• “A picture of a white man fending off two Black men while he’s carrying a bucket of chicken. The sign above the picture reads ‘Bravery At Its Finest.’”

• “A picture of a Black man in colorful clothes and that picture describes him as ‘pimpin.’”

• The one that “referred to asking a woman to smell a chloroform rag as a ‘pick-up line.’”

• “A photo of a pantless woman on her knees performing oral sex on a man is captioned ‘Making your boss happy is your only job.’”

• The one with the “subject line ‘New Office Motivation Policy Posters’ featured a photo of a woman having anal sex with the caption, ‘Take advantage of every opening.’”

• The poster that reads “Domestic violence — because sometimes you have to tell her more than once.”

• The story about “a battered wife who complained to the emergency room physician that her abusive husband beats her to a pulp every time he comes home drunk. The doctor advised her to swish tea in her mouth when her husband gets home. After that, he never beat her again. The ‘punch line’ was ‘You see how much keeping your mouth shut helps.’”

• Another called “Mexicans ‘beaners.’”

• “One mocked Muslim children as suicide bombers.”

Funny? Hell no! But these are the kinds of jokes that were emailed on taxpayer-funded computers by white male state Supreme Court justices, white male Common Pleas and Superior Court judges, white male assistant District Attorneys, white male Attorney General staffers, and other white male lawyers. And if you want more, go to the Prothonotary’s office in City Hall, room 468 and thumb through the nearly 400-page binder that’s accessible to the public and that includes the thousands of racist, sexist, misogynistic, and pornographic emails that have been released so far. By the way, judicial and political insiders say as many as 100,000 more could be released soon.

As stated by Bruce Ledewitz, a law professor at Duquesne University School of Law, “When you see these emails … it’s just a swamp of misogyny, racism, homophobia, and white privilege … Some of these things are really disgusting. You get the impression that every white male office holder in the state is a creep.” And one former state Supreme Court justice even said another former state Supreme Court justice (who resigned last year) has the “symptoms of a sociopath.”

Let’s focus on the judges in part one of my multi-part column about these repulsive emails. We’ll get to the lawyers in later columns. The Court of Judicial Discipline announced last month that it was “deeply and profoundly troubled by even a remote possibility that the patently discriminatory and offensive views and attitudes expressed in the emails” of one particular Supreme Court justice have affected his decision-making. In other words, how has he been ruling in cases involving Black and Latino lawyers, plaintiffs, defendants, and issues and also female lawyers, plaintiffs, defendants, and issues? These questions can and must be asked about all the judges involved, as well as the assistant DAs and Attorney General staffers involved because these attorneys are law enforcement officials who decide whom to prosecute, whom to incarcerate, and whom to execute. Can a racist or a sexist or a misogynist make those decisions fairly? Isn’t there some impropriety- or at least the appearance thereof?

I applaud the righteous indignation of widely respected Justice Debra McCloskey who was so outraged by such despicable behavior that she issued a statement saying “The email exchanges contain offensive images, comments, and ‘jokes,’ some of which are sexually explicit and demeaning to women. Some trivialize physical and sexual assault. I am equally offended by the derogatory stereotyping and mocking of racial, ethnic, and religious groups, as well as gays and lesbians.” I agree, Madame Justice. I totally agree.

Stay tuned for the continuation of this column in the near future when names will be named and proposed solutions will be announced.

The words from David Walker’s Appeal, written in 1829, and the words of Christopher James Perry Sr., founder of the Tribune in 1884, are the inspiration for my “Freedom’s Journal” columns. In order to honor that pivotal nationalist abolitionist and that pioneering newspaper giant, as well as to inspire today’s Tribune readers, each column ends with Walker and Perry’s combined quote- along with my inserted voice- as follows: I ask all Blacks “to procure a copy of this… (weekly column) for it is designed… particularly for them” so they can “make progress… against (racist) injustice.”

 Michael Coard, Esquire can be followed on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. His “Radio Courtroom” show can be heard on WURD900AM.
Reprinted from the Philadelphia Tribune

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