The Thoughts of an Educated Young African American Male

My Ghetto Graduation

Over the past weekend, I was fortunate to graduate from law school. I have not posted in a while because I have been busy getting prepared for this date. I won’t be posting much after this because I will be studying for the bar. But, at my graduation from an HBCU, the band put down their instruments to dance while people recieved degrees, people grabbed the mic and “shouted-out” their frats, family, and friends while people recieved their degrees, and fraternities and sororities party hopped around their seats while people recieved their degrees.

It was a sad day for black higher education. In a moment to celebrate, we looked like fools. This post is edited, as in a moment of bad judgment, I spoke of the fellow alumni in a maner unbecoming of them and myself. Name calling gets us no where. However, I still hold contempt for those who made my graduation a minstrel show. Can we ever hold ourselves out with dignity and respect. And, if not at graduation, then when? Just a question.

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May 8, 2007 Posted by | African American, Black men, Black women, college, ghetto, graduation, HBCU, Uncategorized, university | 10 Comments

2 FAMU Kappas convicted for Hazing

Leon County Sheriff’s Deputy Debbie Giangrosso, left, tries to pull a handcuffed Michael Morton away from kissing his fiancee as he and Jason Harris, center, are being led to the Leon County Jail after being found guilty of hazing.This post pains me, mainly because I am a member of a black Greek letter organization founded before 1913, and I understand, while disagreeing, with the hazing culture which it fosters. But, with two of the Kappas getting convicted under
Florida’s new hazing statute, the stakes seem to be higher than normal to haze guys.

I have already commented on my blog before about how stupid I think hazing is. I have standing to say it because I was hazed and am a member of one of these organizations. For those who disagree, I ask, were we founded for the purpose of going to jail for hazing? Were we founded to look more like gangs than non profit organizations for the purpose of service? Are the guys how are going to jail any more “real” for their acts. Truthfully, they are paper, because where they are going they have no credibility. They are not thugs. They were college men attempting to get a good education at a respected HBCU. They are not ready for their possible maximum 5 year sentence.

And, the parents are unsure if they are suing the fraternity civilly. This is sad and should serve as a wake up call, because no black Greek organization can survive a major civil suit for the hazing the majority of us inflict. Just think, to be sure your pledges get the respect; you may be the sole cause for bankrupting and ending your organization. Is that what you want? I doubt that’s what the founders wanted.

December 21, 2006 Posted by | African American, Black men, college, court, FAMU, Gangs, hazing, HBCU, Kappa, Kappa Alpha Psi, university | 7 Comments

Understanding Racial Profiling

The framework of this entry is based in the legal profession which I will be employed shortly. I intern during the year at a local district attorney’s office. There, I interact with roughly 300 or so African Americans per day. I see many African Americans at the trial and punishment phase for the crimes they commit. As such, I have a duty to run their criminal records for sentencing purposes. After performing such searches for over a year, I have become immune to African American mens and women’s records which are 6 – 8 pages long, with conviction after conviction for a multitude of crimes. When they are in court, they dress as they would in their normal life: long white tee shirts; big baggy jeans; long chain around their neck; and a hat if the bailiff did not make them take it off.

 

In undergrad we were required to take a class called psychology. There, we learned the concept of conditioned stimuli. The concepts’ premise is that when you see or hear something repeatedly (the condition) and it is accompanied by a certain result (stimuli) you will eventually expect the result (stimuli) every time you see or hear the condition. The concept is similar to training a dog. If you point your finger down and tell the dog to sit (condition), once the dog knows he will get a treat every time he obeys the command (stimuli), he will do it mostly every time.  

 

When people in court see black men and women dressed a certain way 300 times a day (condition), and run their records half the time, seeing long records of convictions most of the time (stimuli), they become conditioned to believing that most every young black person they see in their personal lives dressed that way has a long record for the crimes like the people we see in court.   

 

Further, there is nothing in these white peoples lives to break the condition. When they go home, they have no reason to interact with blacks who look that way. Of course, they work with other blacks and went to school with many others. But, those blacks seem different and outside the condition. They do not wear their jeans baggy, with a big white tee-shirt, and a straight brimmed hat. Thus, they do not place the blacks they know within the conditioned group. The result is that when you dress a certain way (like anyone in a basic rap video) you will be perceived by these whites to have a long criminal record.  And, I do not condone such stereotyping. However, I must say, I understand where it comes from.

