0

Forget the greater good; consider my needs

Opinion column

Carlton Fletcher

Carlton Fletcher

Still a man hears what he wants to hear and he disregards the rest.

-- Simon & Garfunkel

Back in the 1980s, when he was singing about doing unprintable things to the police rather than playing one on television, rapper Ice-T said something that stuck with me.

In an interview, the man born Tracy Marrow said any person who emerses himself in only one culture, who reads only one style of literature, who listens to only one genre of music is a fool. That person, he surmised, is guilty of placing limitations on himself.

During a recent conversation about the poor public support of the second FlintFest gathering at Riverfront Park, I thought about Ice-T's comments. What sparked the memory was a racist Facebook rant made by a disgruntled citizen who didn't like the fact that event organizers tried to book a variety of musical acts to perform during the combination music/international festival rather than signing only what he called "ethnic talent." And while his words reached only a small handful of people, they're indicative of the issues that confront local leaders anytime they try and plan events that will impact the entire community.

Following are comments taken directly off Facebook:

-- "So shall we call this the 'Music Gentrification Weekend?' I'm just MF saying. If you have a Black Expo, the questions rain in 'why's it got to be black?' Child mutha (expletive) please! And to term it Albany Music Weekend ..."

-- "Let's see. Line Oakridge and the Oglethorpe Bridge with signs about the obvious looking over of the local ethnic talent."

-- "It's not gonna rain this weekend during Redneck Music Fest ..."

-- "Taxpayers are essentially paying twice to use the riverfront area this weekend. Help me understand? Somebody! Our tax dollars and the funding you never hear about is spent on building, maintaining and upgrading these community spaces then when a non-culturally balanced event pops up they can charge you to enjoy a space you paid for ... double taxation."

-- "Tax dollars don't count this weekend. Master say he gonna have his fessible this here weekend, and he knows y'all's coloreds a just show up fa some free stuff so he put a lil tax on the free property. Keep y'all 'way during 'White Music Weekend.'"

Then there was this post about Albany founder Nelson Tift:

-- (Seeing a bust of Tift) "made me curious so I looked the ole fellow up. O my (expletive) God. Tift helped to found Albany, Georgia in 1836 ... His pro-slavery attitude before the war and his support for segregation afterward made him compatible with Georgia's white elite. He also helped institute the good ole now Thornateeska (sic) museum that still had the brackets in the ground where our ancestors were attached to as they arrived by train or exited to northern colony plantations. The ole pretty white River house we have in Turtle Park commemorates that same gloomy past. How about the mule barn behind the Hilton housed the mules and your uncle with his slave (expletive)?

"Read people, these people are honoring murderers and pillagers."

And, ladies and gentlemen, those words of wisdom were laid on the world of social media by the person who is president of Albany's Downtown Merchants Association, a man who obviously was upset that FlintFest did not meet his musical tastes and standards. Rather than work with officials to try and push for a lineup that was more in line with his obviously more important personal choices -- the merchants association did, after all, help sponsor FlintFest -- this person chose to denigrate the family event and turn it into a racial cause.

I gleaned a couple of things from this online rant: One, there are still plenty of people who don't have the capacity to see beyond the issue of race; so much so, they let even the simplest of things turn into a diatribe that somehow ends up with them being victims.

And, two, if I were a member of the Downtown Merchants Association, I'd seriously be considering impeachment today.

Email Carlton Fletcher at carlton.fletcher@albanyherald.com.

Comments

whattheheck 1 year, 11 months ago

Carlton, it pains me to agree with you but in this case it is a "lock". You are correct, it is time for him to move on. Downtown has a plethora of problems on its own without one created in house by its supposed proponents. Don't know that the organization has the "guts" to make the change, however, for fear of being labeled "racist" about a guy who seems to be "racist". Make the change and forget the label.

4

VSU 1 year, 11 months ago

Well like they say, if people don't like the things in America, Delta is ready when you are. Course that won't happen because then they would lose out on their freebies, they would have to start working and grinding it out for themselves.

