The racist graffiti at EMU, the subsequent protest, and the bigger picture

Last night, as a good many of us were glued to our computers, reading up on the details surrounding the shooting death of Terence Crutcher, the most recent unarmed black man known to have been killed by police in America, someone was apparently spray-painting racist graffiti outside of Eastern Michigan University’s King Hall, an administrative building which, among other things, houses the office of the Dean of Students. Here, from the Facebook feed of the Eastern Echo, is an image of the pro-KKK message that was left in red, white and blue.


Following is the statement sent out to faculty and staff this morning by EMU President James M. Smith.

A short time ago, we learned that racist graffiti had been spray painted on a wall of King Hall in the courtyard area of the building. The University strongly condemns such a racist and thoughtless act, which runs completely counter to the values and welcoming environment of our highly diverse Eastern Michigan University community. Our Department of Public Safety is undertaking a full and immediate investigation and the graffiti is being quickly removed. We are hopeful that security cameras in the nearby area will help provide evidence pointing to who may have perpetrated this action. We also are seeking any information from individuals who may have spotted anything unusual in the overnight or early morning hours in that area.

Rest assured, we will investigate this criminal act to our fullest abilities and will advise our campus community on our progress. Let me reiterate, we condemn this act in the strongest of terms and stand strong in our determination to identify the individual or individuals responsible, and then beyond this to address the broader issues in our community that such an action highlights. If you have any information about this incident, please contact our Department of Public Safety at 734-487-1222.

Judging from what I just read on Buzzfeed, some on campus, like Darius Simpson, who I interviewed not too long ago on the Saturday Six Pack about race issues at EMU, don’t feel as though President Smith went far enough in his statement. Simpson is quoted in the article as saying, “Don’t be impressed with the university’s response. All they said was ‘We’re not all racist’. They’re isolating this incident.” And, it would seem, based on photos I’ve seen of EMU students marching from campus to the President’s residence this afternoon, quite a few agree with Simpson. [I wasn’t at the march, which I’m told blocked both eastbound and westbound traffic along Washtenaw Avenue near the intersection with Hewitt, but I’m told that things got tense as some vehicles tried to make their way through the protestors. As I understand it, a lot of people were shooting video, so I imagine it’s just a matter of time before clips start showing up on social media, but I’ve yet to see anything so far.]

Like many, I’m tempted to think that the racism we’re seeing right now in America is, in large part, due to the divisive rhetoric of Donald Trump, a man who came to national prominence as a politician by promoting so-called “birther” theories, calling into question whether or not Barack Obama, our first black president, was even really an American. The truth is, though, the roots of this run much deeper. The Klan, as we’ve discussed here before, was big in Ypsilanti in the 1920s. And I can still remember back in 2007, when it was brought to my attention that a white supremacist group was leaving flyers at the homes of my neighbors. Sure, things may have become more visible in the wake of Obama’s election, as the racists among us began to wake up to the fact that American demographics were shifting, and evidence of that deep-seated racism may be even more apparent now that Trump has given white Americans the permission to proudly affirm their biases in patriot terms, but the truth is, this ugliness has been around for a long, long time. And the students who are demanding that this requires more than just a cleaning crew and an investigation into who actually held the paint cans, are exactly right.

update: Well, that didn’t take long… Here’s video of the march showing an SUV forcing its way through the line of protestors. I’m still not exactly clear as to what happened, but I suspect someone will leave a comment before too long. Hopefully no one was injured.

update: And here’s a still photo from the Fox 2 News coverage of the protest.


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  1. Dan
    Posted September 21, 2016 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Good job SUV driver.

  2. Dan
    Posted September 21, 2016 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Where are the lines of protesters when someone is shot in Parkridge or West Willow? Some idiot paints some racist shit and that is grounds for a protest, but when people actually die, no one cares?

  3. kjc
    Posted September 21, 2016 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    and then there’s you, Dan, never caring at all but always with the faux outrage. you’re such a POS.

  4. Dan
    Posted September 21, 2016 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    good post kjc, as always.

  5. Lynne
    Posted September 21, 2016 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Well Dan, you see it is a different thing when someone gets shot in the course of the usual crimes you see in places and something like this which is a hate crime. Hate crimes are things where protests can make a difference.

    I ended up getting caught up in this traffic but by the time I reached the intersection, it was mostly dispersed and there were just a bunch of protesters on the sidewalk with their hands up and a bunch of cops, looking bored, watching them.

