An open letter to the white woman who cried “animals”

Dear Jeanne Doucette,

While others organize in protest of the Cville weekly’s racist, sensationalist faux-journalism in reporting your story, I find that my upset lies primarily with you.  For while there are two very different sides of the story of what happened on the downtown mall on December 20th, what is clear based on medical evidence collected in the course of the legal investigation is that your story was wildly exaggerated.  In a most dangerous and racist way.

You played on your white female privilege and deeply entrenched white fear of the black man.  We–white women–are the archetype of innocence; we are the ones who will be believed.  And you exploited that to condemn three unknown black men, your archetypal enemy.  You played it all out, you took up the mantel of Carolyn Bryant (accuser of Emmett Till) and cried your white woman’s tears and wrote your indignant indictment of the local police.  You spread a fictionalized version of events, grossly exaggerating the violence of your “attackers” pretending that it all happened unprovoked by you and your white knight of a boyfriend.  You used every element of a mythology that relies on white supremacist hatred to make your case: the savage violence of the black man, the pure innocence of the white woman and the valiant efforts of the white man to defend the white woman’s honor.  And then you posted blurry photos of these young black men and closed your dramatic telling with the blazing conclusion that they were “animals that need[ed] to be caged.”  Your words.  And yours was a rallying cry for white supremacists and garden variety racists–by which i mean most white people everywhere who would be moved by a story out of our worst white people nightmares–alike.

In a culture that sees the murder of innocent men and women of color at the hands of killer cops and racist vigilantes every 28 hours, you brought all those fears to a fever pitch and then asked people on social media sites to help you identify your “attackers.”  In a country where institutional racism translates into the school to prison pipeline phenomenon, where 30% of African American men between the ages of 20 and 29 are “under correctional supervision,” what effect could you have possibly hoped your fictional account would have?  What other than blatant racism and a desire to avert responsibility for your actions that night could have inspired you to write your woeful facebook account of that night?

Your words have power and you used them very deliberately.  I cannot believe you were entirely ignorant of that fact.  In fact I’m inclined to believe you knew exactly what you were doing.  None of it makes much sense otherwise: the dramatic appeal to the world of facebook, the wide discrepancies in your story and that of the other men involved coupled with interviews of witnesses and medical evidence that undermines your account, your choice choice of language.

You didn’t only endanger the three men you claimed as your “attackers” that night but every other young black man that anyone who read your words sees.  You have done your part to entrench the unjustified fear that leads white women to cross to the other side of the road when black men are approaching and the dangerous protective instinct of white men who believe the racist hype.

And now the men you asked for help finding are the only ones facing charges, despite police reports that indicate they may have been provoked and attacked themselves.  The age old story carries on with your help.  And you will almost certainly never be held accountable for your role in upholding the deadly, racist environment in which young black men try to survive daily.


PS.  Even the NYPD, notorious for their racial profiling and abhorrent stop and frisk practices, seems to believe that the idea that a “knockout game” is spreading is nothing but an urban myth.  So bonus points to bulwarking that as well.


18 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Debra Cebulski
    Jan 25, 2014 @ 00:11:46

    Lady, you don’t know what the hell you are talking about. There isn’t a racist atom in Jeanne’s body. She is a wonderful empathetic woman and you don’t have a shred of empathy in your empty soul. Jeanne thinks of others first and has done so all her life. She had friends in New Orleans when Katrina hit. She went to help them and became involved with Habitat for Humanity & did 2 trips from Cville via bus with other volunteers. My late brother was a double amputee below the knee and one of the people Jeanne helped in NOLA was an amputee (one leg above the knee) who had an ancient prosthetic limb and who could barely walk. Jeanne got my brother’s prosthetist to donate a prosthetic limb to that woman (they cost $5000 on up. My brother’s fake *feet* cost $6000 each.) As many in Cville can attest, Jeanne ran multiple fundraisers to raise the money to get the woman to the prosthetist in Philly PA, pay for flights, room and board and other expenses. She even managed to give the woman and her kids Christmas money. I seriously doubt you’ve made a difference in half as many lives.


    • Sara Tansey
      Jan 25, 2014 @ 15:37:53

      Debra, I am not arguing that Jeanne is a wholly evil person. But it is very clear based on the other stories from the night of December 20th and medical examinations of Marc that the story she shared on facebook and then with the Cville weekly were grossly exaggerated and free of any responsibility on her and Marc’s part. She painted a caricature of black male violence disturbingly reminiscent of lynch mob propaganda. And if that isn’t racist, i don’t know what is. And worse it is dangerous to the men she’s accusing and other men who might happen to look like them, by which i mean also be black men. She told a false story and published it widely, asking people for help in apprehending these men. With the stories of Trayvon Martin and so many others screaming in my ears, i cannot stomach your good friend’s blatant, racist irresponsibility. So many good deeds do not negate the impact of her words in that facebook post and the cville. It just doesn’t work that way.


