Thursday, October 11, 2007

Another Noose; Another Rally

noose hanging from Prof Constantine's doorFrom the NY Daily News:
A black Columbia University professor targeted by a hangman's noose delivered a defiant message during a protest rally Wednesday: "I will not be silent."

A day after the racist symbol was left dangling on her office door, Madonna Constantine was greeted by raucous cheers of support at Teachers College.

"Hanging a noose on my door reeks of cowardice and fear," said Constantine, who teaches psychology and education and has written on racism.

"I want the perpetrator to know I will not be silent."

The NYPD Hate Crime Task Force is investigating the incident as a bias crime.

"We have no suspects in this case, no 'persons of interest,'" said NYPD Inspector Michael Osgood, who assigned a sergeant and six detectives to the investigation.

Interesting how New York can assign seven people to this 'important' investigation but cannot afford to fix the city's infrastructure, isn't it?

The article continues:
Cops were conducting DNA tests on the noose, a 4-foot length of hand-tied twine.

They also planned to question some of Constantine's colleagues, including Prof. Suniya Luthar.

Police sources said Constantine and Luthar crossed swords over a plum assignment at the university, but stressed that Luthar was not a suspect.

In May, Constantine filed suit in Manhattan Supreme Court seeking damages of $100,000 from Luthar for defamation.

The filing contained no details, and Constantine's lawyer Paul Giacomo declined to discuss the matter.

Outside her Scarsdale home yesterday, Luthar said she was leaving town on a business trip.

"I can't talk to you," she said. "I have no comment."

Teachers College President Susan Fuhrman said the academic contretemps had been under investigation for a year but would not elaborate.

Nobody's ever a suspect, are they?

This is the part of the article that I found most interesting, as well as depressing:
State Sen. Bill Perkins (D-Harlem) raised the specter of Jena, La., which has been gripped by racial uproar since white teens hung nooses on school grounds last year.

"Even in the Ivy League towers at Columbia University, we might as well be in Columbia, S.C., in 1809. It's a virus and it's here as well as it is in Jena," he said.

Several hundred students also attended a forum with top university officials after the rally.

Teachers College student Nicole Woodard told them she wasn't surprised by the noose incident because she believes the college lacks racial diversity.

"When I walk into a class of 100 students and can count on my fingers how many look like me, that's a problem," said Woodard, who is black.

Teachers College, which was founded in 1887 and is the nation's largest grad school for education, has a student body that is 12% black, 11% Asian-American and 7% Hispanic.

Perhaps Ms. Woodward has six fingers on each hand, but it seems to me that 12% is about the national average for Black Population, isn't it? Or maybe it's now a little less since the 'Hispanic' population is growing faster. And this woman is going to be a teacher? She seems to have no grasp of mathematics or statistics, does she?

I do understand that she might have been swept up in all the excitement of yet another rally against racism, but her statement seems to be a complaint of long-standing. Sounds a tad 'racist' to me.

Prof. Madonna Constantine speaks at the rallyLook, hanging a noose on the doorknob of a black professor's office is a rather ugly thing to do. If only a prank it's a mean, thoughtless, and stupid act. Until we know exactly who did it, though, we are being just a tad premature in comparing this with other racially motivated happenings. And don't forget that there have been some supposed racial 'hate crimes' that were self-perpetrated as a way of garnering attention, deflecting attention, or otherwise causing trouble. In reality they had nothing to do with the random bigot, lurking in the shadows, waiting to express hate for some ethnic minority.

From the NYTimes:
“It’s like throwing a match on a haystack,” said Christien Tompkins, 21, a senior who is co-chairman of the United Students of Color Council. “This obviously really touched a nerve for a lot of folks.”

Mr. Tompkins was one of about two dozen students who met with Columbia’s president, Lee C. Bollinger, to discuss the case yesterday afternoon.

At that meeting, Mr. Tompkins said, students have used the noose as a point of departure to talk about other issues, including Columbia’s plans to expand into adjacent neighborhoods.

“It’s the latest and maybe most visible and extreme case of a climate of racism that we face in our entire society but of course is manifested at Columbia as well,” he said.

