In comments made today on WTMJ radio’s Steve Scaffidi Show, Jim Wigderson, editor of Right Wisconsin, said he doesn’t regret referring to Milwaukee Public Schools’ students as “…little convicts being sent to the penitentiary” in a recent Right Wisconsin post.
Here are the questions from WTMJ’s Scaffidi along with Wigderson’s responses.
Scaffidi: “Do you regret using the word ‘convicts’ in the sense that it was perceived, for people that didn’t look at the link, as an indictment of all 77,000 students, do you regret using that word? Would you have done it differently now?”
Widgerson: “Well as a writer, any time I look back at something it’s like George Lucas looking back at the Star Wars movies, you’re gonna rewrite things a hundred thousand times. I always have to look at things, how I wrote it, at the time that I wrote it, it’s just like an artist making a painting you make a decision with the brush stroke that you make at the time and that’s the way it is. I could kill myself just looking at every little piece that I’ve written and the choices that I make and word choices and things like that. But, looking back at what I wrote and putting in that link and what I intended and, no, I probably would still leave it the same.”
Later in the interview, Scaffidi repeated the question.
Scaffidi: “Looking back at the piece, again I asked you this before I’m gonna close with this, do you regret using the word convicts in the way that you used it in the sense that people didn’t make that association directly to Deonte Long?
Widgerson: “Again, as a writer you look at things and you hope that people get the full intent of what you’re writing. I mean, that’s the goal. So, to that extent, you know I probably would have used that word and I probably would have put a comma after it and said, “like Deonte Long” comma. That’s the only change I could possibly think of making.”
The link Wigderson refers to involves one former MPS student. In that statement, Wigderson clearly refers to more than one student by using the word convicts. In fact, Widgerson’s own response to Scaffidi’s second question makes it clear he was referring to more than one child by indicating he was using one student as an example.
Every adult in this community should be concerned that Wigderson’s comments show no regret for his offensive, hurtful, and derogatory statements referring to children as “…little convicts being sent to the penitentiary.”
MPS and caring community members will continue to stand tall with our young people, supporting their many accomplishments and committing ourselves to their success.