Woman Facing Possible Jail Time for Booing Dance Performance

by ARLnow.com January 30, 2012 at 5:00 pm 8,662 168 Comments

A woman who was arrested for disrupting a children’s dance performance last spring is making accusations of racism and mistreatment against the dance company and one of its most prominent supporters.

Jackie Carter was charged with disorderly conduct following an incident on April 30, 2011, in which she booed a Bowen McCauley Dance Company performance at Kenmore Middle School. The incident was detailed by the Afro newspaper last week, and then picked up by the Washington City Paper on Friday.

The performance, which featured live music by a Kenmore Middle School band, included a dance number that Carter said she found to be “racist and offensive to African-Americans and African American women especially.”

“The skit involved a white child and her black mamee singing and dancing together to the song ‘Lil Rabbit where’s Ya Mamee,'” Carter wrote in a lengthy blog post. “The Mamee scene was a celebration of the many black women, enslaved and used as wet-nurses and the many other unspeakable crimes committed against their enslaved minds, souls and bodies.”

Carter says she booed a performance of the scene on April 29, 2011, but left peacefully after police showed up. Carter, whose daughter was attending Kenmore, then expressed her disapproval to numerous Arlington Public School officials, who listened but apparently declined to take any definitive action.

As Afro reported, Kenmore’s principal later defended the performance, writing a note to parents explaining: “The word ‘mammy’ used in the song is a colloquial affectionate term for mother or grandmother and was used historically and still today in some areas by both African and White Americans, especially in the south.”

On April 30, Carter again showed up to Kenmore to protest the performance. Carter says she handed out letters of protest to members of the audience before the show. During the scene, she started booing. That’s when she says she was assaulted by several people associated with the dance company, including current Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes, who’s also an honorary Bowen McCauley board member.

“Mary Hynes and 4 additional Bowen-McCauley staff members began hitting me and pulling my arms in many different directions,” Carter alleged. “I yelled out ‘get off of me’ … a man, representing Bowen McCauley put me in a head lock and squeezed my neck.”

“I attempted to return to my seat when another man also Bowen-McCauley staff member began pushing me in my chest and blocking my forward movements,” she continued. “I was able to get around him, I return to my set and continued booing the ‘Mamee’ scene.”

Carter says she left the theater after the scene, but was then confronted by police. She was ultimately detained and charged with disorderly conduct, a Class 1 misdemeanor that carries a penalty of up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine.

“We had to arrest Ms. Carter at the school on 4/30/11 because she caused quite a disturbance,” Arlington County Police spokeswoman Det. Crystal Nosal told ARLnow.com in May 2011. The incident did not make the department’s weekly crime report at the time.

“It didn’t make the Crime Report because it was just a disorderly conduct charge released on summons,” Nosal explained.

According to court records, the next hearing in Carter’s case is scheduled to be held in Arlington County General District Court on April 23.

Update at 5:45 p.m. — Hynes declined to comment, citing the pending criminal charge against Carter.

  • From the only GOP in Arlington

    It is Kenmore’s “principal” not “principle”. Remember: a principal is your “pal”.

    Sorry — I’ve been grading grad papers all day and am in my editing mode.


    • That has already been corrected, thank you.

    • John Fontain

      Your periods should be within your quotations.

      • Actually

        If they were quoted a phrase is in: He wrote, “Your principal is your pal.” You’d be correct… but if you’re setting apart a word simply to point it out and it’s not part of a quotation the marks and punctuation is fine as is.

        • brendan

          geeeeeeeeeeks. 🙂

          • NO

            Quit making stuff up when you don’t know the rule.

            Here’s the rule: A period goes inside the quotation marks, as does a comma. But exclamation points and question marks go outside the final quotation mark:

            “I’m tired,” he said. “I haven’t slept in days.”

            I couldn’t believe he was complaining about “not sleeping in days”!

            The Brits put everything outside the quotation marks.

          • brit

            No we F’in don’t!

          • D’oh

            Brits have a much more nuanced and logical approach to it. Since we’re all already on the interwebs, I suggest using the Google to do the appropriate research.

            But as American, “USA! USA” ! USA””!!!

          • Car-Free-Diet

            You mean, dumb-hump Arlingtonians trying to prove how smart they are.

      • thecharlesriver

        “One upping” people (especially over irrelevant minutiae) may create the illusion that you’re better than them, but in the end your self-esteem must come from within. You definitely live in the right part of the country though!

        • agreement

          I’m sure you’re trying to elicit this, but I’ll bite.

          “better than they”

          both nominative case.

