Back in his juvenile delinquent days, the story went that Mark Wahlberg had blinded a Vietnamese man during a beer robbery while calling him “Vietnam f*cking sh*t!” Then just a few weeks ago, the reportedly-blind man came forward, saying that he’d actually lost the eye fighting the North Vietnamese, that Wahlberg not only hadn’t blinded him, but that he forgave Wahlberg and supported Wahlberg’s recent pardon petition. And he didn’t sue. That guy should really get a medal for that kind of integrity.
Sadly, the beer store robbery and assault isn’t the only racially-tinged violent incident on Wahlberg’s rap sheet. He was also identified in court documents as being among a group of white teenagers throwing rocks and yelling slurs at a group of black fourth graders at a Dorchester beach in 1986, when Wahlberg was 15. The AP tracked down a girl who was in that class, who sounds much less forgiving than the Zen-like, one-eyed Johnny Trinh.
“I don’t think he should get a pardon,” Kristyn Atwood, now 38 and living in Decatur, Georgia, said in an interview with The Associated Press.
“I don’t really care who he is. It doesn’t make him any exception. If you’re a racist, you’re always going to be a racist. And for him to want to erase it I just think it’s wrong,” she said.
Not that she doesn’t have her reasons:
Court documents in the 1986 attack identify Wahlberg among a group of white boys who harassed the school group as they were leaving Savin Hill Beach in Dorchester, a mixed but segregated Boston neighborhood that had seen racial tensions during the years the city was under court-ordered school integration.
The boys chased the black children down the street, repeatedly shouting a racial slur and hurling rocks until an ambulance driver intervened. Wahlberg was 15 at the time.
Atwood says she still bears a scar from getting hit by a rock. No one was seriously injured, but the attack left a lasting impression.
“I was really scared. My heart was beating fast. I couldn’t believe it was happening. The names. The rocks. The kids chasing,” Belmonte told the AP.
For his part, Wahlberg says he’s sorry.
“I have apologized, many times,” he told the AP in December. “The first opportunity I had to apologize was right there in court when all the dust had settled and I was getting shackled and taken away, and making sure I paid my debt to society and continue to try and do things that make up for the mistakes that I’ve made.” [AP/Minneapolis Star Tribune]
I don’t know that Mark Wahlberg deserves to get a pardon just because he doesn’t hit people with sticks anymore, but Kristyn Atwood certainly shouldn’t blame him for throwing that rock. Have you seen Mark Wahlberg’s short little T-Rex arms? He couldn’t hit you with a rock unless you were standing in an elevator with him.