Mr. Bollinger, in an e-mail message sent to students and faculty, wrote, “An attack on the dignity of any member of our community is an assault on all of us.”

At a separate meeting, 600 Teachers College students and faculty members gathered to air their own grievances before Susan H. Fuhrman, the president of Teachers College, and other administrators.

“I came here from Virginia,” said one black doctoral student, who did not identify herself. “I’ve been here since 2003 and there has been incident after incident. It’s not so different from the South.”

Earlier in the day, more than 100 students rallied outside Teachers College and marched in Professor Constantine’s support. Her colleagues said it seemed particularly jolting that this had happened to a professor whose work is devoted to issues of race.

Hey, Toots, I'm in the South. I haven't seen "incident after incident" in my 22 years of residence here. What I have seen is a lot of rioting against racism as a screen for criminal behavior, and a tool for political antics by some very shady characters. South St. Petersburg has had plenty of that. But most of the so-called racial incidents have been nothing of the kind. They have been reactions to black criminals being nailed by the police. And if a community allows itself to be used by the Race Warlords to further their own separatist, racially-inspired agenda, then they have made a pact with the Devil.

How about, when one of these things happen, we keep our yaps shut, call the police, and let them investigate before we begin marching? How about we not start painting signs and denouncing the entire nation before we know exactly what happened? This was one ugly little incident that hurt feelings and nothing else. Can we stop trying to raise this to the level of Mass Murder?

How long before Jesse and Al are on the spot, eh?


Gayle said...

It won't take Jesse or Al very long, Benning. I'm pretty sure of that!

I agree that this noose hanging on the doorknob thingy is way out of proportion, but that's because they can't wait to notify the press and make waves! *sigh* It's getting rather tiresome to say the least.

I get offended too. I was in Wal Mart not long ago and my teenaged daughter was looking for eye-shadow in the cosmetic section. Two fat Black women came around the corner of that counter and literally shoved Jessica out of the way. Jessica just said, "excuse me." I told her, "you don't have to excuse yourself, sweety. You were here first, and no one has the right to put their hands on you." Suddenly one of the black women started hollering all sorts of insulting terms at me, some so horrendous I can't repeat here, but "bitch Honkey" was one of them. I stepped up to her and told her to shut her filthy mouth or I'd be happy to shut it for her, and both of them ran off. Thank goodness! Do you think I would have gotten any support? No, I would have wound up in jail. If I had contacted the media somehow and told them about this reverse racial hatred, they would have laughed at me.

It goes on all the time, Benning. The above is not the only incident I can relate regarding reverse discrimination, and I am getting pretty darned sick and tired of it!

benning said...

I see it at my store often enough.

You would have been a "Hate Criminal"! You racist bigot, you!

And then we're expected to accept the "black" culture? Sheesh!

healtheland said...

"And don't forget that there have been some supposed racial 'hate crimes' that were self-perpetrated as a way of garnering attention, deflecting attention, or otherwise causing trouble."

Of course, what you ignore is that the vast majority of such incidents WERE NOT self - perpetrated. It is only the VERY TINY PERCENTAGE that was self - perpetrated that conservatives love to talk about. What conservatives also love to talk about is black crime whenever the issue of racism comes up. Well I am sorry, but the black people attending and teaching at Columbia have no more to do with black street crime than you do. Even referencing black street crime with respect to this issue smacks of holding the entire black race collectively responsible for actions of its members.

"This was one ugly little incident that hurt feelings and nothing else. Can we stop trying to raise this to the level of Mass Murder?" You mean like the "whiners" below are doing? Or like all of the white people that file reverse discrimination lawsuits? Well, you say that you are from Florida. Funny that you did not remember that this white racist set off two bombs on the campus of predominantly black Florida A&M University in 1999.
I should know ... I was attending FAMU at the time. Also while I was attending FAMU, white racists spray - painted "KKK Be Careful" on our engineering school.

Now both incidents were covered by media all over the state of Florida and also received national media attention. But I suppose that in your 22 years of living in the south, incidents that weren't "rioting against racism as a screen for criminal behavior, and a tool for political antics by some very shady characters" or that weren't "self - perpetrated" seemed to slip right under your nose, didn't it?

