* DBKP Talks to CORE
Another black group has reached out a hand to help and offered a voice to further the education of Duane “Dog” Chapman.
This time, it’s one of America’s oldest civil rights groups, C.O.R.E. (Congress of Racial Equality). Civil rights pioneer, Roy Innis, met with Duane “Dog” Chapman and members of his family for consultation and education/mentoring.
Roy Innis, National Chairman of CORE, met with “Dog, the Bounty Hunter” on Tuesday, December 11 at noon at the CORE national headquarters in New York City. Innis has agreed to mentor Chapman in his efforts to seek reconciliation and atonement for his repeated and careless use of the “N word.”
From left, Roy Innis, national chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality, Beth Chapman and Duane “Dog” Chapman, star of the reality show “Dog, the Bounty Hunter” pray before lunch in New York on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2007. Chapman was invited to lunch with leaders from CORE to discuss race relations and education. Chapman’s show was suspended after his son Tucker sold to a tabloid magazine a private phone conversation where Dog repeatedly used a racial slur urging Tucker to break up with a black girlfriend. (AP Photo/Dog Inc., Lucy Pemoni)
DBKP got to talk a bit with CORE spokesman, Brian McLaughlin.
According to McLaughlin, Dog met with Innis and CORE staff and explained about his life, background and about his “not wanting to hurt anybody with my words”.
“This was a good step forward for him; to be able to continue on the path of changing some offensive behavior.”
“Duane Chapman was contrite and offered no excuses. He didn’t try to waffle. He was genuine. He said ‘I was wrong’. The feeling here was that Dog was a ‘man’s man’ by owning up to his actions and wanting to change.”
CORE is using the episode as an opportunity to educate instead of pointing fingers.
“This is not a good word for anyone to be using,” explained McLaughlin. “Regardless of who you are.”
McLaughlin also said that Innis and Chapman talked about how powerful words can be.
“Be careful what you say: words can hurt.”
“Words have that power to hurt and sometimes, people aren’t aware of how much power words have. Whether it’s in politics or on the playground, words mean something.”
* * *
Many people are familiar with both Roy Innis and Duane “Dog” Chapman. Most of those have heard of Dog’s rough upbringing and rise through hard work, to become star of TV’s “Dog the Bounty Hunter” show.
Some may not be as familiar with Innis’s climb to become head of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE)–also achieved with hard work.
Roy Innis joined CORE’s Harlem chapter in 1963. In 1964 he was elected Chairman of the chapter’s education committee and became a forceful advocate of community-controlled education and black empowerment. He led CORE’s fight for an independent police review board to address cases of police brutality. In 1965, he was elected Chairman of Harlem CORE, after which he mounted a vigorous campaign for establishment of an independent Board of Education for Harlem. A proposition to this end was presented to the 1967 New York State Constitutional Convention.
Over the years, CORE has provided a much sought-after resource for mediation between divergent groups, in part due to CORE’s mission: “. . . to foster greater understanding and communication between the races and ethnic groups in the United States and globally. According to Mr. Innis, “It’s important to understand that we can not end racism without being willing to listen to the person that you believe has offended you. Duane Chapman has reached out to CORE because we have a reputation of giving people a chance to be heard in a neutral arena.”
Niger Innis, National Spokesman for CORE, also be attended the first consultation.
Niger contends strongly that the “N word” is being abused by the entertainment industry. He sees its use becoming so commonplace that people are desensitized to its impact.
He states, “Our reaction to the N word is a farce. There is absolutely a double standard in the media. A ‘pass’ is given to certain entertainers like Dave Chappelle. As much as I love Dave, he is allowed to do whole skits on the N word without public outcry.”
“Rappers are also given a pass to use the N word with far more consistency and stereotyping.” Niger believes that Duane is a victim of pop culture’s “pass / no-pass system.” He applauds Duane’s efforts, because he suspects that on some level he wasn’t totally comfortable with the rampant use of the N word. Says Niger, “He was certainly trying to protect himself from the media, but he was also in a Freudian way, stating a problem.”
Duane has expressed his eagerness to correct misconceptions about himself and to repair his breach of confidence. He particularly wants to restore the relationship he had with the Black community.
He erroneously believed that that word had evolved to be a term of camaraderie. Duane stated that he does not want to be seen as a white racist. According to Chapman, he moved his family to Hawaii because he loved the racial diversity. Chapman’s European and Native American ancestry, an ancestry Chapman has made part of his persona on his television program, has always made him aware that diversity is important.
In the upcoming year, there will be a series of scheduled consultations between Roy Innis and Duane Chapman. Mr. Innis hopes that he will be able to impart key ideas of the Civil Rights movement and in-depth analysis of the current state of race relations in America. He is pleased that Duane will be attending the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Awards Dinner on January 21, 2008.
Roy Innis’ involvement in criminal justice matters spans his entire career in CORE. His investigation in the early 1980s led to the uncovering of evidence that Wayne Williams was not solely responsible for the Atlanta Child Murders. His defense of victims’ rights to defend themselves led to his support and involvement in highly publicized cases such as: the “subway gunman,” Bernhard Goetz; “subway token booth clerk”, James Grimes; the “candyman good Samaritan”, Andy Fredericks; the “black Bernie Goetz”, Austin Weeks; and the accused “remember me subway shooter” Clemente Jackson.
Roy Innis is a nationally known advocate of Second Amendment rights, and is a current board member of the National Rifle Association.
Some of his activities include: investigating and exposing the Tawana Brawley hoax; overseeing and participating in a citizen’s anti-drug campaign, “One Street At A Time”; championing the rights of immigrants; fighting against public indecency and predatory crime in an all-out effort to clean up New York City’s crime-ridden streets and subway system.
Innis lost two of his sons to criminal gun violence. His first son, Roy Innis, Jr., at the age of 13 in 1968. His next oldest son Alexander, 26, was shot and slain some years later in 1982.
Roy Innis is no stranger to either controversy or speaking out, no matter who the opponent.
He was noted for starting two televised scuffles in 1988, one on Geraldo against white supremacists, particularly John Metzger, and another on The Morton Downey Jr. Show against Reverend Al Sharpton, when Sharpton was pushed over his chair.
McLaughlin noted that Roy Innis has many times stated that during the days of the battles for civil rights, black leaders of all political viewpoints would stand on a stage together and join in and lend their voices to the discussion.
Now, perhaps, some of those voices are more concerned with issues other than racial harmony.
Roy Innis, throughout his career, has stood up and spoke out for what he believes, no matter what the challenge. Innis is once again taking the opportunity, not only to speak out, but to teach.
His subject this time: Dog the Bounty Hunter and society’s increasing desensitization to the N-word.
1-Civil Rights Pioneer, Roy Innis, to Mentor Duane “Dog” Chapman
2-Wikipedia – Roy Innis
For more information on CORE, its mission or its programs, contact Brian McLaughlin at (212) 598-4000 or BmcLaughlin@core-online.org.