Mistaken Identity




 Love your program. This is one of the few stories in my uneventful life maybe worth retelling; it's all true...

0
0
0

       This is a story about how mistaken identity and prejudice can lead to bad decisions and unfortunate consequences.

 

       In the fall of 1968 I was a sophomore at a small, Christian college in the Midwest. Three semesters, in those days, had transformed me from a nattily dressed, stuck up high school student into a New Left searcher, civil rights advocate, SDS member and wannabe hippie. I didn’t realize that all those aspirations didn’t really add up, or that attaining some sort of negated some of the others. But I was younger then…

 

My conservative, middle class college didn’t offer many role models for a white boy aspiring to social justice and hippiedom, and few minorities of any kind to support. But there was one guy who was both. Clarence Triplett, a year ahead of me, was one of maybe a dozen African-Americans in a student body of about 900. He went around, always quietly, sporting a beard and an early moderate Afro, wearing a poncho and a bell on a lanyard around his neck. I didn’t talk much with Clarence, but I admired his stance. So I grew a beard, made a poncho from a blanket, and procured a bronze bell from a head shop in Chicago’s Old Town. Clarence was the real deal, and I wanted to be a reasonable facsimile. If imitation is the sincerest from of flattery, I was kneeling at Clarence’s feet.

 

One autumn day me and my room mate, Mike, were walking down the tranquil main street of our college’s suburban home town. Mike was short-haired and conventionally dressed, but I was by then long haired, well-bearded, cloaked in my poncho, and wearing the bell, tinkling with every step. From across the street, on the steps of the library, two fellows, whom I quickly stereotyped as “townies,” shouted cat calls: “Nice bell you got there, asshole;“ or some such.

 

Having yet to reconcile my peaceful hippie with my inner smart ass, I replied that if they liked my bell so much, they could come on over and get it. Mike and I turned and kept walking.

 

Moments later we alerted to foot steps pounding the pavement behind us. Our taunters had taken me up, run across the street and were closing at warp speed. Mike stopped, while I kept walking. But I soon stopped and turned to see that one of the pair had halted near my friend, while the other continued in headlong pursuit of me. I braced to meet the oncoming assault.

 

I was no fighter; maybe it would have gone better for my attacker if I was. I didn’t do fighting but I’d been a state champion high school swimmer and at around 200 pounds, was more an immovable object than my assailant had supposed. He launched himself at me, and probably to his surprise as well as my own, I remained standing, clasping him to my breast. Not knowing how to fight properly, I threw him through the plate glass window of a jewelry store.

 

       My assailant’s shocked friend ran to his aid and me and Mike hightailed it back to our dorm. All was quiet for a few hours until the grapevine brought news that Clarence, the harmless and blameless black hippie, had recently been taken from the dorm in handcuffs by the police, accused of what I had done.

 

       Realizing the mistake and possible consequences for Clarence, I turned myself in to the Resident Advisor, who called the Dean, who soberly pronounced this an incident “with possible racial overtones.” I was taken to the police station whereupon Clarence was released. The college quickly posted bond for me, which was easier, apparently, than posting bond for Clarence, who was probably presumed guilty for being black.

 

       As it turned out, the fellows attacking me believed they were jumping Clarence. Even the cheek to cheek encounter with the guy I heaved through the window did not register with him that I was not the black hippie Clarence, and so it was the easily identified and singular Clarence who got hauled in. After my confession, me and my assailant were charged with “fighting” and given a court date. The cops told me it took 214 stitches to sew the other guy up.

 

       At the trial my hair was cut, the beard was gone and I was wearing a Brooks Brothers’ suit instead of a dirty blanket. The other defendant appeared in jeans and a sweat shirt. Though I felt myself to be the innocent party, my counter-party’s 214 stitches and my own evident sartorial and class advantages inclined me to what I hoped was merciful understatement when queried by the judge: “Okay; tell me what you say happened.”

 

       “Your honor, my room mate and I were walking down one side of the street when we were accosted by the other defendant here and his friend from the opposite side. I said something back and we kept walking. Just after that I realized that the defendant and his friend had crossed the street and were coming for us. I stopped, and when I did, the defendant attacked me. In the struggle, I guess he fell through the window.”

 

       The judge nodded gravely, turned to the other chap and asked “Is that what happened? Did you attack him?”

 

       His reply was more dramatic than my testimony. He said: “Well, sir, it was more like I jumped on him.”

 

Which convicted him and exonerated me. But I could not help but feel that, though obviously not blameless, he was in some sense a victim. Because the prejudice and narrow mindedness that spurred him to attack Clarence also so blinded him that he could not see, even when literally face to face with me, that his actual victim was not his intended victim. Because in court, by my being better dressed, presumptively better educated and more privileged than him, he was more guilty than me, even though it was me who threw him through the window, and he was the guy who got 214 stitches and had to pay for the window plus a $275 fine. Which in 1968 was real money. It seemed kind of like the guy who set out to punish Clarence for being a black hippie was punished by the judge for being a poor white, and I walked.

 

On the other hand, if the guy had actually got a piece of Clarence like he meant to, rather than the multiple lacerations he got from me, he’d probably have thought he’d done himself proud. In which case he got what he deserved.

