Trey Garrison Explains Himself

A couple days ago, I pointed to an op-ed piece that our contributor Trey Garrison had written for the DMN. Trey is very sensitive, and some of the feedback — a lot of the feedback — he got left him wanting to clarify his position. Jump to find out why Trey says he’s not a Nazi. And why he’s not ready to date a Nazi.

Last week my column in the Dallas Morning News generated more response — as measured by email anyhow — than anything I’ve ever written in the three-and-a-half years since I tripped onto the public media stage. It’s topped now at 270 responses, and they’re still trickling in a week later. This is probably small potatoes compared to big time writers, but it blew me away.

I swear I had no idea it would touch a nerve like that. It evolved from a first draft that was more about public schools than what it became. (Hat tip to Sharon Grigsby at the DMN for pushing me.) Clearly, though, it gets close to something that’s been on people’s minds.

I’d say about 80 percent of readers got it. About 10 percent of the readers called me a Nazi. And the remainder were from Nazis with standing invitations to speak. Or date. They sent pictures. I threw up a little.

In case there is any doubt as to what I was trying to say — and acknowledging that is hard because means admitting I failed a little as a writer — but if there’s any doubt, here it is and put  simply. Martin Luther King said he wanted a country where people were judged by the content of the character and not their skin color; I meant my column as a “Hell yeah, doc, and I mean to judge, by God.”

Funny enough, at least one inspiration for the column got left on the cutting room floor. In my old neighborhood, we had a family that left trash in their yard, were loud, and their kids were thugs, so when you’d see them you’d be sure to close your garage door lest things go missing. They had a mean, nasty single mother. Yep, they were white as Kennedys.

I just wanted to clarify this, because I don’t want any of the publications who give me the privilege of a forum to be painted as supporting a crypto-racist or anything like that. Also, for the benefit of the roughly 20 percent who felt the need to point it out: yes, I know Mexicans don’t come from Panama or Costa Rica. Yes, I know they come from Guatemala and El Paso. Thank you.


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39 responses to “Trey Garrison Explains Himself”

  1. Trey:

    Never apologize. Never explain.


  2. MushMouth says:

    That’s an explanation?

    Got to hand it to whoever created this “Trey Garrison” character, it gets funnier every time “he” writes. When is someone going to step forward and claim credit for this?

  3. Having known Trey for a while, I know that we don’t agree on everything but I know he’s not racist. He’s also a thought provoking writer.

    ” I don’t think attending Woodrow Wilson High equips you any better for that kind of outdoorsy, back-to-nature lifestyle than Plano West” Classic line.

  4. amanda says:

    Trey, it was a fabulous op-ed, almost too fabulous for the DMN.

  5. Tom says:

    I hope Sharon G. will continue to let Trey write Viewpoints columns. They are more thought-provoking than many of the other regular features of the page. They also speak to a group of readers often turned off by things like this and this.
    BTW, we also value the content of one’s character in Midway Hollow. It’s not just reserved for Collin County residents.

  6. billh says:

    Sharon G does a great job of seeking and including different voices. On those occasions where I’ve worked with her, she’s been a pleasure, and very professional.

    I’m still thinking about your piece Trey. (I think that’s a good thing) I’m not sure what I think of it. I’m someone who actually very much enjoys diversity, (economic and ethnic) in my neighborhood (Casa View). Still, I have no criticism of where you want to live and send your kids to school. I get a little tired of the lecturing on both sides of this school/neighborhood choice argument.
    My kids have experienced private school and public school and there are pros and cons to all of them.

  7. buck says:

    Trey is wrong, but entertainingly wrong. I’d rather read his stuff than the other junk on that page.

  8. Gwyon says:

    I fully support keeping Trey & Co. as far away from diversity as possible.

  9. Daniel says:

    I found your apologia for suburban school districts a bit on the smug side — they hardly need an apologia — but I never, ever thought you were racist, let alone a Nazi. Most white people know the sordid feeling you get when you’re sized up as a fellow traveler by a flagrant racist or even a neo-Nazi. You feel like you need a shower.

    At all events, if you got 270 responses, you’re doing something enviably right.

  10. E. Dallas Denizen says:

    First of all, Trey attacks all 220 Dallas schools without any evidence to back up his “Potemkin village” ploy.

    103 Dallas schools are exemplary or recognized according to even TAKS measurement. There are five high schools which outrank every high school in Collin County except two (Newsweek national AP program rankings). Three of the schools are ahead of any up there.

    Where is the effort to fool people that the schools are better than they really are?

    Trey doesn’t present any examples that he is familiar with any Dallas campuses. He mentions my alma mater (in the top half of the Newsweek list) but I have checked with leaders of our school and I found no one who has seen him there or been contacted by him. Yet he breezily postulates that a DISD graduate can’t get “a professional, high-paying job”.