    • sistahsoulja
      Jan 25, 2014 @ 15:44:40

      Jeanne may be a very great person but even great people make thoughtless mistakes by not thinking about the bigger picture and consequences of their actions. You sit here and protect your friend as if the false accusations don’t matter that she blasted on those young black males. From the stories that are out the only flaws come from the accusers side! Why don’t you think about how those two black men feel now that they are the only ones being openly reprimanded for an incident that both parties equally participated in. It is sad that out of all the wonderful points made on a bigger scale that you can only think about how your precious friends life is affected. ! ! Now the alleged suspects not only have to fight for their innocence they have to fight to disprove the stigmas attached to their skin! Grow socially aware before you come on here giving your friends resume!


    • Indigo
      Jan 25, 2014 @ 17:56:51

      I have a friend who witnessed the moments leading to the altercation from his apartment window…the two who plead “knockouts game” were shit faced wasted. My friend said these two especially the male was AND I QUOTE “the drunkest person I have ever seen” His foot injury happened when he kicked something, before he even ran into the black men. I agree with this article. Debra what your friend has done in the past is wonderful, but the matter in question is not what she did to help people in NOLA or anyone else. It is about the way she went about this without thinking first. Honestly the way the story looks to me from what my front seat man and the stories on news/facebook, I would have been so embarrassed at my drunken idiocy provoking a fight and causing a scene. Much less report it to the news as the knockout game. She should apologize to those young men and make them a cake or something. I also think that she should apologize to cville for misleading them.


      • Julian Close (@JulianClose_MIC)
        Jan 27, 2014 @ 21:38:09

        Indigo, I spoke to the officer in charge of the investigation today, and he is extremely interested in speaking to the friend you mention. Would you ask your friend to please tell the police what he or she saw. This is a civic duty and there is no way it could hurt your friend. Again, please ask your friend to call the Charlottesville police and speak to Detective Pleasants.

  2. sistahsoulja
    Jan 25, 2014 @ 05:07:27

    Wow! this was A1 simply amazing i want to share this for the whole world to see.!


  3. Vera Talamoa
    Jan 25, 2014 @ 15:59:26

    As a friend of the accused “assailants” I thank you from the bottom of my heart for posting this. The extent of the lies the media spread before all the facts were heard shows that we still live in a deeply racially divided world. The fact that it threw my friend’s character into question for the world to see makes me sick to my stomach. He isn’t violent or thuggish in any way and is one of the most equal-minded people I know. I don’t know this Jeanne person, and I don’t want to at all if she relies on a power so weak-willed and backwards that it stands on the stilted legs of racial profiling. Your letter is well written and moving. Thank you thank you thank you.


  4. soimpressed
    Jan 25, 2014 @ 19:43:46

    Wow…..wonderfully written! I could get on here and defend my friends innocence (one of the alleged attackers) but the fight isn’t about right or wrong in a sense of who started what. It’s about the negative impact that it has on the community and how that is affecting the way black people are being looked at as inadequate in the same community we have helped to grow. Thank you for your time and thought, just know that if it hasn’t affected the hearts of those who stereotypically catagorize us you have absolutely gave me hope! Blessings*


    • Sara Tansey
      Jan 27, 2014 @ 02:16:40

      to soimpressed and vera, as friends of the accused, do you know if the charges your friends are facing could be dropped by doucette and adams?


      • Vera Talamoa
        Jan 27, 2014 @ 17:52:27


        I believe they could, but the proceedings begin on February 5th, and I don’t believe that they are going to drop the charges.

      • Sara Tansey
        Jan 27, 2014 @ 18:02:15

        Right. It seems incredibly unlikely and there is something nauseating about asking them to drop the charges. To be in their power after all they’ve both done. Ugh. I’m hoping to rearrange my work schedule for next week to breathe courthouse in solidarity.

  5. Julian Close (@JulianClose_MIC)
    Jan 25, 2014 @ 21:49:27

    Hi Sara,
    I think you pretty much nailed it. I witnessed some of the escalating shouting that preceded the violence that night, though not the beginning or the end of the incident. The exchange was heated, hateful, and loud enough to be heard more than a block away. It was also stupider than dirt, as these things tend to be, clearly driven by testosterone and alcohol and a desire to be tougher and cooler than the other guy.

