Palmer at DOA rally: an example to forget

By Dave Kirkpatrick

Martha, Martha, Martha, Martha, Martha.

You never cease to amaze me. Your antics can best be described as humorous, and your behavior at Day of Action III can best be described as despicable.

I’m not much of a fan of demonstrations. It seems there are better ways to handle things than to get up in front of a microphone and swear to students, the administration and the Board of Regents. If we want to make a point to the Regents, we should act like adults, not like juveniles using such profanity as the word “nigger.”

However, I must state my respect for people who stand up for what they believe in. The people who exercised their freedom of speech and assembly at DOA III deserve respect. They did more than most of us, myself included. But I feel it was a mistake letting Martha Palmer belch her displeasure with those people who failed to renew her contract for supposedly “racist” reasons.

You, Martha Palmer, are no example for those of us who are concerned with the so-called problem of “racism” at NIU. As children we were told to respect our elders. You, Martha Palmer, do not deserve respect.

How can you claim that you are one who looks beyond skin color when you call Leroy Mitchell a “plantation nigger?” How can you claim you are concerned when you call Tendaji Ganges a “plantation nigger?” How can you claim you are the one being discriminated against when you refer to the NIU administration as a bunch of “Uncle Toms?”

I wonder what would have happened if you were a white person calling people “nigger”? You probably would have been called a racist. And if you were called a racist, you would deserve the label. That word is a nasty word.

You’re lucky you didn’t say those things in Chicago. Dorothy Tillman called Mayor Eugene Sawyer an “Uncle Tom,” and she felt the wrath of the city come down on her. Unfortunately, no one here can rebut you because, as you said, you are no longer employed here. Well, maybe I can rebut your comments.

You spoke at our university, not yours. You said things that we as students, and others as employees, try to avoid because being considerate toward others is paramount when cultures are mixed. After your “speech,” you went around hugging people. That made me sick.

Most of the people who heard your speech were asking, “Who the hell is that up there?” Most people were completely turned off by your embellishment into your personal problems. Granted, your problems started here, but your problems should have ended here also. Your situation was investigated, and your claims of racial and sexual discrimination were rejected.

You chose to pursue your case outside of the university, and you are now waiting for the Illinois Department of Human Rights and the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to review your case. Maybe the results will be different, and if they are, maybe I will have to eat crow. With a little salt, it shouldn’t be that bad.

I hope those who heard you speak didn’t take you seriously. I saw the expressions on the faces of some of the Regents and administrators and they were laughing and rolling their eyes.

You spouted off in a manner that warranted you answering questions about your allegations. When you were approached by a reporter from this newspaper, you blurted some passing comments and took off. Maybe for your sake that was a wise move.

I do not know Martha Palmer on a personal basis, and to be honest I really don’t care to get inside that head of hers. However, I can only assume that those people who did know her lost some respect.

Martha isn’t here to read this, but if anyone out there knows her address, please send her a copy of this column. Maybe then she will answer some questions.