Archive for Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Investigator finds no evidence that Lawrence City Manager David Corliss made racial slur

An internal investigation said David Corliss did not say a racial slur and the city will not take disciplinary action.

July 7, 2010, 2:11 p.m. Updated July 7, 2010, 2:21 p.m.


Related document

David Corliss Investigation Report ( .PDF )

An independent investigation was inconclusive on whether City Manager David Corliss uttered the phrase “spear-chucker” during a staff meeting, but the investigator found no evidence that Corliss was trying to make a racial slur.

Mayor Mike Amyx released the report Wednesday afternoon and said city commissioners had determined to not reprimand Corliss since there was no evidence that his remarks were racially motivated. City commissioners met about the matter Tuesday evening in executive session.

“The City Commission has found no basis for further action,” Amyx said.

The report by former Kansas University Law School dean Stephen McAllister found that five people in a June 10 staff meeting were certain that Corliss used the phrase “spear-chucker,” which is a negative term for black people.

But McAllister said four other people in the meeting did not recall Corliss using the phrase.

None of the nine people in the meeting, though, believes that Corliss was trying to make a racial reference during the meeting.

“No one I interviewed claimed to believe or even asserted that they thought the city manager used the term ‘spear-chucker’ with the intent to make a racial slur or in a racially derogatory fashion,” McAllister wrote in the report. “Even those who brought the matter to the mayor’s attention indicated that they did not believe the city manager used the term with any racial intent.”

The leaders of the city’s firefighter and police unions alerted the mayor to the comment and asked for an investigation. Their concerns came as the city was negotiating new employment contracts with the unions. But union officials have said the tough negotiations did not have any impact on their decision to ask for an investigation.

Mike McMillen, head of the fire union, said he brought the issue to the mayor’s attention because he believed city employees had a responsibility to report such language.

Both McMillen and Mike McAtee, head of the police union, said they accepted the City Commission’s findings.

An estimate on how much the investigation cost was not available because the city has not yet received McAllister’s bill.

Other findings from the report included:

• No one present in the June 10 meeting recalled any reaction to Corliss’ use of the phrase “spear-chucker.” A majority of the nine people at the meeting later said they were not aware the phrase had a racially derogatory meaning.

• McAllister determined that it would “make little sense” for Corliss to use the phrase as a racial slur given the context of the meeting. The meeting was about health care benefits. The five who remember Corliss uttering the phrase agreed it was said in the context of making an unpopular decision about health benefits. McAllister reported individuals remembered Corliss saying something similar to: “Let the spear-chuckers chuck their spears at me. I’m ready to catch them.”

McAllister said the remark didn’t make sense in a racial context because no one in the meeting was black, and none of the city employee groups is predominantly black. The city’s work force is about 4.75 percent black.

Corliss had little to say on the findings Wednesday.

“I appreciate the City Commission’s support,” Corliss said.

Corliss previously said he did not recall whether he used the phrase during the meeting. He said he was sure he did not use the phrase to describe the racial makeup of a group of people.


Edward Coan 6 years ago

The Good 'Ole Boy network still at work.

Majestic42 6 years ago

Or, he actually didn't say anything wrong. gasp!

jaywalker 6 years ago

Unbelievably stupid comment if you actually read the story. Let's pretend you didn't.

ivalueamerica 6 years ago

Your comment is ignorant.

This went as should. There was something questionable. It was taken seriously and determined that nothing bad happened, case closed.

The term Politically correct means respect, courtesy and polite despite the attempts of the right to re-define it.

I realize you are against respect, civility and manors when it comes to people not like you, but society has deemed that to be disgusting.

jaywalker 6 years ago

How do you know that consumer is against 'landed estates', ivalue?

Michael Throop 6 years ago

Ah, okay, so, when conservative speakers are banned from college campuses, or shouted down by lefties, that's politically correct. We're practicing respect, courtesy, and being polite. When Christians and Jews are harrassed by other religious or political-religoous groups that's that political correctness at work, gotcha. "Speech codes", now pretty much outlawed by court decisions, were that wonderful political correctness at work. Gosh, I feel better, but that's likely not politically correct, because someone else probably feels bad.

kimmydarling 6 years ago

Ah yes, the hard life in America for the poor put upon Christians...

Douglas Yetman 6 years ago

So by this, it appears you apparently think that kind of language is acceptable? If a person is believed to have used such offensive language--especially an employee being paid by tax dollars--an investigation should take place. Bottom line is that HE and YOU both should know that this kind of behavior is unacceptable.

kansastruthteller 6 years ago

"None of the nine people in the meeting, though, believes that Corliss was trying to make a racial reference during the meeting. "

And yet, it was made into a racial incident.