    Sorry to say it Vera, but your friend did not acquit himself well that night. No one did. No reasonable person, even intoxicated, would have been caught up in a macho dick-swinging contest that was so clearly escalating toward possible violence. I only heard 2 people during the 30 seconds or so it took me to walk past, and I take them to have been Adams and one of the alleged “assailants.” I don’t know if the person I heard was your friend, but having studied psychology, I would say both of the men I heard suffer from anger management issues and low self-esteem. Probably alcoholism, as well. So you should absolutely demand fairness and accountability on the part of the media, but also encourage your friend to look hard at his own role and his own life.

    Regardless of who started the fight, it is Doucette who’s actions upset me the most. I saw enough to know that her version of events is an outright fabrication, which is troubling in itself, but as you point out, her choice of words is beyond inappropriate. Because the story was picked up by the douche-baggiest national and international websites, she has smeared our entire community.

    Among the many items of evidence contradicting Doucette’s story, perhaps the most direct are statements made by Chief Longo, who’s description of the incident is unrecognizable as the incident described by Doucette.

    Debra, it is a noble thing to want to come to the defense of a friend, and perhaps Doucette has always been exactly as you say in your experience. But Sara does have her facts straight on this issue.

    The great mystery is why the story is still online, uncorrected, at I’m a journalist, and I’ll tell you this: when the police chief contradicts your single, uncorroborated source, and that source is embarrassing your town by referring to black men as animals who should be caged, you have to print a correction. Period.


    • Vera Talamoa
      Jan 27, 2014 @ 18:12:47

      My friend had only had one beer that night and was escorting a very drunk friend home. He only slightly pushed back Adams when he came too close, telling him to not escalate the situation. There was an unknown man who struck Adams in the face, but my friend was not within swinging distance when that happened and decided to leave before he got more involved in a situation that was taking a dark turn. Doucette had already made her racial slurs and white woman power threat before Adams got punched. I’m not trying to defend the man he was escorting or the man who punched Adams in the face. The friend that I speak of had a clear head at the time and only tried to help. When he was called wolf and other very hurtful things, he wiped his hands of a situation he didn’t start and headed home without the drunk friend. He got dragged back into the situation when the woman who cried wolf pressed charges for a situation she helped instigate and covered in lies. My friend has more self-esteem than most with a humbling sense of humanness to not be overly vain and had a level headed mind that only he has when situations get hairy. I’ve been around him long enough to know that if he was in a fight he did not strike the first blow and he never succumbs to the weak insults of racial and sexual bigotry. He’s been through enough in life to let those paltry comments do anything but add to his strength of character.


  6. sistahsoulja
    Jan 26, 2014 @ 04:14:02

    Wow Julian Cole that was wonderfully written as well! i hope at the end of the day both parties could come to each other apologize for both parties role in things, and even maybe do it on the news to build back that trust and let the public see that things don’t always have to be left in shambles . it can be made right, even in a tangled wed of wrongs. Kudos sarah kudos Julian


  7. paxus
    Jan 26, 2014 @ 14:27:03

    Reblogged this on your passport to complaining and commented:
    As a propagandist i am amazed at Fox News ability to create a fictitious crime (Knock out) and then get it incorrectly identified as happening in multiple places, using the nominally liberal media as part of the delivery system. This is brilliant. As a radical, the entire thing disgusts me. Thanks Sara for calling out this racist behavior.


  8. MK
    Jan 29, 2014 @ 12:24:38

    Thanks for printing this. I’m glad someone has understood the situation enough to take a stand for the truth. Those who think this couple had no fault or negative part to play are daft and uninformed. To those who claim their great people, I say this. Just because one does great things for others doesn’t mean they hold the whole of humanity in the same regard. People show kindness to those they like and hatred to those they deem unworthy of their time and humanity. Drugs and alcohol can make these negative instances worse. Doucette has an anger problem not to mention the issue of telling the truth. Adams is known substance abuser. Find the moral failings with the alledged “attackers” then compare. Credibility belongs to those who earn it. Thanks Sara, Vera, and Julian!


  9. Howard Hines
    Jan 29, 2014 @ 18:51:10

    This is 100% awesome and she basically hit the nail right on the head. I saw Jeanie and Marc 10 minutes after this happen and they were at Millers not the hospital and neither asked for medical attention. This is the best statement I’ve ever read written by another white woman to another. We need more people like the young lady that wrote this article because she’s fair. The Black guys are getting off 100% just because of Marc and Jeanie’s lies. Karma is a bitch I guess, and so is pay back…………..


    • MK
      Feb 03, 2014 @ 21:10:16

      Howard, have you spoken to the cops about seeing them after this happened? I’m sure it would shed some light and clear up some discrepancies in a very complicated case.


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