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BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2

McGrath of Harlow 25 Sep 02 - 07:40 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Sep 02 - 07:45 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Sep 02 - 08:43 PM
Coyote Breath 26 Sep 02 - 12:23 AM
InOBU 26 Sep 02 - 08:18 AM
Kim C 26 Sep 02 - 10:22 AM
Pied Piper 26 Sep 02 - 11:41 AM
GUEST 26 Sep 02 - 11:58 AM
InOBU 26 Sep 02 - 01:55 PM
InOBU 26 Sep 02 - 01:57 PM
M.Ted 26 Sep 02 - 02:46 PM
M.Ted 26 Sep 02 - 02:51 PM
Nerd 26 Sep 02 - 02:52 PM
Nerd 26 Sep 02 - 03:03 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 26 Sep 02 - 03:25 PM
M.Ted 26 Sep 02 - 03:38 PM
GUEST,McGrath of Harlow 26 Sep 02 - 03:53 PM
InOBU 26 Sep 02 - 04:12 PM
M.Ted 26 Sep 02 - 04:57 PM
NicoleC 26 Sep 02 - 05:05 PM
SharonA 26 Sep 02 - 05:15 PM
GUEST,McGRath of Harlow 26 Sep 02 - 05:37 PM
NicoleC 26 Sep 02 - 06:21 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 26 Sep 02 - 06:53 PM
McGrath of Harlow 26 Sep 02 - 07:21 PM
Áine 26 Sep 02 - 07:35 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 26 Sep 02 - 07:51 PM
McGrath of Harlow 26 Sep 02 - 08:40 PM
InOBU 26 Sep 02 - 09:42 PM
InOBU 26 Sep 02 - 09:43 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 26 Sep 02 - 09:57 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 26 Sep 02 - 10:00 PM
InOBU 26 Sep 02 - 10:04 PM
Mary in Kentucky 26 Sep 02 - 10:06 PM
InOBU 26 Sep 02 - 10:09 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 26 Sep 02 - 10:20 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 26 Sep 02 - 10:25 PM
mg 27 Sep 02 - 12:05 AM
Coyote Breath 27 Sep 02 - 12:47 AM
Amos 27 Sep 02 - 12:48 AM
Rick Fielding 27 Sep 02 - 01:02 AM
Amos 27 Sep 02 - 02:01 AM
InOBU 27 Sep 02 - 07:41 AM
Mary in Kentucky 27 Sep 02 - 08:22 AM
Jeri 27 Sep 02 - 09:39 AM
McGrath of Harlow 27 Sep 02 - 09:42 AM
Ron Olesko 27 Sep 02 - 10:31 AM
SharonA 27 Sep 02 - 10:40 AM
Jeri 27 Sep 02 - 10:54 AM
Mary in Kentucky 27 Sep 02 - 11:00 AM

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Subject: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Sep 02 - 07:40 PM

This thread was so long some people wouldn't be able to load it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Sep 02 - 07:45 PM

"Let he who is without sin cast the first stone" seems an appropriate suggestion in this whole situation.

Only trouble is, I suspect there are some people around who would take that as an invitation to start throwing stones.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Sep 02 - 08:43 PM

This thread is full of nice people who seem to me to be largely missing the point; and every now and again some not so nice people feeling free to let the mask slip. And those bloody experts:

"Law enforcement authorities say that some Irish Travellers are experienced con artists, but that many are law-abiding citizens."

Which of course is perfectly true - as it would be equally true if you replaced "Irish Travellers" with "Jews" or "Black Americans", or "White Americans" or folk singers...


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Coyote Breath
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 12:23 AM

Boy, was I being dim or what? I thought that the original thread referred to people travelling about the US from other countries being subjected to abuse, say at the hands of the Law or something.

I guess I know who Travellers are but if there is any kind of discrimination practiced against them or gypsies it's news to me. As for the declaration that security types have "what to do in the case of a visit by Gypsies" posted somewhere... that defies both imagination and belief. I've never seen anything like that anywhere, never heard anyone in contract security or police work ever mention anything even remotely like that.

I saw the tape. She went off! She slapped that kid silly. She has three other kids as well. She was, what 26! She's certainly stressed out and the kids might well be the focus.

Toogood is an interesting name, like Livingood (transmission repair service)here in Franklin county. I figured that it could be Native American. How did we all find out that Ms Toogood is a traveller? How did we find out that she is being discriminated against because she is a traveller? Who are you InObu?, what are your bonafides as regards traveller or Gypsy discrimination? PM me if you want. As a fairly typical midwesterner, I might just be green but, I always thought that Gypsies were cool people, having these little storefront businesses up there in Chicago. Clue me in, please?

CB


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: InOBU
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 08:18 AM

Hi CB:

I apreciate your approach, to question what you don't know and not assume if you don't know it it does not exist. My CV, CB? (sorry could help saying that...) In the 1970's I had dropped out of an Art college to become a photo journalist and because of my family background in Irish music, I found myself covering the war in the North of Ireland. I first met Travellers at that point, and didn't know much about them, but felt a certain cultural link. I found that they were a great repository of Irish music, and though difficult to get to know, when you did, they were interesting and loyal friends, unpredicable and always good for a laugh.

When I hitched up with the woman who is with me, now my wife, she did not want me to cover wars any more, and I put more and more into my studies of Irish culture, becoming the founder of a historical society which preserved Irish maritime history. At this time, I spent about 10 years travelling about Ireland learning about Currach building and mostly travelling on foot with my wife, and getting by through the traditions taught me by my continued and continuing contact with travellers. I would set out with a small ruck sack of clothes and my pipes, at first war pipes, busk my way up and down the coast of Ireland.

During that time, I first experienced, personally, the discrimination against Travellers, when I, sometimes mistaken for a Traveller, was not served in public accomodations.

In the late 1980's a racisit event to do with racing Irish currachs, in the US, sent me back to college then to law school. In law school, I was contacted by American Indian friends, (another long story) and was asked to help with issues that led to my work in Federal Indian Law.

In my last years of law school, I was already becomeing known among Fed Indian law practitioners, working in recognition of unrecognised Indian nations. During this time I was contacted by a Romani Kristiory (judge) and asked to help secure rights for his people. This led to an intence time of study and work, where I learned conversational Romaness, the language of Eastern European "Gypsies...".