Stuart Evans 6 years ago

perhaps hanging is inappropriate. I would like to begin an investigation into the use of the word hang. However, I don't find it offensive and I don't think you meant it to be, but it could be, so lets throw some time and money at this and see what happens.

Lindsey Buscher 6 years ago

You're suggesting a law professor is a "good 'ole boy"? You are also suggesting that the unions and this professor and the city commission are all part of some conspiratorial network and that the city manager really is a racist? Well, if that is the case then surely somebody is lying, so you are implying that someone is a liar. Nice conservatard reactionary response.

stuckinthemiddle 6 years ago

apparently "spear-chucker" isn't forbidden... that's interesting...

to tell you the truth... I would have thought that using the term "spear-chucker" in this forum could have gotten you blocked or banned...

and... it makes you wonder what other terms people who work for the city can use without being reprimanded...

Majestic42 6 years ago

Or HE DIDN'T SAY IT. Do some research before coming on here and acting like and idiot, idiot.

stuckinthemiddle 6 years ago

what research did you do to determine that he didn't say it?

five out of the nine people at the meeting were "certain" that he used the term "spear-chucker"...

maybe they just made it up...

some folks act like idiots... other just are...

Majestic42 6 years ago

I meant, he didn't say it as a derogatory term. "None of the nine people in the meeting, though, believes that Corliss was trying to make a racial reference during the meeting." Since he refers to himself as a "spear-catcher" for making tough decisions for the city, it's logical that he either slipped or even referred to an opponent as a spear-"chucker," without realizing the racial implications. Give the guy the benefit of the doubt.

d_prowess 6 years ago

I don't think they are saying that it is not a racial slur, just that he did not use it in that context. If I remember correctly, when the story first broke Corliss gave an explanation of why he might have used that term that actually made a lot of sense in the context of him adjusting the budget. I don't remember it exactly, but I am sure some savvy person can post the link if they want.

stuckinthemiddle 6 years ago

I remember that, as well... he said something about how he might have been referring to spears being thrown at him... as in he was being blamed for things… but he didn't have a clear recollection...

I'm not suggesting that he meant it as a racial slur... he may very well of just messed up his words... but... I have to lean towards him having said it... and I think it’s a term that we should all agree should not be used by a city official during a city meeting... and if someone even mistakenly uses such a term without some fair explanation maybe they should receive some kind of reprimand…

jaywalker 6 years ago

So a slip of the tongue is now criminal? Get a life, stuck.

stuckinthemiddle 6 years ago

I'll get a life when you get a grip...

it's not criminal... it's bad work performance...

jaywalker 6 years ago

Bad work performance? Sorry, that usually doesn't involve a 'reprimand.'

stuckinthemiddle 6 years ago

not sure where you work or have worked but every place I've ever worked over the past 40 years there has been reprimands for bad or even poor work performance...

I don't think he should be fired or even suspended... but a letter of reprimand might be appropriate...

if someone said spear-chucker in a meeting where I work now... they would at least receive some kind of written reprimand... regardless of what was meant… with the exception of actually referring to someone who is throwing a spear…

jaywalker 6 years ago

" regardless of what was meant

Gimme a break. Regardless? So now this one word is the equivalent of saying 'bomb' on an airplane, or yelling 'fire' in a crowded theater?
And 'reprimands for bad or even poor work performance' is so general and vague it's not worth discussing. This wasn't about 'bad or poor' anything related to work. He spoke a word, for crying out loud, and it's been deemed to be completely innocent and innocuous. People continuing to make more of this than it's worth are silly and sad. Period.

notorious_agenda 6 years ago

He said he is often refers to himself as a "spear-catcher" when it comes to disagreements. To me meaning he is being attacked from all directions on issues as if people were throwing spears at him. like a hunted animal.

jaywalker 6 years ago

So what if he did use the term if it was in a non-racial manner? Are we to ban words now?

stuckinthemiddle 6 years ago

ban? as in no one can say certain words ever in any situation?

not something I'd want... not for any word...

but there are some words and phrases and terminologies that government officials doing government business should ban themselves from using...

imagine President Obama using the terms whitey or honky… in a non-racial manner… in a meeting with Congressional Republicans... ~chuckle~
heads would explode…

jaywalker 6 years ago

Again, we're talking of a slip of the tongue here at worst. Government officials are not immune to such errors, and since they're quite often quoted or on camera it just gets more pub than what you say manning the frier.
The man said that he often used the term 'spear-catcher' to describe himself on certain issues; substituting 'chucker' would be such an innocent slip. And since even the men who came forward to report the incident said it was not used in a racially derogatory manner, then the Word Police like yourself are the ones that need to get a grip. And a freakin' life.

jaywalker 6 years ago

As I've explained on an earlier string, as a javelin thrower that's exactly what my teammates and I were called. I guess anyone who names their mouse "Whitey" should be tarred and feathered by your rationale. And if you're a black person and use the N word, that's apparently okey dokey. Sorry, red, but the term 'spearchucker' is not automatically a racist word, no matter how much simpletons wish it to be so.