          Thank you.

          • thecharlesriver

            Thank you. You obviously fit right in here!

        • John Fontain

          Charles, you must have missed the post above mine where someone else was correcting ARLnow and claiming to be an editor and yet having their own errors in their post. I was just pointing out the irony.

          • thecharlesriver

            Yeah I just replied to the wrong post. But this whole deal about reading articles and then commenting about the grammar, typo’s etc as if they matter is about as petty as it gets. But then, here we are in Northern Virginia which probably has the biggest collection of petty condescending jamokes on the face of the planet!

          • bob

            There’s a typo in your comment. You apparently lack the understanding of how to use a possessive apostrophe correctly.

          • Richard Cranium

            The Internet Law of Correction:

            “Every post pointing out a grammatical or typographical error in another post must, itself, contain at least one grammatical or typographical error.”

    • MomofTeens

      +1 Hopefully they will also refrain from using the word “laying” unless they’re referring to hens.

  • Bart

    What the holy heck?

    • PaulaPaula

      I was there for both days, as my granddaughter was in the show. This story completely mischaracterizes the actual events. My granddaughter (who is African American) told us about the performance well before the show during the rehearsals.

      The professional dance company is racially diverse, and my granddaughter’s middle school dance company is even more diverse (no Asians in the professional company), and we were surprised when we heard about Ms. Carter’s protestations after the first performance. We were shocked, embarrassed and disappointed in her behavior at the second performance. We felt the performance was more of a tribute than a molehill. She seems to have created a mountain anyway.

      I did not witness any of the confrontations with representatives of the professional dance company, but I cannot imagine it could have happened as described by Ms. Carter. I hope you’ll explore this story thoroughly and not contribute to what might be (or at least began as) a publicity stunt by Ms. Carter, who has a propensity for and actual record of such behavior.

      • Pat Sullivan

        I’m a Washington Post reporter and would like to talk with you or anyone else who was *actually there.* Please call 703-518-3011 or email [email protected]. Thanks.

  • Union101

    Reparations NOW!

  • TG3oA

    What would Al Jolsen do?

    • Tabs

      Spell his name right.

      • Skeptical

        thptttffftt!!! +1

  • novasteve

    As an anti liberal I don’t know what to think on this one, as I despise political correctness, but arresting someone for making a scene? Come on.

    If a holocaust survivor made a scene at some event of a holocaust denier, would the holocaust survivor get arrested for disorderly conduct?

    • jan


    • Kirk

      Depends on where the event is, but usually yes.

  • brendan

    Well, sounds like she wanted to make a scene…

    Whenever I don’t get my way, I like to scream and shout and create a huge scene… especially at children’s plays. (currently wrapping up year 3 of a 5 year ban from Glen Echo park for yelling obscenities during the ending of a puppet show that i found tasteless)

    Whether or not this term and skit are in any way racist sounds like a reasonable topic for discussion, not a temper tantrum. Hope Ms. Carter realizes she has caused more harm than good.

    • This is ridiculous

      Jesus Christ, people. We have a principal who THINKS IT’S OKAY TO HAVE A KIDS’ SONG ABOUT A MAMMY.

      Do you really have to have it explained why this is unspeakably offensive? It’s one step from minstrelsy.

      Fire that jacktard.

      • but

        The principal is black.

        I think that’s an interesting factor here.

        • Paula

          In what way?

          • drax


          • sNarl

            Okay, so we have an appalachian fiddle song with a dancer in a rabbit costume. The name of the song has a reference to a “mamee”, which, IN THAT CULTURE, is the same as mama. Some bluegrass artists just change it to “mama” to avoid controversy, but for whatever reason, the dance company chose to stick with the original appalachian/celtic title.

            I’m not sure how Ms. Carter determined that the dancing bunny represented an archetypical Black Mammy of the antebellum south, or the white child raised by the archetypical Black Mammy, but she would have benefited by doing a bit of research into the song before jumping to such a conclusion.

            I’m glad that the principal chose the braver path, which was not to simply kill the performance because of fear of that misinterpretation.

        • Dan

          Reminds me of the Sienfeld episode where Jerry’s dentist converts to Judaism for the jokes.

          • j

            You’re an anti-Dentite!!!!

        • Car-Free-Diet

          Why does race matter? The goal is a color-blind society! If the principal did something ridiculous those skin color should not make a difference. Unless you are one of this A-holes who think the N word is as acceptable as apple pie when it comes out of the mouth of an African-American.

