RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Alphonso Braggs, president of the Hawaii branch of the NAACP, spoke yesterday at a forum at Trinity Missionary Baptist Church on racial issues after Duane "Dog" Chapman was taped using a racial epithet.
‘Dog’ forum aims to hound out racism
About 100 residents of mixed ethnicity expressed their anger, frustration and hope to end racism yesterday during an informal forum on race relations in response to Duane "Dog" Chapman's racist tirade caught on tape.
A motorcycle group, African-American organizations, a medical group and students were among those attending the talk at Trinity Missionary Baptist Church near the airport.
Sparked by Chapman's racist rant, the Hawaii chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People organized the event to discuss race issues in the media.
"What spearheaded this was obviously another in a series of incidents where a high-profile individual chose to use the N-word," said NAACP chapter President Alphonso Braggs. "The fact that it was in a private conversation is clearly secondary and almost irrelevant to the use of the word when you are referencing someone."
Chapman, a Honolulu bounty hunter, apologized after the National Enquirer posted a recording of him using the N-word to refer to his son's black girlfriend and telling him to break up with her so he could use the word freely. A&E network suspended production of the show and pulled it off the air indefinitely.
Braggs pointed out that blacks are not the only ethnicity subjected to derogatory remarks in the media, recalling a recent comment about the Philippines on the TV show "Desperate Housewives."
Brigham Young University Hawaii sophomore Kai Sanders, who is black, stood up and said she wanted to know how to stop racism.
Blacks should be sure "we aren't ourselves using the word," she said. "We have to figure out how to not like or appreciate the music that's being put out by our own community."
The Rev. Dwight Cook, minister of Trinity Missionary Baptist Church, told the crowd that he felt Chapman ought to undergo sensitivity training.
"Everybody has to become a part of making this community a better place, and it does start with education," he said.
Jewel McDonald, president of the African American Association of Hawaii, said Chapman should be reduced from a "hero to a zero."
The consensus of the forum was that racism against blacks and other races persists in Hawaii, though it is not as blatant as on the mainland.
"They give you the impression everything is sweet here. 'It's the melting pot so everything is just lovely.' But it's not," she said.