    Plano is a large city now but Trey doesn’t let readers know his particular part while he zeros in on East Dallas. Plano West High is only 7% hispanic, 39% lower than the state average. Only 4% have limited English proficiency. Only 7% qualify for free or reduced lunches. So if I were to use just that school as he does Woodrow, we can conclude that the district is not economically diverse and really not that ethnically diverse. Classic White Flight.

    I’ve done more research for this amatuer post than Trey did for his ‘professional’ piece in the Dallas Morning News.

    Before calling some place a “Potemkin village” of hollow facades, remember that there are real people who actually live there and love their schools.

  11. jrp says:

    golly gee willikers, tom, wasn’t that some trite shiite

    last week, Ed Housewright posted about losing his bifocals one morn and i was thinking Blow was going compose a piece about that, but, by golly, he went and hoogamathing’d himself there on saturday

    then the Lifestyles of the Rich and Dallas piece on sunday put a capper on another weekend of inane DMN columns

    i was kinda hoping to see another op-ed in my Points section from Trey sunday…or one from billh or Daniel or Rawlins or amanda or Jack E Jett…you get my point

    gimme the truly progressive candor of the FB commenters over meaningless geriatric dribble any day

    you got nothing to apologize for, Trey, even though i disagree with most of what you said

  12. Trey Garrison says:

    Thank you, E.Dallas Denizen, for proving my point so thoroughly.

    Best Regards,

  13. Triple Wildcat says:

    Why doesn’t everyone just move to Lake Highlands? Suburban schools, Dallas city limits. And we just got a Chick-Fil-A!

  14. Sam Merten says:


    I thought you didn’t respect anyone writing about Dallas who doesn’t live in Dallas. Or does that only apply to me?

    “I feel that the point being made about living in the Dallas city limits is valid. I can respect folks like Sharon Boyd or Allen Gwinn, two bloggers that aren’t the biggest fans of the Mayor, because at least they live here and are in the fight with us to make the city better. But something about a guy living in Frisco but throwing bricks as us from across county lines really gets my goat.”

  15. Bethany says:

    *points at Sam’s post*

    Someone get Emilio Velasquez, Jr., quick! There’s his stupid cabras.

  16. Bethany says:

    To be clear, Sam’s not a goat. I was meaning the last line of that quote.

  17. Emilio Velasquez, Jr. says:

    Señor Trey has been stealing our cabras?

    For this village of Potemkin he has been developing north of Ponder?

    Señor Trey! El Gato Grande will not be pleased!


  18. Trey Garrison says:

    Si, si. Soy chupacabra!

  19. Thumberlina Low says:

    Your article, of course, was and is fantastic. Superb. As one of your other fan’s states, we should stay as far away from diversity as possible. That is a winning attitude at the DMN. I prefer to think that Jesus loves me and hates everyone else. You are the best and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, least not in a public forum. And of course the fact that Michael Davis (?) forgives you is huge. Though I don’t know who he is, I assume that he is somewhere between Rev Al and Rev Jesse as spokesmodel for all blacks. Keep up the good work and remember as our pal Limbaugh says, as long as you get a paycheck for talking, you must be right.

  20. E. Dallas Denizen says:

    Trey thanks for the breezy response. Classic White Flight indeed.

  21. Jason says:

    Trey – I got your article. I thought it was brilliant thoughts.

    No one can blame you for wanting the best for your kids. I live in urban Dallas and when we have kids, I sure as hell wouldn’t send them to DISD. Choosing not to send your kids to DISD is not about racism or other PC bullsh*t – it is about putting your kid in the best position to get a good education.

    DISD is a joke.

    Consider this. Let’s say you had to pick up a hitchhiker on the side of the road and one of the guys looks like Charles Mansion and the other is in a priest outfit. Which one will you pick up? The priest right? Not all priests are nice people – they might molest you and not every Charles Mansion look alike is a killer. But it is human nature to judge based on your experience.

    I would pick the priest and I wouldn’t put my kid in DISD just to mingle with 85% Mexicans as a social study experiment. Facts prove you get a better education outside of DISD.

  22. Tom says:

    Does Charles Mansion live in a McMansion?

  23. Bethany says:

    I can totally see where that better education happened.


  24. Jason says:

    Tom – while I find the McMansions as ugly as everyone else, you can’t blame people for playing by the rules of the corrupt mortgage and financial system of our country.

    McMansions are McMansions because of a) the demand for urban land put an empty lot at $200,000+ and b) no mortgage underwriter will finance a brand new 2,100 square foot $450,000 square foot house in Lakewood. Not when “everything else” sells for $180 to $200 a foot.

    So what you get is McMansions with a lot of square footage to “make the numbers work”. City of Dallas doesn’t want to stop them – their tax revenue is heroin for them and provides a lot of zombies at the City government jobs.

  25. Bethany says:

    Jason – Tom was wondering that because, well – you need to check out your spelling of Manson.

    Charles Manson – Regular sociopath, with plenty of yard and a smaller footprint

    Charles Mansion – Higher-class sociopath, with less yard and much larger footprint.

  26. Tom says:

    A hat tip to Bethany for the clarification. Sorry to be so “Helter Skelter” on my response.