In looking at discrimination against Roma in the US, I was contacted by and took up as part of the same fight, people who were racialised as Gypsies, Irish Travellers in the south and western US. I did field work among, for example the Irish Travellers of Murphy Village, where I met wonderful caring people, and found that there are still laws, such as the one in the county next to them which unambigously states, "Gypsies are not permmited in the county.".

That is the introduction to my expertese, in my capsity as a political scientist working on these issues I became known to, and have been told, respected for my knowlege of the subject, by folklorists and sociologists, and hisotrians working in these communities, who I have brought into rights cases defending these people.

I continue to coordinate rights cases, and often I am contacted when cases turn bad due to prejudice. My colleagues and I are often contacted late, for two reasons. First, Travellers and Roma try to avoid the subject thinking that they can fight the simple issue, like an aligation of child abuse, but soon in most cases, it turns into a defense of their right to be who they are...

I have to get off line, but this is the story in brief.

Cheers, Larry


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Kim C
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 10:22 AM

Well, let me just say this...

Larry, while I do not agree with you on this, I do appreciate and admire that you have taken a stand on something you believe is important, and have not backed down because others disagreed. I hope that you can help the case to be resolved in a way that's beneficial to all involved.

Cheers----------- KFC


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Pied Piper
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 11:41 AM

InOBU could you answer a question for me? Have you ever contributed funds or services to the IRA or its front organisations in the US ? PP


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 11:58 AM

InOBU,

Does this question sound familiar?

"Are you now, or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?"

Don Meixner


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: InOBU
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 01:55 PM

In fact, I am a Gypsy baby stealer, who sold my soul to the devil in order to tell fortunes to you Gyzhen, to hypnotize you into beating your children. And, yes, I was the most wanted man in Ireland from 1833 to 2001, when things got hot for me, so I changed my skin color to blue to avoid detection. ... pass the bottle, shem. Larry


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: InOBU
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 01:57 PM

Dear PP:
My guilty concence got the better of me, sorry for the flip reply... what do you concider an IRA front group and why do you ask? Larry


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: M.Ted
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 02:46 PM

Something simple is lost in all this, and that is, that had this all been a Child Protective Services and or Police Investigation child abuse investigation from the beginning, the names of the family involved and the videotape of the incident would have been kept confidential, as is required by law--If the people who made the tape had done the right thing and taken it to the police and CPS, it would have never made to the TV--

The people at Kohl's knew who Toogood was, and that she was an Irish Traveller before the incident, and, in all likelihood, that is why they made the video tape of her in the parking lot in the first place--furthermore, the fact they they chose to release the tape to the media seems to show an intent to humiliate and inflict harm rather than a desire to protect the child--

A friend involved in the child welfare legal system commented that, once the media become involved, it becomes a political issue, and all parties involved become more concerned with protecting themselves than with doing what is best for the child--meaning judges, caseworkers, doctors, therapists, etc--


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: M.Ted
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 02:51 PM

PS--Many have commented that Larry is the odd man out on this--the truth is that, though everyone seems to agree but Larry, he is the only one who is doing anything, and so, in the end, his opinion is the only one expressed here that will carry any weight--


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Nerd
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 02:52 PM

M.Ted:

Is there evidence that the people at Kohl's knew she was an Irish Traveller? Seems I missed a few stories. Where did you read that one, as I'd like to take a look.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Nerd
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 03:03 PM

I don't get it, M.Ted. If I believe that someone is a rotten asshole and I yell at him, is my opinion of him the only one that counts because I did something? The rest of us feel that, at least for the moment, what is being done by the authorities is sufficient. That's why we're not running off to do anything.

Also, since we're not professonal advocates for the Irish Traveller community, no one is going to pay us to do anything. It is part of Larry's job to say, often and loud, that Irish Travellers are discriminated against and to use this as the basis for legal defenses. Great, more power to him. I honestly think it's important and honorable work. But I think that, from a certain standpoint, it means his opinions carry less weight than ours because they're necessarily biased. He's much like the professional experts on the other side of the issue--he could not say anything other than what he is saying and maintain his status among the Travellers and their advocacy groups as an expert to be called in when things get hot.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 03:25 PM

M.Ted: I read your posting and like Nerd (could I pass as a "Dweeb?") wonder where you're getting your information. It seems contrary to everything the rest of us have read. I echo Nerd's question about whether Kohl's new she was a Traveler and intentionally video taped her. (Maybe they knew because she has already been charged with shop-lifting at a Kohls?)

It is also my understanding that the video was released to the media by the Police because they weren't able to find the Mother and child and were concerned about the child's welfare. I haven't read anything to suggest that it was Kohl's decision to release it to the media. Whoever released the video did it because the mother left the scene of the crime, and family members were protecting her.

The way I read it is that a woman who is wanted for two criminal charges, who has two different drivers licenses (at least one of which must be illegal) tried to get a refund in a store that she has been caught shoplifting in, in another store in the chain, was angry that she wasn't able to get a refund, came out to the parking lot, put her little daughter in a car seat, proceeded to slap the tar out of her, and when she realized that she had been videotaped, fled the scene of the crime, nad was abbetted by her family, dyed her hair a different color and went on the lam. When she finally agreed to give herself up she filed the "I'm an Irish Traveller and you're persecuting me" defence.

I have a good friend who works at a Walmart, so I've become familiar with the scams that people use. People come into the store, take something off a shelf and bring it to the courtesy desk, say they've lost their receipt and ask for a cash refund. At Walmart, you have to check in when you enter the store and get a sticker on the item. If you come to the Courtesy desk with an item without the sticker on it, they will refuse to give you a refund. I am not saying "in all likelihood" that's what Ms. Toogood did. My sons used to remind me that a phrase like "in all likelihood" is just another way of saying that you are assuming something. And they reminded me what you do when you "assume" something.

What we need here is Jack Webb, so that we can just stick to the "facts," not the assumptions.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: M.Ted
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 03:38 PM

Nerd--Kohl's seems to have prosecuted Toogood before, so they would be in a good position to know all that there is to know about her--

As to Larry, paid or not(and it is probably worth noting that in situations like this, much of the legal support comes pro bono, even if that wasn't the original arrangement)--the Judge will hear Larry's opinion, not yours or Big Mick's, or Rick Fielding's--As to what the authorities are doing or not doing, it is hard to tell what they are really doing, except for covering their own....well, you know what I mean--When the trial date comes(which will probably be as far in the future as anyone can manage) arguements may be substantially different than you might think--


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: GUEST,McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 03:53 PM

Some people seem to think that the idea that Travellers of one sort or another are liable to be treated badly by the authorities, and persecuted and discriminated against in one way another, is absurd. Or they find it athreatening idea, and deny it.

