David Gibson on Oberlin College verdict: Kept fighting so his father didn’t “die being labeled as a racist”
91-year-old Allyn W. Gibson: “In my life, I’ve done everything I could to treat all people with dignity and respect. And now, nearing the end of my life, I’m going to die being labeled as a racist.”
The massive compensatory and punitive damage verdicts against Oberlin College and in favor of Gibson’s Bakery and it’s owners 91-year-old Allyn W. Gibson and his son David Gibson, have captured substantial attention.
Almost none of that attention has been favorable to Oberlin College, with withering Op-Eds eviscerating Oberlin College and its social justice warfare gone mad.
Oberlin College has an admirable liberal past and a contemptible progressive present that will devalue its degrees far into the future. This is condign punishment for the college’s mendacity about helping to incite a mob mentality and collective bullying in response to “racist” behavior that never happened….
Oberlin’s president defiantly says “none of this will sway us from our core values.” Those values — moral arrogance, ideology-induced prejudgments, indifference to evidence — are, to continue using the progressive patois, the root causes of Oberlin’s descent beyond caricature and into disgrace.
Mark Weaver in the Akron Beacon Journal, Echoes of McCarthyism in Oberlin:
By overstating the problem and overplaying his hand, [Joseph McCarthy] overlooked the need to be responsible with a topic as sensitive and weighty as Communist infiltration. His credibility collapsed like a bad alibi.
History may have arranged a similar pivot point to coincide with the anniversary of that incident. Last week, jurors in nearby Lorain County rebuffed a different kind of attempt to exploit a serious issue – racism. And it was Oberlin College called to account….
The moment [of he Gibson’s verdict] feels historic. It’s as if the jurors turned to college officials and their student cohorts and asked: “Have you no decency?”
The Editorial Board of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Oberlin run amok: After student crimes, college attacks the victims:
Oberlin is at a crossroads. It must take stock and correct course — no more political correctness for the sake of appearances or image, no more defense of student misbehavior. The college must admit that it erred and that the owners of the bakery acted as any business owners would under similar circumstances. More shenanigans like this could put Oberlin out of business at a time when so many liberal-arts schools are struggling to fill their classrooms.
That’s what happened to Antioch College, also once a distinguished Ohio liberal arts school. It was overcome with unthinking and fashionable leftist radicalism and it made itself a joke. Now it is a pale shadow of its former self. Is this the route Oberlin would like to go?
There is no evidence that Oberlin is ready to “take stock and correct course,” as Editorial Board of the Pittburgh Post-Gazette suggested it do to avoid going the way of Antioch College. As we have written, Oberlin College is doubling and tripling down on portraying itself as the victim, blaming as it has in past incidents, the media.
This reminds me exactly of how Oberlin handled the aftermath of its Grandaddy of All Hate Crime Hoaxes in 2013. BLAME THE CONSERVATIVE BLOGOSPHERE!https://t.co/0Q2wtHpwxvhttps://t.co/3W9vGxcpQ6https://t.co/A6SxK8PPrF
— Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) June 19, 2019
The college has launched a public relations campaign, Oberlin College issues FAQs on Gibson’s Bakery Verdict: “Did the College defame or libel the Gibsons? No”, and is holding conference calls and forums with faculty, staff and alumni, including one scheduled for next week.
The Gibsons have been fairly quiet after the verdict, other than some brief courthouse statements immediately after the verdict.
That has changed. David Gibson has an Op-Ed in USA Today, in which he explains what his family went through, Gibson’s Bakery paid a high cost for an unfairly damaged reputation. Read the whole thing, of course, but here’s an excerpt:
He then discussed how his father’s reputation motivated him to keep fighting:
A business is only as strong as its reputation.
For more than 130 years, this principle served my family well. We own and operate Gibson’s Bakery in the City of Oberlin, Ohio — home to Oberlin College. Over that time, we have worked hard to build a reputation on our homemade baked goods, candy and ice cream, and on our commitment to our community….
On Nov. 9, 2016, a student attempted to shoplift two bottles of wine from our store. Unfortunately, theft is all too common at Gibson’s Bakery. Like many small businesses in Oberlin, our employees have caught plenty of shoplifters over the years — many of them students….
Despite the lack of any evidence, our family was accused of a long history of racism and discrimination. Oberlin College officials ordered the suspension of the more than 100-year business relationship with our bakery, and our customers dwindled. We were officially on trial — not in a courtroom, but in the court of public opinion. And we were losing….
As time went on, the truth began to emerge. The shoplifter confessed to his crime and said the arrest wasn’t racially motivated. But Oberlin College refused to help set the record straight by issuing a public statement that our family is not racist and does not have a history of racial profiling or discrimination.
The damage had been done. And the truth seemed irrelevant. In a small city like Oberlin, having the largest business and employer against you is more than enough to seal your fate….
As the extended legal battle dragged on, many asked why I didn’t just quit. Wouldn’t it be easier to close up shop and move on?
What few understand is that this situation not only affected our business; it touched every aspect of our lives.
In the end, the words of my father inspired me to continue the fight. He said, “In my life, I’ve done everything I could to treat all people with dignity and respect. And now, nearing the end of my life, I’m going to die being labeled as a racist.”
There wasn’t enough time, he feared, to set the record straight. His legacy had been tarnished and he felt powerless to stop it. I had to see this case through.
This experience has taught me that reputations are a fragile thing. They take a lifetime to build, but only moments to destroy.
Very eloquent. But it appears it will fall on many deaf ears at Oberlin College.
[Featured Image: David Gibson and Allyn W. Gibson at trial][Photo credit Bob Perkoski for Legal Insurrection Foundation]
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