    And NOT good for that SUV driver. It sounds like she should be arrested or at least ticketed. I was as annoyed as anyone for being stuck in the traffic caused by this but my inconvenience is nothing compared to the crap they were protesting in the first place. I blame racists in our community for the traffic, not the protesters.

  6. Dan
    Posted September 21, 2016 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    So someone gets shot and killed and that is a “usual crime.” No big deal. Someone calls slanders a group and then we need to do something?

  7. Lynne
    Posted September 21, 2016 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    It isn’t so much that it isn’t a big deal to the people involved. Of course it is. But protests don’t generally do much to control crime rates and the attempts to focus on them are just a racists way of deflecting the issue away from the issue at hand. The usual crimes which are overwhelmingly due to things like interpersonal conflicts are different from hate crimes in that hate crimes terrorize entire groups of pepole. If my neighbor shoots his wife during an argument, I am not afraid he is going to come gun me down but if someone were to write “Kill fat middle aged white ladies” on a wall in the town where I live, I would be worried.

    Do you really not see the difference?

  8. iRobert
    Posted September 21, 2016 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    How is it an important issue when one lone moron gets a few cans of spray paint and does his best to rile people up? Shouldn’t the solution simply be to have a rapid-response team armed with paint thinner and a power washer? Then, the more vandals paint graffiti, the more often buildings and overpasses would be power-washed clean.

    That giant crowd could easily instead form that rapid-response team which would immediately eliminate the offending vandalism, and they’d be beautifying the city in the process.

    But, then, I guess the real purpose of these protests isn’t really to address and solve problems, is it.

  9. Dan
    Posted September 21, 2016 at 11:17 am | Permalink


    I’ve never said that you or anyone should not be concerned when someone paints hate messages in your town. I simply asked why this demanded a protest, when actual deaths in the community do not.

    The shootings over the past few summers in Ypsi were not of the sort of domestic violence. Innocent bystanders were being shot and/or terrorized because of gang violence. People eating lunch were ducking bullets. Families getting gas were being shot. But thats all “usual crime.” no reason to protest that.

  10. iRobert
    Posted September 21, 2016 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    I find it disturbing to see anyone suggest murders are “ordinary” and something which the average person can do little about. Murders are a symptom of a sick society. There have been places and times in human history where they were almost non-existent. They may seem ordinary to the unfortunate folks who live in societies such as ours where murders are so common, but murder is a monstrous act committed by a deranged and dangerous sociopath. To live in a society which produces so many murderers should alarm us all, and it is something we certainly can do something about.

  11. iRobert
    Posted September 21, 2016 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    The problem of graffiti has a very simple and easy solution. To bring so much attention to this individual vandal’s absurd message is a giant favor to him. To have erased his graffiti ASAP would be the most effective counter action. That, of course, isn’t the objective of most people, obviously.

  12. Lynne
    Posted September 21, 2016 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Dan, if you want to organize a protest, do so. Stop being a dick by criticizing other people’s efforts.

    iRobert, murders *are* ordinary and they absolutely are something that the average person can do something about and are. Murder rates are declining. In some cases, such as anti-gun protests, protests may be appropriate but generally, because of the different motivations of criminals, protests are not effective at reducing murder rates but they *are* effective at letting racist a-holes know that their actions are not accepted.

    And as a side note, murders are actually mostly committed by ordinary people who do not meet the criteria of sociopath.

    I think people wanted to bring attention to this act because it gives them the opportunity to protest it. I disagree that quietly erasing it would help. Far better to go big and let the jerks know that this simply will not be tolerated without disruption.

  13. Dan
    Posted September 21, 2016 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    So you think that this idiot thought that his racist action would be accepted? He was unaware that people would not like it? This protest was the only reason that he now knows better and will not have such thoughts?

  14. Lynne
    Posted September 21, 2016 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    No, the protest is less for the person who committed the crime and more for the community at large. It sends the message that the message in the graffiti was heard *and* rejected.
    and yes, I think it matters. I mean the fact that anyone would have a problem with this kind of protest is a reason why such protests are needed in the first place.

  15. soggy_waffles
    Posted September 21, 2016 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    So the vigils, community meetings, and police/sheriff efforts after the shootings count for nothing? This protest is important, but real work went into responding to the shootings. Hopefully, EMU will do real work in making students feel comfortable after this incident too, but people showed up for both events in the way that mattered most to them. But to you apparently, the vigils that people held for a kid who was killed wasn’t good enough.

  16. iRobert
    Posted September 21, 2016 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    No reasonable person would have any problem with this protest, other than the concern which Dan has suggested, which is that there are very serious problems being ignored, while this stupid act of an individual is being given a whole hell of a lot of what the vandal was seeking, which is attention to his idiotic message.