2

LoneCycler 1 year, 11 months ago

As a graduate of the DCSS and ASU of course the man would not know anything about local historical figures like Nelson Tift. Many people in Albany work very hard to maintain an enduring sense of racial disenfranchisement and that's all that matters to them. They'll always be victims. That is part of their cultural makeup and they don't intend to shed it any time soon.

2

Abytaxpayer 1 year, 11 months ago

O MY GOD Carlton! WTF You are scaring me. You have seen the Light! I am stunned and running out of exclamations. For ONCE you have looked the Devil in the eye and can see with your Heart ( wasn’t sure you had one) what the MAJOR Problem with Albany is. STUPIDITY..... It is people like Tosh both Black and White who hold to so much hatred for anyone who does not look like them or think like them that is feeding the divide in Albany. The narrow-mindedness of people like Tosh has led to flight from Downtown Albany by the white community. Those who choose to try and spout hatred and blame their lot in life based on a way of life from history are selling themselves so short as to their own potential. People like Tosh need to HONESTLY look at themselves and ask am I here because of society or because of my own lack of self-worth and motivation ? One need look no further in Albany than the city manager, Col James Taylor. Why is Tosh so different than Col Taylor? They are both Black, they both can claim to know about slavery, they both are able bodied and both of sound mind! But why are they so different? Could it be one man looks at the future and remembers the past while the other dwells in a past (he had no part in) and blames his lot in life on everyone BUT himself.

2

Sister_Ruby 1 year, 11 months ago

WOW..........this is the RACISM that drives TODAY'S Albany, Georgia. Thank you for posting what The President of the Downtown Merchants Association has posted for all to see, Carlton. This is the RACISM that doesn't want to lose the Black Majority on the school board despite its incompetence. This is the RACISM that drives a Black Preacher to try to steal a seat on the school board by hook or crook from a duly elected, caring and well-qualified person. This is the RACISM that will try to protect an incompetent Superintendent (and Ass't Superintendent) from being released for unacceptable performance. This is the RACISM that will make CARING PERSONS of all races leave to seek a better place to live instead of contributing financially to a sinking ship. This is the RACISM that will eventually render Albany, Georgia into an identical twin of Port-Au-Prince, Haiti (just google it to see what living there looks like....). This is the RACISM that drives TODAY's Albany, Georgia!

4

MRKIA 1 year, 11 months ago

HEYYYY, THATS THE HAITIAN PRESIDENTIAL LIMO

0

ustaknow 1 year, 11 months ago

Who is the president of the downtown's merchants association?

1

Abytaxpayer 1 year, 11 months ago

The Downtown Merchants Association is please to announce our 2012 Executive Board! President- Tosh Sevier

1

ustaknow 1 year, 11 months ago

What a sad commentary from Tosh Sevier. This sets any progress that he could have made backwards. He should join The other know racist " Postell " and the two of them should resign from their positions.

We can make very little progress playing the race card.

1

LuLu 1 year, 11 months ago

Wow! What Facebook page was this on??

0

Shinedownfan 1 year, 11 months ago

I bet Carlton Fletcher is no longer his facebook friend. I'm sure Tosh deleted him.

0

neliz 1 year, 11 months ago

Albanians Revitalizing Downtown Albany. Try not to laugh as you scroll through the posts that are in no way revitalizing.

0

WeAreThey 1 year, 11 months ago

Well Carlton, now that you've chosen to 'out' Mr. Sevier via your personal bully pulpit, let's see if he'll man up and do the right thing - resign as president of the association. Hopefully so since his ability to build a consensus and lead the organization is now kaput. And one hopes he has learned a valuable lesson - You can do or say a lot of things in this town but DO NOT dis the FlintFest or the Throwdown. Some people are very sensitive about them.

