Livid

I am livid because this has been going on, to my knowledge, for forty-five years. What; you ask? The failure to correct native speakers of English when the words they use are incomprehensible or just plain wrong.

On the one hand, as a non-native speaker, I have been fully aware that it can take children of seven or eight about three months to beocme fluent in English, if that is what they have to speak. How long the public schools have had special assistance for children learning English as a second language, I do not know.

What I learned in 1977, as a parent volunteer in Florida schools, was that while some elementary schools in a university community had to deal with non-English speaking students from as many 21 countries, native born children got no help overcoming the incomprehensible black English they had learned at home. They were just left alone to muddle through, or not. Not understanding the children’s speech made it easy for the teachers to ignore their learning deficits.

And so it is today. Because of affirmative action requirements people are being hired and promoted just for show and as subtle evidence of what “everybody” knows: “some people just don’t measure up.” That’s not evidence of preference for immigrants, who get extra help, nor antagonism towards the native born. It is evidence of disdain and this disdain results in us all being poorly served.

EXAMPLE:

Begin forwarded message from Jaques Battiste, GCPD Chief

Good Morning Mr. Smith…I first want to thank you for always being commensurate in checking every syllable that has come from mfy mouth since I initially have said “hello” to the Glynn County community. I apologize for not responding in a more timely fashion…but surely a man of your great expertise on so many subjects which occur daily in our county.

Most people allow a new department head at least 60 days to learn their surroundings before the daily “lashings” begin.

So instead of these consistent email, I would like to offer you an opportunity to come to the station where we can meet, collaborate, and resolve these minor trivialities that only you seem to be centered on. Kindly schedule a time with my Administrative Assistant Stephanie Colon at
912.554.7800.

I await your visit.

Jacques S. Battiste
Chief

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From: Allen Booker
Sent: Thursday, July 22, 2021 8:11:36 AM
To: J. R. Smith ; Jacques Battiste
Cc: Board of Commissioners List ; Aaron Mumford ; Matthew Kent
Subject: Re: Do you mean “we, the people” or “we, the police”?

JR,

My early morning response, First, as you critique the sentence structure of my email, please know that I fully support your consistent commitment to hold all public officials accountable and to push for more transparency period. Secondly, please remember that we are human, as you are, and do make mistakes often in the process of trying to serve our community. We don’t always have the luxury of making the decision that will make everyone happy, since you have been an elected official I thought you would understand, however, you take so much time to critique on minor things that are human mistakes, it reduces your impact on the more serious issues that you have a good point, it appears you would rather be seen as a good English Professor than a real advocate for just governance. Finally, you should ask tough questions of our new Chief, he certainly can take it, that is one of the reasons we hired him, however, I am surprised that you are coming at him so hard about the way he phased some of his responses. Frankly, very surprised that as a social justice advocate for years, as you have shared with me personally, that you wouldn’t give the first permanent African-American County Chief at least time to settle in during such racial tension in our community, especially with the trail coming in the fall. Another thing, I don’t hear you speaking out against racism much, when you hear others that you live around are openly making certain comments that are coded language aimed at the black community, ie section 8 and crime, I have not once heard you in our public hearings speak against this kind of coded language, so it appears to me that your critiques are academic exercises that you can afford and those of us that have to live in the struggle for Justice cannot.

Thanks for all you do
Allen Booker
District 5 Commissioner
Raised in Public Housing and Section 8

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From: J. R. Smith
Sent: Thursday, July 22, 2021 4:26:15 AM
To: Jacques Battiste
Cc: Board of Commissioners List ; Aaron Mumford ; Matthew Kent
Subject: Do you mean “we, the people” or “we, the police”?

Dear Chief Battiste:

Following your recent comments to the Golden Isles Women’s Club, you were quoted in the July 19th issue of “The Islander” newspaper as having said “I will protect everyone to the best of my ability. But we have allowed politics to take over our country. We, as law enforcement officers, can provide the best service when the community works with us.”