    It is especially telling when the solution is so simple, and yet not being initiated by this group of supposedly concerned citizens. It becomes very clear that bringing people together is not the purpose of the protest. The purpose is clearly to capitalize on one small, simple and stupid act of an attention hungry loser.

  17. Michael Jewett
    Posted September 21, 2016 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    The area around King Hall was graffiti bombed with messages of love, peace and tolerance in the wake of the graffiti attack yesterday.

  18. Dan
    Posted September 21, 2016 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Organized rallys are not the same thing as spontaneous protests. Of course those rallys and such mattered. They matter a lot more than a bunch of people just blocking traffic. They show actual thought about what happened. They were positive gatherings to discuss what we can do to stop gun violence. These protests do nothing positive. Not one person that wanted “niggers to leave” changed their mind. Not one person that thought it was offensive graffiti somehow thought it was more offensive because people blocked traffic. It accomplished exactly nothing

  19. Quinn Marie
    Posted September 21, 2016 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    At the Black Lives Matter march I went to in A2 earlier this year the drivers who were stopped were generally supportive. The march was mostly white. A smaller (mostly black) march in Ypsi sees the protesters repeatedly “bumped” (read: assaulted) by motorists who reportedly used racial slurs. Please prosecute the drivers. People must have gotten their license plate numbers.

  20. Dan
    Posted September 21, 2016 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Throwing stuff at people always brings positive change

  21. site admin
    Posted September 21, 2016 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    The spray painted response that Michael noted above can be seen here.

  22. Frosted Flakes
    Posted September 21, 2016 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    I have been part of protests that shut streets down and I have felt guilty about it afterward. It is wrong to block traffic. It is wrong to throw stuff at people in cars. What is going on the video? At first I thought the black jeep ran over someone’s body but then it seemed like, on my small screen, the jeep was being rocked back and forth by protestors….If so, that is irresponsible and ineffective protesting….Hopefully, nobody was hurt!

  23. Kim
    Posted September 21, 2016 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    I have heard that the SUV was rocked by protestors.

  24. soggy_waffles
    Posted September 21, 2016 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    College students protest, thats what they do. Do the UM die ins make a difference? No. Does the occupation of UM’s administrative buildings make a difference, no! Do the protests against Israel on the diag do anything for anyone not on the diag? Of course not!

    Students protest, thats just what they do. But for some reason, when UM students march to the presidents house, we understand that they are practicing democracy. That they are getting involved in a way that sure, doesn’t actually matter, but we accept it and move on.

    But for some reason, when black students do the same thing, we brand them ungrateful, over-reactive, ignorant, or lazy. They are practicing the same democratic right that any ivy league student does when they want to express themselves.

    Today, all the administrators and employees of EMU are thinking about what they can do to make students feel safe. Its the same work they’ve had to do for years, given some of the problems the community has had. Previous efforts lead them to get volunteers to walk people home at night and improve security at dorms. Maybe now they’ll add more security cameras and improve surveillance on campus. Is it because of the protest? No. But the grown ass people who are charged with making students safe care about what students think and feel nonetheless. And some of these students might get involved with making things better as well, in part because protests at least let them see a path towards making a difference.

  25. Dan
    Posted September 21, 2016 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Quinn Marie

    Were the protesters in ann arbor rocking cars and throwing things at them?

  26. Taco Farts
    Posted September 21, 2016 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    This thread should be used in textbooks to demonstrate how your life experiences (or lack thereof) shape your ability to empathize. Maybe I’m improperly making assumptions about certain others, but I bet the conversation here would be a lot more interesting and productive if the white men in the room (guilty) would just shut up for once.

  27. iRobert
    Posted September 21, 2016 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, shut up, Mark.

  28. Aidan
    Posted September 21, 2016 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    About the lady who almost hit people with her car: The protest was blocking traffic, and she was near the front. She was looking very pissed off at us, and then she started honking her horn without stopping. Protesters surrounded her vehicle, and she gave us the finger and was saying “fuck you”. She then tried to drive forward and very nearly hit some protesters. People started throwing water bottles at her car, and she started driving forward again. Finally she managed to get away, but in the process she almost hit a guy on a motorcycle. Luckily he got out of the way in just time but she drove over his motorcycle.

  29. Dan
    Posted September 21, 2016 at 5:39 pm | Permalink


    Who are we supposed to empathize with? The idiots in the street harassing and assaulting drivers? The idiots in cars threatening and assaulting protesters? The idiots that spray painted that? I don’t really tend to empathize with idiots and there are lots and lots of different ones involved in this. (knock yourself out kjc, I know you’re dieing to say it.)