3

Abytaxpayer 1 year, 11 months ago

@We.........Thank you. Now Albany can see you are a part of the PROBLEM too. Carlton was pointing out the stupidity of people like you who want to keep stirring the flame of racism in Albany. You see no greater good than yourself and you think Albany should be about you, coach, bvr and your band of thieves stealing the future of our young people through your racist comments against anything not geared to you, Flintfest and Throwdown. People like you can NOT see the future because you are blinded by your hatred of the past.

3

WeAreThey 1 year, 11 months ago

Abytaxpayer, I would invite you to re-read the post. Your comment bears no relevance to my post. I guess the not-so-subtle irony was wasted on you. Then again, maybe you are just trying to be supportive of Mr. Fletcher's curious brand of news reporting - as long as it supports what YOU believe.

1

thedeepend 1 year, 11 months ago

Ok, so if I cherry pick all the things Carlton says that I consider stupid, can I call for his resignation and would he consider it?

0

KaosinAlbany 1 year, 11 months ago

It must have been a slow news day for Carlton since he had to resort to writing about Facebook threads. Come on, really??!!

1

Cranky 1 year, 11 months ago

Interesting piece, Mr. Fletcher. I always like to follow up with some investigating of my own when I read a piece like this (probably a holdover from the type work I did - 40 years with the State Department all over the world). I must say this past year I did enjoy reading some of your pieces when I had a chance but times were few and far between. Anyway, back to the reason for my post. Mr. Sevier seems to be a lost and angry soul, and from posts I have read in the past about ASU (such entertaining writing), looking at his Facebook page and reading his (snickering here) Timeline I must say it is very clear he was product of ASU and crystal clear he was a SPEECH major. Now if you will excuse me I must go laugh. Oh and PS, if his comment about ethnic talent meant "black" music I must say not everyone has an ear for it. I would rather listen to someone's nails being scraped down a chalkboard.

3

ToshSevier 1 year, 11 months ago

Interestingly enough, 6 plus years ago a young man approached Mr. Fletcher and ask for a platfrorm to discuss race. Mr.Fletcher jumped at the opportunity to give a young black youth an opportunity to challenge the norm. This young man was award the highest ranking freshman at ASU March 24,2006,and in 2009-2010 scholar of the year for his Department (Speech and Theatre). Mr. Fletcher, at the request of Mr. Tosh, agreed to read and revise the article that Mr. Fletcher agreed to publish "Emanicipated" on June 19, 2006. Funny how i Became a racist in my attempt to get us as a community to dialogue about our differences!. Sorry that in Mr. Fletcher's attepmt to characterize me as a racist, he failed to lead you to the origin of the dialogue and the original thread that progressed to a great open dialogue with more than 219 comments! if we talk we can heal ! if we heal our hearts open to possiblities otherwise unrealized! i want change and im not affraid to confront what is my reality! lets talk...............

0

Cranky 1 year, 11 months ago

Mr. Sevier, it appears you were either quite upset when you wrote the post or is your grammar so bad? Is this a reflection on your education? If it is, then you should be ashamed to submit it to the Herald. I suggest you either correct it and come back and give reason why it is so badly written or stop altogether and quit making a bigger fool of yourself than you just have.

4

Sister_Ruby 1 year, 11 months ago

Sure let's talk. First let's get on the same dictionary. Could you please define the following words/phrases since they are not in my vocabulary: - I'm just MF saying. - Child mutha (expletive) please! - O my (expletive) God - his slave (expletive)?

4

Sister_Ruby 1 year, 11 months ago

OK so now let's talk about racism....you go first to start the dialogue so we can see what racism looks and sounds like.......

  • "So shall we call this the 'Music Gentrification Weekend?' I'm just MF saying. If you have a Black Expo, the questions rain in 'why's it got to be black?' Child mutha (expletive) please!

  • Line Oakridge and the Oglethorpe Bridge with signs about the obvious looking over of the local ethnic talent."

  • Redneck Music Fest ...

  • "When a non-culturally balanced event pops up they can charge you to enjoy a space you paid for ... double taxation."