          • Hmmm

            Don’t think colorblind is the goal. Color appreciating is more the goal, I think. Colorblind implies that we should not see color as an important component of who one is… their history, heritage. Not bad to see color. Bad to see that color is bad.

      • brendan

        you really think she didn’t the right thing by acting like a total idiot and booing 10 year olds? because from the reports that’s how it came off. Now she’s claim assault? Sounds like she has more problems than just the poor use of this word.

        As I said, I think the use of the term in a school setting deserves discussion, not a temper tantrum. The Afro article claims she has a degree of some sort, which is hard to believe considering the immature and ineffective manner by which she chose to express herself. acting like a 2 year old at your ten year old’s performance? pathetic.

        • Paula

          Exactly what does having a degree and having a tantrum have to do with anything?

          Whether the performers were 10 year olds or 50 year olds they still deserved the respect of not being “booed.”

          • brendan

            Well, theoretically the more education you have, the better you should be at expressing yourself in an effective and appropriate manner, which includes not booing. And yes, booing in general is poor form during a theatre production, but i think you would agree with me that booing kids is a significantly more offensive form of protest than if the performers were adults.

      • drax

        So easy to take a position on this, but any time you try to honor black history and culture, you’re going to run into things that were once accepted and now considered racist by some. And then you’ll have a principal trying to defend it. The solution will be no more honoring of black culture to prevent getting into hot water. Not the best solution, but that’s what will happen.

        • bringmetheyuppies

          Im wit dat . Lets stop honoring Black culture..And white culture.. and asian culture.. and all cultures that are not american cultures…we all have our skeletons. are we better off with or without the memories?

      • fiddler

        It’s NOT about a “Mammy”, the stereotype of the Black slave woman. It is an Appalachian fiddle/banjo song and the word is mamee, which means mama.

  • Your Mom

    The mullet times is also reporting on the story. Details at 11.

  • Mick Way

    I was at that show. Carter is a bald-face liar. I was sitting not 20 feet from the altercation. Her definition of “hitting” was disturbed audience members gently placing a hand on her shoulder. She yelled “THAT”S ASSAULTY”

    I witnessed this.

    She was a total nut-job and based on her pre-show rantings outside the theater was totally setting everyone up for this.

    She needs to pick better targets. A dance company? sort of the definition of lefty sentiment.

    • Shane

      Did you take the time to teach your children that principals make mistakes, as do show directors, as do parents? Did you take the time to teach them that to bring back an antebellum song like this one is, yes, offensive?

      I’m going to guess “no” on that one.

      • brendan

        so when you don’t like something you should get up and act like a 2 y.o. with a wet diaper?

        The use of this term is worthy of debate, not temper tantrums. The validity of her argument in this case is a tertiary concern to the inappropriate method and setting she choose to express herself.

    • drax

      I don’t necessarily agree with what she did, but there’s nothing about a dance company that makes it immune to charges of racism or unimportant. Nor is opposing racism “lefty.” Or is it?

    • Car-Free-Diet

      She seems to have acted like a typical Arlingtonian who had their sensibilities rubbed the wrong way.

    • Pat Sullivan

      I’m a Washington Post reporter and would like to talk with you or anyone else who was *actually there.* Please call 703-518-3011 or email [email protected]. Thanks.

  • Banksy

    Just based on the headline, my first thought was this woman was a nutcase. Then I read the details. The principal thinks that “Mammy” is an acceptable term to use? Seriously? Sure, it’s historical, but so is the n— word. I would have booed, too.

    • Wakefield Dad

      Yes because the other 100 people in the audience who are their to watch their children perform are less important than you. Get off your self righteous high horse.

      • CW

        Wow. Just wow.

      • Hmmm

        Don’t think they are less important. Do think that a discussion of the term, perhaps in a brochure with the show… explaining the historical use of the term would have added to the performance and placated the woman in question… if her goal was education, that is…

  • Shane

    Sorry, but I’m with Jackie Carter on this one. There’s no reason to bring back a “performance” that subjugated one group to another–not in the context of a children’s performance. Parents of these children had at least a month to say “what in the world is THIS being taught to my child!?” Where were they (save for Jackie Carter)?

    The principal had time to put the kibosh on this, but failed to do so. I don’t know how “wildly” Jackie Carter acted out, but really, “booing” was in fact the right thing to do here. That would teach these children a lesson about truly understanding the experience of others–a lesson those parents in the audience failed to teach.

