This Strikes Us
Weekly Column from Sojourner’s Truth
Courtesy of The Truth, www.sojournerstruth.com
Let’s talk double standards for a minute and why folks are granted favorite-important-people treatment.
Chapter One: Everyone remember Karyn McConnell Hancock—black, female, Democrat—and her famous parking ticket? The parking ticket that drove her out of office, that is.
To refresh the collective memory, on June 24, 2005, McConnell Hancock, an at-large Toledo City Councilwoman at the time, got a parking ticket. The story, along with her photo, was prominently plastered on the front page of The Blade’s section the very next day with the by-line of two reporters.
The article featured interviews of the councilwoman, the officers involved and everyone else who had an opinion on the matter. Six days later came an in-depth second article in Toledo’s daily on how the councilwoman misbehaved at the scene of her parking ticket. Thence came letters to the editor, talkathons on local radio stations about the audacity of a public official trying to finagle her way out of a ticket and, eventually, a defeat at the polls when she was up for re-election in November.
Chapter Two: Last Thursday morning at 2:30 a.m., Toledo Councilman Joe Birmingham of District 6—white, male, Republican—arrived home in such a state of intoxication and agitation, according to the police report, that his wife, fearing for her safety, locked him out of their home and called 911 when he refused to leave.
Police arrived, settled the dispute and Councilman Birmingham walked or drove to his father’s home to spend the night.
Five days, that’s right, count ‘em … five days later, our daily newspaper publishes the story of drunkenness and threats buried on the inside of the paper with no by-line, no interviews, no photo, no information other than that in the police report. Nobody could be reached for comment … after five days.
So let’s sum it up. On the one hand, we have a black female councilwoman who gets a parking ticket and then is treated to a full-blown story, with photo, of the incident. And, of course, the story is repeated in subsequent months whenever there is any reference to her and her candidacy.
On the other hand, we have a white male councilman who was driving drunk, threatening his wife, and said, well … we don’t know what he said to police. No one has asked them yet.
We know a double standard exists here, but darned if we know why. There must be something about these two people that prompted one to be vilified and the other to be treated as if he had just committed another frat boy prank.
Anybody got any ideas?