Were you quoted accurately? And if so, is the “we” in “But we have allowed politics to take over our country” the same “we” as in the next sentence: “We, as law enforcement officers . . . “?

That is, did you mean that “We, as law enforcement officers, have allowed politics to take over our country”? Or were you simply shifting carelessly from one “we” to another?

You are then quoted as saying “If you let us know what your problem is, we will try to help you solve that problem to the best of our ability.”

My “problem” is that you seem to be saying things that can be misinterpreted—and that when I ask you politely for clarification, you do not respond.

How do you propose to solve that problem to the best of your ability?

Just for the record, please see below the questions I sent you on July 12th following your comments during the lunch event sponsored by the Golden Isles Republican Women’s Club where you greeted me with a smile and took my card (as you did after our first meeting last month at the Brunswick Public Library).

I do not consider the fact that you have not acknowledged or responded to those questions to be my problem. That seems to be your problem.

Finally, Cher Chef, as we were both educated in New Orleans, let me presume to ask this question: would you agree that providing clear and unambiguous statements to the community might be part of the “best service” you promise to provide? Mais oui?

Sincerely,

Julian Smith

————my earlier message——————

Dear Chief Battiste:

I was prepared to ask you just one question at the lunch today at Bennie’s Red Barn, but I waited too long and the moderator cut off questions. Now I will ask some of the many questions I jotted down after the Q&A session at the Brunswick Library last month.

Please feel free to save time by responding to any question or comment within the text.

But first: early in your presentation this afternoon, you mentioned the importance of a word I could not hear clearly today or last month. That word was either “civility” or “servility”. Would you please confirm which one it was?

Now back to some of the things you said at the library last month. My questions are based on reviewing the archival video of that event.

—Were you joking when you referred to the Glynn County Police Department “you have come to know and love” and claimed “it’s been run very well so far”?

—Were you being overly optimistic and perhaps unrealistic when you claimed “I want us to become a role-model police department for the rest of the United States” and that “I intend . . . to have the very best educated police officers in the country” and that “they will receive the best education that we can afford”?

—Do you expect the taxpayers and the county commission to help you keep your promise that “we’re going to continue with the recruiting process to bring in at least twenty-five or thirty more officers”?

—Were you serious when you said “the problem is, the public needs to be re-educated” and that “the public is going to have to go through courses on understanding implicit bias”? And if so, how do you intend to re-educate an elderly former college professor like myself?

—Do you intend to check with the county attorney or the local district attorney as to whether or not you were on safe legal ground when you said “I promise . . . I will write every chief, every sheriff, every law enforcement agency in the country to let them know about” Glynn County police officers who were fired or forced to resign after they broke the rules, procedures, and/or protocols you promise to impose?

—On what basis do you refer to Glynn County as “probably one of the most profitable and successful counties in the state of Georgia”? For that matter, why do you expect any county in the United States to be “profitable”?

—After rambling on ominously about what may happen following the trial of the three men charged in the death of Ahmaud Arbery, why did you ask the audience “Did I make sense with that last question?”—and then fail to wait for an answer?

Here is a question I submitted in advance before the library Q&A session that did not survive the screening process: “In the event county officials decide the public will not be allowed to ask you unscreened questions or allow you to answer such questions DURING the ‘Public Q&A’ session, and in the event members of the public attempt to ask unscreened questions, are you willing to hear and answer those unscreened questions?”

Once that meeting back in June was over, I handed you a copy of that question and provided my contact information. You looked at my question and told me you would respond to it by ten o’clock that evening. Almost a month later, I am still waiting for your response.

Respectfully submitted,

Julian Smith
**********************************
I might ad that when we first arrived in Gainesville, Florida, the local black community relied on a young graduate of the University of Florida to represent their interests befor the City Commission and the Palnning Borad that was supervising the removal of homeowners to make way for “urban renewal.” The young man was fluent in bureaucratese whose meaning he did not understand. So, the bureaucrats just assumed that everyone was in agreement with their plans to remove people whose families had settled the area over a hundred years ago.