"They aren't even black, so how would,it be possible for people seeing them to even know they are Travellers in order to discriminate against them". That seems to be an idea that keeps on cropping up here.

Well, it's never stopped people persecuting Travellers of various kinds any more that it's stopped people persecuting Jews. And it's worth remembering that, alongside the better known Holocaust of European Jews, Hitler carried out a similar genocide against Europe's Travelling People, murdering hundreds of thousands in the death camps. AS with the Jews, the genocide grew out of a tradition of prejudice. And though the death camps stopped in 1945, the prejudice, and the persecution, in a more low-key style, never has stopped. In fact in some places it's getting worse.

With that kind of background, is it surprising that people are worried about "cooperating with the authorities" when one of theirs get into trouble? And suspicious of what lies behind the kind of media panic that appears to have blown up over this in America?

Nor is it surprising if a lot of them have decided that the best thing is to keep their heads down, and not be too noticeable. And that means that it is quite possible for decent people who are in no way prejudiced to go through their lives unaware of their very existence. But the people with the prejudices know. Once again, it's not unlike the situation of Jews in many places and times.

Over here this case has hardly made the papers, what with the trailers for the Iraq War and so forth. But prejudice against travelling people is common enough in England and so it is in every country in Europe. And from some of the stuff in this thread it seems pretty clear that it crossed the Atlantic and took root in the USA.

How far all this affected what's happened in this case, you'd need to know a lot more about than I do to say. But whether or not prejudice lies at the root of it, it seems to have brought quite a lot of it to the surface as it's developed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: InOBU
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 04:12 PM

I gotta run, I am on FOX in about two hours, the Bill O'Rielly show, tune in folks, quick clarification... I am not on the meter on this, I have put out a few bucks, maybe over a hud=nderd in phone and fax, because I know, and I care... so, I am not a hired gun. I have not yet taken a fee for consulting on Traveller rights, and taken only a fraction of what a paralegal gets, for consulting on Roma cases, often I do this for free and support my self doing the odd job and as a busker. BUT, I do have the requisit credentials from the third highest rated law school in the US, so that is why my opinon counts, not because I am paid to say XY and Z, and thanks and bless you MTed. Cheers Larry


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: M.Ted
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 04:57 PM

I first saw the video on CNN where it was described as merely a parking lot security camera video--Local authorities seemed to have decided to look for the woman only after the video had been shown on TV and questions were raised--As I understand it, at the time the woman left the state, no charges had been made, no warrants had been issued, and so she was not a fugitive--

For those who might think otherwise, I am foursquare against child abuse--If you are inclined to take some meaningful and lasting action against child abuse, send me a PM and we can talk--

It is important to remember that, whatever transgression you saw, or thought that you saw in the video--worse things are happening in your own communities, and there are things that can be done to stop it, but they take more than a few indignant posts to a music forum--

duplicate post deleted by mudelf ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: NicoleC
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 05:05 PM

McGrath, I don't think most of us are suggesting that the prejudice doesn't or couldn't exist. Most of us just think that it's not a factor here. Just as it would be wrong to assume she's a criminal because of her cultural affiliation, it's also wrong to defend her crimes by falling back on the excuse that's it's just because of her culture. You can have it either way, but not both, and trying to say she's not accountable for her actions only perpetuates the stereotype.

I sympathize with *anyone* that gets caught up in a media feeding frenzy. No want would want to turn herself in under the circumstances, and the fact that she DID tells us a lot about her character. A lot more than speculation about her trying to return stolen merchandise.

Larry, I wish you much luck in getting to the truth of the matter. I may think you're dead wrong this time around, but your passion about the subject is a beautiful thing :)


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: SharonA
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 05:15 PM

Actually, M Ted, Kohl's never did "prosecute Toogood" for the alleged theft in Fort Worth, Texas. She was supposed to appear in court to face the charges brought against her in the theft, and she never showed. There is an outstanding warrant for her arrest, and since she left the state, I'm guessing she'll be extradicted back to Texas at some point to face those charges.

There is a very detailed article about Toogood and the clan of Travelers to which she belongs that migrates annually from Texas to Indiana, known as the Greenhorn Carrolls, here at the Dallas/Fort Worth/Arlington TX Star-Telegram website (click on link): http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/4117051.htm This article was published the day before Toogood turned herself in to police in Indiana.

Please note the portion of the description of Irish Travelers in the article that reads: "Most of the men make their living in home-improvement and business-repair work, such as asphalt paving, painting and roofing. Law enforcement authorities said some scam their clients in the process, but they are quick to point out that many Travellers are good, law-abiding citizens." Sounds to me like a fair acknowledgment that not all Travelers are bad or lawless people. (I guess we shouldn't stereotype the media any more than we should stereotype the Travelers!)

You'll find there, too, some information about Toogood including the fact that she has driver's licenses in four states, not just two: Indiana, Missouri, Texas and New Jersey. I'm not sure that any of them is a valid license, since one of the warrants for her arrest in Texas is for failure to pay a traffic ticket she received for driving without a valid license!

Then there's the warrant for her arrest on the theft charges. The article gives a detailed description of the scam that Toogood and her partner pulled in the Fort Worth Kohl's: "According to the police report, Gorman and the woman put several items of clothing into a shopping cart and then went to the check-out line. There, Gorman occupied the clerk by exchanging six pairs of jeans, the report stated. As the clerk dealt with the exchange, Gorman pushed the shopping cart containing the stolen items to Carroll, who pulled it to the front of the store, the report said. The women, who made no attempt to pay for the items in the shopping cart, were stopped outside the store and arrested, the report said."

So it seems that this woman isn't one of the "good, law-abiding citizens" described in the article! I've read elsewhere that at the Kohl's in Indiana on September 13th, Toogood attempted to return some articles of clothing without a store receipt, and that security cameras had tracked her movements after she left the store because it is the store's policy in cases of suspicious activity such as the receiptless-return attempt (a common scam, apparently). In fact, I read in an Indiana-based editorial column that Toogood had in fact scammed that particular store before; perhaps store security was videotaping her in order to try to gather sufficient evidence of criminal activity before arresting her. If so, they got evidence of activity, all right, though not exactly what they might have expected!