And no, we black folk do not run to the media or the police every time things like this happen. During my lovely time in Tallahassee, Florida, from time to time I would be walking across the campus of the "predominantly white" university across campus to make use of their superior library, I would be stopped by police and asked to provide identification. I guess that it was my own fault ... university libraries ARE "high crime areas frequented by criminals", and my "I attend the university right across the street" tee shirt and ballcaps could have been construed as gang attire, right? Even better was the time that my friends and I heard what sounded like an excellent party one night. As we approached, several white drunk fraternity boys approached us and started making angry racial remarks. Some police officers, who saw the entire incident from beginning to end, came by and said "Hey, you guys are provoking an incident by being here ... you'd better leave." Oh yes, there was also the time that I was pulled over while driving back to my apartment from my job and forced to sit in my car for half an hour with the cops shining their light in my face and vehicle, running my tag and driver's license number. The reason that they gave when they EVENTUALLY let me go: "high crime area." It was my own fault for wanting to live near my own university. But when I graduated ... black male with an engineering degree! I can just waltz right into any company I want and get a job due to affirmative action, right? Well, my experience was the opposite. I had to work fast food and other minimum wage jobs while seeking work. This one company loved by qualifications, really needed someone to fill a position right away, and were ready to discuss my salary. That is, until I walked through the door. I was told "you know, you really wouldn't want this position anyway, you wouldn't like working for this company, and with your GREAT QUALIFICATIONS you can find a MUCH BETTER job than this anyway!" and shown the door. And no, during the very brief time that I was allowed to grace their premises, I did not see any other black people. Not that it was unusual of course ... by that time I had completed several internships (which was why this company wanted to hire me until they SAW ME) and was well used to being the only black person in the room, building, or what have you. Oh yes, and this little incident came after being denied promotions and fair raises at the Wal - Mart job that I used to pay for part of my education. Boy, I can't believe that I left that out.

So no, despite all these things happening to me (and more) I have yet to contact the local NAACP or schedule a press conference. Reading people like you accuse people like me that have experienced actual discrimination of just, you know, making mountains out of molehills and advocating for criminals makes me wish that I would have.

benning said...

I don't recall accusing you of a single thing.

As for me, I managed to make it through Philly, New York City, Los Angeles, and a lot of other places without once being treated crummy for being white. Until I reached St. Petersburg. And got nailed by five young men of color. And I was simply walking between buildings in a parking lot.
And yet, I have had quite a few Black supervisors over me, and quite a few black co-workers. And I manage to not treat them with anything but the courtesy I give everyone.

Your anger is understandable, but I think it colored what you read. One incident and then a rally. That's what I wrote about. Let's tone down the umbrage until we know who did what. What happened was not Jena.

healtheland said...

I agree that whlat happened was not Jena. The "Jena 6" are nothing but criminals that belong in jail, epspecially the ringleader. A lot of people seem to forget that the civil rights criminal justice cases back in the day, the Scottsboro Boys and things like that, were involving black defendants that were INNOCENT. The reason why I never sued for discrimination or anything like that was precisely BECAUSE I did not want to lift a finger to empower the Marxist race traders. I was so mad at the civil rights leaders that truthfully couldn't care less about what honest law abiding black men like myself were going through that I actually became a neoconservative Republican for quite awhile. But oh well, George W. Bush cured me of that!

Listen, I am no fan of Madonna Constantine or virtually anyone else that works at an elite university in any field other than the hard sciences (and even some of those folk have agendas that grievously offend my fundamentalist Christian beliefs). Columbia doesn't care about this woman or her causes, they are just using her as a pawn to push their Marxism, and one of the reasons why she is so angry is because the light switch in her head hasn't turned on and she hasn't realized it yet. I just objected to correlating this incident with other incidents that have nothing to do with it. I will say this, at least your blog is better than some of the others that I have seen. Some "conservatives" are actually suggesting that the woman planted the noose herself. Sure, ignore the hundreds of racist incidents that actually do happen to concentrate on the few hoaxes. Others are bringing up the Duke rape case. Some are attacking her character and research, etc. I read a few of those blogs before I came to yours, and probably used yours as a venting exercise. Sorry if my comments were disproportionate to what you actually wrote.

benning said...

