DOUGLAS OLSON on 'Uppity Negress' -- reader response

Return to Mr. Olson's column.


To the editor ...

I'm Andrea Carter. Mr. Olson's article is full of error. Needless to say he didn't even try to contact me for an interview. He reported on hearsay and spouted untruths worldwide.

White people buy the shirt without any disdain from me. I make it clear that it is not for whites, and they understand and respect it. Still if they ask for one, I know it is because they understand and want to make the difference.

Did Mr. Olson not even query about my lifestyle? Did he not even investigate that my circle of friends are mostly white? Did he investigate that most of my personal, social support comes from whites? Did he not even query that my last roommate, who is white, petitioned to her business that they be the first to carry the shirts? They were 3 white women and 1 black. Did Mr. Olson not query my former (white) lovers? Did he not query my (white) friends who entrust me with their (white) children? Did he query my last employer, the coffee shop, if they ever considered me racist? Did he not query the (white) patrons of the coffee shop? And did he ask the owner of all people who still give media reports praising my candor and character? Mr. Olson is so ridiculous and unethical in reporting.

I find white people who are so threatened of black angst are the only white people who read the City Paper's article and ran with it that I was a racist. Most white people who really are in touch with the secrets and sensitivities of black people knew that my approach to not wanting to sell it to whites had nothing to do with creating a racial divide but in getting black people to use it as a tool of expression to emphasize the weight of a "feeling." White people like Mr. Olson are so culturally dominant in "knowing what is appropriate." And for all of that I am inappropriate for not wanting white people's help primarily. See, Mr. Olson complains that we black people are so dismantled and disassociated, but when I try to get my own people to do something without "master's" help, he still complains that I am "uppity" in denying him. Well damn!

Mr. Olson's role was to watch, learn, and share in the discourse. If he wanted to help, help was to be constructive and not destructive. I have met so many beautiful white people that have contributed in so many ways without needing to "colonize" my feelings all over again. But hey, Mr. Olson doesn't get it. He sees my uppity-assed approach as the biggest sin. Sorry God!

Black people (on a whole) are so afraid of racist people like Mr. Olson who throw out reverse-racial guilt that they never feel confident to express what they truly feel. I am so use to this white man's guilt trip. It's weak and Mr. Olson is disgusting!

Blacks are afraid of people like him. His article is just another form of Jim Crow.

Andrea Carter
Received November 12, 2004;
posted January 3, 2005


Nicholas Strakon comments

I am grateful to Miss Carter, as I am sure Mr. Olson is grateful, for her instruction on what his "role" was. In fact, though, I thought he had shared in the discourse by writing the very column under discussion.

Now, I'm not going to be able to satisfy Miss Carter on at least one point. Having contacted several of the country's leading private-investigation firms, I've learned that a full-field background investigation such as the one Miss Carter proposes, including the identification and interviewing of her former lovers, would cost WTM Enterprises in the neighborhood of $30,000 and would subject us to possibly devastating legal liability. Our budget doesn't quite extend to that.

OK, OK, I didn't really get in touch with Wackenhut or Pinkerton. I'm just joking about that. But I'm not joking when I say that Miss Carter's letter reflects something that is wholesome, refreshing, good-hearted, and very American — at least by default.

It contains no threats. That's fairly unusual these days, when it comes to such topics.

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