IndusRiver 6 years ago

In Lawrence they all get one another off. That's why this town is all one way.

Liberty275 6 years ago

Did you miss this part?

"None of the nine people in the meeting, though, believes that Corliss was trying to make a racial reference during the meeting.

“No one I interviewed claimed to believe or even asserted that they thought the city manager used the term ‘spear chucker’ with the intent to make a racial slur or in a racially derogatory fashion,” McAllister wrote in the report."

Is guilty until proven innocent one of your core values or do you just dislike the person in question? Save your outrage for real cases of racism and it will have more meaning. You are just squandering it on this.

IndusRiver 6 years ago

to tell you the truth... I would have thought that using the term "spear-chucker" in this forum could have gotten you blocked or banned...

You can be blocked or banned for far less. Report fraud or corruption, see what happens.

stuckinthemiddle 6 years ago

then this post of yours should surely get you banned... eh?

brujablanco 6 years ago

Now, IR, you are leaving out the part where you defamed someone, were told to provide evidence, but have neglected to do that.

KEITHMILES05 6 years ago

I thought it interesting when I asked a very good friend of mine who grew up in Alabama and knows every form of racial epithet about blacks and all forms of ebonics. He had never heard of this word. I have no idea if this is something which is readily used in the derogatory manner or not nor did he.

Stuart Evans 6 years ago

nice insinuation about Alabama. Surely since everyone in Ala. is a racist hick, they would be issued a complete manual on how to properly perform their racism.

KEITHMILES05 6 years ago

Why do you think everybody in Bama is a "racist hick"????

You failed to grasp what I was saying and I'm not about to explain to you any clearer.

Stuart Evans 6 years ago

I don't think that about Alabama.. but it appears you do.

"when I asked a very good friend of mine who grew up in Alabama and knows every form of racial epithet about blacks and all forms of ebonics"

Why did you feel it necessary to say your friend was from Alabama? And then you went on to say that he knows ever racial slur known to man. My post was heavily laden with sarcasm. what's your excuse?

femmefatale 6 years ago

I've never heard the term either.

pace 6 years ago

I thought it interesting that your friend who knew all the racial slurs hadn't heard that one. And the point is . I resent you casting Southerners as special experts on racism. I defend the Midwest, the East and the West as knowing about racists slurs. New Jersey might have the edge. While I don't think Corliss meant the term in a racist way, I have heard it. and I am not from the South. It can be racial and it can refer to football players who throw well, a basketball player who regularly tries for three pointers and fails, and javelin tossers. I wonder if any exbasketball players were in the room?

IndusRiver 6 years ago

Actually, it's been my experience with Corliss that he sides with an African-American who is racist toward whites.

Now, sit back and wait to be censored. Nah, we're not commie.

yankeevet 6 years ago

He never said anything wrong..............freedom of speech....

pace 6 years ago

freedom of speech doesn't rob speech of it's power or meaning.

Amy Heeter 6 years ago

How much did this investigation cost?

IndusRiver 6 years ago

Is guilty until proven innocent one of your core values or do you just dislike the person in question? Save your outrage for real cases of racism and it will have more meaning. You are just squandering it on this.

I'm always guilty until proven innocent. Doesn't seem to be any problems there. My "core values" would have tossed this town's lying, thieving politicians out on their butts a long time ago.

Amy Heeter 6 years ago

O.K. indus I know there are alot of things about Lawrence that anger you. Really though don't you think this whole spear chucker thing is stupid? Even for Lawrence?

sixone_bigfun 6 years ago

"I said 'bigger' I swear"...everything about this story is a joke...

Stuart Evans 6 years ago

I think he said it was "near supper"

50YearResident 6 years ago

This case is closed even though "stuck-in-the-middle" has a big chip on his shoulder for some unknown reason. Trivial issues like this do not require a supreme court decision to decide if a law was broken or a racial slur was commited.