 

Some will say, they don’t know the real me. That is true. But, they do not have to get to know you. They see many blacks on a daily basis, and a person’s record is as much a reflection of their person and character as anything. 6-8 pages of convictions for assaults, larcenies, theft crimes, and violent crimes tells a white person all they need to know. We may not like it, but its real.

 

All of this just to say, we need to break the mold and do better to stop the conditioned stimuli.   

December 3, 2006 Posted by | African American, Black men, Black women, college, court, Law, racial profiling, teens, university | 5 Comments

One HBCU is Listening to a Young Black Man!

Last week the Durham Herald Sun reported that HBCU (school name ommited by me) would focus on customer service. (See the article below). In the article, they refer to a letter sent to the board of trustees which complained of customer service at the school. It just so happens, that I sent a letter to the board of trustees complaining of customer service. See my letter under the news paper article.

Our classmates may not like it, but speaking up is the only way to facilitate change!
 

 article, which can also be found online at: http://www.heraldsun.com/durham/4-785275.html

HBCU to focus on customer service
November 5, 2006
BY GREGORY PHILLIPS, The Herald-Sun

Leaders at HBCU want to see the school’s employees paying a little more attention to customer service.     Recent incidents yielded letters to the board of trustees . And they have that body’s executive committee concerned that, while Chancellor James Ammons has set up an office reporting directly to him to handle complaints, more needs to be done to prevent them from happening in the first place.    

Every time we get a letter like that we have lost a potential contributor to the university ,” Chairman Cressie Thigpen told the trustees executive committee last week. “Sometimes I wonder if we are moving as quickly on that as we should.”    

Thigpen said a complaints office, while necessary, amounts to a Band-Aid approach when what’s needed is a change in the way HBCU hires and trains employees.    

The committee will present a list of recommendations to the full board of trustees meeting later this month, including customer service training for new employees, a mandatory annual seminar for all workers, monitors to deal with university departments and rate their service, plus a reward program for customer service.    

Board Secretary George Miller said some employees need reminding that, “We’re here to provide service and an education, not to keep someone in their place.”    

Any directive from the trustees is just a recommendation, but Thigpen said changing the customer service culture at HBCU has to come from the top.    

The chancellor has to send the word out that we’re not going to tolerate people treating other people badly ,” he said.    

Thigpen also wants to see the trustees more actively involved in the university’s capital fundraising campaign. The committee agreed that all trustees should contribute money, but past chairman Ed Stewart also pushed for a minimum pledge level.    

“We all should be a participant of at least $1,000 each,” he said.    

Although Stewart’s suggestion got no traction, Miller said he’d never been asked for a donation during six years on the board.    

“I don’t think we need to set a dollar amount, but each trustee needs to know there’s an expectation,” he said.    

     COPYRIGHT 2006 by The Durham Herald Company. All rights reserved.

My letter to the board of trustees.

I have attended HBCU School of Law for two years. I have enjoyed my experience here at the law school. The staff is educated, respectful, and the facilities are exceptional. However, that is where my love for this institution ends. While I have attended the law school, there has not been a year where the main campus staff and employees have been anything more than rude, disrespectful, and completely unhelpful.    Unlike many who attend the Law School, my undergraduate degree is from a historically black college/university. I understand the struggles which face our HBCUs. However, HBCU ranks, in my mind, as administratively, one of the worst institutions a person could attend. Some of the reasons why include:  

  Financial Aid I have never seen such an unorganized group of individuals like what I have seen in the fiancial aid building. It is typical to wait for hours on the phone in an attempt to talk with someone. Once someone is on the phone, students are greeted with an unpleasant employee who chides students and rushes people off the phone before disseminating any useful information. In person, financial aid workers are often on cell phones while lines wrap around the room. Like over the phone, workers treat students like children and chastise them about problems. Students are there for information about their money. Such lines would not be necessary if financial aid did their job through out the year explaining the processes and procedures. In financial aid, students are not treated as if they are respected and valued, but as a burden in the day of the workers. You may make undergraduate students believe it is like this everywhere, but the graduate students know better, and we know you do as well.  

