Foul: Patricia Carroll Is CNN Woman Pelted With Peanuts At RNC Convention
Patricia Carroll was the victim of a racial attack in the shadow of the stage where the RNC showcased Black Republicans Tim Scott, Mia Love, and Artur Davis.
[Elections 2012: The RNC Convention]
Racism Festers In RNC's And CNN's Silence
Republican National Convention became the scene of a racist incident involving an African-American CNN camera-woman.
The RNC condemned the act. CNN gave a terse statement acknowledging it. At first, no names were released. Finally, under pressure from the Black community, the camera-woman, Patricia Carroll, 34, gave an interview. Resistance to investigating this incident remains as disheartening as the story, itself.
The facts are scarce. On Tuesday, August 28, Patricia Carroll, a camera-operator for CNN, was on the Convention floor. She noticed debris falling around her. Carroll looked up and saw the two White males tossing peanuts toward her. Peanuts, a GOP snack follows their symbolic Republican elephant.
"What are you doing? Carroll said. “Are you out of your damned mind?”
The men responded, "Here's some more peanuts." They then approached the guardrail and hovering above her in the stands and said: “This is what we feed animals at the zoo." They began hitting her with peanuts. The men were described as adult - “older-than-middle-aged White men."
In Carroll’s interview with friend and reporter Jamila Bey, the incident was viewed as surreal but not out of the realm for Florida. Carroll said: “While his partner laughed, the thrower leaned over the railing as if he was at the zoo and snorted, 'here’s some more peanuts.'"
Two Black cameramen and a female reporter came to her rescue. CNN security happened to be in the area. The two men were escorted out by RNC security. At this point, a bizarre story of racial insult sinks to levels that question whether this country has forgotten every painful lesson learned from the Civil Rights Movement.
The RNC offered Carroll no profuse apology. Instead, the RNC asked Carroll whether the miscreants been Black or White. Outside of a testy statement calling the incident reprehensible, the RNC strategists refuse to elaborate on any actions they have taken against the perpetrators.
CNN issued a short statement confirming the incident which also declared, "CNN worked with convention officials to address this matter and will have no further comment." Were the RNC and CNN expecting this blatantly racial act against a Black woman, by two White delegates, at a political convention, nominating a U.S. Presidential candidate to simply disappear? If neither institution wanted to fan the flames of this controversy remaining silent was not the best strategy.
News organizations pry into the lives of the famous, political, and pedestrian daily for a living. Yet, CNN, like other media, can become camera-shy when faced with being part of a breaking news story. In this case, CNN resisted every effort to provide details. One can only imagine the media and political fall-out from had a similar incident occurred at an NAACP convention, with a White camera-woman, and two Black men taunting her with animal insults, and throwing food.
Without a police report the names are more difficult to find, says Roland Martin, CNN commentator. The Huffington Post, The Root, and Richard Prince’s Journal-ism have been at the forefront of prying forth details. No investigation seems likely without continued pressure from social media and everyday people seeking answers their civil rights organizations are not interested in knowing.
The RNC statement condemning this racial attack failed to reveal the names of the men or whether they were allowed to return and vote for Mitt Romney. Their State delegation remains a mystery, as well. This shameful act, and the silence surrounding it, speaks to what is deeply wrong with this country.
Patricia Carroll was the victim of a racial attack in the shadow of the stage where the RNC showcased Black Republicans Tim Scott, Mia Love, and Artur Davis. Where Condoleeza Rice, former Secretary of State, referred to the racial segregation of her youth as an obstacle overcome with hard-work negating the harsh reality of four little girls killed in the Klan-bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church, in Birmingham, Alabama.
Each speaker regaled the GOP before an audience of over 4,000 delegates;where about 46 were African-American. To date, CNN and the RNC remain silent. However, remaining silent in the presence of racial ugliness will not make racism disappear. Racism only festers in silence.
The Republicans may be the party of Lincoln. But, they refuse to accept how the vestiges of the slavery Lincoln ended bedevils this country even into this 21st century.
Gloria J. Browne-Marshall, an Associate Professor of Constitutional Law at John Jay College in New York City, is author of "Race, Law, and American Society: 1607 to Present," "The U.S. Constitution: An African-American Context," and a journalist covering the U.S. Supreme Court. She is reporting from the Republican and Democratic National Conventions.
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