  30. Taco Farts
    Posted September 21, 2016 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    My point could not have been more succinctly proven.

  31. mytatom
    Posted September 21, 2016 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    This YouTube video of the students’ black lives matter protest,, impressed me, and the fact that it was necessary depressed me.

  32. maryd
    Posted September 22, 2016 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    Such ignorance spewed here today and all over the Ypsinet… With white guys complaining for the crazy bitch in the SUV, who couldn’t wait and spewed her own hate. You gotta laugh so you don’t cry it is so pathetic. We watch this carnage of constant killing of black people by police nationwide and our community wakes up to the hate written in bold on our campus. And none of you white guys can empathize. At some point you have to wonder why they object so much to protest. Do they not know history? I stand with BLM and thank you Lynn, for your usual common sense.

  33. Anonymous
    Posted September 22, 2016 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    It’s not over. Another racial epithet was found written on the wall of an EMU building. This time it was Wise Hall.

  34. iRober
    Posted September 22, 2016 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Why do we tolerate the dominance of all these blogs written by these white males like Mark Maynard? Mark, why does it have to be you writing this blog?! Why can’t it be somebody who knows real issues that face us from the inside? I demand you let somebody else choose the topics and write the headlines!…somebody besides just another pasty white male like yourself.

  35. iRobert
    Posted September 22, 2016 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    There is a lot more traffic to be blocked on the I-94 Interstate than on Washtenaw Avenue. Marching down I-94 during rush hour would be a lot more effective toward achieving the desired impact. That would make the issue known to a hundred times more people.

  36. iRobert
    Posted September 22, 2016 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Though it would only take a few minutes, I hope nobody at EMU removed the graffiti yet. It should be kept as long as possible as a reminder of the message of hate this one guy with four paint cans wanted us all to dwell upon. It’s important that his message be repeatedly shown on every blog, social media wall and TV news broadcast.

  37. Frosted Flakes
    Posted September 22, 2016 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    I haven’t seen an image of the single brick with the word “nigger” on it. Is it possible this is a piece of public graffiti art? A lot of people on mlive suspect the first “kkk” message was a hoax. Is it possible that the second piece was intended as a political statement sympathetic to black people–you know–just another brick in the wall sort of thing.

    The most recent crop of activists are, purposefully, possibly the worst conversationalists ever so it doesn’t seem likely that any of this will result in a fruitful conversation….

  38. iRobert
    Posted September 22, 2016 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    At EMU, scrubbing a wall clean of a little graffiti is an incredibly difficult undertaking, and nobody would dream of immediately painting over the message with a rectangular base coat and then maybe a positive message of unity. I mean, after all, it’s EMU, not Oxford.

  39. Kit
    Posted September 22, 2016 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Meanwhile in Charlotte.

    “Charlotte isn’t a crumbling urban ghetto. When Charlotte erupts, we need to pay particularly close attention — Charlotte is [our] wake up call.”

  40. Emma
    Posted September 22, 2016 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    To the garbage people that can’t possibly comprehend the fact that people are marching to bring attention to racism and are citing the fact that no one has ever marched against other instances of violence in our community…

    You’re wrong:

  41. Posted December 22, 2016 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    Is anybody taking bets on whether or not it was the same sort of situation here at EMU?

    Black Man Burned African-American Church, Painted ‘Vote Trump’ On The Walls

    A black man has been arrested and charged with burning an African-American church in Greenville, Miss. last month and defacing its outer walls with “Vote Trump” graffiti.

    The Mississippi state police arrested Andrew McClinton, 45, on Wednesday and charged him with first-degree arson of a place of worship, Warren Strain, a spokesman with the Mississippi Department of Public Safety told The Daily Caller.

    McClinton allegedly set first to Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church, where he is a member, on Nov. 1, a week before the election. The fire destroyed 80 percent of the church. A GoFundMe account raised more than $240,000 to repair the facility.

    Read more:

  42. Sad
    Posted October 23, 2017 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    It’s all very confusing.

    Is the Trump Russia thing like the Edmonds China thing?

    If everyone knew about Harvey why didn’t the media report it?

    No more news for me.

    HW is as relevant as anybody at this point.

  43. Dave
    Posted October 23, 2017 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    Turns out it was a black guy all along.
    What a huge bucket of piss on the narrative.