So now she's under arrest and facing prosecution. Of course, this does not mean that she should face persecution based on her ethnic/cultural origin. But regardless of her race or creed or clan, she has been arrested several times, in more than one state, and she must face prosecution for her alleged crimes. Please, let's not confuse prosecution with persecution! Let's not presume her to be guilty without the judicial process that will determine whether her acts rise to the level of criminal behavior, but on the other hand let's not downplay or dismiss what she has done simply because she belongs to an ethnic group and we want to be non-prejudicial.

Instead of being politically correct, let's be fair. And while it's not fair to condemn the entire group of Travelers because some of them are convicted criminals, it is fair to be less than blindly trusting of individuals of any race/creed/national origin who are either convicted criminals or are intimately connected with convicted criminals. I don't think it's prejudicial to be cautious.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: GUEST,McGRath of Harlow
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 05:37 PM

"it's also wrong to defend her crimes by falling back on the excuse that's it's just because of her culture."

Has anybody done that?

"I don't think most of us are suggesting that the prejudice doesn't or couldn't exist."

Some people have suggested precisely that. Others have demonstrated that it does.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: NicoleC
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 06:21 PM

For #1, yes, there's been quite a bit of that in Part I. Comments about it being "normal" for her to run out on arrest warrants and it's not child abuse, it's just their culture. Those comments are as bad, IMHO, as the ones that suggest they're all thieves, because they suggest that all travellers act the same way instead of treating them as individuals.

For #2, yes, there's been a couple of uglier posts. Hence the word "most." Most of us just don't see any difference between what the police and CPS would have done with anyone else and the procedure they've followed with her.

You know, her ethinicity or lack thereof hasn't even made the news here, except on the cable stations.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 06:53 PM

Most newspapers seem to consider this a non-story. I've read one two paragraph report on the incident, which didn't even mention that she was an Irish Traveller. I've looked in U.S.A. Today today, and couldn't find any coverage. Of course, shows like Bill Reilly will cover it, because they thrive on controversy. When I've mentioned the incident to other people, none of them even heard about her being an Irish Traveler.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 07:21 PM

I took it, Nicole, you were suggesting that there'd been anybody saying that slapping the child was OK because it was part of the culture - which is no more (and if anything possibly even less)true of Travellers than it is of the rest of society, either in your country or mine. And I hadn't seen anybody saying anything like that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Áine
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 07:35 PM

Dear Mudcatters,

I have declined to participate in controversial threads like this one since my experience with the thread that katlaughing mentioned in her post in Part I of this thread. However, since this is a subject that involves my community and my relations (albeit distant relations), I feel compelled to add my voice here in an attempt to bring information, clarity, and reason to this discussion.

First of all, I have spoken several times to Larry (InOBU) in the last week about this situation. I assure you all that he neither condones Ms. Toogood's actions toward her child, nor condones corporeal punishment in general.

What Larry was attempting to express in his first post, and in all his subsequent posts, is that the authorities and the media are bringing cultural biases, prejudices and stereotyping to bear in their dealings with Ms. Toogood, her child, and her family.

I agree with Larry that Ms. Toogood's treatment of her daughter was totally inappropriate and that intervention was called for in this case. I also agree with him that removing a Traveller child totally from her community could cause potential harm to the child. I agree with him too, that Ms. Toogood is being castigated and criminalized in the media for being an Irish Traveller.

As I read through the posts to this thread, it is apparent that many of you are unaware of the history and background of the Irish Travellers (Pavees). I will not take up room on the server here with a lengthy explanation and/or description of this unique ethnic culture. Instead, I urge you all to educate yourselves by visiting, and reading the information on, the following websites, several of which list bibliographies and/or references that are available for further research:

http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/print/RR/pxrfh.html - The Handbook of Texas Online

http://www.gypsyloresociety.org/cultureintro.html - The Gypsy Lore Society; Information on Gypsy & Traveler Cultures, Gypsy and Traveler Groups in North America, (adapted from the introduction to Gypsies and Travelers in North America: An Annotated Bibliography (where the original citations will be found)

http://www.travellersrest.org/ - Travellers' Rest: Fact And Fiction About Irish Travellers in the U.S.A.

http://www.pitt.edu/~alkst3/Traveller.html - Irish Traveller Notes and Resources

http://www.paveepoint.ie/pav_home_a.html - Pavee Point Travellers Centre; Supporting Human Rights For Irish Travellers

http://www.itmtrav.com/index.html - The Irish Traveller Movement

As for the incident itself: Yes, Ms. Toogood lost control and struck her child inappropriately. Yes, intervention by civil authorities is unquestionably called for. Yes, the civil authorities should investigate as to whether this was a single incident, or if there is a pattern of child abuse in the family. And yes, adjudication by civil authorities as to the results of such investigation and intervention should be carried out.

However, what concerns me is (a) the demonizing of Ms. Toogood and the Traveller community in the media, and (b) whether Ms. Toogood and her family will receive fair and unbiased treatment from the authorities.

Central to my concerns regarding fair treatment is the hysteria and the mob mentality being fomented by the biased and prejudicial coverage of this situation by the media, and its potential to influence such treatment.

It has been noted by some of you that the media is "sensationalizing" the situation and some of you pooh-pooh the idea that such "sensationalism" will have any derogatory effect upon the authorities that have jurisdiction over this matter. Such might be the case if such "sensationalism" was limited to a handful of media outlets.

Unfortunately, when the Mishawaka police released the shopping center surveillance videotape to the national media, they opened the floodgates to exactly this type of news coverage.

Some of you have stated that you have neither heard nor seen any mention of Ms. Toogood's connection to the Irish Traveller community in the media to which you have access. In response, I can only say that I have found extensive coverage in several national news outlets such as the Knight-Rider News Syndicate, Associated Press, United Press International, and CNN and Fox News cable television stations. And I have watched as the stereotypical preconceptions of the Irish Travellers reflected by each of them become more evident from day to day, story to story.