  • "Tax dollars don't count this weekend. Master say he gonna have his fessible this here weekend, and he knows y'all's coloreds a just show up fa some free stuff so he put a lil tax on the free property. Keep y'all 'way during 'White Music Weekend.'"

  • (Seeing a bust of Tift) "made me curious so I looked the ole fellow up. O my (expletive) God. Tift helped to found Albany, Georgia in 1836 ... His pro-slavery attitude before the war and his support for segregation afterward made him compatible with Georgia's white elite. He also helped institute the good ole now Thornateeska (sic) museum that still had the brackets in the ground where our ancestors were attached to as they arrived by train or exited to northern colony plantations. The ole pretty white River house we have in Turtle Park commemorates that same gloomy past. How about the mule barn behind the Hilton housed the mules and your uncle with his slave (expletive)?

  • these people are honoring murderers and pillagers."

OK let me think of how to explain that I'm the problem and not YOU! This might take a while so I'll get back to you.

4

MRKIA 1 year, 11 months ago

IT SEEMS YOU WERE AFRAID TO PICK UP A DICTIONARY. HMMM... A SCHOLAR THAT CAN'T SPELL OR PUNCTUATE.... YOU MAKE ASU LOOK SO BAD. GET YOUR DICTIONARY OUT, NOT THE EBONIC EDITION, START AT THE LETTER "A", LOOK UP THE WORDS ATTEMPT AND AFRAID.

1

ToshSevier 1 year, 11 months ago

I refuse to hide behind anonymous names. I share my opinions freely. When my truth no longer bears relevance I disguard it for a new truth. Being able to confront misunderstandings and fallacy within any relationship demonstrates the true strenght and investment of all parties involved. Open dialogue leads to unrealized solutions.

0

Jacob 1 year, 11 months ago

"I refuse to hide behind anonymous names"

Maybe you should reconsider, you know, until you learn about grammar and spelling and such....

2

billybob 1 year, 11 months ago

I'm going to assume you meant 'discard' and not 'disguard'. Mr. Sevier, I think you are about to enter a battle of wits completely unarmed.

2

Cranky 1 year, 11 months ago

Good one billybob! The dictionary can be his friend. Someone should introduce him to Mr. Webster.

2

MRKIA 1 year, 11 months ago

YOUR TRUTH? DISCARD IT FOR A NEW TRUTH? SO YOUR TRUTH CHANGES PERIODICALLY? IF YOUR WERE THE SCHOLAR OF THE YEAR, EVERYONE ELSE MUST BE DUMBER THAN A BOX OF USED CAT LITTER IF YOU'RE THE BEST ASU HAS TO OFFER. TO WIT: " OPEN DIALOGUE LEADS TO "UNREALIZED" SOLUTIONS".THERES NOTHING WORSE THAN SOME FOOL WHO THINKS HE'S EDUCATED. YOU'RE NOT TALKING TO ASU STUDENTS HERE SON, YOU WILL BE EATEN ALIVE. COME BACK WHEN YOU DEVELOP AN "A" GAME.

2

ToshSevier 1 year, 11 months ago

Funny most of you all feel qualified to chime in on the validity of the racist idea. However none of you have referenced the origin of the dialogue. Mr. Fletcher hand picked a few post out of 225 + postings that started from a simple question. Go look it up! I think those posting behind the anonymous names should one stop throwing rocks with a hidden hand, and secondly go find the post that Mr Fletcher is referencing so you have an informed position. Calling some stupid, angry lost soul seems a bit harsh when none of you know me !

0

Cranky 1 year, 11 months ago

You are doing much better.....now maybe on the next go round it will be perfect. We are waiting. Remember, the comma can be your friend.

2

MRKIA 1 year, 11 months ago

WE KNOW WHAT YOU PRESENTED FOR PUBLIC CONSUMPTION, STUPID.

0

ToshSevier 1 year, 11 months ago

So ill be leaving the dialogue. Talking to people without names is pointless. Calling me to accountability with mask on seems so familiar. Thanks for the publicity unknown ones. Peace love and hair grease. Lol till next time.