Now, financial aid tells the law students we will not receive our refund checks until October of this year. What is equally as frustrating is that the financial aid office is placing the blame on the students! What did we do wrong other than fill out the same forms and financial aid with came in September last year? If a change occurred in procedure, I would assume it would be financial aid’s job to inform students about it. However, that would require people to do their job, and at HBCU, that is always asking for too much.

Parking

Why are the law school parking lots VIP parking for football games? There is no where to park on Saturday’s to do school work. Students cannot study our rigorous course work because of these events. Indeed, there is no parking for students to use the undergraduate library during games. So, attending the athletic events is the focus on HBCU. Funny, at most schools, getting an education comes first. What do you think your serious students do instead? They travel to UNC-CH, Duke, or NC State to have a place to study. When students feel that it is too much of a hassle to study at their own institution, do you think they will become an alumni dedicated to giving contributions to improve the university? I hope not, because most students I talk to feel it was a mistake to come here, mainly because of the issues dealing with administration.

In regards to the daily parking problems revolving around the school, what attempts have been made to increase parking areas? All many students see is increased enrollment with no new lots. The law school itself has enough students to fill all the lots surrounding it. Because your administration is slow to act on anything non athletic, the law school pays a local church to rent parking spaces for its students. At least the law school takes swift, affirmative steps to show its students it is working with and for them.

Cafeteria and other services

At HBCU, I have witnessed, on multiple occasions, employees of this institution using profanity at students for asking questions like: ‘what is that for dinner’; ‘is there anywhere to park’; and ‘why can’t I wear my undergraduate school paraphernalia in the gym’? Overall, the staff at your institution is disrespectful and rude. Most graduate students feel being on campus only leads to hassle, and head-ache and prefer to stay here only for class. Is that the reputation you want for this university?

Before the Law School MPRE exam, a white individual said, “I was told to not take the exam at HBCU. Hopefully nothing will go wrong.” Not surprisingly, a fire alarm went off during the test. Many students are appealing the scores and want to invalidate the results. This is embarrassing to the institution. The students who took the exam are not just HBCU students, but students from across the world taking the NC Bar examination. The widely known reputation of HBCU as being ghetto, inefficient, unprofessional, unorganized, and dangerously susceptible to crime continues to grow with each instance where outsiders come on campus. Most students at the law school leave immediately after class because they do not feel safe here. In addition, many students here illuminate their undergraduate institutions in interviews because HBCU is thought to be a stain on any resume. After internships, many employers remark that they are impressed with our work despite coming from HBCU. All of this combines to make this institution the worst collegiate experience most of us here at the law school have ever experienced.

HBCU is a business and the students are its customers. The customers are dissatisfied. Most of my classmates agree that our children will never attend this institution. Further, we have no since of pride for anything here outside the law school. This letter could be longer, but you have heard all I have to say before. The question is, will you do anything about it or continue to hide behind the fake guise that this is a great institution with no problems?  

Young Black Man

School of Law, Class of 2007

November 13, 2006 Posted by | African American, Black men, Black women, college, HBCU, Law, Law School, university | 6 Comments

HBCUs Administratively, are a bunch of Sell-Outs!

Frederick Douglas was beaten by a slave owner for attempting to read. See, generally, the Narratives of Fredrick Douglas. Martin Luther King, Jr. wanted his children to be able to go to school and play with children of different races. See, generally, Dr. King Jr. I Have A Dream Speech.  During most of African American history, whites have been the divisive line between African Americans and education. Now, however, the line has been drawn by African American leaders at HBCU (historically black colleges and universities) who make a fortune off of hindering the students they proclaim to serve.

 

Yes, there are exceptions. N.C. A&T State University had Renick, who has transformed the school into a modern university and a beautiful campus to which the entire state system can be envious. But, what about the others? Sadly, they fall short of providing students what they need to succeed. Further, they don’t come close to facilitating simple amenities that others students at predominately white schools enjoy.  

