Chicago Sun-Times
Discussions across the racial divide

Was race a motive in abortion kidnapping?

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When white people cite race as the cause of some unfortunate situation, is it still called "playing the race card?"

September 20, 2006

BY KATHARINE WEBSTER

SALEM, N.H. -- A Maine couple accused of tying up their 19-year-old daughter, throwing her in their car and driving her out of state to get an abortion were upset because the baby's father is black, a Maine sheriff said Tuesday.

Katelyn Kampf, who is white, told Cumberland County Sheriff Mark Dion that her mother ''was pretty irate at the fact that the child's father was black, and she had made a number of disparaging remarks about that,'' he said.

Katelyn Kampf escaped Friday at a Salem shopping center and called police, who arrested her parents, Nicholas Kampf, 54, and Lola, 53, both real estate developers from North Yarmouth, Maine.

The Kampfs were apparently taking their daughter to New York to try to force her to get an abortion there, police said.

The parents were arraigned Monday on kidnapping charges. If convicted of kidnapping, the Kampfs face 71/2 to 15 years in prison.

Defense attorney Mark Sisti said Tuesday that a sworn statement by Salem police who interviewed both Katelyn Kampf and her parents said nothing about the father's race.

''This whole race-card thing is ridiculous and objectionable,'' said Sisti. ''There wasn't any mention in the sworn affidavit to the court about race being a factor in any way, shape or form.''

The boyfriend, 22-year-old Reme Johnson, last week began serving a 6-month sentence for theft at the Androscoggin County Jail in Auburn, Maine. He is also a self-styled hip-hop artist who has gone by the name Young Merk.

AP

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33 Comments

forcing your daughter to get an abortion due to the color of the dad?

man, that's messed up. and she's 19, not some little kid!

wow. that one is really mindblowing...

Well if the mother said what she said and was that incensed, then I would say race may very well have been a motive. Either way, these folks seem anything but normal. Alot of nuts in this world.

This is a asinine situation. If this is racial,it is one of the most vile thing I have ever heard of. To take a a life for any reason is cruel,but to abort a baby because of bigotry is the pits.

Of course race was a factor .even though whites wont admit it .Most of blacks ill feelings towards whites is reactionary due to the long history of racism,whites like to claim blacks play the race card even though whites have been playing the race card for 400 years.(how hypocritical!)the mentality of these people is a throwback to the KKK days when to have anything to do with blacks was the worst thing in the world(even though 84% of all serial killers are white)MAYBE AFRICAN -AMERICANS ACTUALLY SHOULD HAVE RESERVATIONS ABOUT RELATING TO WHITES.HATRED AMONG THE RACES IS MAGNIFIED A ND NOURISHED BY FEAR.THAT WHY YOU HAVE NEO-CONS AND RIGHT WINGERS USING RACIAL CODEWORDS TO INCITE FEAR IN THE WHITE COMMUNITY AND TO WIN ELECTIONS! HOW IGNORANT IS IT TO TALK ABOUT BLACKS THEN GO OUT AND BUY MORE RAP RECORDS THEN BLACKS BUY.AND ALSO COPY A CULTURE(HAIR ,CLOTHES,TALK ETC.) THAT ALOT OF WHITES CLAIM TO DETEST.(IMITATION=FLATTERY?) iT DOESNT SURPRISE MOST AFRICAN -AMERICAN AT ALL THE DEPTH OF RACISM BECAUSE WE SEE IT EVERYDAY,JUST LIKE WE SEE CRIME IN OUR CITIES GO UP (BANKROBBERIES ETC.)WHILE AT THE SAME TIME THE POLICE CLAIM ITS GOING DOWN.(COULD THIS BE THEY ARE PRETENDING TO REALLY CARE ABOUT CRIME IN OUR COMMUNITIES?).THIS BEHAVIOR OF THE KIDNAPPING OF THE YOUNG LADY AND FORCIBLE ATTEMPT TO HAVE A ABORTION BECAUSE OF THE BABIES FATHERS ETHNICITY IS TOTALLY CONSISTENT WITH PREVIOUS INCIDENTS IN HISTORY,WE HAVE BEEN THROUGH SLAVERY ,JIM CROW,ATROCITIES COMMITED AGAINST US AND TO PEOPLE WHO ASSOCIATED WITH BLACKS.iT IS JUST A CONTINUATION OF THE HYPOCRISY AND IGNORANCE BLACKS SEE EVERYDAY AND ARE EXPECTED TO KEEP QUIET ABOUT ,FORTUNATELY WE HAVE A FAIR FORUM TO LET OUR VOICES BE HEARD IN THIS BLOG AND OTHER OUTLETS,WHILE THE GOVT. AT THE SAME TIME IS TRYING TO STIFLE OUR PERSONAL FREEDOMS AND TO ROLL BACK OUR CIVIL RIGHTS THAT BLACKS AND WHITES HAVE FOUGHT AND DIED FOR!

