Sat, Mar 30 2013 12:00 PM Posted By: Tom Basinski
It's no secret that my hometown of Flint, Mich. is a racially divided city. When reporting on a crime the local newspaper will not print the race of a suspect, a practice that gets constant criticism from those who post comments in the on-line editions. There is a simple reason they don’t reveal the suspect’s race: They don't need to.
Although Flint may have a few more blatantly racist issues than other cities, Flint’s racism parallels much of the entire nation’s racism, whether we like it or not. Within the past few months Flint had a fatal shooting during the funeral of a guy killed on a street corner at 2:30 a.m.
The police haven’t officially solved the original murder, but investigators believe the killer of the deceased at the funeral attended the funeral of his victim and was in turn killed by a friend of the original victim.
Flint’s most recent racial dustup took place at Hurley Hospital, the public facility where most of the gunshot and stabbing victims go. The hospital conflict received national press and even a mention on the Katie Couric show. When Katie calls, you know you have arrived.
On Oct. 31, 2012 a white man admitted his infant son to the neonatal intensive care unit at Hurley. A black nurse, Tonya Battle, said the father of the child rolled up his sleeve and she saw something “that looked like a swastika.”
In her January lawsuit, Battle said the knucklehead dad left instructions that no black nurse should care for his son. The charge nurse allegedly (I love that word) left a note that no African-American nurses were to care for the child. The nursing supervisor allegedly (there I go again) immediately overruled the charge nurse’s instruction. The hospital CEO denied that this happened, but the hospital and nurse settled the lawsuit as soon as news of it became public, with no statements being made.
Although the lawsuit is over, the National Action Network stuck its nose into the fray; ignoring the fact the issue is closed. What is the National Action Network?
The NAN was formed in 1991 by none other than the Rev. Al Sharpton who was at the forefront of the Trayvon Martin issue in Florida. Sharpton always cautions against a “rush to judgment” whenever a black man is arrested. Yet, in Florida, he was ready to polish the plug on the electric chair for George Zimmerman, Martin’s shooter, even before Zimmerman had a court appearance.
I am a regular viewer of Sharpton’s MSNBC television program called “Politics Nation.” I recommend watching it for as long as your stomach will let you because you’ll get a true sense of the reverend.
In the past, both Sharpton and Jesse Jackson have come to Flint to decry Flint’s violence.
But they don’t attack anything resembling the root problem of the black-on-black crime that plagues the city. No, they blame the government for not having enough giveaway programs. The reverends do not hold the men accountable who father children indiscriminately then ignore them. Nor do they blame the pants-on-the-ground thugs who prey on one another throughout the city.
NAN’s representative in Flint is Sam Riddle, well known in Flint political circles. He is also known to the federal authorities because he was recently released from federal prison after serving time for political bribery.
I am speculating that the nurses from Hurley will get some money for this.
In addition, I imagine there will be hospital-wide training on how to handle a similar situation if another knucklehead asks for white-only nurses.
Next week I write about a Chula Vista homicide victim’s family asking for a black detective to investigate a case.
© 2009 The Star-News