C-Ville Weekly‘s Racist Rant

A recent issue of the C-Ville Weekly included a paragraph from “The Rant” that read as follows:

To all you black motherf#$%ers running up here to the Charlottesville restaurants looking for free food, we wouldn’t be known as a restaurant, we would be know as a food bank. So, from now on when you bring your black ass into a restaurant in Charlottesville and want free food, carry your asses to a food bank. Thank you.

This was received poorly, as Marcella Robertson reported for NBC-29 yesterday. Protesters gathered in front of the newspaper’s Downtown Mall office, resulting in editor Giles Morris reading a prepared statement of apology to them. The paper also ran an apology in the current week’s issue. (I would link to the original piece or the apology on C-Ville Weekly’s site, but I cannot find either.)

Unfortunately, the paper’s response is to simply keep a tighter rein on the section (“rants that are sexist, racist, or in any way espouse points of view motivated by hate will not run in the paper”), rather than to finally axe the execrable embarrassment that is “The Rant.” If they don’t publish any comments “motivated by hate,” there would be virtually nothing left. The very purpose of it is to provide a public forum for people to say things that they would never say with their name attached to it, comments that would never otherwise be printed in the paper. It’s been some years since “The Rant” was added to the weekly, and it has cheapened the publication markedly ever since. (Most tellingly, they’re happy to print nasty remarks about individuals, but they censor the names of businesses that are criticized. Businesses advertise in the newspaper, of course, while individuals do not.) Morris would be smart to go beyond sanitizing “The Rant,” and just kill it. The newspaper and Charlottesville would be better for it.

22 thoughts on “C-Ville Weekly‘s Racist Rant”

  1. Amen. It’s the Maury Povich section of the newspaper, and the closest that the pub comes to matching its format (tabloid). Sensationalism for sensationalism sake is disgusting. I suggest they devote the space to free advertising for one charitable organization a week.

  2. C-Ville Weekly has made some marked improvements to their paper and their website of late. Following this suggestion would continue with this trend.

  3. This is one of the few ways the C-ville ever makes news. Killing the rant would be a good thing. It however will probably the one thing to make the eventual merger of the Hook and the Cville- .

    The cville doesn’t break news and often seems churlish and clueless on many issues but advertisers support it and I do believe in the free market. I appreciate the posting of the offending rant since by the time i heard of about it all copies were already off the newsstand.

    If the protesters had put pressure on those who place ads there might have been real change-

  4. Having been a recipient once (and thank you only mildly and once) of C’ville-‘s Rant too, I certainly hold no great fondness for the weekly featured section. Trying to be one of it’s contributing participants is another daunting matter. It is very brudish and about as clickish as the last enticable draw reamaining at MySpace. Although it might be challenging for this city to imagine, something could have even less integrity and scrupple than the tactile illicitous side of Craig’s List. Yet, I willfully bite the bullet and give it first amendment due [just barely] for serving as a public commentary outlet.

    Otherwise, this tripe is outright desperation and journalistic debasement, and ought to be thrown upon the dustbin of history. Now an insensitive overtoned racial affrontery has occured confirming such. My high school newspaper once used to perpetrate something equivalent called Prattle. The senior editor of that paper my sophmore year comitted to its removal from the back pages and discontinued it permanently. THAT WAS 1978 AND GOD BLESS HER FOR HAVING DID SO FOR A STUDENT RUN PUBLICATION!!!! How more stately and much elevated is your print publication Mister Morris? C’ville Weekly has been served to own up to general public responsibility and to begin so, by doing the right thing right away. Begin making the REAL Charlottesville that so espoused “Great Place to Live for All of Our Citizens.”

    How strange such a matter could coincidently coincide so close, to the held honor vigil near the free speech wall for Treyvon Martin. Arranged? Lets all be our own self-absorbed judges. I believe both the person who called the Rant and C’ville Weekly exercised extreme lack of responsibility, for the saying of what was spoke and the printing of what got published in press. Mr. Morris, tear out the Rant! Improve the value of your product and increase the worth of your media for advertisement. This is the twentyfirst century now and the rest of us are living in it.