0

MRKIA 1 year, 11 months ago

YOU TALKING AT ALL IS POINTLESS.

1

VSU 1 year, 11 months ago

Come back when you can't stay as long.

2

neliz 1 year, 11 months ago

Tosh Servier is fueling a terrible issue of the past in order to cover up his jealousy and hatred for event organizers seeking to make a change--simply because that change isn't being made in a way that he approves. It sickens me that Tosh probably spends hours hiding behind his iPad typing offensive diatribes (that ultimately scream, "Wahhh! No one asked me to be a part of festival planning. These people must be racist!") while he could be doing something useful.

Tosh, you could knit a sweater and create more change than you did by posting such garbage on the Albanians Revitalizing Downtown Albany Page. 210 comments? Yea, that's true. It's 210 comments from people of all ethnicities arguing that you are creating a problem--not change. You surely did create a conversation, but it wasn't educated or healing in the slightest. Your platform began with fingerpointing at the very people you serve: DOWNTOWN. How sad!

It disgusts me that you're hiding behind a platform of "dialoguing about our differences," when the root of the issue was that local, privately held events didn't advertise on "ethnic radio stations." Next time Wale and 2Chainz make it to Albany, I hope you'll stand up in the same regard and ask those event organizers to spread their advertising dollars to other media. Funny, I never seem to hear you pipe up about their advertising campaigns when it's geared toward specific demographics.

I'm sure the Downtown Merchants Association is completely embarrassed.

2

Cranky 1 year, 11 months ago

Very well stated, neiliz. I want to thank you for your very clear and concise statement of fact. I had an idea he was a sniveling brat who was the type of schoolyard bully who said "well boo hoo, if you won't do things my way then I will just take my toys and go home"......(I guess I got that idea from his "poses" on his personal pictures on his Facebook page, his pictures of his "things" (his ride (?) and statements he made.) As far as your last sentence goes, "if they aren't embarrassed they must be just like him" is a very sad commentary, in my opinion. Doesn't say much for the Downtown Association.

1

Sister_Ruby 1 year, 11 months ago

Here's the New Downtown Albany that Tosh and his ilk are creating. When all those crackahs that he hates and disparages leave........this will be what is left.

1

MRKIA 1 year, 11 months ago

IS THAT THE FUTURE ASU HOMECOMING FLOAT?

1

Cartman 1 year, 11 months ago

Tosh. Dude, you got outed as a racist; you tried to cover it on this board; and you got served. ROFL!

2

thedeepend 1 year, 11 months ago

The internet can be such an ugly place. Reading these comments makes me ashamed of my town. Yes Tosh's opinion is controversial and should have been left in the private forum from which it came, but many of these commentators riding their high horses have made equally, and at times more offensive comments. Since ASU's homecoming didn't bring the violence & mayhem they wanted so badly, the Herald delivered a scapegoat in its stead. Can you not see the Herald is using your ignorance against you? Like shock jocks, they stir inflammatory sentiments within the community to boost their circulation. Not one of these comments were constructive or intended to confront the root of the problem. Yet that comes as no surprise being it wasn't the writer's intent, nor would it ever be as long as it pays his bills. If a divided Albany is what the Herald's editorial staff wants, they're on their own. They should strive for better, but opt to wallow in the mud.

0

Cartman 1 year, 11 months ago

So Tosh can make racist statements and anyone who calls him on it is divisive? Please. Go have another beer.

2

thedeepend 1 year, 11 months ago

No what he said isn't excusable either, but it was said in a private forum not in the newspaper. Two wrongs don't make a right.

0

VSU 1 year, 11 months ago

If somebody says it at all, they said it. Doesn't matter whether it's private or public. Fact is he got exposed for the racist he is.