Flap Doodle 6 years ago

I think he said spare chukker, referring to the game of polo.

SettingTheRecordStraight 6 years ago

The real story is this line, "But union officials have said the negotiations did not have any impact on their decision to ask for an investigation."

Are we to believe that union bosses would not make something out of nothing in order to improve their position in contract negotiations?

Does anyone believe the city isn't slightly intimidated by the union's (unfounded) claim and now much more likely to give the union bosses what they want?

jaywalker 6 years ago

Right. Cuz words are the problem. 'Course, you don't even know how he "used" that word, and since everyone who heard the actual context says there was no foul, you're pretty much.........pardon, don't wanna use a 'word'.

jaywalker 6 years ago

That's exactly the point, biggunz. They had an investigation and it was NOT as big as some made it out to be. Why is this so difficult for so many to grasp?

BigPrune 6 years ago

Hey Holm, I can dig it! You know he ain't gonna lay no mo' big rap upon you man!

translation: Yes, he is wrong for doing that.

workinghard 6 years ago

Reminds me of the banning of Little Black Sambo book as racial. It just never made sense to me because the story was in India and had tigers not lions.

kimmydarling 6 years ago

and we should only work hard to avoid propagating racist material if it is about African Americans? It's still racist, regardless of where the person of color came from

kansasredlegs 6 years ago

Independent Investigation? Right. City always uses McAllister when it needs a predetermined outcome. Hope he wasn't on KU's Professor clock when he was charging the City his $300 - $500 per hour. btw: What happened to the Honorable Gerald Cooley who was supposed to be the one conducting the investigation as first reported?

Way to spend, er, throw away the City's money, Mr. Mayor.

LJW: It's an open record, right? Report how much Mayor Amyx wasted on this 'independent investigation.'

jaywalker 6 years ago

"predetermined outcome"? Did you read the story and the testimony of the people at the meeting or is only about your personal agenda?

Tammy Copp-Barta 6 years ago

And if he was using University of Kansas time, I assume it goes back to reimburse the University?

If he was working on his own time consulting, isn't that a Conflict of Interest violation at the University?

equalaccessprivacy 6 years ago

"Conflict-of interest" is KU's middle name.

IndusRiver 6 years ago

Now, IR, you are leaving out the part where you defamed someone, were told to provide evidence, but have neglected to do that.

Anybody who thinks they can sue me, sue me.

bangaranggerg 6 years ago

I am an african american board-certified neurosurgeon and I answer to the name "Spearchucker". Trapper and Hawkeye tell me it's because of my javelin-throwing prowess though..

Richard Heckler 6 years ago

Independent Investigation is not enough on matters such as this. After all it was inconclusive.

Are there smoking guns? We don't know that.

Is there some underlying motivation behind this activity?

Personally I would be shocked if Dave Corliss did use the term "spear chucker" in a very public staff meeting. He wasn't born yesterday.

Nonetheless this should should move to a more in depth investigative process under the circumstances.

jaywalker 6 years ago

More "in depth"???? What do you want now......clairvoyants? What else is there to investigate? For the love.....

Flap Doodle 6 years ago

Oh do let us spend more money on this. It's only tax money, what the hell!

BruceWayne 6 years ago

Amyx wears a wig. He is a wigger.

femmefatale 6 years ago

that's funny BW! But we "blacks" call it wigga!

Flap Doodle 6 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

John Hamm 6 years ago

There seems to be a lot of commentary that "spear chucker" isn't a derogatory term towards Blacks. Now I might suggest that those who firmly believe it isn't proceed post haste to the area os Prospect, Troost or the Paseo - say around 31st Street (or maybe a little further north) in KC, Mo and yell it out a few times. Then report back, Okay?

jaywalker 6 years ago

Who here has said the word cannot be used in a derogatory fashion? The point being made is that it was NOT used as such in this case.

Flap Doodle 6 years ago

How sad that you stereotype the people that live in those areas as being violent.

beatrice 6 years ago

Who said anything about violence? I read it as meaning that the person would likely get an earful of comment on why using that phrase was inappropriate. What made you jump to violence?

See how easy it is to play this game?

John Hamm 6 years ago

Didn't categorize any one as being violent - just suggested that to see if it's a derogatory word or not it be used where one is most likely to discover the results of using it. Use it at Alvamar for example wouldn't really give a true indication of the contempt for that term.

redneck 6 years ago

Yup, play the race card when ever you want to get you're way. That's how it works in this mixed up world. Do you have to be black to be a spear chucker? I can chuck spears, and I'm not even slightly brown. Maybe he was referring to someone who is native to Lawrence (AKA Lawrencian), and he was trying to stay away from the word "native". May have been a bad choice of words, if he actually said it. Beats me, but lets make sure we stone that SOB in the town square.

yankeevet 6 years ago

I know dats right..........this society has grown nuts.........

beatrice 6 years ago

You must realize that it is about the history of the use of the term, not about the actual activity of throwing spears. Don't you get that? How is this so difficult to understand?

