The Thoughts of an Educated Young African American Male

Texas Law Students WERE “Chastised” Over Racial Party! But, Which Ones?

The news is that the Dean of University of Texas at Austin School of Law “chastised’ students because they threw a racial party. The Western Star, on their website, reported about the photos that were posted online by the first year law students.

“The photos showed the students holding 40-ounce bottles in brown paper bags and wearing Afro wigs, gold teeth and such gang-related attire as bandanas, according to students who saw the images. Some of the party-goers wore name tags with names such as “Tanika” or “Jesus” to play on a black or Hispanic stereotype, the students said. The photos are no longer online.” 

So, according to the news reports, it is the white students that are being ‘chastised’ over the party.  I believe the reports are wrong. The ‘chastised’ are the African Americans and Latinos who were purposefully disrespected by their classmates. The minority law students are going to be consistantly chastised. How can they seriously look at their fellow white classmates and believe they see them as anything more than a joke, a prop, someone to dress up as to mock. True, school and life will go own and apologies will be made, but the inner scars of disrespect and ridicule will remain. Everytime the blacks and hispanics see the white classmates who dressed up to mock them will be a reminder of this event. Can they remain in study groups with those people. Can they trust them?

The media should realize that it is the minorities that were chasitised. Is the media upset because whites are being told they went too far? Well, the truth is that they did go too far.  How are the minorities to feel now that the media is making it seem as if the Dean is harrassing the white students over the party? It seems like the media is attempting to invalidate the emtions of the minorities. The media is taking this as just kids being kids and not a big deal. But people were offended. Law students, at a minimum, are college graduates. UT is a good school where many of the students are among the brightest to attend any law school.  Is this the way we want our future advocates to act?    

It is hard to comprehend that in this modern day of our society, whites still insist on mocking and disrespecting the hard working minorities which they (we) are supposed to be beside as colleagues. Regardless of apologies and retractions, this was a clear display that the racial divide is still alive and well in Texas.  

Further, UT Law has an important place in our societies racial development. In 1950, the U.S. Supreme Court, for the first time, ordered a white school to admit a black student. U. Texas Law had to admit the black male instead or forcing him to attend Prairie View University (the Negro) School of Law.  The court said, who would choose the other if given the choice. Also in 1950, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that once a black was admitted, they could not be segregated from other students.

 

The case citation is Sweatt v. Painter, 339 U.S. 629, 70 S.Ct. 848 (1950). 

Pertinent language quoted from the case includes: 

It appears that the University has been restricted to white students, in accordance with the State law. See Tex.Const. Art. VII, ss 7, 14; Tex.Rev.Civ.Stat. Arts. 2643b, 2719, 2900 (Vernon, 1925 and Supp.) The University of Texas Law School, from which petitioner was excluded, was staffed by a faculty of sixteen full-time and three part-time professors, some of whom are nationally recognized authorities in their field. Its student body numbered 850. The library contained over 65,000 volumes. Among the other facilities available to the students were a law review, moot court facilities, scholarship funds, and Order of the Coif affiliation. The school’s alumni occupy the most distinguished positions in the private practice of the law and in the public life of the State. It may properly be considered one of the nation’s ranking law schools.
The law school for Negroes which was to have opened in February, 1947, would have had no independent faculty or library. The teaching was to be carried on by four members of the University of Texas Law School faculty, who were to maintain their offices at the University of Texas while teaching at both institutions. Few of the 10,000 volumes ordered for the library had arrived; nor was there any full-time librarian. The school lacked accreditation.Students of the interim School of Law of the Texas State University for Negroes (located in Austin, whereas the permanent School was to be located at Houston) shall have use of the State Law Library in the Capitol Building * * *.’ Tex.Laws 1947, c. 29, s 11, Tex.Rev.Civ.Stat. (Vernon, Supp.), note to Art. 2643b. It is not clear that this privilege was anything more than was extended to all citizens of the State. 

Whether the University of Texas Law School is compared with the original or the new law school for Negroes, we cannot find substantial equality in the educational opportunities offered white and Negro law students by the State. In terms of number of the faculty, variety of courses and opportunity for specialization, size of the student body, scope of the library, availability of law review and similar activities, the University of Texas Law School is superior. What is more important, the University of Texas Law School possesses to a far greater degree those qualities which are incapable of objective measurement but which make for greatness in a law school. Such qualities, to name but a few, include reputation of the faculty, experience of the administration, position and influence of the alumni, standing in the community, traditions and prestige. It is difficult to believe that one who had a free choice between these law schools would consider the question close.

From the actions of the students at UT Law, it is hard to tell that the ideological views in Texas has changed since 1950.

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October 16, 2006 - Posted by | African American, Black men, Black women, club, college, university

4 Comments »

  1. it’s really too bad that these kids can’t be sent to Iraq pronto. No basic training, just drop them in the middle of Baghdad, naked, hungry and scared.

    Comment by I am not Star Jones | October 16, 2006 | Reply

  2. Youngblood,

    Incidents like this make me want to bitchslap Sandra Day O’Connor for not understanding the true importance of Affirmative Action. It took her damn near twenty years to get it. Because of her fuzzy ideology, we get decisons like the Hopwood decision that seriously undermine Affirmative Action in undergraduate and graduate schools. All those decisons accomplished was a narrowing of opportunity for strong students of color and an expansion of opportunties for whites to mock us by pretending to be minstrels.

    Comment by skepticalbrotha | October 17, 2006 | Reply

  3. interesting blog post man, I am will be checking your post on the regular.

    Native Son

    Comment by nativeson | October 18, 2006 | Reply

  4. I’m familiar with this story and unfortunately it has been replicated numerous times by others (schools, fire departments, civilians) who enjoy lampooning Black folk. Perhaps I’m looking at this wrong but I am more angry at African Americans this time. We are at a strange time in history where no one is standing up to: a)promote the diversity of images amongst people of color and b)put negative or underclass imagery in a certain context. Like it or not the US populace (Blacks, Whites, Latinos, everyone) is getting a barrage of negative Black imagery on a daily basis without balance or a countermeasure. One will see baggy pants, do-rags, oversized clothing(with attitude) ad nauseam if you walk out your door. We do possess a great deal of Black folk, youth in particular that are running to (instead of “from”) stereotypes. What the White law students did was, of course, in bad taste but when will WE do something to offset this imagery? The time is now.

    Comment by Afronerd | October 29, 2006 | Reply


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