It is just such "ratcheting up" of the biased and prejudicial tone of these stories that concerns me so much. One would hope that the adjudicating authorities would be immune to any influence that might be invoked by such articles and programs. However, we are all too aware that such is often not the case. The authorities are influenced by their constituents; and their constituents are definitely being influenced by the media. If you doubt that statement, simply read over the majority of posts to this thread to see how the media has affected the opinions reflected herein.

What I hope to achieve by this post is to provide educational information concerning the Irish Travellers, and to state the case that there is a legitimate concern for a fair and unprejudiced legal intercession in this matter, due to the influence of the bias evident in the national media's coverage of the situation.

I hope that you all will take the time to read the information that I have provided. I believe that there has been a rush to judgment by many in this matter; and, in consideration of the sensitivity and seriousness of the situation, it behooves us all, as members of a civilized society, to form our opinions with balanced and informed consent.

-- Áine


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 07:51 PM

Perhaps what Nicole was suggesting, Kevin, is that it seemed almost impossible to get Larry to respond to the accusations of the slapping/punching/hair pulling, what ever exact form the abuse of the child was. I think that we all would have been a little easier on Larry if he had just accepted that the whole cause of all this was that the Mother had done something that was seemingly seriously abusive. His responses sounded earily like the cover-ups I've seen in reporting war actions... kind of like, "of course, we regret that several civilian children were killed in the cross fire." I feel that Larry is so intent upon proving that this individual case is clearly one of social injustice that he either minimized or downplayed the abuse that was poured on the little girl.

I think that the folks on Mudcat are liberal to the extreme... far more than the general public. And yet everyone was saying that the initial action taken against this woman had nothing to do with her being an Irish Traveller (or even any awareness that she is.) It seems like even mentioning that this woman has lied, shop-lifted and used illegal drivers licenses is looked upon as being prejudicial. I think that Mudcat members (including me) have tried to focus on what the woman did, not whether there is prejudice against Irish Travellers. Most people I've talked to didn't even realize that they existed... never even heard the term. It's hard to claim broad prejudice against a group that almost no one has ever even heard of. "I hate those... who are they?"

I guess that I also personally get tired of how damning the image of Americans is on Mudcat. It's like we're all a bunch a Damn Biggots, ready to shoot anyone who takes out a wallet, or steals a pair of blue jeans. Maybe I should write an open letter to the people of the United States, as someone has to the people of Iraq. Truth is, Kevin, most Americans are open-hearted and not prejudiced. Just as I believe most Iraqis, Brits and Afghans are. Of course there is prejudice here (and in England, Afghanistan and everywhere where there are people. There are some people in positions of authority that are prejudiced, too. But, it seems like everyone in authority is being tarred and feathered on some of these threads. I for one would like to STAND UP for the decency of 95% of all Americans, Brits and Afghans. By tarring and feathering everyone in generalities that run rampant on Mudcat, it just breeds mistrust and suspicion.

So this one's for you, Kevin. I don't agree with some of the things that you're saying on this thread, but I think you're a fine man, and I consider you a friend.

Brother Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 08:40 PM

I wish I was sure about 95% of people anywhere being decent, unprejudiced and tolerant. I think if that was true the world wouldn't be in the state it is.

Or maybe it's the world being in the state it is that gets in the way of us being decent and unprejudiced and tolerant.

Anyway, people who preach hatred seem to have no difficulty in gathering a lot more than 5% of support in most places.

I think it's more a matter of most of us (al of us really) having a nasty side to our nature which is always liable to break out. So maybe 95% (or I'd guess rathr less) of each of us is decent - but that 5% of each of us (or I'd guess rather more) is there ready to be fanned into flame. Original Sin is one name for it.

But that's thread drift. As I read what InOBU has said, and it's reinforced by what Áine just said, the key thing is the way that a particular incident (not that different from what, I suspect, many of us have seen in the course of shopping - slapping kids is still part of mainstream culture in both our countries), has been projected into a media feeding frenzy in the States (which we have been spared here), and has brought into the light a lot of really nasty prejudice.

I don't think anyone has been suggesting that Americans are especially intolerant or anything like that. Just that when it comes down to it, the same intolerance that distorts the places your ancestors came from crossed over with them, and is still there, changed in some ways, unchanged in others.

"'Monster Mom' is Irish Traveller" - that's a headline from an Irish American online news site that I came across.

If there were news stories saying "Monster Mom is a Jew" I think most people would be a bit perturbed, and rightly so - even if it were actually true, and the label "Monster Mom" was actually a justifiable thing to call anyone in this kind of context. As Áine just said, it's right that there should be an effective response to an incident like this - but there seem to be some aspects of the way this whole thing has been handled which raise serious questions.

And thanks for that last bit Jerry - and of course I see you as a friend, and I know that you can be depended on to fight anything in the way of prejudice and discrimination that you came into contact with.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: InOBU
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 09:42 PM

Hey Jerry, I just want to add, I consider you a stand up guy and a friend as well, in fact, most fellows I dissagree with on EVERYTHING! jsut about on mudcat, like oh say Leprichan, I consider a stand up guy and a pal, and I'd be happy and proud to share something we have in common, like hunting Carabou! (See now all my liberal friends are pissed at me Lep!) But, the exposure of prejudise takes putting your head on the block sometimes. "And tell me Thomas, will you not come along with us for comradery..." "And when you go to heaven for following your faith and I go to hell for denying mine, will you come along with me for comradery" as Thomas Moore said. I cannot come along with you all, when, as O'Rielly states, that he would take the children away from travellers as they aren't an ethnic community, that they are a cult of criminals. Someone must put their head on the block and say, no, No to the journalist who states he never heard of travellers until last week, but now knows better than I, who is a friend to them for decades, better than social scientists who have done field work. Yes, some friends may see this as an attack on comradery to say take note of a prejudice common in this nation. But some of us must accept the blows of friends for justice and forsake praise of the crowd. Jerry, you and Rick Fielding, and all are special friends to me, as dear to me as Kev, who agrees with me more times perhaps, but I see us as a family united by our love of people's music and people's culture. Some of us vote one way, love one way, hate another, but we are family here.
Catch me on CNN tomorrow... boing goes the plugomatic, Spaw!
Larry


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: InOBU
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 09:43 PM

Ps it goes without saying, I even feel kin to the oft cantakerous Gargoyle! Here's to ya, garg! Larry


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 09:57 PM

There are two stories here... Toogood versus the authorities and the media/public perception versus the Irish Travelers. Unfortunately they aren't being separated in this discussion.