Stuart Evans 6 years ago

If he's throwing a spear at the time, I'm all for it. context is what we're looking for. and if I get called a cracker while cracking something, then so be it.

Flap Doodle 6 years ago

Another racist who is stereotyping Black people as violent.

beatrice 6 years ago

You are the one talking about violence. What might happen is that you are told to quit being a fool. Guess using your own logic, you are the racist. Gee, what a surprise.

lawthing 6 years ago

(See Ref: Report rejects fired officer's claims : LJ World 2003)

"We knew Dean McAllister would provide a knowledgeable and thorough investigation of the allegations," Corliss said. "We didn't deem it appropriate to refer to a law enforcement agency with the information we had at this time.""

Be nice if everyone could be investigated by their good friends instead of the KBI

Good ole' boy Lawrence

independant1 6 years ago

He's absolutely guilty of poor choice of words.

Stuart Evans 6 years ago

actually no, he's been found innocent. Nobody has proven that he used the term spear chucker at all. and not even once has anyone given context for which the alleged term was uttered.

Amy Heeter 6 years ago

The investigation is over. David Corliss has been cleared of any wrong doing. Any further investigation is a waste of money.

somedude20 6 years ago

My friend Chuck Spear does not have a problem with what went down

Kontum1972 6 years ago

how about the phrase..."BUCKWHEAT"...?

somedude20 6 years ago

according to the movie "Things to do in Denver When Your Dead" states that a "buckwheat" is when the person is shot up the anus (bullet travels up your intestines and rips open your gi track and organs...does not sound like fun)

blindrabbit 6 years ago

Think any internal pressure here to "brush this under the rug". Reminds me of a saying my next door neighbor, a CIA Cartographer, liked to use: "Prosecutors Will Be Violated".

beatrice 6 years ago

"A majority of the nine people at the meeting later said they were not aware the phrase had a racially derogatory meaning."

Nice to know Corliss wasn't trying to make a racist statement, but how can a majority of city leaders be so woefully ignorant to the derogatory meaning of certain phrases used in our society?

blindrabbit 6 years ago

beatrice: Per your paragraph #2; where did these people grow-up to not know the meaning of the "term". Makes you wonder how unaware these people really are and how capable of understanding other "street issues".

Amy Heeter 6 years ago

Until this came up I had never heard the term "spear chucker" either. Guess I live in a bubble or something too.

blindrabbit 6 years ago

artichoke: With your signin name as a clue, maybe you like I grew up in California. The "term" was unknown to me out there, but I quickly saw it's usage and learned it's meaning as soon as I moved to Kansas as a teenager in the 1960's. Many other "terms" as well.

igby 6 years ago

Everyone's a Spear-Chucker nowadays, and guess what? If your from the country in Africa, by the name of Niger, your a Niger. So he's just a stupid bigot who thinks being a city manager, his job role is protecting the elected special interest crooks, the CC's, from the Spear-chuckers, the general public.

When special interest controls a government through manipulated election tactics that limit voter turnout through limited public awareness, it called legalized corruption.

kimmydarling 6 years ago

uh..if you're from Niger you're um..Nigerian. Keep on believing though

igby 6 years ago

Niger is the country North of Nigeria you stupid A$$. It's Niger, if your from Niger.

kimmydarling 6 years ago

Oh you're cute and caught my typo. A citizen of Niger is Nigerien. Not NigeriAn.

Now go on snowflake, you keep that polite discourse going :)

jessanddaron 6 years ago

Here is something to wrap your minds around...if a term is racially hurtful there is NO way you can use it in a context where it isn't offensive. Think about it, in what way would "kike" be acceptable in ANY conversation whatsoever? Why is this so hard to grasp? He said something racist, who cares what the context was...