  44. A statement from EMU
    Posted October 23, 2017 at 7:32 pm | Permalink


    YPSILANTI – A 29-year-old man was arraigned today in Washtenaw County District Court on three counts of malicious destruction of property, four counts of identity theft and one count of using computers to commit a crime stemming from vandalism incidents that took place on Eastern Michigan University’s campus beginning in fall 2016. The suspect, identified as Eddie Curlin, is a former student at Eastern who attended from 2014 to early 2016. He is currently in custody of the Michigan Department of Corrections serving a one-to-five year sentence on an unrelated charge of receiving and concealing stolen property.

    Malicious destruction of property is a misdemeanor under Michigan law. Identity theft is a felony, as is the charge of using computers to commit a crime. Curlin was returned to the Michigan Department of Corrections following his arraignment on the charges.

    The charges stem from incidents that took place in September 2016 at King Hall, in which a hate message was found spray painted on an exterior wall; an October 2016 incident in which a racist message was discovered spray painted on an exterior wall of Ford Hall; and, a third incident that took place last spring in which a racist message was found in a men’s restroom stall in Sherzer Hall.

    “Our officers have worked on this case extensively since day one,” said Eastern Michigan University Chief of Police Robert Heighes. “We appreciate that people wanted a fast arrest but, in many cases, that is not the way police work happens. I recognize the anger, fear and frustration that these incidents caused for many of our students, faculty and staff, and I thank them for their patience and understanding as we conducted a thorough investigation. I would like to acknowledge Det. Charles Mosher specifically for his work on the case, as well as the many officers in Eastern’s public safety office who worked tirelessly and professionally throughout the investigation. In addition, I would like to thank our external partners who assisted and supported our efforts.
    “I am pleased that after its review of the evidence, the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office proceeded with an arraignment in this case.”

    Over the past year, the Eastern Michigan University Police Department has committed more than 1,080 hours, equivalent to 135 full-time, eight-hour days, in the investigation into identifying the criminal or criminals responsible for the incidents. More than 60 people have been interviewed and a reward of $10,000 was offered. More than 1,200 hours of video from more than 100 campus cameras was reviewed, as well as video from nearby businesses. In addition, nearly 20 search warrants have been executed; a large number of pieces of evidence have been processed and analyzed; and, data from numerous cellphones have been evaluated
    Considerable support has been provided by external agencies, including:
    Federal Bureau of Investigation
    Michigan State Police
    Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Department Community Action Team
    University of Michigan Police Department
    Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office
    Ypsilanti Police Department

    Eastern Michigan University President James Smith said, “The incidents of vandalism on our campus created significant pain, fear and distress among our students, faculty and staff. I joined with many of our community in my own personal anger over these incidents .The many initiatives put in place as a result of the incidents are vitally important and will continue regardless of the outcome of the criminal proceedings. As one of the most diverse higher education institutions in Michigan, Eastern’s commitment to inclusiveness and being a welcoming community for people of all backgrounds is an ongoing priority.

    “Among the initiatives put in place since last year: the investment in additional campus security measures, including more lighting and cameras; the establishment of the Presidential Commission on Diversity and Inclusion, chaired by Professor Ronald Woods of the Department of Africology and African American Studies; and, expanded training in diversity and inclusion among University leadership that is now being expanded to other employees. These and other actions will continue to move forward with the focus, determination and importance with which they began.”

    Heighes said, “EMU police efforts related to the investigation of these crimes are in addition to the day-to-day work in providing a safe community for students, faculty and staff. The safety of our community is achieved through the cooperation of our campus community and support for the EMU Police Department, both on campus and in patrolling areas of Ypsilanti surrounding the campus.”

  45. The Rest Of The Story
    Posted October 23, 2017 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    It doesn’t say so in the EMU statement, but the suspect is black.

  46. Frosted Flakes
    Posted October 23, 2017 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    Hate crime.

  47. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted October 24, 2017 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    Frosted Flakes is correct. This absolutely should be prosecuted as a hate crime. We can put a dent in this wave of phony racist threats.

  48. Frosted Flakes
    Posted October 24, 2017 at 10:59 am | Permalink


    It will be interesting to see how this unfolds. I do find it very interesting that law enforcement is stating that they know what his motivation was/ was not….It is entirely possible that Eddie Curlin was not motivated by race or politics but instead was just getting paid to do a job…. Money may have been his only motivation, but there still might be a hate crime, behind the scenes….I hope that law enforcement continues to investigate this crime and if turns out to be an organized false flag operation, then I hope that the perpetrators of this crime are punished to the full extent of the law. Faking a hate crime, for the sake of achieving political ends, is a form of domestic terrorism and should be prosecuted as such.

