jeek:
Well, Justin, it is pretty funny that anyone cares that some old coot used The Word That Must Never Be Uttered. Why is this story even news? Oh yes, it confirms the Leftist dogma that Racism Is Deeply Entrenched In Our Society, and that We Still Have Far To Go.
7.19.2007 2:05pm
BrianT:
I read that Papitto has not yet fulfilled the big $ pledge that led to the school being named for him. I am sure the highly principled folks in RI will refuse the racist's money.
7.19.2007 2:09pm
Justin (mail):
Yes, Jeek, capitalizing a point completely obliterates it. Somehow I missed that lesson in law school, but I'll be sure to Try It In My Next Brief.
7.19.2007 2:11pm
James Fulford (mail):
Inquiring minds want to know--will they give back the money he donated?
7.19.2007 2:13pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
I long for the days when we forgave dottering old folks a bit of anachronistic behavior with a bemused smile or a pat on the head.


Old maybe, dottering maybe not so much. The guy was the board chairman and a pretty powerful one if the news coverage can be believed. I've had to sit in on a number of board meetings and I cannot imagine a scenario where the use of a racial slur (as opposed to merely repeating what someone else had said) would be acceptable. My gut however tells me that there was probably more than this one incident that lead to his ouster and like Don Imus this was the last straw.
7.19.2007 2:13pm
Benjamin Davis (mail):
I am flattered that my typos are not held against me, just my ideas. The feeling is mutual.
Peace,
Ben
7.19.2007 2:43pm
JerryW (mail):
It was stated he used the "N" word. But elsewhere I read he said "N"appy. Others have referred to Imus. To the best of my memory the accusation was Imus said nappy. Has that now become the new "N" word now that the other one is dead and buried?
7.19.2007 2:57pm
Jeek:
Justin, I used capitals to emphasize the solemnity and importance of those concepts. I, for one, will never underestimate Deeply Entrenched Racism or the scope of the measures we will need to adopt to eradicate this Terrible Scourge.
7.19.2007 3:00pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
It was stated he used the "N" word. But elsewhere I read he said "N"appy. Others have referred to Imus. To the best of my memory the accusation was Imus said nappy. Has that now become the new "N" word now that the other one is dead and buried?


That raises something I noticed about the media coverage of this issue. The story was that the chairman of the board of trustees used a racial slur that began with the letter "N" of which there are two possibilities. One slur is generally regarded as worse than the other yet the reference to Imus suggests he may have used the lesser of the two. Obviously he shouldn't be using either one but I'm curious why the media outlets covering this story would be so shy about repeating the offending word or even using **** in place of the some letters but leaving enough so that their readers can at least be sure of which word was actually alleged to have been used. I can understand that distaste of not even wanting to repeat such language but it seems to me that a journalist has an obligation to try to report events as accurately as possible. Have we really gotten to the point where editors of newspapers cannot distinguish between the use of a racial slur and the reporting of the use of one?
7.19.2007 3:27pm
Steve:
There is still only one "N-word." I don't recall a lot of articles regarding the Imus controversy that hesitated to spell out the word "nappy."
7.19.2007 4:01pm
Smokey:
Folks sure do keep floggin the racist angle -- for their own reasons. But the average person knows there's not much to it any more: click

Since the average white person would be willing to become black for the rest of his life for only $1500, that tells me that racism is pretty much a thing of the past.

For the sake of the argument, let's say the average white person in the link above has 30 years to live. That means he would accept $50 per year to become black. So would someone credibly explain why the federal and state governments spend literally billions of dollars on favored special interest groups every year trying to correct a relatively small problem?
7.19.2007 5:00pm
rarango (mail):
count me with the folks that want to know if RI is going to return that tainted money--or perhaps to them the only reason its tainted is there 'taint enough of it (old nonprofit association board member joke--sorry)
7.19.2007 5:24pm
ifoughtthelaw (mail) (www):
Smokey -- Did you even read the article you linked to?


The low dollar amount shows whites aren't troubled by the prospect of living as blacks, said Philip Mazzocco, assistant professor of psychology at the Ohio State University Mansfield campus, who wrote the study with four other researchers, including OSU psychology professor Timothy Brock.

But it also reflects some ignorance of how much harder life can be as a black person, Mazzocco said.

"The benefit of white privilege is largely invisible to them because they have nothing to contrast with," he said.

The researchers conducted the study between 2002 and 2004 to help understand white Americans' attitudes on financial reparations for American descendants of African slaves.


Not exactly conclusive proof that racism no longer exists in America.
7.19.2007 5:26pm
Ken Arromdee:
Wait a minute. If whites would want a lot of money to be black, that shows they are racist because they think being black is a really bad thing. If whites would not want a lot of money to be black, that shows that they are ignorant of how hard it is to be black.

In other words, no matter how the whites respond, their response can be interpreted negatively.

Isn't that a catch-22?
7.19.2007 6:16pm
EH:
Wow, the apologists really came out of the woodwork for this one.

Jeek: Your use of capitals should be cherished in this context, since the Roger Williams College republicans lost their right to capitalize "republican" after they held a "whites only" membership drive a few years ago. Fight the power, bro.
7.19.2007 6:33pm
Libertarian1 (mail):


The low dollar amount shows whites aren't troubled by the prospect of living as blacks, said Philip Mazzocco, assistant professor of psychology at the Ohio State University Mansfield campus, who wrote the study with four other researchers, including OSU psychology professor Timothy Brock.

But it also reflects some ignorance of how much harder life can be as a black person, Mazzocco said.