    • Yes I can see how booing is the way to educate

      Oh wait… no. To yell “boo” at the top of your lungs and cause a scene doesn’t educate a single child or a parent for that matter. Sure she had some written materials to explain her thoughts and feelings, but the second she caused a scene and acted in a way that any child in the room would’ve been disciplined for she lost the respect of her audience. Acting like a child in protest doesn’t educate anyone. Yes, it got attention, but I bet half the crowd didn’t even know why she was doing it and I know for a fact the children learned nothing from it… so how is it helpful or right?

      • Sure it Does

        “Mommy, why did people boo us?”

        “Because your show was celebrating the fact that black people used to have to wait on white people.”

        Sounds educational to me.

        What’s next–a show about the Holocaust, celebrating the Jewish servants who waiting on SS officers before being sent to the gas chamber? Would that be OK?

        I’m seriously distrubed that some people are defending this.

        • but

          Did you see the show? No. It show was described in more detail in another comment, it apparently involved a bunny. I realize you probably want to stir the pot, and more power to you, but I really think this is a case where a particularly disturbed and aggressive person saw what she wanted to see.

          • bobco85

            Did it involve a white bunny and its black mammy? If so, draws directly from the negative archetype of slave women who were used as wet nurses and is offensive. If not, then it might draw from the affectionate term used for mother/grandmother as the principal said and is not offensive. Also, this article fails to point out that Jackie Carter is (from the afro.com article) “a long-time stage director well-known in D.C.’s Black theatre milieu” and not just a random mother of one of the students, which is important to understanding the basis of her outrage.

            Booing on public, taxpayer-funded property (a.k.a. a school) is something that is well within Jackie Carter’s constitutional rights to do (freedom of speech), especially when seeing something she finds objectionable, I will not deny her that. But when she is asked to leave because she is being disruptive to the performance, she does need to leave because the people in charge were trying to maintain order. I don’t think she deserves a year in jail for this.

            I think a good way to get something positive out of this would be to educate the students on the use of the term “mammy” in both its historically positive and negative ways. For Jackie Carter, I think it would be smart for the local NAACP chapter to get involved and mediate the discussion between her and the school/director.

          • Paula

            I get so tired of people using “freedom of speech” for bad behavior. With freedom comes RESPONSIBILITY. Nowadays, people spend more time dodging responsibility, and even more time back peddling frantically away from accountability.

          • but

            I googled Jackie Carter and found not one reference to her directing, but a ton of references to her fracas with the Arlington Public Schools.

          • brendan

            i see you looked up the wikipedia entry form “mammy” and found archetype to be as interesting as i do. 🙂

            To your points. I agree that a year in jail is absurd, but I don’t think anyone is really planning on putting this mother in jail. However, I think you’re kind of letting her off the hook w/ the free speech stuff and suggesting NAACP mediation. Educating kids on ethnic slurs is an important, albeit delicate, issue that every school child should have some understanding of, hopefully from home but also from authority figures within the school.

            But what about her? With little to no justification online of the credentials given to her by the Afro beyond one mention of a theatre company registered to an apartment unit in DC… I find it hard to believe she has a deeper understanding of the material that somehow justifies erratic and inappropriate behavior. Don’t get me wrong, I believe her objections are worthy of discussion…. Unfortunately she seems to be continuing to make her own behavior the bigger issue with inflammatory and accusatory blog postings where she continues to justify her embarrassing actions.

            She should be required to apologize to all the children involved flat out with no qualifications to the apology or justifications of her behavior, leave that to the school for she clearly is not qualified to do that in an appropriate manner.

          • Runaway Train

            To Kill a Mockingbird is still read at the middle school and high school level in many schools. The “n” word is one of many characteristics that make the book so relevant. It teaches our children about the way life used to be and gives pause for reflection.
            Prejudice occurs when people don’t talk about events for what they were.

    • ArlingtonWay

      Booing 10 year old kids? Golly Shane, don’t you think what you are advcating is a bit of a tar baby?

  • TG3oA

    Bbl. going to the central library to pick u a copy of “Songs of the South”

    • truth be told

      Song of the South

  • Mick Way

    Forgot to mention. The dance in question had no antebellum mammy. The song was a dancer dressed in a bunny costume. At the end she is greeted by a dancer wearing what I think was 20’s flapper outfit.

    BTW the principal of the school, Dr. Word, is black.

    • Deborah in Bluemont

      I was not at the performance but I heard from my child that Dr. Word (before the performance) discussed the history and different meanings of the song. And as the person above noted, the dancer was in a bunny custom. So this was not presented without thought and it was also an education in different meanings.

    • Paula

      “BTW the principal of the school, Dr. Word, is black.”


    • Car-Free-Diet

      Who gives a rat’s puckered ass about the color of the principal’s skin?