  49. Eek
    Posted October 24, 2017 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Racist whites are having a field day with this.

  50. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted October 24, 2017 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    People like MM and presumably you tried to have a field day with a big fat frame job lie. It’s happened at least three or four times before on this site.

  51. Frosted Flakes
    Posted October 24, 2017 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    The cowardly-politically-correct-driven-left-leaning-enablers of the brainwashed-racist-radical-left may not, at this moment, be on a field trip, but they sure as hell are conspicuously absent…

  52. A Girl Has No Name
    Posted October 24, 2017 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    I am not sure what the law is but I, for one, feel that hate crimes should be judged by impact and not intent. When someone, even a black someone, spray paints racial slurs and support for KKK, the impact is that it terrorizes a whole group of people. Even if it turns out that the person who did it had some other intent. So I guess I agree that this should be prosecuted as a hate crime but possibly for different reasons than others

  53. puzzled pawn
    Posted October 24, 2017 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    HW and FF are you only outraged by the now disproven assumption that the perpetrator was white, or does the actual racist content of the graffiti bother you too? In your own words describe the corrosive impact of racist graffiti on our society.

  54. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted October 24, 2017 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Obviously the effect was to anger black people. It was a phony threat by a black man posing as a white racist. I don’t think the message can be viewed out of that context. What would be the point? I am concerned there is a pattern of false attacks and threats that leads to a conversation to the tune of “The Trump administration has emboldened racists to commit increasing hate crimes…”

  55. Frosted Flakes
    Posted October 24, 2017 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Professor Puzzled Pawn,

    Thanks you for assigning such a thought provoking essay question.

    Racist graffiti has a corrosive impact on our society. The end.

    Where’s my A+?

  56. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted October 24, 2017 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    What is your opinion of race-baiting shit like this graffiti, pawn? The many instances of exactly this kind of thing that have occurred in roughly the time span of the Trump campaign till now? Is it good to remind people that racists really are out there who might do something like that or is it a heinous and cowardly act that can only cause division in society?

  57. wobblie
    Posted October 25, 2017 at 4:06 am | Permalink

    I would argue that racist graffiti is a form of protected free speech. Might be guilty of vandalism, trespassing, but there is nothing illegal about the content of his speech. After all we have seen our President encourage his followers, “to throw the bums out” referring to black protestors at his speeches”, call for those same supporters to “rough them up”. And when commenting on the Alt-right “unity” march which resulted in much violence, all he could think to say was, “there are good folks on both sides”. For the likes of HW , to be put out by “false flag” actions is absurd.

  58. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted October 25, 2017 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    He threw protestors out of the inside of his own rally and called them bums because of their color? You seriously think that? When he said rough ’em up did the disruptive people get roughed up? No, it was a humorous comment and everyone understood that.

    He said there are some fine people on both sides. There were militia people there who helped anyone in need of medical assistance even though the antifa side had thrown rocks at them. Seems pretty fine to me.

    I don’t see any contradiction at all between those Trump statements and being put out as you say by false flag racism.

    Can’t see how

  59. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted October 25, 2017 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    The quote is “You had some very bad people in that group. You also had some very fine people on both sides.” The point is you can’t tar everyone as a nazi or antifa just because they voice an opinion. You can’t go around punching people or throwing piss and shit and rocks and m-80’s just because you want to.

  60. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted October 25, 2017 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    You take a hard line on free speech which I appreciate but do you think false flag racist actions such as Curlin’s spraypainting are morally justified somehow? Does the end justify the means in your opinion?

  61. Frosted Flakes
    Posted October 25, 2017 at 9:20 am | Permalink


    After writing “Hate crime” I immediately regretted not following it up with a question mark.

    I believe you are technically correct in terms of Michigan ethnic intimidation law. The racist graffiti was not a direct statement directed at a particular person and it was not directed at a particular persons property. To confuse matters, if you believe law enforcement, then Eddie was not even motivated by politics or hate. I do think hoaxes for political gain and false flag operations for political gain should be their own category of crime, and that class of wrongdoing needs to be discussed more, because they are becoming an epidemic. Making the (big) assumption that Eddie was involved in a false flag operation, then I think the plan and execution of such a plan, would be its own particular form of evil. What is so controversial about that, Wobblie?