As for the media/public perception versus the Irish Travelers, yes Larry is right. Over the past week there has been a bandwagon approach to this story and the media and the public are drawing sterotyped opinions of the Irish Travelers.

However the initial story is still Toogood versus the authorities for her actions against her child. Aside fromm innuendo and opinions I haven't seen any EVIDENCE in these discussions or in the media that would lead me to believe the authorities are treating this case any differently than other cases of child abuse. I am waiting for someone to prove me wrong.

If there is a stereotype being drawn, it is probably one against the system of justice in this country. It sounds like a defense is trying to be formed that Toogood was unjustly singled out and persecuted. Her lawyers will play this trump card in the same fashion that OJ Simpson's lawyers played the race card. Lawyers are committed to giving their client the best defense they can, even if that client is guilty.

The result is always the same, the victim is ignored and the press has something to talk about for months on end.

Ron


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 10:00 PM

Kevin: An interesting little ancedote. Many years ago when my sons were little, one of them had bronchitis so seriously that we had to take him to the hospital and put him in an oxygen tent. While my wife of that time and I stood there, deeply concerned about our son, a young hispanic couple came in with their two or three year old son, who was in far worse shape than our son. The boy was terrified, and because of the congestion in his throat was barking like a wounded animal, unable to form words. The Nurse was Nurse Ratchet from One Flew Over Thew Cuckoos nest, and dragged the boy out of his Mother's arms and threw him down in the crib. This terrified the boy even more. and the parents were horrified. They didn't speak English, but they expressed their fear in their eyes. Finally, the nurse got the little boy strapped down so he couldn't try to climb out, and put the oxygen tent over him. I realize that she had to do something to contain him, but she did it in such a brutal way, with no thought for letting the parents calm there son down. And then she turned to me and made a fatal mistake. She said to me "I don't even know why they let them in the hospital." I was in a state of shock, and momentarily thought only of the terrified young boy. Our son seemed to be the picture of health, in comparison. Before we left, I got the name of the nurse. As it turned out, she was the head of the department.

When I got home, I wrote a letter on the letterhead of the Museum where I worked, using my title as Executive Director, and signing my name Gerald E. Rasmussen. It didn't hurt that the names of all the members of the Board of Directors were on the stationary. Of course, the Museum had nothing to do with my letter, but I wanted to use whatever influence I could. I described the experience in great detail, expressed my disgust at the way the child and parents were treated, and offered to appear in person to confront the nurse. A couple of weeks later, the hospital held a hearing in response to my letter, and the Head Nurse was fired. Someone I knew who worked at the hospital said that they'd been trying to fire her for years, but couldn't get solid enough evidence against her. My position and the Museum's in the community was strong enough that they fired her, without my ever appearing in front of them.

The perspective that I'd add to this would be to just as strongly go up against anyone who said, "The staff at that hospital are so prejudiced against Spanish-speaking people that they don't give them the same care as everyone else." I don't know what the percentage of good people is, Kevin. I'm an optomist, so I'd set it higher than a lot of people. What I do believe is that generalities are unjust. Fight discrimination and dishonesty. One person at a time. If there are three people out of ten who are prejudcied, fight them. Those who are not will appreciate you and do everything they can to back you up. Blanket them all as, "those people" or "That organization" and they will respond in the same way that Irish Travellers, or Puerto Ricans respond. Don't make generalities that judge groups of people. No matter who the group is. Go after the Bastards. The good people will be your strongest allies.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: InOBU
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 10:04 PM

Ron: From the start of these posts I have had a wee problem that next week I may not have. I know something exculpatory which is not yet public and cannot share it, so I have been more strong in speaking on the aspect of anti-traveller discrimination while not going into the core of the case. Hang in there folks, the truth will out VERY soon, I hope. Cheers to all, Larry


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 10:06 PM

McGrath, I really must step in and comment here. From personal experience shopping in lots of WalMarts and shopping centers over many years, I have NEVER seen a child punched in the head repeatedly. It breaks my heart to hear frustrated parents snap and say very ugly things to crying children...and I've seen a swat on the butt...but absolutely never hit above the waist, and certainly not repeatedly. Lets all remember the little girl...this was an emergency.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: InOBU
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 10:09 PM

Oh as to playing the race card, I have read sixty or seventy articals on this, and have some insider knowlege of the case, I have been involved in a number of family law cases, and have never ever seen policing like this other than in the pretextual arrests of Roma and Travellers which are often used on minor incidents to get information on a community racially profiled as a criminal subculture against the evidence of the experts, that is the long and short of it. When was the last time a woman slapped a child leaving no injury definable by any forensic methods and it was national news for a week... please folks open your eyes! Larry


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 10:20 PM

I understand Larry and I hope that the truth will out. While the evidence SEEMS strong against this woman, I do know that you can't tell everything from a videotape.

I hope whatever evidence you are hinting at does not fall in the category of "loophole". If she was caught in a crime against her child then she should take her punishment - even if the FBI, CIA and any other clandestine organization were following her waiting for such a moment.

Still, I respect and admire your conviction Larry and I await what happens. Like most of us, this story has opened up a lot of thought. I must say that things I've been reading here and in other venues in the last 24 hours have opened up some doubts. While I say she should take her punishment, I do feel that she deserves compassion and treatment if she has a problem. No mother and child should be permanently separated unless the damage and risk is too great for either's safety. Just as no evidence has been yet presented that the authorities were persecuting her because of her cultural identity, I have heard no evidence that the behavior she exhibited that day is her regular behavior. However she has admitted to hitting the child in a violent manner. That is going to be hard to deny.

I also hope we won't see the justice system corrupted once again.

Ron


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 10:25 PM

One thing Larry - you just said "When was the last time a woman slapped a child leaving no injury definable by any forensic methods and it was national news for a week"

Well, when was the last time such a beating was caught on tape?

I still find it offensive to say that because there are no injuries there is no crime. I go back to my early comment about using a gun - if I pull the trigger and miss you, does that mean that it was okay? There was no intent to harm? If you could prove that it was an accident perhaps, but I am curious how they will defend what was viewed on tape AND what she admitted to.

