Griot Society vs. Cavalier Daily

Prompted by a recent Cavalier Daily column decrying UVa’s Griot Society as a wolf in sheep’s clothing, 400 students recently marched on the Cav. Daily’s offices and convinced the paper to work to represent black interests more fairly. The column, by associate editor Anthony Dick, said that the the black-student-awareness group “fosters racial tension on Grounds” and said that it “seems to advocate racial violence,” concluding that they appear to be “just another hate group.” Explained one of the protesters, “the column was only a symptom of a larger problem. Basically, students for a while now have been pretty fed up with coverage they have received, particularly African-American students.” Wahoo Pundit has some back story on the Cavalier Daily’s coverage of African-American topics. Central to the debate is the fact that the Griot Society’s website says, explaining the colors of the Black Nationalist Flag, “The Red, or the blood, stands as the top of all things. We lost our land through blood; and we cannot gain it except through blood. We must redeem our lives through the blood. Without the shedding of blood there can be no redemption of this race.” Additionally, there are letters galore in the Cavalier Daily. So are the students overreacting, or is Dick way off-base?

12 thoughts on “Griot Society vs. Cavalier Daily”

  1. Without having read all of the articles and just based on Cvillenews’ account, what "land" are they referring to that they "lost" and need to "shed blood" for to regain? Africa? If they are referring to America, then I’d have to say that this land never "belonged" to anyone–except a case could be made for the Native Americans, but definitely not African-Americans.

  2. I want to first offer the caveat that this is a rather complex issue – one that does not lend itself to simple analysis. Perhaps it is relatively unimportant – enough so that for those not directly involved, the time needed for a decent analysis is almost not worth it.

    Could the griot quote be a reference to the land that was supposed to be given to freed slaves that was never received? I think that is a big source of the drive for reparations.

    If so, you could possibly understand how the land was lost – they had a right to it, and lost that right.

    All that said, I don’t really know more about the quote than what is in Waldo’s summary.

  3. Something that the Griot Society doesn’t mention on their webpage, and that Anthony Dick didn’t seem to have researched, is the source of the language about the colors of the flag (red, black, green).

    The statements about shedding blood, land, etc., appear on various Kwanzaa-related sites–for example, here.

    So that’s a spin on this issue. It’s not as if the kids made up these statements on their own. They’re leveraging the language of black nationalism in general.

    Regardless of any questions about the Griot Society, it’s pretty clear to me after spending a the past couple years at the university that certain columnists–Anthony Dick leading the pack–write some pretty ill-informed opinion columns.

  4. All that said, I don’t really know more about the quote than what is in Waldo’s summary.

    For which I apologize for its inevitable shortcomings. Boiling all of that down into a paragraph was rather trying, and, no doubt, it will be discovered that I left out some crucial facts. Hence the links galore. :)

  5. So if ignorance and bigotry and copied from another source rather than being original thoughts, that makes them more acceptable?

    The column seemed pretty balanced and well-informed to me (at least by college paper standards); Dick read the web site himself and then interviewed the founder and the current vice president of the group, and concluded that the group’s stated intentions were noble but the web site’s rhetoric detracts from its mission. Would ignoring his own research and taking only the word of the group’s members make his column better-informed? Would you advocate that approach for investigating a group whose members claimed it was purely charitable but whose web site contained links to the World Church of the Creator?

    If his conclusion is true – and it sure looks that way to me; the web site mixes positive and hateful messages pretty freely – protesting the column and trying to pressure the university to censor anti-Griot opinion isn’t going to change it. But that seems typical of the approach of politically correct types for the last decade or more: if you don’t like what someone says about you, why look at yourself to see if you need a wakeup call or put out your own message and let people decide the truth for themselves when you can just strongarm a weak-kneed faculty into suppressing competing points of view or compelling universal expression of your own?

  6. <i>"Every student had a newspaper in their hand and dropped it outside the door of The Cavalier Daily to show how hurt and flatly rejected they felt," Lovelace said. "It was an act of civil disobedience." </i>

    man, these people are idiots. how can you call it "civil disobedience" when you’re not disobeying anyone? about all you’re guilty of is littering. civil disobedience would have been taking those copies of the cav daily and burning them in the courtyards outside of newcomb hall. all you did was stand around in a public place holding a newspaper. at most, you violated a fire code or two. good job, fellas.

  7. Mr. Lovelace is the student member of the B.O.V. – good to see they picked such a sharp razor.

    Note: protest and civil disobedience are NOT synonyms.

  8. They are not really a hate group. They just appear as though they are.

    Basically, the news you see every day is a result of PR people jockeying for the fixed amount of media oxygen available in the ecosystem. So they can get in the news by pulling this blood stuff.

    If you really want to find out, just ask the FBI if they’re a hate group or not… I bet they’d know.

  9. The quote sounds like hate-inspiring rhetoric to me.

    Sure, they have the right to say it, and I have the right to not like it. Furthermore, those who don’t like it should not be automatically labeled as racists.

  10. I just am kind of curious whether this was intended as a response to what I said or to the article in general.

  11. "So if ignorance and bigotry and copied from another source rather than being original thoughts, that makes them more acceptable?"

    Did I say that? No, I didn’t.

    I pointed out the source of the statements in an effort to add one more piece of information, one more fact to the mix. What people want to do with that information (i.e., that the statements come from Black Nationalist groups in general) is up to them.

  12. Some racist wrote: "Furthermore, those who don’t like it should not be automatically labeled as racists."

    Whatever, man. That’s so racist.

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