Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Second Baptist Church Vans Vandalized: Hate Crime or Hip Hop?

20. March 2006 • Dumi Lewis
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A small note from the Sunday Police Beat mentions that church buses parked at the Second Baptist Church of Ann Arbor were vandalized during the weekend. The A2 news blurb reads:

Vandals spray painted black swastikas and other markings on three buses at the Second Baptist Church in Ann Arbor, police said. The vandals also painted a cross on the buses and hit them with individual artwork markings and their names, an activity called tagging…

Of course I’m left wondering about the intentions of the vandals considering Second Baptist is a predominantly Black congregation with a long history of activism in Ann Arbor.



  1. Speaking of crimes against African Americans: the infamous case of the Duke lacrosse team being accused of raping an African-American woman is finding some resonance in Ann Arbor, see, e.g., Dumi’s BlackatMichgan.com article Black and Blue and The Smoking Gun, Duke Rape Indictment: Lacrosse players charged with sexual assault, kidnapping of dancer ,

    “APRIL 18—Two Duke University lacrosse players have been charged with the rape and kidnapping of an exotic dancer who claims that she was assaulted last month at a team party. Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty, both sophomores, were named in indictments unsealed today. Copies of the felony charges can be found below. Seligmann and Finnerty were arrested early this morning and subsequently released on $400,000 bond. According to the dancer, a 27-year-old North Carolina Central University student, she was sexually assaulted by a trio of men in the bathroom of a home shared by three of the lacrosse squad’s captains. ...”

    But the impact of this is not confined to Durham, North Carolina; see, e.g., Daily columnist Mara Gay in the 4/17 Duke and Michigan ,

    “At first I think my eyes are playing tricks on me. Surely no one in his right mind would sport a blue Duke lacrosse shirt at a time like this, when allegations of gang rape stalk the team. My better logic tells me I should let it go, eat my lunch in peace and enjoy the beautiful, sunny, rare Ann Arbor day. But as we pass one another in the cafeteria at the University we both call home, my mouth betrays my better judgement and I cannot help but blurt out, innocently, “I’m sorry – is that a Duke lacrosse shirt you’re wearing?”

    He stops cold in his tracks and his eyes narrow, moving over my body, looking me up and down. His glance is so quick, so sudden, so cleverly sinister that at first I’m not sure that it even happened at all. But then it punches me in the gut and I am overcome with the fear and shame of a horse as it is sold at auction. Still, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – that could have prepared me for the moment when he smiled smugly, proudly even, and said, “Yeah – yeah, actually – I am.”

    Then he sat down with his boys and resumed his lunch, boasting loudly that the alleged rape victim had probably made up the story after being poorly tipped by the lacrosse team she was hired to dance for.

    ...I should mention that I have no regrets and that every day of my two years at the University has been an adventure. This campus will show you some incredible things if you allow it to. But the University can be exhausting as well. So many worlds collide here and the magnitude, and depth of our bigotry is, at times, astounding.

    When I think about the boy with the Duke lacrosse shirt, I am reminded how ugly hatred truly is. But I am grateful to him as well, because now more than ever I want to act, to protest, to yell at the top of my lungs so the anger and fear do not consume me too. I want to fight like hell so I am not swallowed whole, heart and all.”

    Something to think about for us all, re race, gender, class, and so much more.
       —David Boyle (Duke lacrosse rape case & AA & Mara Gay)    Apr. 22 '06 - 08:08PM    #
  2. He stops cold in his tracks and his eyes narrow, moving over my body, looking me up and down. His glance is so quick, so sudden, so cleverly sinister that at first I’m not sure that it even happened at all. But then it punches me in the gut and I am overcome with the fear and shame of a horse as it is sold at auction. Still, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – that could have prepared me for the moment when he smiled smugly, proudly even, and said, “Yeah – yeah, actually – I am.”

    How does this contribute to intelligent discussion on these matters?


       —Dale    Apr. 22 '06 - 08:50PM    #
  3. You might get an interesting response from Dumi, among others, on that topic.

    But I’ll essay something short.—If somebody telegraphs to you by facial or body expressions that the possible gang rape of a black woman by a group of largely wealthy and privileged white private-Southern-college males—especially in the historical context of American slavery—is a matter for pride and smugness, rather than horror and thoughtfulness, that is probably worth writing about, is it not?
       —David Boyle    Apr. 22 '06 - 09:23PM    #
  4. I read her account somewhat more skeptically.


       —Dale    Apr. 22 '06 - 10:45PM    #
  5. On what empirical or rational basis? You were in the cafeteria when she was, and the things she related did not in fact happen? Or what?


       —David Boyle    Apr. 23 '06 - 12:28AM    #