  • Matt in Lyon Park

    Jeez, maybe that show “Dance Moms” is being filmed here in Arlington.

  • thecharlesriver

    If you go out looking for trouble, you will eventually find it. LEAVE PEOPLE ALONE and you won’t have a problem. That’s a lesson this one needs to learn.

  • CW

    So was there or was there not a physical altercation? Of course, at this point, it’s he-said-she-said, but I’d really wonder if the police would track her down and arrest her just for the booing, as the article’s headline implies.

    • James Woods High School

      ACP quote says she was arrested at the school

      • CW

        Poor wording on my part; the point I was trying to highlight was that they didn’t drag her kicking and screaming out of the theater.

    • Kirk

      I imagine someone taped it on their cellphone.

  • Swag

    Disorderly conduct = You didn’t commit a crime, but we need a reason to arrest you.

    • truth be told
      • chipotle_addict

        Yes, but read the description. It’s basically a catch all. Oh you talked in public? That disturbed the peace, arrested for disorderly conduct! How can this law exist without trampling over free speech?

  • charlie

    if the principal is black this is ok?

    • keep stirrin’

      that pot, “charlie”

    • drax

      No, but charging her with bald-faced racism for it falls flat.

  • Civic Activist

    What kind of “protest” can we expect when someone tells her that the whole County is named after a slave plantation???

  • TG3oA

    I hope the judge determines her guilt or innocence by playing a game of Eeny, meeny, miny, moe.

    • but

      okay, this made me laugh. Sorry, all.

  • John Fontain

    Jackie Carter probably won’t ever figure this out in her lifetime, but if she’d stop trying to see racism in everything – even where it doesn’t exist – she’d probably live a more productive and content life.

    • truth be told


    • Paula

      Do you know for a fact that she sees racism in every thing?

  • Paula

    Who gives a toss if the principal is black, and that he approved the show? Someone’s race is not relevant here. It’s about common courtesy. If Mrs, Carter found something objectionable in this performance then she could have simply written a letter to the proper authorities at the school, and met with them at a scheduled date to discuss the matter.

    Standing up during the performance of a show and “booing” is ineffective, not to mention rude.

    • but

      If you don’t give “a toss”, then I suspect you’re not American, at least not a native one. For those of us born here, the subtle racial issues at play are quite important, and that includes a black principal giving a pass to a show that a black woman found offensive.

      • James Woods High School

        So one black woman speaks for the entire black community?

        • but

          No, she doesn’t – that was my point, although I suspect you’re addressing Paula.

        • better than you

          nobody said that

      • Paula

        I am very much American, and was born here. My point is that it doesn’t matter if the principal was black. He’s supposed to think, “black?” Anyway the man’s race is not the point with me. The point is someone disagreed with something they saw, and handled it badly.

        If she took issue with what was on stage then take it up with the appropriate authority at the school, not in the auditorium in front of a seated audience.

        • brendan

          eh… I see what you’re saying and would like to agree with you on the idea that it doesn’t matter what the race of the principal is… but honestly it still does. I mean, the commentariat on arlnow along w/ the rest of the world peeping in through the eyes of the second hand reporting are drawing opinions on a pretty sensitive subject. If this were an all white school with a white principal, the image most people would draw of what happened would include a lot more insensitivity on behalf of the school. I assume few people on here know the principal first hand so we’re using other factors to understand what happened, including the notion that a black principal would be more sensitive to the inappropriate use of an offensive term.

          That make any sense… ?

          • Paula

            NO! It doesn’t make any sense to me what color the principal is. I stated it was not important to ME!!

            My point is dealing with etiquette. Not nice to stand up in the theatre and disrupt the performance; deal with complaints professionally…blah, blah, blah (not going to reiterate my stance.)!

          • brendan

            and you missed the point completely….

      • Car-Free-Diet

        You are spouting off politically correct nonsense.

        Just because two people share the same skin color does not mean that if one of them finds a performance perfectly acceptable the other one won’t find it racially insensitive and inflammatory.

        But the way you write indicates that if the principal was white you are ready to throw them under the bus, but because the principal is African-American there are “subtle racial issues at play”

        You sound so caught up in race that to you skin color is more important than a person’s actions.

  • OaklandSt

    lol. last time I checked, “mammy” or “mammie” is not a good stereotype to put forth in a children’s play.

    Gosh darn Arlington Schools, what were you thinking? LOL.

  • Pikeguy

    Oh please don’t throw me into that briar patch missu. I didnt mean to speak out on yo kids play. OH PLEASE.