Perhaps it wouldn't have been national news for a week if the Traveler angle hadn't been used and if everyone stopped talking about it. The news is there because people want it and people are willing to talk about it.

Ron


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: mg
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 12:05 AM

I would be very very surprised if this was a one-time incident. I really really doubt it. People get into patterns of behavior. And this was fairly cold-blooded it seemed. I'm not interested in the mother being punished or doing time, but I am interested in seeing that the child is protected from that sort of monster behavior. I'll call her a monster. And there are lots more like her out there. And I believe that she is married, but to me one of the strongest arguments against single parenthood is that so often there are no witnesses, and no one to stay a hand if someone gets out of control. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Coyote Breath
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 12:47 AM

InOBU! Thank you for the response. I don't do much news service scanning or TV watching so some of what you say I will take especial note of. I despise discrimination of any kind. Perhaps my romantic view of the world shields me from some of it's nastiness when I should face that nastiness and do something. In that regard I am tired. I now recall a 60 minutes bit of almost ten years ago which did an "expose" of a group of people, who, while they were not called travellers, probably were. It was all about a siding scam of some sort, I can't recall any details. There was SOME sort of story in a recent film with Brad Pitt playing a traveller (a boxer I think) can't remember the title. (Yikes, I can't seem to remember much at all these days!)

With what you posted and what Aine posted I might be able to get a handle on this whole thing. I'll visit some of the sites. Aine.

My girlfriend said this upon seeing the tape: "Boy, she'll never be able to get a job now!" referring to the publicity and that terrible image of her slapping her kid like that. We both agreed that she needs to get help and that was the extent of the reaction on our part. I felt sorry for the child and I felt sorry for her as well. I can't help but feel that she has too many little ones to worry about and that can be a problem. Heck, just ONE can be a problem!

I am fascinated about your covering the "war" in the North. I would like to see your photos sometime. I also would like to hear your opinion of past and present events.

CB


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Amos
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 12:48 AM

Aine:

Thanks for your highly clarifying guidance and commentary.

I think you separate the issues very handsomely. Well done!

As I recall there were furors about the evil Gypsies in another Western country that stood on the edge of war about sixty years ago or so.

Those who ignore their history are doomed to repeat it -- whether in individual violence or in mob reactions. They are both mindless dramatizations.



A


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 01:02 AM

This appears to be a grey area to some folks here, but I'm afraid the time that I spent working for the Ontario Children's Aid society (I've chatted some about this on MC) has made me very inflexible in the area of child abuse. I have no doubt the fact that Travellers are unduly hassled, will be used in this woman's defense, but on the video tape I watched a woman look to the right, then to the left, and then start whaling on a little kid. I don't care if her family get turned into Saints, that's very wrong Larry, and on some level you know it. Darn, I wish you weren't talking so much like a lawyer in this thread.

Guess this is why I stay WAY clear of most political or controversial threads, even though I have a lot of opinions. When folks on "my side," ie: the Left, use what seem to me to be the same tactics used by "The Right" to defend wrong-doing, I gotta say something.

On the other hand....it hasn't driven me to want a cigarette!!! So Whoopie!

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Amos
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 02:01 AM

Rick:

I don't believe anyone was defending wrong-doing here, in what I have read.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: InOBU
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 07:41 AM

Hi RIck, Mary, Amos, etc... Rick DON'T REACH FOR A CIGGY MAN!!!! Reach for a guitar!

In one respect I have to speak as a lawyer because I have restraints on my speach in this case, as part of what I know is still confidential. But, Mary that which I know explains why this is not a pattern of behavior. Now, Rick, as to looking one way and the other. One thing to understand about ALL people and people's racialized as "Gypsies" one thing to understand is that they live in the state of being out of place. As your Black friends will tell you, that in certain places and situations, they know that they are looked at suspiously by folks around them, no matter how mainstream they are, it is a fact of Race in the US, if not in America. For Travellers and Roma it is a matter of being permanently "out of place" as the "other".

Looking right and left is a constant in the life of these communities racialized as Roma. Before Roma go anywhere, they say to each other, Arrack sa jas, "watch as you go..." Some one asked a group of Roma with me, what they would say in the old days before the wagons started, and one Rom said, laughing, Arrack o Gyzhen, whatch out for the non-Roma. Roma and Travellers are subject to pretextual arrest, constant harassment, and as a result in public, they can appear to be "acting guilty" when they are worried and cautious, and in fact, the exculpatary evidence in this case will explain this further.

We who know and love these folks have a huge burden, as the nation has been told something, and shown a video that shows part of what we have been told, and the comentary has filled in the rest. Perspective in video is everything. What the video does not show is a punching, a beating, what it does show is a slapping, a bad slapping that should not have happened and under the normal cercumstances of Madelyne's life, this would not have happened and has not in the past. Her confusion at her own loss of temper is clear in her abondoning the caution of her culture to speak to the nation and say she did what she is accused of, her confusion at her loss of temper is seen in the fact that she returned to Indiana quickly when she could have been away until the intial furror passed, as would have been normal in her culture and in fact in many people's culture... I am not defending the slapping and shoving. It was ugly and wrong, but that is not to say I agree with the presentation as fact that she beat her child. You should note that even in the throes of unusual rage for her, she is placing the child in a car seat. Well, all I have to say is let one of you who has not experienced a moment of unusual rage in your life cast the first stone, everyone else present your kids to Child Protective Services to be placed with strangers.

all the best, Larry


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 08:22 AM

Larry, I understand what you're saying about it not being a pattern of behavior. But I'm still repulsed by the fact that her instinct was to punch or slap around the head. To me that is not natural. Even if anger momentarily took over, it was a most harmful, hideous form of outlet. All it takes is one incident to do permanent damage, why should one be told to wait until that happens? And as far as the carseat...totally irrelevant...just a habit. I've seen and studied teenaged boys who have uncontrollable anger, often with impulses to harm themselves or to act out physically. I've seen police react to a persom resisting arrest. I once felt the rage in myself when physically threatened. But this was a tiny child probably strapped in a seat!

