Sometimes I wonder if the academics ever get tired of taking pot-shots at me, but then I remember they have to “publish or perish” and I stop wondering for a little while. I had been putting off reading one of the latest, “’Founding Mothers:’ White Mothers of Biracial Children in the Multiracial Movement (1979-2000),” a thesis by Alicia Doo Castagno. It’s all over the Internet, just google the author.
I agreed to two telephone interviews for this thesis. She must have asked me on a day when I wanted to set the record straight from another academic’s misquotes and inaccurate portrayals of me.
It turns out that it was really helpful for Alicia that I agreed to be interviewed because her other two interviewees were the following:
1. Mandy (no last name) who wasn’t a “founding mother” that I know of, but was the mother of an adopted multiracial child and went to a play group.
2. Anonymous interviewee—I-Pride. Really? Yes, and Anonymous answered six questions, but guessed at most of the brief answers.
I remember when students and academics used to really be accountable. They strove for accuracy and integrity. They welcomed interviews with credible people and using anonymous sources was simply not acceptable. Then came the multiracial advocacy academics and their poor, unsuspecting students.
Alicia misquoted me throughout the thesis, but just as bad, she drew conclusions out of thin air, added old debunked stories for effect, and even added her own emphasis to my already misquoted quotes. I managed to read through it and even laugh at a few completely erroneous items. However, there is one such “item” that has wound its way around multiracial mythology and makes such a juicy tidbit that no one wants to let it go.
Look! Here it is again on page 80 of young Alicia’s paper:
Unlike [Rainier] Spencer, Kim M. Williams does not criticize multiracial identity politics. She does, however, specifically lambast Graham:
Susan Graham did not respond to the [anti-multiracial] NAACP address, probably because she held out hope that, through the “Tiger Woods Bill” (H.R. 830), she had found a way to avoid dealing with the venerated civil rights organization altogether. (At her home in 1998, I noticed a photograph of Graham and Newt Gignrich (sic) on the living room wall…)
I will say it one last time for the slower academics among you: I have never had a picture of Newt Gingrich in any home I have ever lived in. Period.
Kim Williams may have become confused by a photo I do have in my office, which shows 18 people at our bill signing in 1993 in Georgia with former Governor, Zell Miller. I believe he had a bigger desk than Newt Gingrich at the time. Oh, and they look nothing alike! Anyway, it’s right next to the framed letter I received from President Bill Clinton, dated October 12, 1995.
Kim Williams was also very, very angry at me because she wanted free-access to look through all the Project RACE files and copy whatever she liked. During the mid-nineties there was a lot of CONFIDENTIAL
Information passed back and forth between multiracial groups’ leaders, policy-makers, legislators, etc. When something is marked CONFIDENTIAL, I go out of my way to see that it is kept CONFIDENTIAL. Perhaps Williams made up the “Newt Gingrich Fairy Tale” because she was upset with the confidential way I do business.
Stay tuned for Part 2.