Michigan: State Bar Withdraws Story Award Because Pro-White Attorney Is Its Author
Story won on its merits; wealthy and powerful lawyers cower in fear when accused of “racism”
THE STATE BAR of Michigan issued an apology and withdrew an honorable mention award for a short story it found to be “embedded with racist cues and symbolism.” (ILLUSTRATION: Kyle Bristow)
“We cannot apologize enough,” State Bar President Thomas Rombach said in a news release. “The short story contest has been popular with many members. But if this result could occur even with the high caliber of the judges who conferred the award, the contest should be discontinued.”
And it will be. The biennial contest, open to members of the Bar and judged by volunteers on its Publication and Website Advisory Committee, had been around for eight years. Entries were judged without the writer’s name.
In this instance, the writer’s name was Kyle Bristow, the author of the book “White Apocalypse” and former head of the Young Americans for Freedom at Michigan State University.
“My tale is simply about a criminal defense attorney who becomes fed up with the legal system,” Bristow said in an emailed statement. “My short story bested that of twenty-six of thirty contest submissions made by other attorneys after a panel of five judges chosen by the State Bar decided it earned fifth place in the contest based upon its merits alone.
“If the State Bar officials are now getting their panties in a bunch over a mere fictional story, then I submit that it is probably a good idea that they canceled the annual contest so that they are not triggered in the future by politically incorrect thought-crimes.”
The story —“Post-Conviction Relief” — centers around Jack Schoenherr, who’s described as a “soft-spoken and introverted Michigan attorney who had practiced almost exclusively in the area of criminal defense over the course of his twenty-two year legal career” and swore to uphold the state and U.S. constitutions.
Schoenherr’s daughter, Caroline, is murdered by “eighteen-year-old, tattoo-covered, drug-abusing gangbanger named Tyrone Washington.”
Washington is convicted of shooting Caroline in “cold blood with a stolen revolver for no reason other than that he wanted to show off his ‘polar bear hunting skills’ to prospective candidates eager to join his gang.” Bristow described Washington as showing no remorse and even grinning and jeering as Schoenherr gave a victim-impact statement at sentencing.
After the trial, Schoenherr visits Washington in prison under the guise of being his attorney for the appeal. “’You mah appointed lawyer for da’ appeal?’ Tyrone asked,” Bristow writes.
Schoenherr lectures Washington about retributive justice while, “Tyrone drooled and snorted as he slouched further in his chair.” Schoenherr eventually kills Washington with a sharpened pen.
Schoenherr and Washington’s races aren’t identified in the story.
In an email from Tombach and Executive Director Janet Welch to State Bar commissioners, obtained by the Lansing State Journal, they said the Bar received two complaints about the short story last Friday and started internal discussions with administration and general counsel.
They said because the news of the story was likely to break soon, the Bar had to take action quickly and the committee unanimously voted Tuesday to withdraw the award and make a public apology.
“It is a strong and clear response, but it is only our initial action in addressing our concerns,” they said in the email. “We expect that the Bar is in for a period of passionate criticism on several fronts, we are preparing further communications and plans in anticipation.”
The story was removed from the contest section of the Bar’s website, but the printed journals with the contest winners have already been sent to members. The honorable mention stories aren’t printed, but the titles and authors are listed.
Bristow later posted the story to a website for The Occidental Observer, which says in its mission statement that it presents “original content touching on the themes of white identity, white interests, and the culture of the West.”
The mission statement also includes the following passage:
“Societies in Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand that have been controlled by whites for hundreds of years are the only ones to accept their own demise as a moral imperative. We view this outcome as the result of competition over the construction of culture in which the legitimate interests of whites have been compromised.
“The Occidental Observer will attempt to rectify that.”
Bristow is now a Clinton Township attorney whose law firm — Bristow Law PLLC — focuses on criminal and juvenile defense, family law, civil litigation, criminal record expungement and appeals, according to its website, which says he’s licensed to practice law in Michigan and Ohio.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit civil rights organization based in Alabama, has a page for Bristow in the “Extremist Files” section of its website.
The organization says, while a student at Michigan State University, Bristow “spearheaded anti-immigrant and anti-gay campaigns organized by YAF.” The SPLC said as a result it “took the unusual step” of listing the campus club as a hate group. It describes his writing as “violent, hate-driven fiction.”
In the email to commissioners, Rombach and Welch admit that while the decision to award the story with honorable mention was made by five members with “history of active support for diversity and inclusion initiatives,” the panel itself wasn’t racially diverse. It’s a factor they said gives legitimacy to their effort to add diversity to committees.
“The typical institutional response to embarrassments like this is to forget about them as soon as the crisis passes,” they wrote in the email. “The better response is to use the situation as the catalyst for improvement. We are committed to the latter course.”
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Source: Lansing State Journal