    It was interesting. I remember the talk in front of the president of EMU’s house. A recognizable leader of the march to the presidents house , who was standing above the crowd on platform, at the end of the hour long talk said, and I am paraphrasing: “It is important that we do not focus the energy from the outrage of this incident– just on this incident–we need to take our outrage from this incident–and bring that outrage to other issues concerning people of color.” A representative of the EMU interjected, and I am paraphrasing: “Yea, but I would hope we can use some of the energy from the incident to, you know, try to catch the people/ person behind the graffiti, by talking to people about what they may have seen, to collect information…”

    Although, the hour long talk revolved around the expression of actual feelings of insecurity, as an effect of the graffiti, and a call for the university to respond effectively, in order for the students to feel secure again–it seemed fairly obvious that at least one leader, based upon his summary statement at the end, saw the graffiti as an opportunity, and the actual feelings of insecurity and what the campus would do about student safety were a secondary concern. I think the representative of EMU had the same reaction/ intuition I had to the leaders words….

    Now I would like to add: I think that we can afford to take some of the energy from the outrage derived from “the racist graffiti, written by black man, unmotivated by race or politics” (thats not absurd Wobblie ?!) and apply that energy to a conversation about a particular kind of wrongdoing, falling under the classes of hoax and false flags, so that groups can move forward with their particular agendas in an honest way, instead of pursuing stupid power in the most dishonest way…. Do you have a problem with that Wobblie?

    From a pragmatic standpoint: Shit aint working. The left keeps digging itself into a deeper hole. Is it not obvious to you, Wobblie?

  62. puzzled pawn
    Posted October 25, 2017 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    @HW, “Obviously the effect was to anger black people. It was a phony threat by a black man posing as a white racist.”

    This may very well prove to be true, but are you not making an assumption based on the race of the perpetrator? The police have signaled the motive might be something else. Again, you may be right, but wouldn’t it be more fair to wait until the motive is revealed?

    @FF, “Where’s my A+?”

    You get an incomplete. IMO, racist graffiti is an affront to everyone in our community, not only those who are targeted by it. Do you not agree? Here’s an alternate assignment you can complete to receive full credit. Imagine the police caught a white man. What comment would you have written had that been the case?

  63. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted October 25, 2017 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    He could be a klan sympathizer and hate black people. It’s true that is a possibility. There are other possibilities I’m sure. Either way he did it according to the cops and obviously he knew it would be seen as having been done by a white guy.

  64. Frosted Flakes
    Posted October 25, 2017 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Professor Puzzled Pawn,

    Let’s turn it into a simple 10 question “true and false test”.

    Why don’t you just make statements that reflect how you imagine I feel about racist graffiti and I will answer “true” or “false”?

    If you are capable of assembling 8 of 10 true statements that accurately reflect my views about racist graffiti, then I promise not to give you zero stars on Good luck.

  65. puzzled pawn
    Posted October 25, 2017 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    @FF, had the police caught a white man, I don’t think you would have made any comment. True or false? Here’s your chance to write a heartfelt comment to show you care about something more than proving whites are the real victims of racist graffiti.

  66. Demetrius
    Posted October 25, 2017 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    @ HW

    “He could be a klan sympathizer and hate black people. It’s true that is a possibility.”

    I think I’ve found a likely suspect:

  67. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted October 25, 2017 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    You never answered, pawn. What are your thoughts on anti-black graffiti sprayed by a black man?

  68. puzzled pawn
    Posted October 25, 2017 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    @HW, my thought was it’s weird the police said they didn’t think it was politically motivated. If not, then what was the reason?

  69. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted October 25, 2017 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    You didn’t think about the corrosive impact?

  70. puzzled pawn
    Posted October 25, 2017 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    Absolutely. “KKK” in red white and blue, and “Niggers Leave” is an affront to our community regardless of who did it.

  71. Iron Lung
    Posted October 26, 2017 at 2:50 am | Permalink

    He could just be an idiot.

  72. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted October 26, 2017 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    How does the impact of this case differ from graffiti done by white racists?

  73. Jean Henry
    Posted October 26, 2017 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    Open racists are a convenient target. They get so much attention lately! We can all feel very comfortable condemning open racism, while we go along participating in systemic racism and implicit bias without too much examination, and certainly little correction. Our racism runs a lot deeper than some graffiti on a wall.

  74. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted October 26, 2017 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Why are you averse to discussing the problem of phony racist threats? How is that not the issue in the EMU case?

  75. Jean Henry
    Posted October 26, 2017 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Do you believe systemic and cultural racism is a problem in the US or not, HW? I posted that article to demonstrate that racial inequity persists and, in MI, is worsening. And I could post a lot more demonstrating gross disparity in access to health care, justice, employment, voting, transportation, capital. All just in MI. Racist graffiti by whomever is a symptom not the cause.