 

Recently, I sent an email to the Board of Trustees to an HBCU asking, why is their campus closed off during football games? No student can get on campus to do what they came to the institution for, which is to study and to get good grades. They act as if every student wishes to participate in homecoming. This school has a professional school. Yet, most of the professional school students which to go elsewhere to study.

The Law School building at this HBCU closes at midnight, while every other law school is open 24 hours a day. Yes, they have access cards, and so does everyone else at the schools they attend. The security says they refuse to patrol the law school past midnight, and see it as a waste of time. What they should say is the truth, they do not want to do their job and am not going to be responsible if someone gets hurt because they didn’t feel like making sure the building was secure.  And, blacks wonder why more HBCU do not have professional schools. The answer is clear, because black administration will not run an professional school with the class, leadership, and integrity that these schools deserve.  Blacks universities wish to have professional schools for the sake of having them with no intention of properly funding and supporting them.  

What if Fredrick Douglass lived today? Supposed he went to an HBCU law school. He would be prevented from diligently studying because other blacks don’t want to support him. Yet, these same blacks want to proclaim heritage to their race. The security will work a step show, a homecoming concert with other African Americans who promote a lifestyle that is detrimental to our race, but won’t support students attempting to get an education.

 

In youth culture, a sell-out is someone who does work, studies, does not get in trouble, and attempts to make a good living because they are not “acting black.” (See, Act Like the Middle Class Negro You Are).  Now, I am changing the mold. I am calling any black a sell-out if they  do not support other African Americans in getting a quality education or advancing in their careers.

 

So, HBCU administration, are you a sell-out? Who cares if homecoming is great? Are your students employable upon graduation? Can they get into a graduate degree program other than ones at an HBCU?  Are they competent in the work force? Are they seen as graduating from a respectable university? They have to pay back a lot of loans. Figures say that over 3/4of students at HBCU are on financial aid. Are they getting their monies worth? Is your salary too high for the work you do? Do you REALLY care about the student body? So far, I think the answer to all the before mentioned questions is no, and HBCU administration, as a whole, is a bunch of sell-outs.  Now, I want you to do something about it.

November 4, 2006 Posted by | African American, Black men, college, HBCU, Law School, university | 6 Comments

Duke Lacrosse, from the Start to Now, from a Durham, NC Perspective

Kim Roberts (Self Proclaimed Stripper) is one of the many people involved in this case that will say anything for the attention and national spotlight.Now that the trial in the Duke Lacrosse Case is a mere formality, I want to share my views on the case. For those who do not know, I attend law school in Durham NC.  There are only two law schools in Durham, and both have students involved in the case. When the news of the accusation broke last spring, I was in a class named Criminal Procedure. Of course, after class, we had our views of what was going on. The females were ready to join the protest in front of the players’ house, spoke of racism and how wrong the players’ were. I reminded them that “WE ARE IN LAW SCHOOL” and that they need some actual facts before they could make an accurate decision or opinion.

 

Then, I said something that changed my fate at the law school for the rest of my time here. I said, “What you ladies need to do is go to NCCU’s Main Campus and hold a forum with other students groups telling our black women to stop hoe-ing, stop stripping, and start acting like intelligent women” (a clear theme on this blog).  The black women thought the forum was a terrible idea. They said, “She had a child. She had to do what she had to do to put money in the child’s mouth. You don’t understand the struggles of a black woman!” To this day, many of those women will not speak to me, do not respect me, and various other things not to be mentioned here.

 

Now, we know the alleged victim lived with her parents. So, while people claim that stripping pays the bills, it did not afford her enough money to get her own place. These black women didn’t believe me, but most strippers don’t make a lot of money.

 

The truth is a stripper may make a lot of money living in a major city like Atlanta, New York, California, etc. But, in Durham, a predominately African American city, where the majority of wealth is still in the hands of whites, the average black stripper in a black strip club will not make any more than she would make working at Leaner. Don’t believe me?

 

First, most people are cheap in strip clubs and throw out one dollar bills. Further, most of the African American males in Durham are either in high school, in college with student loan money, or adult locals who are not making a decent living.  Therefore, there is not a large amount of wealth within the African American community. And, the money they do have gets spent on the frivolous things blacks spend money on, i.e., rims, a car, shoes, hats, jerseys, and just anything that does not appreciate in value. Jay Z and big named rappers are not throwing hundred dollar bills around in Durham strip clubs. Second, the club takes a large percentage of private dances for which they charge the most. So, even the money she gets is taxed.