Kathy Theis-Getto 6 years ago

Corrct jess. There are several phrases which have more than one meaning. This is not the case with the term used here. There is only one meaning, and it is a racist slur.

jaywalker 6 years ago

Sorry, but you're both wrong. I've already explained numerous times how the term was used to describe me and my track teammates. And terms like the one jess uses are not the same; words like 'kike', 'wop', or the 'n' that shan't be named are wholly specific. As I've also pointed out, naming a pet 'Whitey' isn't an issue, 'watermelon' can be used to name a fruit or derogatarily, and 'cracker' has several denotations. So just because a particular word can be used thusly, it doesn't automatically make it a racist slur each and every time it's uttered.

jaywalker 6 years ago

So sorry to offend your sensibilities, biggunz, but so what if he did? You just wrote the word. That make you a racist? Did you mean that in a derogatory fashion? Since an investigation and all the people involved said there was nothing racial about it, his use of the word is as innocent as your typing. So what say you and the rest of the Word Police give it a rest and I won't feel the need to call you out on being so silly, mmkay?

Amy Heeter 6 years ago

If nine other people in the meeting did not know it was a racist term) I'm still not sure it is) then maybe David Corliss didn't either.

blindrabbit 6 years ago

The "term" is an example of a "ethnophaulism" or a ethnically derogatory term. Suggest Corless and maybe others check out one of the many on-line dictionaries before using terms with connotations they don't comprehend. Look yourself, no race, religion, hair color etc., etc., is spared. He should have known better; and for others claiming to not know sounds kinda like a BP response.

beatrice 6 years ago

"kinda like a BP response"


ivalueamerica 6 years ago

I really fail to see what all the hullabalu is about.

Something questionable was said. That should be taken seriously, especially at his level of office. It was taken seriously, it was investigated and there is no evidence to question the results of the investigation.

Case closed.

jaywalker 6 years ago

Right. 'Cuz rationality and fairness is only the purview for the thoughtful responders like blindrabbit.

beawolf 6 years ago

I haven't been on these blogs in a few months and the same old idiots are still at it. I would bet that every race/nationality has ancestors who threw spears at some point in their human history. Only a racist would deem the term a racial slur.

Amy Heeter 6 years ago

So I looked it up I found this, which says it is a political term. I found a link that said it is a sports term as in Javilin throwing. I found a link that associates it with video gaming. I found a link that specified it as a tribal group of hunters. I found online dictionaries that connect the term to racism. I guess if you cry fire often enough you can convince anyone of anything, at least in Kansas.

blindrabbit 6 years ago

In one of Richard Pryor's most famous skits "the term" was used as part of a racist (black-white) give and take with Steve Martin (I think). It is very funny given the time/audience. To keep this unemotional I won't use their dialog terms; you can find it I'm sure on the internet.

But don't give us the line that Corless did not know the meaning or likely response. Not so funny coming from a City Manager in a staff meeting!!

Kelly Johnson 6 years ago

Summary of this article:

Someone may or may not have said something that some may or may not find offensive. Some people may or may not remember him saying it, and some other people may or may not remember him saying it. He may or may not have said it, and he may or may not have meant it to be offensive.

I totally could have been the "neutral party" that investigated this matter, and I would have only charged $100 for my report.

2002 6 years ago

I have no opinion on whether he is a good CM or not. Here's what I do know, from the article:

The leaders of the city’s firefighter and police unions alerted the mayor to the comment and asked for an investigation. Their concerns came as the city was negotiating new employment contracts with the unions. But union officials have said the tough negotiations did not have any impact on their decision to ask for an investigation.

Typical, underhanded, unethical behavior from the fire and police unions. The Council can do whatever they want with the City Manager, but I hope they give police and fire a major cut, just out of principle. Maybe then the unions will select real leaders to represent them.

jayhawklawrence 6 years ago

Makes you wonder which employee(s) wasted our tax dollars on this little witch hunt and whether they have been taking their meds everyday.

Amy Heeter 6 years ago

I found this as a response on the latest leonard Pitts editorial.

beatrice (anonymous) replies… Wow, just like Tom, Bearded here has experienced racism from blacks! Shocking. I guess that means racism in America is equal and across the board. So, did you too not get your order of Church's Chicken as fast as others?

So I ask is the above not a racist response? Is chicken racist, or is Churche's chicken racist ,or is it simply the implied by the poster in this comment that is racist?

Again I say if you look hard enough for racism you will find it, intended or not.

beatrice 6 years ago

arti, I see how you might have come up with your conclusion. It should be noted that Tom recently went on and on about getting bad service at a Church's Fried Chicken joint (not any chicken joint, but a Church's) and he blamed it on racism for his being white when all others there were black. It made for some comically sad reading. However, my reference wasn't a random reference to fried chicken. Thanks for asking, though, because I really don't mind explaining what I meant.

However, Dave Chappell did a really good skit on racism and fried chicken once that was hysterical. You should check it out.

