“Power concedes nothing without a demand.”
– Frederick Douglass
Washington & Lee has displayed Confederate flags in the chapel dedicated to Robert E. Lee since the 1930s… and now they won’t. All because 14 black Washington & Lee law students demanded that the university stop. Those students risked the consequence of potential employers who could and probably still will label them as agitators. They risked disapprobation from those in the dominant culture who still expect black people to “just get over” slavery, racial oppression, and continued racism. They risked time, energy, and stress that could have been devoted to finals or networking or just finding a good microbrew.
When you think about it, naming the band "Massa-Bossmans" would have been more ambiguous.
On Friday we wrote about the settlement agreed to by Cure Lounge, a club in Boston that was accused of discriminating against African-American patrons. In the comments, it seemed like some of our Southern readers where all too happy to point out that this example of racist behavior took place in the North.
Lord knows I’ve never said that racism is an exclusively Southern phenomenon. But I’ve met enough Southerners to know that they sometimes feel unfairly maligned just because of their Confederate past. Sure, I could argue that only Southerners would come up with the name like “Lady Antebellum” for a band — and only Southerners would defend that name as “merely” referring to a time before the Civil War, as if I’m supposed to be the idiot who forgets what was happening in the South before the Civil War. But whatever, the point is taken, modern racism exists North and South, East and West, probably in relatively equal “amounts,” if such a thing could be quantified.
But still, you have to give the South credit. When they go for it, they always seems to have more flair. They have a — what’s the word? — one might say “cavalier” way, at least at UVA Law, of going about racial intolerance.
It would be charming, if it wasn’t so damn disgusting…
Despite the unseasonably warm temperatures we’ll be seeing here in D.C. later this week, summer is over. But that doesn’t mean our inbox is closed to stories of summer associate scandal.
Check out this great pair of controversies, from the summer program of Washington powerhouse Patton Boggs:
There have been rumors flying around Patton Boggs about major drama in this year’s summer associate class that I thought I’d pass along. Some of the summers got upset because:
(1) At the summer associate golf outing, one of the associates wore a Confederate flag hat while playing 18 holes with the summers. The hat apparently went unnoticed by everyone except the summer associates, who (rightfully) felt uncomfortable telling a lawyer at the firm that his hat may be in poor taste. Best part: apparently he shared a golf cart with one of the black summers!
(2) Apparently a very high-level partner at Patton Boggs was disappointed to learn that a beauty queen winner/current law student was not offered a position as a summer associate. When he learned that the firm had instead hired a (gasp!) gay summer associate, he allegedly said, in front of others at the firm, “You know the recruiting department is screwed up when they’re rejecting beauty queens but hiring homosexuals.”
We contacted Patton Boggs for comment. A firm spokesperson provided this statement:
“The firm takes these types of matters seriously. When we hear of things of this nature, we investigate and take appropriate action as necessary.”
If you’re at Patton Boggs and can enlighten us further about these events — or if you’re at another firm, and have summer associate stories you’re now at liberty to share with us, given the passage of time — please email us. Thanks.
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