 

Third, because Durham is not a major city, every night is not a party night. A stripper has to make the majority of her money during weekends, and specifically around pay days, because Monday-Thursday will yield low profits for a stripper. It’s just not in Durham’s culture to go out on a Monday night. This is still the south, has southern ways, and nothing has modernized the city to change that.

 

I am digressing.  These women had convicted the boys from the beginning. I wanted to wait. Never the less, asking to wait for facts, in their eyes, made me anti-black, anti-woman, and just an outcast. How could I side with the white boys?  But, I wasn’t. I just wanted to hear some concrete evidence before making a decision. 

 

The forum I proposed wasn’t totally about money. I thought it was needed to show our young black women that they won’t make enough money to pay back those student loans, so don’t use that excuse. Notwithstanding that, it was more about not placing themselves in adverse situations.

I told the black women I know, “take the victim out of the picture, no black women should be shaking her ass for money at anyone’s house.” But, the excuses continued. Men need to stop hiring them. I agree with that statement, but the issue at hand is black women and stripping. Can black women admit that stripping is wrong?

And, young black women need to know, that while no woman deserves to get raped, putting yourself in adverse situations will increase the odds that something bad will happen. No black man deserves to get killed, but dealing in drugs will increase the odds of a man reaching that fate. Can we tell women that if you strip, you may get raped, and you will have to prosecute the man, and the world will know that you are a stripper? The men will deserve to go to jail, but your secret of stripping will fade. So, if you strip, the odds of your secret being revealed are greater. Are they ready for that? Are they ready to be disrespected?    

 

Now, because the case involves the underworld of stripping, we have a situation where every stripper involved is standing up, telling anything and everything they can, trying to get national media attention, and trying to work the media like the men they work in the VIP rooms.  The case has become an embarrassment to our culture.

 

Speaking of culture, what happened to the New Black Panthers Party? They came down to our town, made a little stir, were mostly disorganized, did not raise the level of fear and shock that they wanted, and left. They promised to be back, but we haven’t seen them sense. We will likely never see them again. What a joke. If you’re going to do something, be organized and follow through. They tried to march on Duke and got shut down so fast the national audience may have missed it. I was there when they came. The media was laughing at them. CNN, FOX, NBC, ABC, everyone was there. They laughed. They found it funny. They were mocking the New Black Panther Party, taunting them when they were late to arrive to their own press conference. They were left to hold their press conference at the gates of Duke’s West Campus. Hell, any other idiot can ride through campus anytime of the day or night. It’s never shut down. To be so political, I am suprised the New Black Panther Party could not find one student to reserve a room for them!

 

Further, the racial rhetoric doesn’t work well in Durham. Jackie Waggstaff  (former Durham County School Board Member) was voted out of office here for using similar rhetoric. So, when she appeared with the Black Panther Party, the credibility of the party was lessened worse than imaginable. And, before radical blacks respond about us being too middle class, she was voted out in a predominately black, lower income, part of Durham. Yes, we all know that the Duke family gained wealth using slave labor and tobacco. Tell me something new within the past 100 years. The so called refrences to Duke as the “Plantation” were only for national media. I have lived in Durham for my entire life, minus 4 years of undergraduate school, both of my African American parents work at Duke, as do many African Americans in Durham, and I had never heard that phrase until this case. So, for the New Black Panther Party to come in and tell me about my city, when they were not even here long enough to be called visitors, showed how wrong, off point, and comical they truely were.

 

Those who were ready to hang the white lacrosse players last spring are really quiet now. I hope the lesson learned is to take race out of the equation, wait until facts come out, and make as much as an informed decision as possible.

November 3, 2006 Posted by | African American, Black men, Black Panther, Black Panthers, Black women, club, college, Duke Lacrosse, HBCU, hood economics, Law, Law School, university | 8 Comments

Black Women, Enough is Enough!