  • Lou

    Mary was throwing hands??? Oh this must be a good story.

  • SomeGuy

    OMG. Next thing ya know, those racists are probably going to make kids read a book by Mark Twain in which someone uses the N-word!!

    Let’s hope someone will be around to take a few pages of that book out of context to indict it too.

  • SomeGuy

    OMG. Some of these same bigots probably influence a curriculum that makes kids read a Mark Twain book that forces them to grapple with the printed N-word!!!

    I hope someone’s around to yell and scream and take a few pages of that book out of context too.

    • but


  • thecharlesriver

    All those on here “poo pooing” the arrest on a disorderly conduct charge would be the first to complain to police if this woman or anybody else ever went out of their way to disrupt your personal lives. Indeed, you would probably be asking for her head.

  • ArlingtonWay

    Sounds like Ms. Carter has a legitimate point. Which she completely undermined by booing 10 year olds. So the debate now is about her, instead of the propriety of the play. Jackie’s not too sophisticated.

  • Deb

    My problem is that she RETURNED the next day. She had her say, behaved badly and then RETURNED to really stick it to the school…not to educate people but to inflame the situation. She needs to go down the street to the hospital for a mental checkup. This situation is ALL about her and not about the kids, the teachers, the principal, or the curiculum. It is about her, her feelings, her opinions, etc…and nothing else…

    • OldTimer

      She needs her mammy.

  • Quoth the Raven

    I think we should listen to Mick Way (comment above). He was actually there, and it sounds like she was there just looking for trouble. So really, whether the play is or is not actually offensive doesn’t matter – she was there with the intent to cause trouble and that’s exactly what she did.

  • Ashton Height Bob

    Maybe the chosen candidate who 78% of the democratic caucus voters did not want can hold an alliance/taskforce/listening tour/facilitation so that everyone feels better and the 78% loser can listen to everyone’s concerns.

    On a more serious note, why not talk with the school board members at their open meet-and-greet sessions or at a formal school board meeting?

  • sitruc

    Some commenters need to watch a very special episode of “A Different World.”

    • kinetic94761180

      the spray paint episode!

  • anwaybacktome

    I live within the Kenmore School boundaries, will this affect my property values?

    • drax

      I live in Donaldson Run so this doesn’t affect me.

  • CarlosDePasqual

    I boo children daily.

    • Bart

      It’s good therapy.

    • me too

      usually they are my own.

  • Richard Cranium

    Can’t we move on to something less controversial?

    I’ll offer some suggestions:

    – Abortion
    – Gun control
    – Which is the One True Religion, or
    – Slip Lanes – The Ultimate Congestion Cure or the Traffic Tool of Satan?

  • kinetic94761180

    bottom line is that there’s no place for this type of “historic lesson”. it’s a part of history that shouldn’t be glorified, even in the least bit. the thought that anyone would believe it’s ok to include any sort of reference to a “mammy”, for any reason (let alone w/ children) in 2012 is just proof that racism is alive & well.

    it’s sad to know most flks will never get past.

    i used to believe that it was the older generations that keep up these stereotypes & glorify these sorts of horrid beliefs, but it seems as though the younger generations are being bred & raised to carry on the same type of culture.

    agn, this story is proof.

    some say “why make a big deal out of it”? i say it should never have been a “deal” in the first place.

    what’s the end game for all this racist ‘ish?!

    • brendan

      proof that racism is alive and well?

      How in God’s good name is this racism? You can argue whether or not the context and use was appropriate, but there’s absolutely no evidence of any racism here and there’s really nothing more despicable than making completely unfounded accusations.

      • kinetic94761180

        incorporating a “mammy” into a children’s dance routine is dispicable.

        • kinetic94761180


        • broadway baby

          So what do we do with the character Mammy Yokum the pipe smoking mother of Lil Abner? Do we go out and boo that if the Tony Award winning Broadway musical comes to the Kennedy Center?

          • kinetic94761180


        • brendan

          if you want to call it inappropriate, despicable, etc. etc. that’s fine… but you’re alleging racism.

          Completely unfounded charges of racism are just as despicable and counterproductive as if someone actually said or did something racist.

          • kinetic94761180

            there’s no place for this. it’s tasteless.

            anytime the term or character of “mammy” is evoked into anything for *entertainment* purposes….

            it’s just not ok.

            & i don’t know why anyone would think it is.


          • brendan

            so anyone who drops the n-bomb is racist no matter what the context? I’d agree 99% of the time it’s poorly used but even then it’s not always in a racist manner.

            there was absolutely zero intent to offend or denigrate african-americans… whether or not you agree with the use is an entirely different thing than saying the people involved were racist.

            put the whistle down and start thinking before you speak.