    Racist graffiti makes people feel hopeless. Nihilists like people to feel hopeless, because they feel hopeless. The causes of anger and hopelessness are worth looking at, not the graffiti.

  76. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted October 26, 2017 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    That is a topic of discussion that is always open. To avoid the glaring issue in this case is obfuscation.

  77. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted October 26, 2017 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Look at maynard’s thoughts on at least four different phony incidents he thought were real. Look at the anti-Trump message neatly bundled up with a lie. It’s propaganda and maynard is one of the useful idiots putting it out and you agree with him.

  78. Jean Henry
    Posted October 26, 2017 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    We all get fooled sometimes. It’s true that this incident played to pre-existing narratives (and was probably intended to do so). But that alone does not make the pre-existing narrative inaccurate. It just demonstrates MM’s commitment to it.

    So I’m not obfuscating, when I ask if you believe that pre-existing narrative–that we live in a racist culture and function in a racist system. Is that narrative, at base, separate from this incident, true and factual?

  79. site admin
    Posted October 26, 2017 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    There is a new thread on this topic.

  80. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted October 26, 2017 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    But you get fooled over and over and over. At some point you should begin to recognize the pattern.

    Admin, I have posted in that one.

  81. M
    Posted October 26, 2017 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    And what are you suggesting that we do differently in the future when such instances are reported, HW? Should we ignore them? Should EMU immediately have painted over the graffiti and not mentioned it? Should we assume that it’s just the work of black students?

  82. Jean Henry
    Posted October 26, 2017 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    HW did not answer my question, for the record. i asked twice. Maybe the third time is the charm. (FF you can feel free to answer this too): Do you believe that we live in a racist culture and function in a racist system. Is the narrative Mark ascribed to, at base true and factual, even if not confirmed by this incident?

  83. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted October 26, 2017 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    I’m saying why are you trying to alter the frame of the discussion? I know you are practiced at it but do you know you do it or is it automatic and unthinking?

  84. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted October 26, 2017 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    “And what are you suggesting that we do differently in the future when such instances are reported, HW? Should we ignore them? Should EMU immediately have painted over the graffiti and not mentioned it? Should we assume that it’s just the work of black students?”

    Take into account things that have happened in the recent past. Keep in mind things are not necessarily as they seem. Don’t be an easy “mark” for manipulators who rely on people who take everything at face value. Don’t be used to spread propaganda based on lies. Be more like “Considering what does indeed appear to be a pattern of false claims we need to be aware that this could be another one so until the perpetrator is apprehended let’s not forget that …”

  85. Frosted Flakes
    Posted October 26, 2017 at 10:13 am | Permalink


    I have already answered almost the exact same question when it was asked of me in another thread on The question itself arose out a similar context.

    Racism exists. That will have to suffice for now. Sorry, but I am not a jukebox where I spit out essays on difficult topics on demand. I do think there is some seriously varying opinions when it comes to the the best ways to work on getting rid of racism in our society. Why isn’t that considered normal? Feel free to disagree or say nothing at all, but within the context of this conversation, I am interested in the moral/ legal ramifications of hoaxes and/ or false flag operations and their pragmatic consequences on racism in our society. I am also very interested in the fact that almost nobody wants to, in a meaningful, discuss this type of wrongdoing. I am also very interested in the rhetorical tactics that people are willing to employ to not talk about this topic. I am very curious about all of this. We have all have our points of emphasis and those change over time. Similarly we can’t think and write about everything all the time. I guess is *ideally* a sort of community of thinkers and we make up a patchwork….

    I know the left likes to think of itself as The Guardians Against Cynicism as seen in the latest post, but I am here to say: The well intentioned left is fucking itself over and over again. If you don’t agree with that general thesis or the need for that message to be out there that is fine.

  86. Dan Morris
    Posted October 27, 2017 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Was their a follow up that the police after wasting 1,800 hours have arrested a Black man for these “racist crimes”? How many of the AA new set-asides for students and professors will be removed now that we know this was just another of the proliferating racist hoaxes that have been exploding across America? Has anyone apologized to the defamation of White Community? Of course not, Whites are guilty until proven more guilty, despite the reality of this calumny.

3 Trackbacks

  1. […] it’s not just Eastern Michigan University that has an on-campus white supremacy problem. It was reported earlier today by members of […]

  2. […] on a campus of thousands, but, given the climate of the United States post-Trump, and the recent incidents of racist graffiti on EMU’s campus, one hopes the administration is taking this […]

  3. […] people have suggested that I should apologize for having covered the story in the first place. I guess they think I should have just looked the other way when I’d heard that someone had […]

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