To your final statement of looking to hard, I wonder, are you suggesting we shouldn't look hard to find racism, that we should just gloss over things instead for fear of what we might find?

Amy Heeter 6 years ago

No, but I don't think we should continue to burn crosses at every thing that is said or done. Sometimes people just speak before thinking and there is nothing behind it other than thoughtlessness. Like I said I have never heard the term before this so I did not know it was considered racist. Others have commented the same. I find it believable that if Mr. Corliss said this he may not have known either. Having said that I think instead of saying " glossing over" maybe we should work on building stronger understanding.

blindrabbit 6 years ago

artichoke: Talk about obfuscating the real meaning with your definition thread. My error though, the Richard Pryor give/take was with Chevy Chase on SNL as part of a job interview skit Pryor was undergoing. I just looked it up on the Internet. Again, knowing Corless's age and the age of the Commissioners and the popularity of SNL with that age group, there is no excuse for his error.

He should take the honorable way out and just apologize.

Amy Heeter 6 years ago

My point is that I have never considered any comment by Beatrice to be racist, yet to some if it is presented in a certain way it could appear to be racist. I think you give David Corliss too much credit. He appears clueless in so many other areas of city managment ( which has been pointed out by so many on this forum) I can totally believe he is clueless about this term, Also to chuck is to throw. If you google spear thrower rather than spear chucker you get a whole new group of links not even related to racism.

blindrabbit 6 years ago

"spear thrower" and "spear chucker" have totally different connotations in my mind. I threw the javelin in high school; we were called "spear throwers" all the time but never the other.

yourworstnightmare 6 years ago

"“No one I interviewed claimed to believe or even asserted that they thought the city manager used the term ‘spear-chucker’ with the intent to make a racial slur or in a racially derogatory fashion,” McAllister wrote in the report. “Even those who brought the matter to the mayor’s attention indicated that they did not believe the city manager used the term with any racial intent.”

Uh, with what other intent does one use this phrase?

mistygreen 6 years ago

What a waste of time and valuable resources.

kimmydarling 6 years ago

I was hoping to be able to say "in before 'black people were mean to me and called me names so I know what it's like to experience racism!' " but you guys are on the ball today! Had that out within a few comments.

It doesn't matter what your INTENT was if you are using racist terms. My grandfather grew up when it was okay to call African American people "colored". Was his intent racist? no. Was the term? Yep.

I may be as white as it gets but I fully understand the idea that while I may have been treated with bigotry, it certainly wasn't racism. The day that people of color hold the majority of social and political power in this country..? Well, we'll talk about it again then.

beatrice 6 years ago

I disagree. One's intent is indeed important in such matters. The ignorant can learn, and I suspect Corliss will never use the term "spear chucker" again, even if he continues to use the odd phrase "spear catcher" to describe himself. If the intent was to be racist, then to learn from this wouldn't be the issue. While I admit to being quite surprised that someone wouldn't know the racial connections of the term, I would much rather deal with someone ignorant to the possible harm in a phrase then I would someone who uses a phrase with the intent to harm.

kimmydarling 6 years ago

The argument is more the people going, "hurrr it's not racist if you don't mean it to be!" That always boggles my mind

jaywalker 6 years ago

Sorry, kimmy, but that's exactly the argument. Merely speaking a word is grounds for ...... what? Intent is what matters, otherwise you're looking at banning words which couldn't be sillier. People can and do voice words like cracker, retard, whitey, watermelon, gay, and fag every, single day. They all have varying denotations and connotations, but intent is what makes them inflammatory and derogatory.

kimmydarling 6 years ago

Again, you may not intend it in an offensive or cruel way but I can promise you it matters to people. You walk up into a group of developmentally disabled kids and start talking to your friend about some guy who is being "such a retard" and while you may not intend it to, it's going to offend someone.

Our language evolves. Just because saying "it's a gay spring day" used to mean happy doesn't mean gay under current social use patterns means cheerful anymore.

jaywalker 6 years ago

Once again, kimmy, intent is the issue and you proved it right there. Saying someone is "being a retard" IS offensive. Someone saying "the oil spill was retarded by skimming ships" is completely different, right? The person that utters the last phrase -- what? They being insensitive?
You prove my point again with "it's a gay spring day". Of course "gay" has a different connotation these days, but that does NOT mean that it's the only denotation, as your sentence is still in use. "She was merry and gay" -- the person that speaks that sentence is NOT being offensive....riight?!!!!!! Current social use patterns???? It depends on what the person freakin' MEANT! INTENT! Unless you wanna contend that Websters and the OED are just plain wrong in their definition of "gay". For the love, how is this so difficult to grasp?