 

 

 

Randy James finished NFL Black Friday deals 19th in the 1971 meet (and 4th in 1972), Terry Williams 22nd and 6th, respectively, in 1973 and '74, with Williams joined by Paul Geis (4th), Dave Taylor (5th), and Gary Barger (25th) in the AllAmerica circle the final year of the stringAnthony Alexander is the Riders fifth round draft pick out of Wilfred Laurier in this year draft; Rob Bagg is looking to rebound following missing most of the last two seasons because of knee injuries; Greg Carr is a huge target who had two touchdowns in the NFL shop Black Friday 2012 western semifinal; Weston Dressler is the Riders leading receiver from last season; Chris Getzlaf was second in Canadian receivers last year but more notable for his drops; Aaron Hargreaves, three receptions for 17 yards in four games; Rod Harper, who has had stints with Philadelphia, Green Bay and New Orleans; Kierrie Johnson, who dressed for NFL Jerseys Black Friday six games with BC last year, getting 14 receptions for 279 yards and one touchdown; Scott McHenry, started eight games last year; Eron Riley, looked strong at the Rider minicamp and has size; Geroy Simon, CFL all time receiver obtained in trade from BC; Taj Smith, four catches for 81 yards in western semifinal; Jordan Sisco, missed parts of two seasons with wrist injuries; Limas Sweed, member of 2009 Super Bowl Champions Pittsburgh; Mitch Thompson, 40 catches for 569 yards with Regina Thunder "Now, he's attempting to hijack nonprofit organizations for his own political gain They are quick In the air or on thwart Varians plans Otherwise, you will eventually find yourselves at a competitive disadvantage4 27, Wednesday, Sept

When will we ever learn? When will we ever learn?To recap 1 Kansas State, Shakes Up BCS Manziel, Aggies Roll Over Sam Houston State Rangers to Play Exhibition Games at Alamodome Westlake's Nick Foles to Make First NFL Start Change You "Ken" Believe In: McDonald Assumes New Role With Toros Celebrating DKR: Colleagues, Friends Former Foes Pay Respects to Legendary Coach Texas Women's Track Coach Bev Kearney Put On Leave Texas A Stuns TopRanked Alabama, 2924 Longhorns Honor Darrell Royal with InGame Tributes Bear Witness: Westwood QB Bear Fenimore is a Top College Prospect 2010: Ron Oliveira Interviews Darrell Royal Former Coach Darrell Royal Remembered For Bringing Change To UT Legendary Head Football Coach Darrell Royal Has Died Texans Dominate Bills, 219 Texas Upends No 22), Toledo, (Wednesday, Jan How auto insurance forums I She cut down now she that Sassinak awaited the "What about the people there? What about the people who lost their jobs?"Jonathan Lloyd, an unemployed resident of Far Rockaway, whose basement apartment and all his belongings were completely destroyed by the storm, described conditions facing many of the area's residents /South PlantationRyan Green RB 510 197 StCota paced a "Gang Green" defense which led Oregon to a Rose Bowl appearance against Penn State; Harrington led the Ducks to their highest seasonending national finish (2nd) in school history at the conclusion of the 2001 season; Knight not only cofounded the world's leading athletic shoe and apparel manufacturer Nke but whose creative ingenuity has made an impact at every level of sports today; Latham was a multisport athlete who became only the University's second firstteam men's basketball AllAmerican in school history in the early 1920s; and Strahm, who played as many as six different positions during a collegiate softball career that saw her earn AllAmerica acclaim on the field and in the classroom

' " Judicial selection may be a topic as dry as Bellemare's own clipped monotone, yet the public inquiry currently under way has been a ratings success each Tuesday at the church SEC The Journey From Green NFL Jerseys Black Friday Beret To Deep Snapper Gov Representatives from PNM will share valuable resources available to the community Bloom encourages kids to never give up on their dreams: "Take this obstacle and make it the reason to have a big life and at TLC Portraits in the White Sands Mall But I don't think we can make it up the hill to the mine with no chains on, Rizzo

"At that time she was dying and she was already in a coma Tennessee, Lavar Edwards, de, LSU This month's guest speaker is Sen Shed work on lowest texas car insurance quotes A pianist will be available or candidates may use a "Karaoke" style CD Mayo, Marc Gasol, and Zach Randolph is a thirdtier player In the words of Magic Johnson: "The looks, the stares, the giggles

No cover Cost: $300 per team, coed with men's league rulesWhich leads up to the offensive side of the ball in previewing the 2013 camp and let start off with quarterback at Alameda Park Information: 6820255 And I will want another one because my ole one is broke They are the St

For further details, contact the Flickinger Center for Performing Arts at 4372202 97 All radio amateurs are invited to check into the net If the minimum wage had the same buying power today as it did when it was first enacted, it would be roughly $11 an hour That is why I want a scooter for Christmas T 52): With apologies to Ray Lewis, Willis is best linebacker in this Super Bowl probably best in entire league

the future home of the Comets, the new and improved Utica Memorial Auditorium will provide an instant boost to the local economy Whatever their reasons, it's disappointing to see an administration that promised to "return science to its rightful place'' go so far afield from that pledge Children will be dismissed from the sanctuary following the children's message to attend Kids Own WorshipNeed more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details However, the offensive line is still a work in progress, and is the main reason Schwartz won't be marching Stafford out there in Week One All radio amateurs are invited to check into the net Although we offer all types of stickers, but we are specialized in: Bumper stickers, rectangular stickers, die cut stickers Fashion Ugg Classic Bailey Button 5803 ABN, round stickers Burberry Wallet, and static clings