My inaugural post on my blog (see very bottom post below) talked about women consenting to being touched in a club. Now, I will briefly discuss how such behavior is just foolish. The below You Tube video is my example. Why, in the world, would women rotate on grinding on a wguy? Why would they allow this behavior to be recorded in front of hundreds of people, singled out for the crowd to see?  I wonder if they think this behavior will make them marriage, girlfriend, or eployment material? I believe that this behavior makes them look like sluts, and further affirms the stereotypes that whites have of our culture.  Sadly, you can see whites in the crowd cheering more than most of the blacks in the crowd. Have you read Ralf Ellison’s Invisible Man (appogies for using Richard Wright in the original post. Heis, however, my favorite writer)? The video is all to similar to the book. Except, it is black women put on display for the enjoyment of others oppopsed to black men.

The sad part about this is that these women are put on a spot light. Singled out to see who can dance the most slutty. Interestingly, at the end of the clip the camera man pans the audience, and you can see that many black men and women in the audience are not comfortable being on tape. They do not want to be seen there. They do not want to be precieved to condone this behavior. The women do not have to get on stage. And comparing the bottom video with the top one, it is clear that SOME women will dance this way notwithstanding a man being there or not. This is not an excuse for men to act in any way, this is a plea from a black man, asking black women to not act and dance like sluts.

 

Ellison wrote the the embarrasment that blacks suffered by being put on display for the entertainment of others (whites particularly). Here, these women do not seem embarassed or ashamed. They seem proud to be there and happy to entertain the crowd. Is this the state of our black women in society? I want them to be ashamed. I want them not to act that way. I want them to be better. Am I asking too much?

 

It is clear from the video, however, that the men are not to touch the women. Based on my first post (see bottom post on page) these women did not consent to the touch! But, does that mean that they are any more respected? You be the judge.

 

One final observation. You look look to the side of the stage you will see that theNational Basketball Association (NBA) is a sponsor of this event. As if we didn’t already know they were in the business of exploiting our culture and community.

 

November 2, 2006 Posted by | African American, Black women, club, college, HBCU, hip hop, Uncategorized, university | 5 Comments

Black Greeks, Stop the Hazing! You are not Helping Anyone!

Recently, black male fraternity at Florida A&M were not punished for allegedly hazing potentials. There was a hung jury in the case.  In a sense, I am sure they feel they won! Everyone, and anyone, who is in an African American Greek organization knows they are guilty. We all know hazing exist. Most of us were hazed ourselves.  But, as we get older, we realize that hazing is not cool. It does not earn respect, and that such behavior only hurts the organizations.

 

Many will argue that hazing is a way of earning respect, and proving yourself. I ask, who is trying to gain respect from?  Hazing doesn’t prove anything.  Most people in these organizations will tell you that people who love to haze are also the same people who are not financial, do not pay dues, thus do not pay insurance for the reckless behavior they love to embrace. They are not active members.  They will attend parties, they will hang out, but they will not attend anything that requires the service these organizations demand.  In short, people who love to haze are parasites to our organizations.  They add nothing and act in a way that could take everything.

 

African American Greek Letter organizations are a way to uplift our culture and aid in our success.  It is not paying for friends. Instead, it is joining a network system. Most blacks who are in high ranking positions are Greek. These organizations serve many benefits to members and the community. However, if they are used for the purpose of beating on one another, they are pointless.  Certain chapters in each organization allover the nation run counter to the objectives they claim to live by.

 

Some final questions about hazing. Did the founders haze each other? Did they say, “before we start this, we need to make sure we are all good. So, let us beat on each other for a semester to a year to make sure I can trust you.” Remember most of the organizations were founder in or before 1913. Thus, many of the founders had parents and grandparents who were slaves (which ended in 1863).  Being so close to the brutalities of slavery, do you think the founders of our organizations meant to create a group in which blacks would inflict pain on each other.

 

 Do you think the founders would condone hazing today? Likely not. Truthfully, any founder of any of these organizations (in which the founders were doctors, lawyers, teachers, PhD students, and in esteemed professions) would think the process of beating each other to prove worth is juvenile and brutal.  When these organizations were founded, being an intelligent person in college was worthy of respect.  These groups were meant to uplift, not to beat down.  We need to get back to those ideals.