Amy Heeter 6 years ago

I don't even care what his intent was. I am more concerned with people who go around picking apart everything that everyone else says and then tries to apply it in a divisive manner. If People are really seeking equality, wether it be race or gender it is time to stop all this crap and start communicating with each other without all the defensiveness.

beatrice 6 years ago

You should care what his intent was! Others might want to support your desire to turn a blind eye with a religous fervor, but if someone is using racist terms in a city meeting and is actually meaning them in a racist manner, why shouldn't they need to defend their position?

Do you really mean to say that people in positions of power in local or national government who use racist terms shouldn't need to defend such statements? I sure hope not.

I honestly believe Corliss was just ignorant to the bitter and ugly meaning of the term he may have used. His intent is what makes all the difference in the world.

firebird27 6 years ago

I did not know the word spear chucker was a racist term, but I do now. I remember the term being associated with the name of a character in the movie, MASH.

But this involves a question. In our more pluralistic society, do we consider terms like redneck or cracker to be racist terms?

kscityrobber 6 years ago

amen.... so of the select words that i hear everyday in lawrence. How come those go unpunished. Turn on tv any black, african american, or just plan african show has racist tones toward white people. Lets stop these shows from doing that. So our young ones both white and black dont grow up hating each other, cuz of what they hear and see on tv.

verity 6 years ago

Can't we just beat the spears into plowshears?

verity 6 years ago

Oops, I think that should be plowshares.

Amy Heeter 6 years ago

I love this comment, it made me laugh outloud.

timetospeakup 6 years ago

This is so dumb. I've never even heard that phrase, and despite the article I'm not sure who it'd be meant to offend.

But what the heck, let's ban some words. No more master/slave settings on your hard drives or retarded timing on your engines!

Mark Pickerel 6 years ago

Mr. Corliss was merely commenting on a particularly jovial colleague as being a "Spirited Chuckler".

love2fish_ks 6 years ago

Three more insults to black men. He said it. The city blest it. LJW readers condone it. Time for a march on city hall.

igby 6 years ago

So, if these Firemen who made the complaint to city hall, and they lied ; could they get arrested for their own murder if they cause riots and buildings get burned and some of them die while trying to put out the fires. Lol.

Since someone seems to always get arrested when some fireman gets killed putting out a fire. It's always someone to blame for a fireman's death so could they get blamed for their own death if they incite riots with this Spear-Chucker roost just to put pressure on City Hall for more equipment and money. Lol

feeble 6 years ago

Clearly, the solution is to pepper your speech with words none can possibly understand, such as

"“Let the atlatls ontlatlaza their tlacochtli at me. I’m ready to catch them.”

Everyone would assume the speaker is either a Nahuatl scholar, or totally crazy. Problem solved.

blindrabbit 6 years ago

Clearly, the JW is keeping this story going; they must have a "dog in this race" other than viewership. The term Corless used is racist, regardless of all of the apologizers, meaning twisters, excuse makers, and know nothings than have defended his gaffe.

Flap Doodle 6 years ago

Maybe he was referring to Chuck Spearer and got his words mixed up.

kscityrobber 6 years ago

i wish people would go after and rev. jesse for the stupid comments they make. like people do anytime a white man speaks. lets go after the people that are really hurting race relations....

beatrice 6 years ago

Boo hoo, poor, poor white folks in America. Their lot is so hard, and nobody ever criticizes Sharpton and Jackson. Not ever. It just isn't fair! boo hoo

Swing low, sweet chariot ...

Amy Heeter 6 years ago

Al Sharpton is pretty annoying but I like Jesse.

beatrice 6 years ago

Like most public figures, they both have their moments. They are really intelligent at times, and really annoying and ridiculous at others. If you love them, you will ignore their stumbles and outlandish statements, and if you hate them, they can never say anything worthwhile. I tend to like both Sharpton and Jackson, but for different reasons. However, as with most public figures, if you have any level of respect for them it is still probably best to maintain a certain level of reservation about their public statements. Never a good idea to blindly follow a public figure.

Mr_B9 6 years ago

If one would be chucking spears would their opponent be catching spears? Maybe that was what he was referring too.

Amy Heeter 6 years ago

Since neither Al or Jesse spoke on this I assume they haven't heard about it or it wasn't important enough to waste thier time on.

black_butterfly 6 years ago

Regardless of his intent, it was unprofessional and of poor judgement that he used the term.

Amy Heeter 6 years ago

Not according to the result of the investigation.

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