1

MRKIA 1 year, 11 months ago

EXECUTIVES OF MAJOR COMPANIES HAVE GOTTEN FIRED FOR SAYING THE WRONG THING ON PUBLIC FORUMS. THIS GUY IS A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE DOWNTOWN MERCHANTS ASSOC.

1

KaosinAlbany 1 year, 11 months ago

Gee, let's see... You don't know half the story I know about the FB thread. All you old farts know you are racist too! I have seen all of you post worse things in the Herald forms. Pot calling the kettle black, aye?

0

Cranky 1 year, 11 months ago

I don't think I have posted anything as bad as what he posted, and yes, at my age I guess I am an old "fart" as you say. I hate rap music, dislike soul music, don't like to watch videos with black artists in them because I don't like the music and don't understand the words, don't like to watch black action movies because everything is MF this and MF that...so I suppose that makes me a racist, huh? I don't like a lot of rock music, hate metal, and despise white guy action movies (especially anything with Cruise, Stallone, etc) because after having been with the State Department for over 40 years and having been assigned to some god awful places overseas, that they make look so romantic and lovely in movies, they make me laugh. So does that make me a racist against whites too? I think it is called freedom of expression, but yeah go ahead and call it racism if you like because whether or not we want to admit it, we are all a bit racist.

1

MRKIA 1 year, 11 months ago

MY LIFE IS NOT SO EMPTY THAT I WOULD HAVE A FACE BOOK PAGE OR DESIRE TO KNOW THE MINUTIAE OF SOMEONES DAILY ACTIVITIES. I DO KNOW THAT YOU POST AT YOUR OWN PERIL.

0

KaosinAlbany 1 year, 11 months ago

Just because someone has a fb page doesn't mean their life is empty. I have been offered many opportunities because I have one and that includes opportunities to help the community. Don't discount someone having a FB page as having no life because many people young and old have one. The thread was a private discussion and Carlton stooped so low even I am embarrassed. It should have stayed on FB where it belonged and not in the newspaper but that is what sells and the Herald lives to stir the pot in the community. I do know things about the thread you did not read about or anyone even commented about in the thread. The thread goes deeper than what Carlton described. Trust me... I have talked to people on both sides of the issue. This is what the Herald wanted, for all of you to be flaring mad so that the paper would profit from it. Low, low, low...

0

MRKIA 1 year, 11 months ago

I HAVE READ MANY OF YOUR COMMENTS AND USUALLY WE ARE ON THE SAME PAGE, SOMETIMES NOT. THAT BEING SAID, I FAIL TO SEE HOW ONE CAN HAVE A PRIVATE DISCUSSION ON A QUASI-PUBLIC FORUM. PERSONALLY I WOULD THINK THAT WHATEVER SOMEONE POSTS ON FB SHOULD REMAIN PRIVATE BUT THAT IS NOT ALWAYS THE CASE. PEOPLE HAVE LOST OR DENIED A JOB AND SOME HAVE GONE TO JAIL OVER FB POSTINGS. AS FAR AS ME BEING A RACIST, HMM... NO. I JUST HAVE A LOW TOLERANCE FOR STUPIDITY OR IGNORANCE BLACK, WHITE OR OTHERWISE.

0

VSU 1 year, 11 months ago

Hey Tosh, Delta is ready when you are.

1

VSU 1 year, 11 months ago

I guess next year they should play Rap at the Redneck Music Festival and that would set things right.

1

neliz 1 year, 11 months ago

Kaosin, you keep mentioning a "private forum," but if we can all see it--and especially if Carlton got wind of it, that must mean it's a pretty public forum. Oh yea, that's right--because it's an OPEN group. which makes your point moot.

Carlton had every right to comment on the racist, anti-Downtown commentary from the DOWNTOWN Association's president.

I can't believe anyone would support this foolish man.

1

ToshSevier 1 year, 11 months ago

So many nameless critics. I .....

0

Sister_Ruby 1 year, 11 months ago

Black racism.......White racism...........Red racism...........Yellow racism..........it's all RACISM.

PERIOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1

Sign in to comment