  5. Like them or not, these sections seem to be a fixture at many newspapers. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has one called “The Vent” that has been in place for a decade or so. I would think in Charlottesville (a city which now, I note, has a public and censorship-free graffiti wall in front of city hall) this wouldn’t be considered a threat, though the racist rant clearly should have been axed.

  6. Perfectly put, Waldo. It’s just all around sordid and embarrassing. If I was an advertiser, I’d seriously be considering whether I wanted an association with something like that at all.
    As to the specifically offending rant, how the heck does that end up in print? It’s a pretty deliberate process–clearly a few sets of eyeballs saw that and thought: “no issues here!”

  7. I think I’m one of the only people I know who prefers Cville’s reporting over The Hook’s (Hook seems to go the sensationalism route far more eagerly than Cville–compare their coverage of the Huguely trial, for example–but that’s just me, I guess…). But I made a pledge to myself years ago that I would NOT give into the voyeuristic temptation to read The Rant if I was reading Cville. I make a *lot* of pledges to myself that I don’t keep, but I’ve kept that one, and I feel so…clean. Kind of like giving up drinking if you’re an alcoholic. Just…clean.

  8. Perhaps it the decrease in atmospheric pressure from way up high on your pedestals, but wow, do you folks have some thin skin. Its the rant. Its as dumb a blocks, but so is most of the c-ville.

    With regards to the particular rant that caused such ulcerating umbrage, how is it any more or less racist than the 4 weeks of “black people don’t tip” argument that was bandied about a while back. Was it the addition of expletives? I sure don’t hear such hue and cry when any given bible thumper decides to wail away on gay people in the rant, which is at least a semi monthly occurrence. Do I need to mention the rampant classism and sexism? What about when they went after the Socks-and-Sandled-American Community? Like CL RnR, its a viscous pit of word salad and poorly thought out ideas, nothing more and nothing less.

    I also fail to see how any of you could be personally embarrassed by some lame section of our lame local weekly. Is it a matter of civic pride? I love this town too, but Charlottesberg has way way worse embarrassment windmills at which you could be tilting, and yet conspicuously are not.

    Look, when something is as stupid as the rant, it only dignifies it to become so outraged by it. And when you dignify stupid things like that, you end up with situations like the TeaParty becoming legitimate players in the political theater. Is that what you want? Just ignore it, let it be stupid and it will hang its own self or die of atrophy.

    Or, and I know this is a radical idea, if you did care so very much (which I personally don’t), you could elevate the level of discourse by participating yourselves. I know its a lot easier to complain after the fact, but you seem like a rather erudite lot. As the great Jello Biafra once said “Don’t hate the media, become the media!”

    “Sensationalism for sensationalism sake is disgusting”? How long have you been in America? You should stay away from the 24 hour news cycle if the rant is too sensational. The only thing that saves us natives from being perpetually disgusted is our amazingly short attention span.

    And Claire, I generally agree with you, but… Like alcoholism? Really? Do I have to rally the alcoholics around Waldo’s IP address and protest? Do you need a sponsor? Do you wake up with the shakes on Mondays and decide to drive around Sunrise Trailer park hoping to hear a redneck yell, or go do a load of laundry at Bubbles in Belmont?

    Alright, I have said my peace. You may now rip me to shreds for disagreeing with the mob.

  9. Claire, I am with you. I, in general, prefer the writing in Cville. I think some people (those who prefer the hook’s style) define news and journalism very narrowly? Also, there seem to be a lot of personal feelings involved in people’s allegiance to one paper or the other.
    Though, none of that is really relevant to the argument. Folks just like to bring those feelings along.
    I think the response to this particular rant and the rant, in general, started off on good footing and then got really reckless and sprawling. I was disappointed to see what started as a very understandable request for explanation, apology and reexamination of that part of the paper, turn into personal attacks,dangerous assertions about what isn’t free speech, calls for people to put their ad dollars on the line (ad sales being the last thing I want determining what goes in my local paper), the list goes on.

  10. belmont yo…WUT? I said that for me giving up the Rant was kind of like quitting alcohol and left me feeling clean. WTF is your problem?

