Recorded Monday, January 30th 2023, we speak with
Rachel Garbus, a writer and editor based in Atlanta. Rachel discusses her writing recently published on Welcome to Hellworld titled, "Stopping Cop City, the murder of Tortuguita, and the trees that got us here".
Rachel Garbus is the co-founder of Out Down South, a multimedia history project and podcast celebrating the stories of LGBTQ+ Southerners. She's on Twitter @rachel_garbus
Image: Terrapine Carolina baby turtle. FotoDawg, CC BY 2.0... read more
Last Friday, December 9, 2022, in Detroit, in the midst of a performance by Cyrus Chestnut and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra of selections from the Vince Guaraldi score of the cartoon Christmas special, “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” someone shouted a slur that either was the N-word or included the N-word. None of the news outlets are saying. The orchestra maintained their focus. Audience members interviewed afterwards expressed disgust with whoever shouted the slur. WXYZ, Channel 7 news in Detroit, reported the story, as did the newspaper—whatever newspaper means these days—The Detroit News.
Cyrus Chestnut is black, as are some members of the DSO, as are people who were in the audience that night. Charlie Brown, a fictional figure, is, despite his surname, white. In the Lieber and Stoller song, “Charlie Brown,” written for and recorded by The Coasters, all members of which were black, Charlie Brown was probably black. But the N-word slur-slinger most likely targeted the players rather than the subject of the music.
Vince Guaraldi, the composer, was white, although his mustache was black. Nevertheless, it seems clear that the slur was aimed at the black instrumentalists on Friday.
I should add that I’m only assuming it was the N-word based on the way all the news outlets have skirted around what exactly was shouted. It was definitely an anti-black term of derogation, but it could have been the Coo-word or the Sp-word. Those possibilities seem doubtful, especially the latter, given the reported reaction of the audience.
But it’s odd no one’s reporting that it was the N-word. As a euphemism, it’s the most easily communicated via the press. Maybe there’s an unwritten AP-style rule whereby an outlet is supposed to give the N-word the least amount of publicity possible, even in its euphemistic form.
The article in The Detroit News has a comment section. If you can imagine, the comments section is inhabited by a grotesque menagerie of primates throwing feces. There are comments denying that the occurrence ever took place, despite the vast number of witnesses and the fact that the Orchestra announced on its Facebook page its sadness in regards to the incident.
“The DSO is deeply disappointed by an incident that took place towards the end of Friday night’s concert when an audience member shouted a... read more