 

To the men at FAMU and fraternity/sorority members nationwide: get it together. You did not win. You are not more a Brother/Sister of your organization because you haze. You do not do them a favor. The potentials are not more employable now than they were before you allegedly beat them.  However cool they might be after the incident, the white man in the business world could care less about the brutalities you suffered. They don’t care how much wood you took. So, help your potentials. Get their grades together.  Help them become men. Don’t beat them like children.       

October 26, 2006 Posted by | African American, Black men, Black women, college, HBCU, torts, university | 3 Comments

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.

October 16, 2006 Posted by | African American, Black men, Black women, club, college, university | 4 Comments

Act like the Middle Class Negro You Are

It must be understood as a premise, that in my opinion, African American culture is rooted in the projects. Meaning, most African Americans identify the race by struggle, inequity, and hardship. Thus, to struggle is to be black. Conversely, many believe that those who do not struggle are sell-outs. There seems to be a problem in our culture claiming the middle class. African Americans who do not struggle like others still want to identify with the culture. They (we) want to belong. But, how we identify and attempt to assimilate is the problem.

 

This concept is particularly difficult for students to understand. African American students go to universties, many of them good ones, to find they are one of few African Americans there. What happens when they get to the prestigious university? They begin to act as if they themselves are from the “streets.”  Black women become loud and black men become overly aggressive. Indeed, this is mostly a freshman phenom, as older college students with career tracks attempt to assimilate back to their middle class roots. 

 

 In most cases, the African Americans who go selective colleges are from middle class backgrounds, and did not act the way they do before they got to college. So, why do they do it?  It is a vain attempt to hold on to a culture which they never neatly fit in to begin.  It is theatrics. They “act” black to let others know they are not yet ready to assimilate into white culture.

 

The problem with this act is that it is just that. Truthfully, the actor can only act that way around their small group of friends.  Inherently, they will be within a small circle because the numbers of African Americans at selective universities are small (I am saving a discussion for HBCUs for later).  The thespian can go to the club, act ghetto, shake her ass, look hard, drink, do drugs, or whatever.

 

When that happens, the whole purpose of getting good grades in high school, a high SAT score, and accepting that scholarship, or financial aid check, to that major university is fruitless. You have moved up only to act more like the people you attempted to escape.  The humorous part, if any, is that if you went back home, the people from “the streets” would not accept you because you were the person who never had to worry about anything.  They never knew you to struggle.  You had good grades.  Teachers liked you. You had nice cloths. You had a car.  They do not believe you are creditable.  And so the thespian, while trying to act like the people from the “streets,” always despises the fact that the “streets” do not respect the show.

 

Young college bound African Americans should realize that they don’t need to act. The projects, which media allows to define African Americans, is not what conclusively will define you. In the end, education, hard work, and success define people. Why cater to a group of people who you truthfully will want to deal with as an adult?  Acting ghetto, looking ghetto, and talking ghetto will leave you unemployed. After college, you do not want to work at a place that would hire people with those qualities. Those jobs don’t pay well. You did not go to college to make what you could have if you stayed at home.  

 

The ‘hood’ may not respect it, but you struggle; but, your struggle is different. You struggle in a society where you are truly the minority. There are not many African Americans in college. You struggle to compete for good jobs. You struggle to earn enough money to pay back your loans. You struggle with knowing you are in a better position than most African Americans, but still are not where you want to be. Be proud of that struggle. Be proud of progress. You are not definable by what MTV characterizes blacks to be. You are not an actor. You are a person trying to make it in our society.

 

 

Our culture has made it difficult to be able to admit that as a black person, they didn’t struggle. For instance, I grew up in the suburbs. Everyone who knows me knows that. Both of my parents, who are still married, have good jobs. My family is educated. I am not a first generation college graduate. You don’t hear, or read, rants like mine that much. It’s almost a secret of African Americans in college.

 

My point is simple. Be proud to be middle class. Say it proud. And act in a like manner. You are not a sell-out because you are smart, educated, and might have more money in your pocket than the average.  Quit acting “ghetto.” It’s not you.

October 13, 2006 Posted by | African American, Black men, Black women, college, university | 13 Comments