Vent here whenever you wish. You didn't rant; you just got frustrated, and don't we all?

I don't like what I see happening between the races in this country, when we all built it and have a stake in seeing her prosper. So for me, watching more folks shouting about how bad we are is depressing, and, yeah, it makes me angry. So I post about it. Among other things. But I hope you'll feel free to visit when you can and let me know what you think, too. I can only express things from my own experiences. And LORD knows how narrow they are!

Anonymous said...

I would never be so arrogant as to presume I know exactly what happened at Columbia, but I smell a rat. As a clinical psychologist who has worked in major unversity counseling centers and had way too much exposure to counseling psychologists, if I had to bet, I'd say that this has nothing to do with race. Race is simply a vehicle that serves other purposes in the counseling psych world that these people occupy.

To the person who thinks it's outrageous to wonder if Constantine did this herself, I can assure you that just about anything has been possible with these characters I've known in the world of counseling psychology. Naked careerism, jealousy and efforts to destroy competitors is rampant in a culture that gives priority to seeking position and professional notoriety over any honest academic mission. Race, gender and victimhood are merely the currency of bald ambition in that world. The smallness of these folks would exceed your wildest imagination. University counseling psychology departments are a careerist’s hog heaven.

Maybe Constantine is the victim of an idiotic stunt, maybe it’s part of an ongoing dispute with someone else, maybe a student with a personal beef did it; we can presume nothing. But, everything I've experienced, though, tells me that we can't rule out the possibility that there are no real victims here other than every serious academician and serious student whose university is being used by rallying, attention-seeking careerists (I don't necessarily mean Constantine) who don’t give a flying flip about the mission of serious research and education.

healtheland said...

Dr X: Well as a fundamentalist Christian, you can guess what my feelings are regarding the field of psychology that people like Freud, Jung, Kinsey, etc. left behind. Still, it is just that claiming that the woman planted the noose herself is uncalled for without evidence, because quite frankly junk like this happens all the time, and usually when it does the targets of this behavior don't report it. Even when it does get reported, it only becomes a major media incident when the media figures that it is in their larger agenda to make it so. Even the Jena, Louisiana case: the only reason why it make national news was because the prosecutor made the ridiculous decision to claim that tennis shoes were weapons. The irony is that everyone is celebrating Mychal Bell's charges being "reduced" from attempted murder to felony assault when the truth is that the maximum sentence for attempted is shorter than it is for felony assault in Louisiana! Now Bell is back in jail, serving 18 months for his three prior convictions. Why? Because the local officials want to justify their treatment of this fellow. The real irony is that had these folks left well enough alone, he would have ultimately gotten out of jail at the end of the appeals process in a few months. Because of their making him a civil rights celebrity case, he is actually going to have to serve more time than he would have before. Does the media care? Do the civil rights groups care? Of course not.

"But, everything I've experienced, though, tells me that we can't rule out the possibility that there are no real victims here other than every serious academician and serious student whose university is being used by rallying, attention-seeking careerists who don’t give a flying flip about the mission of serious research and education." I agree entirely. The more I read about the nonsense that goes on at these elite universities, the bigger fan I am of the ones with poor reputations. I am still eternally grateful that I turned down the elite schools to go to a black college. I did it for the wrong reason (I went where the girls were better - looking), but I know that had I gone to Duke or some place like that I would be a Cornel West syncophant. (It may surprise you, but black colleges are actually far more conservative than than elite universities, the reason being that black colleges are actually trying to educate people and prepare them for the workforce. Not that you should go and send your child to one or go work at one or anything ... they have their own set of problems which are quite severe.)

benning said...

"I did it for the wrong reason (I went where the girls were better - looking)," ~ That may not be the best of reasons to choose a college, but it puts you in place for an education. It's the outcome that counts, not the initial step, eh?

Always On Watch said...

Look, hanging that noose on the door is an act of ugliness. But is it threatening enough to warrant such an intense investigation?

Some of these concerns about racism seem more like whining to me. Also, this "whining" just fuels the acts as the "whining" gives the doer(s) attention.