  27. Daniel says:

    Trey doesn’t care what colors of folks his kids see at the grocery store, just so long as they’re all clueless suburban tools who are happy to overburden the city’s resources but don’t contribute to the city in any meaningful way.

    Look folks, all Trey really asks of you is that you praise him twice: Once for being an aw-shucks lawn-mowing Dad and again for eating adventuresome ethnic foods.

    He seems to be defending himself against charges of racism, and racist he’s not. A poor man’s James Lileks, he is.

  28. dazzling urbanite says:

    Something with poi-son in it I think. With poison in it. But attractive to the eye and soothing to the smell. Ha-ha-ha-ha. Poppies. Poppies. Poppies will put them to sleep. Sle-ee-p. Now they’ll sle-ee-p.

    Ride the white pony to Plano!

  29. Jason says:

    Daniel – keep drinkin’ your socialist Kool-Aid. All he is doing is trading Mexicans for India(ns). The difference is that statistically speaking people in Plano are more educated. Why do you hate people for choosing to be around educated people?

    You state that illegal Mexican kids somehow don’t “over burden” the city resources??!! Gawd you are an idiot.

    Don’t be so upset that someone moved to Plano. Worry about your life and how you can fix DISD instead.

  30. Rawlins Gilliland says:

    I’m a fan of Trey’s…when he’s right or wrong. In this case he isn’t wrong…and neither am I.

    My Dallas Morning News Op-Ed column that speaks to his 7/28 column runs this Thursday.

    This is not new turf for me……. If Trey had something he wanted to convey, trust me… less did I.


  31. Daniel says:

    I’m not socialist and I’m not upset somebody moved to a cultural powerhouse like Plano. I’d have no comment on the matter had Trey not chosen to announce it in the pages of the DMN.

    Who knows, maybe Trey can even pick up some assignments for P Magazine.

    You state that Hitler had some bold ideas that would serve our nation well in the coming years!! Gawd you are an idiot.

  32. Steph says:

    As a graduate of Plano Senior High School, I purposely chose not to send my own child to Plano schools because of their elitist attitudes. However, I also chose not to send my child to DISD schools because I want him to have a good solid education. Instead, we moved to a smaller community with diversity and quality schools.

    You are a parent. Where you send your child to school is your business and your choice. If other people are offended, then hey can work to fix the low-performing schools. Perception matters and always will.

  33. LakeWWWooder says:

    “a smaller community with diversity and quality schools” – sounds like my part of town.

  34. St. Benedictine says:

    Let’s see if we have this right: Trey Garrison writes another belligerently defensive op-ed column for the News, this time championing his suburban enclave and delivering a cheap-shot dismissal of all of DISD. Nearly 300 people respond, the great majority of whom agree he’s a courageous soul. A much smaller percentage think he’s a not-so-secret racist, an even tinier percentage hail him as their new not-so-secret racist leader.

    In reply, Mr. Garrison tones down the belligerence, but not the defensiveness, and claims he’s been misread, he’s not a racist, just not a perfect writer.

    Exactly what — about any of this — is a surprise?

  35. Trent says:

    No, you failed “a lot” as a writer.
    Mainly, when you assumed the folks doing your yard would be hispanic, and the women tending to your privilaged child’s digits would be of Asian descent.
    Shame on you.
    You stayed out of Dallas becuase you can afford to flee. You are afraid.
    News flash: You and your child would have most likely been welcomed with open arms to any Dallas magnet you chose, thus eliminating any contact with the bad kids.
    And the biggest shame of the matter: You had the ability to make a difference.

  36. Jason says:

    @Trent – your PC-ness is old.

    Drive your neighborhood in Dallas and take photos of hired help mowing the yards. Post a photo when you find a white guy doing the work as a hired hand. Mexicans doing manual labor (or construction) is a stereotype because it is TRUE. Do ALL Mexicans do yardwork? No! Are there white guys that do yard work? Yes! Your lib blood is making you delusional.

    Everybody is prejudice and in their mind sterotypes – it is human nature. Doesn’t mean it is negative.

  37. Jason says:

    Trent – one could also say that people should trust people in prison. After all, not everyone in prison is a criminal. Recent releases because of DNA evidence has shown that people have been wronfully accused of a crime.

    Does this mean you don’t sterotype prisoners as criminals and that you should hire a convict as a babysitter for your kids?

  38. Trey Garrison says:

    Assumed? My yard guy is Hispanic. The nail salon lady is Vietnamese.

  39. keith johnson says:

    Why should Trey have to apologize for that article?
    why should white people always be expected to preface every thought they have with “I’m not a racist…”
    I’m sick of this racial McArthyism that’s bestowed upon only a select group in our society; President Elect Barack Obama can refer to the “typical white person”, belong to the Congressional Black Congress and attend a racist church, yet climb to the office of President of the United States. Trey Garrison, a private person, is expected to drop to his knees at the alter of PC court and beg for absolution?
    Keep up the good work Trey.