While the parents were extreme in seeking to "remedy" the problem, I have to admit that I can see where they were coming from. And I am a black man of mixed race.

It's easy to romanticise life when it's someone else's life we're romanticising. But Mary, I recall a column you wrote after you spoke to Ann Landers (I believe). In it, you related that she told you that she thought the races should date their own. You didn't seem to have a problem with her suggestion. I submit that most people think as she did. Some who do are racist, whilst others are, for want of a better term, practical. Raising a child is hard enough without having to explain to him what he is, as well as having to explain to him why people are going to say some very nasty things about him for the rest of his life.

Add to that the fact that the child's father is a career criminal. To quote Chris Rock, I'm not saying I would have behaved as the Kampfs did, but I understand what they were thinking. If I had a daughter who came home and told me that she was pregnant by a white man who was a career criminal, I'd be beside myself with grief.

The Kampfs will be discounted as racists and maybe they are. But I think almost all of us can relate on some level, even if we don't consider ourselves racist.

MITCHELL COMMENT:

I let Ann Landers' comment speak for itself. Her "stick to your own kind" reflected the era she came from.

There are two questions posed here. One asks if race was a motive in the kidnapping, and I think it was. The other asks if white people can play the "race card," and I think they can, but I don't think anyone is playing the race card here. I think the daughter is being truthful about her parents' prejudice by pointing that out to the police.

I feel sorry for a young woman of any race whose parents tie her up and force her to do something against her will. People who would do this to their child have multiple emotional problems, and in this case racism is just one of them.

Sure, it seems obvious that the introduction of Race is calling attention to an aspect of situtations which may be influenced by Race. It really doesn't matter the Race of the citer. However, habitually attributing situtations to Race would make the citer a bore and an enabler.
This is as clear as the fact that abortion is the taking of a human life (murder) regardless of Race. And to think your blog is more interested in the Race Card then the Death Sentence also displays a lack of perspective and moral outrage. 9-21-2006

MITCHELL COMMENT:

Dennis, this blog isn't dedicated to examining the issue of abortion. I'm sure there are websites for that purpose. This just isn't one of them.

If race was involved or not, what an absolutely horrorifying thing to do to your own child and grandchild. Race might have been one of the motivating factors, but I think that there are some deeper mental & control issues going on here.

Well, first when it comes to race people feel very strongly about the subject. If the parents did not admit to the police that race played a part in it, then they know that if that is their belief's then it is wrong, or they did'nt want to get charged with a hate crime. As a black man , no as a man I believe that if you don't like someone or something, then you should stand up for that, don't be a coward. If you don't like a certain race(which is utterly ridiculous) at least be man or woman enough to admit it, that way at least it would open up some type of dialogue as to why you would be prejudice against a whole race of people for the actions of a few. And if you are just ignorant...well your gonna need a whole lot more than just dialogue, Peace Mary, keep on representing us in that positve light!!!

wow! What we have is another outstanding father to be, who also think that it is some rite of passage to be going to jail. Black parent's or White should both been reluctant to have this hip hopper with the builted in alias as the father to one of their grand children. Now, if the parents of this woman were acting out in the manner, that the daughter is describing, I can in no way subcribe to their actions. But, I understand their pending grief.

When I read the story, I just shook my head in disgust. It was definitely a ' what the heck' moment. I'm Black, and was not surprised. Sad, but not surprised.

I don't think it was based too much on the fact that the parents' were concerned about the race of the child. They actually violated the 19 year old's rights...what they did was criminal and had no right to do to an adult, whether the child would have been bi-racial.

Their actions alone should tell you the mentality of their mind-set...no parent in their right mind would put a daughter through an ordeal like that...I question their sanity and THEIR nationality...rather than their skin color. Some nationalities forbid their daughters to get pregnant without marriage...maybe that was their mentality...any way you look at it, I can see your view and that may have played a great part of why they did what they did.

I hope they do go to prison. Regardless of race, color or origin. They sound like they are mentally deranged.

It's terrible America, doesn't sell condoms, or birth-control pills.

As a couple readers noted, I can understand why the parents might have wanted to force her to get an abortion, supposing that their decision was based on their opinions of the guy rather than his race. What kind of parent wants that kind of life for their child? This guy sounds like a loser. In no way do I condone what they did, but I understand. If, however, their decision was based solely on race, then there is absolutely no defense. Either way, they broke the law and deserve what they get.

A better approach would have tried to convince the daughter have the abortion. If unsuccessful, they should remind her that they will always be her parents, but completely cut off any kind of help. In doing that, they could show their disapproval and let her reap what she sows.

I don't like to respond to ignorance, but in this case I think I have to.