Interestingly, a semi-objective study concluding with a 100% personal opinion by the lead author refuting his own data because he doesn't agree with the results, must be why psychology is not considered a hard science.
7.19.2007 7:56pm
Justin (mail):
Liberterian, the idea that the question posed gets you anywhere near the answer "is there persisting racism in America" REGARDLESS of the results of the study is somewaht silly. Since Smokey was the one who brought it up as proof of something, and ifoughtthelaw simply pointed out that it was not proof of anything, maybe you should rethink your battles.
7.19.2007 8:19pm
neurodoc:
Only one of my four alma maters ever "sold" naming rights, that being Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, which went to Michael Blumberg for a reported $50M, and thankfully he has never done anything to embarrass the institution. (And it wasn't a straight up "purchase" either, since he has done a great deal more for the university as a whole.)

I always thought it was simply a matter of how prestigious the school was and how much a wealthy person would pay for the eponymous honor. (I think Sanford Weill landed Cornell's medical school for $100M, though he has subsequently given still more, and that David Geffen got UCLA's Medical School for $200M. I don't know how much the Pritzker family contributed to the University of Chicago medical school.) But now I see that there is risk for the schools lest the name become a stigma.

A Nobel Prize in Economics was won for an analysis of how to set the price for options. I don't think it too likely to earn anyone another Nobel, but maybe someone will undertake an analysis of how to set the price for naming rights to schools. (Later, attention might turn to individual buildings, endowed chairs, etc.) There should be a way to weight school prestige (present and future potential), current economic climate, encouragement/discouragement of other donors, "risk" for the institution, etc., to come up with the right number of $s.
7.20.2007 12:39am
Harvey Mosley (mail):
Guys, lighten up. Someone said something that offended people, some of the offended people asked for a certain result, the offending person gave them the result they wanted. Seems like the offending person should get some credit for doing the right thing after he screwed up.
7.20.2007 2:34am
Benjamin Davis (mail):
Just having fun with numbers. If the value is $1500/white to switch places then the total value of "cost of being black" is 238 million whites times $1500. Now divide that number by the total number of blacks which is around 40 million and you get a cost of being black per black person as calculated by whites of $8925/black person over the life of a black person.

Of course, the study goes on to look at it another way. Didn't anyone else see the rest of the article that says or is this just a blind spot?

"In an effort to reflect the true cost of being black, the study also asked 188 of the respondents what price they would seek to trade places with someone in a fictional country who actually faced the same income, discrimination and other challenges faced by black Americans.

Those respondents said they would have to be paid $1 million under those circumstances, which to the authors meant whites have a blind spot when it comes to the real hardships of being black but understand such hardships when they are presented fictionally."

Under this model, I guess they are trying to remove the dynamics of current society and animus and make a thought experiment. In this setting the cost of being black is $ 1 million/white. Again using the 238 million figure times $ 1 million and dividing by the 40 million figure you come to a number of $5.95 million/black as the burden of being black over the life of being black.

Assuming both these numbers are over the lifetime of each person I was thinking that the $1500 was like the premium one pays on your insurance to have the benefit of being white while the $ 5 950 000 would be the cost of being black if that really happened to you.

Of course all my numbers may be wrong. Also, the measures are all done by whites. Given the willingness to discount anything I state about racism evidenced on this listserv I am not sure that the perspective of whites captures well the true nature of oppression. Recognizing it is an anecdote, I remember Ronald Reagan saying in one debate that back in the day "we didn't know" about the extent of racism. And Carter saying something like "black people knew".

Now, an interesting further study would be to ask black Americans the same two questions going the other way.

Just some thoughts over night.

Peace as always,
Ben
7.20.2007 10:20am
neurodoc:
Another try at it, if I may: Suppose a wealthy donor wanted the naming rights to a school you attended or taught at, how much do you think the school should get for "branding" the institution with that donor's name? What argument(s) would you make in support of the number ($0 to $gazillion) you would have the school demand, if you think they should entertain any bid however great? Should potential corporate donors be expected to pay more than private individuals? How should a potential donor's "rectitude" or other characteristics be taken into account? Better to go with the dead then the living, since less risk with the former than the latter, though neither entirely risk-free? Apolitical candidates to be preferred? Necessary to do due diligence on candidates, or if not unquestionably beyond reproach, then ought not be considered?
7.21.2007 1:52am
luciano peroni (mail):
We musn't forget the irony in this one. First off Roger Williams was remembered most for his uncanny ablility to 'get along' with peoples of most any nationality, race, culture and most importantly religious persuasion. He left the Mass Bay Colony in order to set up his own Divine Providence with the basic creation of Freedon of conscience and religion.
I recall not long ago 'they' buried the n----- word. Really with a mock casket, pall bearers, and an actual ceremony. I suppose we should illegalize the word at the law school as well. I feel that word is at this point in time beyond race, color, or religion. Its more like the ignorant people who seek to demoralize and perpetrate more seperation and consternation among the huge differentiation of peoples that populate our miniscule city and state.
Well why don't the Yiddish female minorities make a 3 million dollar donation and fight the governmental legal issues and all the other BS affiliated with creating a Law School in perhaps one of the most corrupt cities on the East Coast. Lets see if they have the strength to endure. We should get some Afganistan Women to be the CEO, may as well include some mentally and physically handicapped as well... haha alumuni of course. They should bury his name as they buried the n----- word and have they minorities pay for the burial. Ban Mark Twain and James Baldwin as well. Make burning a cross illegal except for actors and comedians. No businessmen allowed. No donations either its illegal ha go screw yourselfs all of you.
7.24.2007 10:26am
luciano peroni (mail):
oh yes and the word nappy ame from Napoleon by the way
7.24.2007 10:31am