          • brendan

            btw — another thing to think about… not using the same user name for arlnow/espn/etc as you do for Xvideos 🙂

          • kinetic94761180

            i dunno what xvideos are.

            & wtf does that have todo w/ anything?

          • kinetic94761180


            i googled myself.

            agn, tell me wtf this has todo w/ my comment?

          • kinetic94761180

            you know what, man – n/m.

            you just went way out into left field, and i have no interest in continuing.

            this is dumb.

            now everyone knows i watch porn & hate it when folks use derogatory terms as entertainment like it’s ok.

            you embarrassed me.

        • Dawn

          There was no mammy! It was a bunny rabbit!! The song is not about slavery!!!

  • BoredHouseWife

    free speech?

  • chipotle_addict

    How is this different from booing at a sporting event? How many people have been arrested for booing the Redskins?

    • brendan

      booing an overpaid adult athlete is significantly different than booing a ten year old in a school auditorium.

    • M

      Booing professional athletes is quite different from booing a performance by children. The analogy to this situation is not to booing the Washington Redskins, but to booing a soccer team composed of 10-year olds, for example, because you think their uniforms or team name or mascot are offensive. Most people would regard that as out of line. You complain to the school about it, you go to school meetings and County Board meetings, you write letters to the editor of the paper, but you don’t boo the kids – it wasn’t their idea, and they shouldn’t be attacked even if their teachers did something stupid.

      • Lee-n-Glebe

        Very well said. Thank you.

    • Kirk

      Plenty of people have had disorderly conduct arrests at Redskins games for their actions. In any event, its a different milieu, where booing is accepted and appropriate. At another sporting event, like a tennis or golf tournament booing continuously at the wrong time could easily get you thrown out.

    • Dan

      If Snyder were to have his way……….

  • roquer

    Not a single conservative in the school administration in Arlington, and certainly not Mary Hynes…..whose racist now?

    • Always Right

      How True!

  • April

    I wasn’t at this concert, but I’ve been to concerts where this song was played and its origins explained. It’s an Appalachian banjo tune, and it has its roots in an old celtic folk song (as does much Appalachian music). It had nothing to do with slavery.

    I understand her concern about the use of the word given its popular connotations, but it’s also important to recognize other cultures as well. Surely her posts about the incident and her passing out flyers was sufficient to educate people about how the word could be offensive. She only undermined herself by her tantrums at the performances.

    • SamsontheCat

      I read your comment about it being Appalachian and celtic and it totally clicked. A Scottish friend used to call his mother mamee and I’ve heard it used in Scottish tunes before.

      Then again, I think I heard it used in “Braveheart” and Mel Gibson made that and we know about Mel Gibson, so it must be….BOOOOOO!

    • C. Little

      “Appalachian banjo tune”? Hmmm, then it seems Ms. Carter is being niggardly in accepting views and history beyond her own insular world.

      PS: Please look up the word before declaring outrage.

      • MomofTeens

        Interesting point. People read into things what they want to. Remember when the public official in DC was fired for using the term niggardly, in the correct contest when discussing a fiscal matter? He implored them to look the word up in the dictionary. They still fired him.

  • Richard

    Disorderly Conduct IS a crime and the law clearly defines its parameters. Booing is as offensive to me as “woo-woo-woo” cheers for lousy performances, but neither in itself meets the criteria for Disorderly Conduct – unless it happens in the MIDST of a performance,(rather than at the end), as it did here.

    Nevertheless, this incident does serve to vitalize the racism dialogue, which should never be suppressed.

    • ArlingtonWay

      Exactly I’m sure glad we vitalized the racism dialogue what with everyone wanting to supressed it and all. Cripes.

      • Richard

        So, you’d rather sweep racism under the rug and pretend it’s not alive and well?

        • ArlingtonWay

          Nope. I just reject the premise that this incident has “vitalized” the racism dialogue and that “everyone” is trying to suppress it. Both statements are nonsense.

          • Richard

            I do appreciate your view on the situation as well as on my initial comment, but I wasn’t suggesting that the “revitalizing” of a dialogue on racism was comfortable or initially constructive. As long as there IS dialogue, there is awareness. In this particular incident, the woman did indeed disrupt a children’s concert inappropriately and unlawfully – but the story did point up that even when well-meaning people of color (the principal, for example, was mentioned) interpret elements of history sympathetically, others can and will be offended – white or black. As Americans, we must respect the First Amendment and – above all – find civil, sensitive, and legal ways to disagree with each other when we feel that it has been abused. I’d welcome any further thoughts you might have on the matter. Thanks.