"Of course race was a factor .even though whites wont admit it .Most of blacks ill feelings towards whites is reactionary due to the long history of racism,whites like to claim blacks play the race card even though whites have been playing the race card for 400 years.(how hypocritical!)the mentality of these people is a throwback to the KKK days when to have anything to do with blacks was the worst thing in the world(even though 84% of all serial killers are white)"

This kind of thinking does nothing more than stall any progress. Not one person alive today was in any way involved with slavery. Slavery was abolished in 1868. Blaming people who had nothing to do with the problem is just wrong. And to ignore your own hypocrisy is just adding to the problem.

Having an intelligent discussion on proven racism is important, but slinging accusations and bringing up centuries-old grievances and discounting real complaints does nothing to help the problem.

Also, and I apologize for bringing this up Mary, abortion is not murder. Murder is illegal, abortion is not.

The idea that the parents wanted to use force and have their daughter get an abortion against her will because the baby's daddy was black is detestable and racist etc,. But if this was done primarily because he was a wantabe rapper, hmmmm!!!

Dear Mary,
Always use racism. That is an answer that has kept the African American from facing real issues.
Just blame the white race for ALL of the problems of the African American and breathe easily. The worries are gone and there is nothing the African American ever has to do.
Ned R. Turner

I am a black woman and also the mother of a 16 year old daughter. While I may not have taken the extreme methods that were displayed by this young woman's parents, I sure as hell would be upset that my daughter was seeing a young man who has a criminal record and whose so-called profession was a wanna-be rapper. Unfortunately, many young girls, both black and white, fall under the spell of the 'bad boy'. They think that it is oh-so-cute that he's a 'thug' and mistakenly believe that it makes him more of a 'man' than the average 'nice' guy. I am a teacher of 7th graders and I see this mess every day. The clean-cut young men who seem to have good home training are few and far between. They have been sold an image thru rap music and videos that being a 'gangsta' is so cool and that going to prison is a status symbol. It's a sad situation. I have 2 grown sons who never fell for that image and I am proud to say that they are both successful, educated young men that any mother would be proud to claim. My daughter is in her 2nd year of high school and is already looking forward to college. She tells me that one of her friends think her boyfriend is 'dull' because he doesn't hang out with the 'Tupac wanna-bees', but she says it doesn't bother her at all because she knows that most of those boys have no goals and will wind up blaming society when they can't get a job or graduate from high school.
In closing, the parent's of the 19 year old were extreme, but they should have let their daughter make her own decision. From the description of the father, she should'nt be expecting any child support.

This blog would be a lot better without your sassy little retorts. Telling someone abortion is not the issue to talk about makes no sense, considering your title of the blog. I pity you and your ignorant, divisive logic. Playing the race card means hiding behind your race to cover something up, or bullying people into putting up with something wrong under fear of a basless allegation of racism. The parents in this instance openly admitted their racist motivations. Duh.

MITCHELL COMMENT:

This blog is not about abortion. I don't think that's being sassy.

I've learned in my adult life that when a white woman sometimes date a black man her parent(s)usually hate black people. And we all know what happens when we tell our children to stay away and avoid it the usually run right to it.

A child is a blessing. Regardless of its race, sex, parents' criminal history or career aspirations. For these readers to comment that they "empathize" with or understand the parents' outrage at their daughter being preganant by an incacerated wannabe rapper is for lack of a better phrase, totally stupid. Of couse you want better for your children, but when STUFF happens you have to get over YOUR grief and be there to support your child and grandchild. Take joy in the birth of a child, an addition to your lineage. OK. So the father isn't an "ideal parent"? This would be a perfect opportunity for the Kampfs to heed the old addage that It Takes a Village to raise a Child. Get the family together to HELP her raise a productive citizen. The Kampfs are selfish parents and their motives & actions were totally self serving, racist or not. That attitude, I CAN'T empathize with or understand and it scary that so many do.

Hi Mary,

Looking beyond race(yes, that can be done) how is it that they can "force" an abortion on this 19 year old woman and who is the surgeon that conspired with the parents to commit this "crime"?

Indeed, if this was "forced" the physician would have to be held in at least aiding and abetting kidnapping across state lines, which, if memory serves me, is a Federal offense. I need some more details on this most interesting situation.

By the way, if race was used by the parents and force was indeed proven, they very well could be found guilty in a court of law.

I agree with Ann Landers. I am an African American male and have married 2 women of my race. I have a White sister in law and for years I could not relate to what my Brother was thinking. I understand expermentation but it really makes it difficult as a family. My son has dated a white woman and we didnot allow him to have her in the house. I want equality with the Whiteman in economics but not his woman as a life partner.
This in no way excuses to sick and controlling manner in which the parents, in this case tried to handle their expanding families.
keep hope alive,
JD

The parents were wrong for doing this wheather race was a factor or not(remember, the defense lawyer says he has a statement from police saying the girl and the parents never mentioned race). What the parents should have done is just disown her and let her raise the kid on her own. And she will be raising this kid on her own because we all know my man Reme has no intentions of ever seeing the kid. But the parents have no right to force an abortion, but they do have a right to not have to financially support this mixed kid, and they do have a right to teach their loose daughter a lesson by booting her and her kid out of the house. Because others on here have said she is 19 and she is old enough to decide if she wants an abortion. Well that works both ways because at 19 she is also old enough to get her own apartment and support this kid herself.

