(April 17, 2006)
After Patty Heffley made the remarks about my being happy to be elected to
the National Board because of the free food, free air fare and hotels, a
motion was made and passed by the PNB calling for a committee to be set up
to examine allegations of racism and sexism by PNB Board members and Local
Station Board members. The full text of this motion is located at the bottom
of this posting.
The motion passed, but now Ms. Heffley has put the Board on notice that she
is calling for the motion to be rescinded. She will be calling for it to be
rescinded on the PNB teleconference call on 4/24/06. (By the way, some of
her supporters are now calling this committee PRIC - Pacifica Racism
A couple of key things to note: Although the motion passed, it did so along
racial lines. It passed 9 - 6, with the majority of the people who voted for
the motion being people of color. 6 people of color and 3 Whites voted for
the motion. 5 Whites and 1 Black voted against the motion.
I must say that I find it disheartening that anyone that sits on a Board for
a radio station that is supposed to be progressive would think that there is
no need for such a committee considering some of the documented sexist and
racist behavior that Board members have engaged in (please see below).
Furthermore the Pacifica mission statement explicitly states that one of the
purposes of the foundation is to "promote the study of . . . religious,
philosophical and racial antagonisms"
I must also add however, that I am not surprised by the motion passing along
racial lines. I am disappointed, but I am not surprised. I am not imputing
motive to most of the people that voted against this, but it does underscore
the disparate racial divide that continues to plague this country.
I call on everyone who feels that Pacifica should not rescind this motion
and that there should be a committee to investigate allegations of racism
and sexism by the Board to write to the Pacifica National Board at
Lisa V. Davis
Other Racist and Sexist Comments Made by Board Members
In addition to the comments made by Ms. Heffley, here are some of the other
statements made by Board members. (By the way, most of these are from the
New York area)
One Board member repeatedly screamed "F--K You" in public at a female chair
of the Local Station Board. At other times he yelled the Nazi praise "Seig
Heil" and and questioned black men about whether or nor they saw "The Color
A former Board member wrote an e-mail advocating for WBAI to examine the
qualifications of all the Blacks hired at the station. This same Board
member also called audience members of people who supported certain people
at the station dysfunctional and asses. She resigned from the Board of her
own accord, not because of the comments she made. She was re-elected to the
Board in spite of her comments.
Another Board member recently wrote a scandalous diatribe describing a Black
man as frothing at the mouth and another Black man as "aping" the other one.
In his same diatribe, this man who is rich and White, described the South
Bronx, a predominantly Black neighborhood, as a place . . ."where rival
gangs are shooting at each other and all you can do is keep your head down
to keep from getting beaten up, knifed, or shot."
This same Board member in another one of his rants writes: "Am I wrong in
believing that Boulder, and KGNU, are among the least racially diverse
places in America? The picture (the myth?) that always pops into my mind
...is that of a peaceful place filled with cheerful sun-tanned White guys .
. .The city's total percentage of African Americans is just 1.22%; of Native
Americans, only 0.48% and of other races, a little over 3%.. . So I ask,
could racial tension - or rather the absence of it - be one of the most
important reasons for KGNU's success and WBAI's failure ....?
More interesting, yet revealing remarks made by Board members and listeners
alike (any comments that are in red are mine).
"Davis' unfounded allegations of racism are a more serious breach than
Heffley's rude and insensitive reaction to Davis' election to the board."
"My first take, having listened to Lisa Davis as a candidate and as an LSB
member, is that the attempt to turn a garden-variety ad hominem insult by
Patty Heffley into a racist attack is a manipulative ploy." (interestingly
enough, this person doesn't know that ad hominem means appealing to personal
prejudice or emotions - L Davis)
". . .A committee that will be going around Pacifica to investigate racism
is guaranteed to foster disunity, not unity. . . Again, this is the
complexity about racism that the people in Pacifica who make allegations of
racism have not even dreamt about because they are so sure of the privilege
of their victimhood..."
Complete Text of the Motion:
Motion as amended adopted at 3/10/06 Pacifica National Board
Whereas the mission statement of the Pacifica Foundation charges it with the
responsibility of engaging in activities that shall
contribute to a lasting understanding between nations and between the
individuals of all nations, races, creeds and colors; and
Whereas the mission statement of the Pacifica Foundation charges it
with the responsibility of gathering and disseminating information on
the causes of conflict between any and all of such groups; and
through any and all means compatible with the purposes of the
Foundation to promote, among other things, the study of political
causes of racial antagonisms; and
Whereas it is therefore clear that racist conduct by members of the
Pacifica National Board is counter to the mission of Pacifica;
Be it resolved, that the PNB shall appoint five Directors to an ad
hoc committee to investigate and report out to the full PNB all
alleged incidents of racism and sexism by current PNB or LSB members
throughout the Pacifica network.
Further resolved that the Committee is instructed to report its
findings to the Pacifica National Board, and if the Committee finds
that any specific comments and conduct were injurious to the goals of
the Foundation, the Committee is instructed to report resolutions
containing its recommendations to the Pacifica National Board. A
minority report or reports may also be submitted if desired by any
Passed 9 Yes-6 No