  11. OK, the names are familiar, but it’s as though people I don’t know are posting under them. Even Belmont Yo has more typos and less pith than usual.

    I know I’m not the only person who reads C-Ville Weekly backwards. First the rant & then the Sudoku. ‘Read This First’ is read-this-never for me.

    The Rant tells me how many isms there are still active in my community: and there are tons. Getting rid of the expression of the isms won’t get rid of the isms. I’d rather know what kind of local waters I’m actually swimming through, rather than the top ten list idealized place that keeps cropping up in glossy magazines.

    We got warts, people. Making sure no one ever takes a picture of them, doesn’t make them go away.

    Oh, and, by the way, FDR was president in a wheel chair.

    /cuts both ways

  12. I understand that lots of people enjoy reading the Rant. I believe that the Rant does more than just reflect isms that are already there–I think it encourages and normalizes a horrible tendency in our culture to lash out, anonymously, at fellow citizens. It makes it entertainment. It’s just like, IMO, all those horrible shows on cable channels where humans behave like absolute idiots–it’s not a neutral reflection of something, it’s an incitement for *more* of that something. It’s just, IMO, a sad shameful forum for some of the worst aspects of human behavior to be given a megaphone and a stage and for other humans to consume it like popcorn. God knows I don’t need to check in weekly on The Rant to know what isms are active in my community–I go out and walk around in the community for that. For the record, I don’t really care so much that someone went all racist-ballistic in The Rant (or whatever–as I said, I don’t read it). I wish the Rant didn’t even exist–it’s pandering to the lowest common denominator. Giving trolls their own stage.

  13. I’ve always thought that we ought to have ‘The Rave’ section. Only positive things! A rose to someone who assisted with something, for example.

    I also grew up with a tabloid that would have ‘The Rave and The Rant’, where both raves and rants were published.

    It sure would be nice to have ‘The Rave’ rather than ‘The Rant’. Just my 2 cents worth.

  14. Really touching how you so very very care….. less about this Yo. That’s even with some of the mixed points you had brought up.

    Dear Sian, it already seems ad dollars of the Cville Weekly Reader are going to anything but determining what’s in that… uh-um, (be nice… don’t be hating) yeah….. paper. What a frankenstein like fixation there, trying to sew that sow’s ear into a silk purse. Sorry, no offense to the real writers and editors at the Cville, they who know who they are. If this really struck such a raw nerve with you, then try getting on and becoming part of their staff. Perhaps they’ll even let you field responses off the actual rant-line phone. Then and when that gets to you, repeatedly chant the mantra “don’t be hating.”

    The hit and run is this: Rant ain’t nothing but drama and desparation on steriods begging for an intervention. It is that number that “for a good time call” continues being written on many restroom stall partitions.

  15. I will clarify two things: My point was not that that
    rant isn’t offensive. It is. To me at least.
    My point was not that the rant in general is sacred
    and should be protected at all costs. Personally,
    I don’t even read it.
    That’s all.

  16. Or, and I know this is a radical idea, if you did care so very much (which I personally don’t), you could elevate the level of discourse by participating yourselves. I know its a lot easier to complain after the fact, but you seem like a rather erudite lot. As the great Jello Biafra once said “Don’t hate the media, become the media!”

    That’s exactly what’s happening right here and right now, B-Yo: people are participating in a being-the-media discussion about elevating the level of discourse.

  17. While hate speech is repugnant, I support people’s right to free speech. But that speech should not be subsidized by businesses that advertise in your paper, unless they explicitly condone the attitudes represented by such speech.

    Until I am satisfied that your advertisers have not given you carte blanche to speak for them, I’ll consider their continued advertising in your paper an endorsement of the attitudes expressed in The Rant and will adjust my spending habits accordingly.

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  19. Surely not every call to the Cville rant line gets published in the paper? A decision was made to publish this rant. Decisions have consequences.

    Some seem to be saying, “I don’t read the rant but like the rest of the C-Ville (over the Hook) so I don’t think C-Ville should be held accountable for their editorial decision.”

    There also seems to be an insult towards those that prefer the writing in the Hook in one of the comments above. What a small town this is…

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