The racism of the parents in this case is pretty obvious. What bothers me is the posters here who claim to "understand" where they are coming from. WHAT? This young lady is an adult. She made the decision to get pregnant with this guy, whether or not he would support mother/child is rather irrelevent to the issue that the parents (I use that term loosely) attempted to force her to abort her baby. They failed in their job as parents to instill solid decision-making skills in this woman, now they want to take the easy road out? Rediculous.

Hannibal previously stated he is of black man of mixed race, then goes on to say if his daughter brought home a white man he would be upset. That is extremely disrespectful to his white parent (assuming he is half white) and hypocritical. If your black parent chose (another assumption) the white one as a partner who are you to eliminate that branch from your lineage?

Why will race always seperate this nation? As it is race is what started this nation to begin with. After the invasion of the Anglo-Saxons, they have always tried to be the superior race. It's sad to see race still in issue in this country to this day. This nation should unite under one nation regardless of race. As it is there are no other countries out there like this one. America is made up of different people from different countries, a country that should stand United. With so much violence, hate and poverty in this world, this country should not let follow the same path. Americans need to remember this country was founded by people of all different colors and nationalities. If Americans kept this in mind race would not be an issue.

Why will race always seperate this nation? As it is race is what started this nation to begin with. After the invasion of the Anglo-Saxons, they have always tried to be the superior race. It's sad to see race still in issue in this country to this day. This nation should unite under one nation regardless of race. As it is there are no other countries out there like this one. America is made up of different people from different countries, a country that should stand United. With so much violence, hate and poverty in this world, this country should not follow the same path. Americans need to remember this country was founded by people of all different colors and nationalities. If Americans kept this in mind race would not be an issue. Hopefully one day, our eyes and hearts will one day be open, then Americans will see each other as one nation and not a nation of different races.

is it not posible that they are JUST wrong? bad parenting without racism? the babys father is a career criminal. who wouldn't be upset. this is yet another issue that doesn't need to be looked at in terms of color. it is more simple than some blacks want to portray it . scumbag versus dumbass parents,and an immature daughter.things sometimes just happen. quit looking for the imaginary klansman around every issue.

she's 19 so she can do what she wants. but i wouldn't be happy with my child ruining her future by having a child with a jailed con, either. black or white.

I have an adopted daughter, who is bi-racial and the light of my life. She was put up for adoption by her white mother who was so ashamed she had given birth to a 'mixed-race' child that she refused to keep her, saying that she could never walk down the street holding her hand. Racism is a horrible sickness that would make a mother turn against her own flesh and blood. Her loss, my blessing.

You know what Mary, I am so sick of this old REALITY that will never leave, not only will it leave the minds of the old it is now being put in the minds of the young.Now one Sunday morning my father was looking through the Sunday paper, and he saw an advertisment for clothing from JC Penney and my dad hollared to the top of his voice, he said "mimi come here, look at this picture" and I said whats wrong with this picture dad?" and he replied to me" IF ANY BLACK MAN GOT CAUGHT THAT CLOSE TO A WHITE WOMAN THEY WOULD BE LYNCHED OR BEAT UP SO BAD" my father is 88 years old...So I say that to say "BLACK MEN GIVE YOUR BLACK WOMEN A REAL CHANCE BEFORE YOU GO TO ANOTHER RACE, THEIR ARE SOME GOOD ONES OUT HERE"

Yes, race was a motive in the kdnapping, I think that is pretty obvious.
If the guy was a loser, that would be a good reason for what they did, but still illegal.The parents should be in jail. These type people do not represent the majority of whites, and those who would say they do (DOC) are part of the problem not the solution.

Janis, your words help me see that there is hope in the world. You clearly stated everything I wanted to say.
I am glad there are people like you in the world, bringing up children properly and getting results.

But why is it that so many black families dont want blacks to marry whites.
Keep it pure, keep it real many blacks shout.
Since black males have so many self induced problems, drug use aids fathering children w/o taking responsibility etc is not a hidden fact.
Its known, its acknowledged as the truth and only the pc police scream racism when that fact is used agaisnt the perps.

I personally had an abortion after being impregnated by a black man because I don't desire a black baby. What is wrong with that? It's a women's right to choose.

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This page contains a single entry by Mary Mitchell published on September 20, 2006 2:54 PM.

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