On another note, I ask this because I've given it a lot of thought for a lot of years...how can you defend (and thereby help) someone whom you vehemently disagree with? In my mind (and I realize I'm in the minority here) any explanation is just a rationalization using false logic. It just wouldn't work for me. You don't have to answer this if it would be "talking out of court" but it really is a question I've thought about all my life.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Jeri
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 09:39 AM

Larry, you say you're not defending the slapping but that's what virtually your entire post does. That's how you started the first thread, with this
"Most anyone who can look me in the eye and say their mom did not once loose it and swat you as Madlyne Toogood did her daughter (leaving no mark by the way...) well a lot of you would be not telling the truth. Fact is, that she is being prociscuted for the crime of being an Irish Traveller in the United States..."


Bullshit
You would have had to show me why that was true, and you haven't been able to do that.

This is NOT normal behavior, and no desperate attempts at justification will make it so. You are trying to justify what she did, although you ARE going about it as a lawyer, a politican, a spin doctor. You're trying to manipulate facts so they tell the story you'd rather be telling. Discrimination exists and is evil. I just can't see that this case is an example of it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 09:42 AM

How can you try to help someone you disagree with? That's like saying "how can you love your enemies?" If you only help people you agree with you'd end up only helping yourself.

Quite rightly good people will want to protect people who are abused by people who are stronger than themselves. But sometimes it gets more complicated, because there can be more than one victim.

In this case there are two. There's a mother who has snapped and done something stupid and wrong, and nobody is denying that. And there's a community of people who have been discriminated and persecuted in various ways over the centuries, and the mother belongs to that community, and if InOBU is right, the way this thing has been dealt with has been coloured and distorted by that.

There's a suggestion that violence towards children is more prevalent among Travellers than it is among the rest of society. This is a suggestion that can comes from two directions - it can come from people who are demonising them, and it can come from people who might seek to excuse the behaviour as culturally conditioned or something.

But the truth, as I understand it, is that, if anything, violence towards children is less prevalent among Travellers than it is among what you can call the mainstream. That would definitely have been true a couple of generations ago - but there has been a move away from that way of treating children among mainstream people, and maybe we've caught up a good way.

Slapping a small child around the head is deviant behaviour among Travellers - and yet the authorities chose to remove the child from her whole family and community. That suggests inaccurate and prejudiced stereotyping to me. And reading what some of those "experts" have been saying reinforces that suspicion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 10:31 AM

McGrath - Your points about inaccurate and prejudiced stereotyping are well taken, but again no one has shown how that is relevant in this case. Everyone is trying to put a spin on how what has transpired should be "excused" (for lack of a better word) simply because the individuals were stereotyped.

Please tell me where this stereotyping has influenced the case. Standard procedures in SUSPECTED abuse cases are to put the children in foster homes - no exceptions.

ALL the talk about what Traveler culture is and isn't is coming from the media and public opinion. No one has shown ANY evidence that the authorities have used ANY prejudicial treatment in this case.

Having worked in a department store, I know that security cameras will follow a person suspected of shoplifting or other security infringement. If they can prove something on tape they have a case. Based on what Toogood has said transpired when she tried to return items, there was REASONABLE suspicion for the store to follow her on camera - no matter what her ethnic background is. The FACT that they caught her hitting her child was coincidence.

Until facts prove otherwise, it really looks like the only spin doctoring going on is by those who are trying to make a case for the Travelers. It is a noble endeavour to fight prejudice that PROBABLY exists, but to pin it on this particular case is NOT helping the cause - it merely shows the public that misguided lawyers will do anything to prove their point. We learned nothing from the O.J. Simpson case.

Ron


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: SharonA
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 10:40 AM

Larry says, "When was the last time a woman slapped a child leaving no injury definable by any forensic methods and it was national news for a week... please folks open your eyes!"

Larry, with all due respect, I think you need to open your own eyes.

First of all, the story was "national news for a week" because there was a warrant out for Toogood's arrest for a week while she fled halfway across the nation, hiding a child whom the authorities feared had been seriously physically injured, and trying to disguise the child by dyeing and cutting her hair. "The fact that she returned to Indiana quickly when she could have been away until the intial furror passed" could also mean that she realized that it was pointless to keep running away when the entire country was on the lookout for her.

Secondly, as was evident on the videotape and as I and others on this thread have pointed out repeatedly, this was far more than a woman slapping a child. Yes, indeed, it was a "bad slapping" and there was shoving, but there was also hair-pulling, shaking and – using Toogood's own term – repeatedly "knocking" on her daughter's forehead. Now, knocking involves a closed fist, just as punching does, so whether Toogood actually meant that she was knocking as if on a door or using the term as a euphemism for punching (as in the term "knocking someone's block off" by punching them), she still is admitting laying a fist on her child and not just an open hand. I am as distressed as Jerry at your apparent downplaying of the abuse that child received that day.

Thirdly, that child was not examined by the doctor in new Jersey for nearly a week (if not exactly a week) after the incident of abuse, NOT the next day as you'd claimed in part 1 of this thread. I'm disturbed to see that you haven't got that fact straight, and I'm afraid you're blinding yourself to the fact that any bruises the child might have sustained could have healed before she was examined. Furthermore, as I stated before, there is psychological injury inflicted by abuse even if physical injury is not evident, and I don't see you even acknowledging that fact.

I can't imagine what you could possibly have to bring to the case that would be exculpatory, when there is simply no excuse for treating one's own child the way Toogood treated her daughter on September 13th when she struck the child, and afterward when she removed the child from her home and community and tried to hide her from the world. How can you tolerate that sort of isolation of the child from her siblings, her father and her culture while objecting to a temporary, supervised foster-care placement???


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Jeri
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 10:54 AM

Ron Olesko wrote:

Please tell me where this stereotyping has influenced the case. Standard procedures in SUSPECTED abuse cases are to put the children in foster homes - no exceptions.

ALL the talk about what Traveler culture is and isn't is coming from the media and public opinion. No one has shown ANY evidence that the authorities have used ANY prejudicial treatment in this case.

(I'm responsible for making the text bold.)
I think that's one of Larry's main points, which is another reason I can't understand what he's doing or why he's doing it. I think he believes there should have been special treatment in this case, because it involves an ethnic group to which he's sympathetic, and a burocratic one-size-fits-all procedure should have been waved in this case.


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Subject: RE: BS: Traveller Discrimination in USA - Part 2
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 11:00 AM

You can love your enemies, do good to them that hate you...but don't help them do harm. And to legally "get one off" is to enable (to use drug/psychological terminology) their behavior. We become a part of the process when we are enablers.


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