  • samuel

    This is exceptionally sad, especially because Mary Hynes does not see the danger to children or our society in perpetuating racial stereotypes cloaked in bad dance for impressionable minds. How much does Mary push from the Arlington budget for BM Dance??!! hmmm…..

    • brendan


  • RoboCop

    Would give anything for video of Mary Hynes assaulting Jackie Carter. Must be an awesome visual.

  • sharis

    Mary Hynes just lost my vote.

  • chino

    Mary Hynes! What are you thinking??!! So disappointing, you need a history lesson.

    • Fiddler

      Sounds like a lot of people need a history lesson — about Appalachian culture and music, which is what this song represents. For what it’s worth, the verse questioning “where’s your mamee” is followed by a verse questioning “where’s your pappy.” Appalachian music has roots in Celtic music, as Appalachia was settled mostly by Scotch, Irish, Welsh, and English immigrants, and its relative isolation led to development of a distinct musical style. This song, like much Appalachian music, is based on a Celtic folk song. To claim that the song is about a black slave and a white child is ignoring everything we know about the song. I have no idea if the dance troupe gave that impression or if this was totally the interpretation of Ms. Carter, but it is completely incorrect.

    • Fiddler

      The use of the word “mamee” for mother is common in Appalachian music. “Little Rabbit” is a fairly popular tune in the bluegrass world, but another tune with Appalachian roots with which people may be more familiar is “Go tell Aunt Rhody”. One of the verses is … “the goslings are crying, ’cause their mamee’s dead.” With the gander also crying for his wife, it is very clear that the “mamee” is the mother of the goslings.

      • chino

        From today’s The Afro on line. Check it out.
        Although such portrayals are held by some to be legitimate depictions of American folklore, such prestigious African-American scholars as Dr. Molefi Kete Asante denounced any such presentations as deplorable reminders of the nation’s racist past.
        “Race and the issues surrounding it continue to be a factor and cannot be overlooked or swept aside because we believe as a society we have moved beyond that,” Graham Williams maintained. ” History always remains.” Graham Williams said her client exercised her rights of free speech as an American. “My client acted in peaceful civil protest and was beaten and arrested as if she had no right to do so. An ignorance of the issues, a purposeful blocking of communication about the issues, and a denial of a right to express concern are all direct contributors to a situation that simply did not have to be. Ms. Carter intends to bring light to this problem in the way she always intended — peacefully, civilly, and under the full protection of the law,” Graham Williams said.
        DeRutter Jones contributed to this story.

    • outraged

      Yeah Mary. You know what a racist organization the Smithsonian Institution is. Looks at this filth they recorded. A song called Little Rabbit Where’s Your Mammy. Recorded by some Klansman named Mike Seeger.


      • nArl

        If you want to be really outraged, check out the album “Grandma Slid Down the Mountain” by children’s musician, folkie, and banjo player extraordinaire Cathy Fink. Not only does it contain “Little Rabbit Where’s Your Mammy”, but it contains tunes such as “the Yodel Polka” and “Briarpicker Brown”. Undoubtedly, the word “Brown” is racist slang that should be banned from the English language.

        To think that I bought my kids all her CDs…

  • Charles Smith

    I wouldn’t want to be charged with disorderly conduct for booing anyone. (Not that I “boo” public performances.) Is one disorderly when they clap? How about, when they shout “you lie” during a speech by an elected official?

  • Always Right

    Why didn’t she leave the event? Maybe she wanted the attention.

    • nArl

      She definitely wanted the attention — she was escorted out of one concert, and showed up to disrupt the next one the following day. According to her own blog, one of the adults talked to her for a while and asked her not to disrupt the performance a second time, to which she replied that she most certainly would.

  • In situations like these, I’m glad I’m not White so I can “safely” roll my eyes at Jackie Carter.

  • MAS from DC (DC stands for Don’t Care)

    Bowen McCauley Dance Company this is the bigger picture. What did Jackie really hear and see? I wasn’t there but I would not be surprise if this company did other plays that seem racist. Maybe people should watch Bowen McCauley Dance Company closely. Are they known for this? If anyone was there please tell me what you think? It’s 2012 I put nothing past no one. Once a two legged dog always a two legged dog. Jackie Carter be strong you may have start something good. It seem the principle is Black maybe she has a White husband. Just because someone skin color is Black, don’t make their mind, heart and soul Black.


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