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Columbia Professor – Safer For Black Kids to Use Drugs Than Interact With Police

I think the Professor’s point here is that the common narrative utilized by Police of the “Drug crazed” perpetrator is just so much bullshit. In fact, many of the people the Police have violent interactions with suffer from Mental Illness, not crack overdose.

In the recent Keith Scott Murder by Cop, the Police tried to justify their actions with the victim smoking a blunt. Well…I went to college in the late sixties, and remember walking into more than one concert at an indoor pavilion where you could just about get a contact high from the thousands of folks lighting up. I certainly don’t recall white folks going crazy at the Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young Concert, or the more diverse crowd at a WAR concert whipping out their guns and shooting at each other. Indeed, about the only thing that happened in those days smoking a joint was to get paranoid, get the munchies, and giggle a lot.

Smoking a joint ain’t Armed Bank Robbery.

Police are trained in this country to take absolute control of a situation (except when dealing with white folks). Unfortunately the  folks who train these Cops don’t do much to train them to de-escalate a situation…Or where use of force is appropriate. If your Police force is slamming people to the ground and locking them up for Jaywalking, or any of the thousands of minor Civil Violations typically handled by a ticket…

You have a PROBLEM. And that is exactly the problem we have in this country between Police and minorities. For every one of these Murders by Cop, there are tens of thousands of interactions by minorities  with Police which go off the rails in substantive ways.

So the breakdown in trust between the Police and the community comes to this – fear of calling the Police to handle an issue. You as a citizen don’t know whether you are going to get that “Good Cop”, who is helpful, deescalates the situation, and handles things appropriate to the severity of the situation – or the “Bad Cop” who rushes in with guns drawn because you have a dispute with your neighbor over his dog coming into your yard.

Ivy League professor: ‘I would much rather my own children interact with drugs than with the police’

Carl L. Hart was surprised when a student in one of his classes at Columbia University wrote an essay for The Washington Post about the effect of having him speak frankly about his past and the importance of having non-white faculty members.

Hart took the opportunity to respond with his thoughts on race and higher education, in the midst of the national debate over police violence. 

Carl Hart For the past few years, like academic semesters, the killing of black people by the police has been on a regular schedule.

The explanation script, always controlled by the police, is familiar and tired. The deceased person’s reputation is dragged through the mud. He had a gun or she was under the influence of some drug; therefore, deadly force was necessary.

Video footage almost always contradicts this official account. But it doesn’t seem to matter because the police are rarely held accountable in such cases.

As a result, there is community outrage that sometimes reaches the level of unrest. Authorities call for calm and peace — rather than justice — and then we are forced to have the same national conversation about race and diversity that we have had for more than 50 years. The only thing that changes is the names of the pundits paraded before the public.

As a professor, a black professor, I often think about the impact that this has on my students, especially the black students. What messages does it send to them? I suspect, with horror, it sends the same ones that I received when in their seats some 30 years ago: “Your life is worthless compared with a white person’s. They are superior to you by the mere fact that they are white in a white-controlled world.”

Faced with this wretched reality, every Monday and Wednesday morning, I stand before my Columbia University students honored to have the opportunity to present information that challenges society’s views about black people as well as the perceptions held about drugs, their effects and their role in crime.

I speak candidly about my past and who I am. In fact, “High Price,” my science memoir, is one of the required readings for the course. In it, I detail my imperfections and past drug use and sales. I also lay out a blueprint for how one can succeed as a scientist and academic in a world that despises one’s people.

I explain how for more than 25 years, I have studied the interactions between the brain, drugs and behavior, trying to understand how drugs influence the function of brain cells, how this and other social factors influence human behavior, and how the reverberations of morality regarding drug use are expressed in social policy.

And, as a part of my research, I have given thousands of doses of drugs, including crack cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine, to people. By the way, I have never seen a research participant become violent or aggressive while under the influence of any drug (at doses typically used recreationally), as police narratives frequently claim.

My research has taught me many important lessons, but perhaps none more important than this — drug effects, like semesters, are predictable; police interactions with black people are not. In encounters with police, too often the black person ends up dead. That is why I would much rather my own children interact with drugs than with the police.

I am certain that my white colleagues, when faced with an emergency situation, wouldn’t think twice about calling the police. This, however, may not be the case for their black and Latino students. These students may be faced with the dilemma of not calling for police assistance even when they are in need of help for fear that the police will make the situation worse, and may even kill them or their loved one.

We need our universities to comprise historically excluded faculty to represent these and other perspectives. For this reason, I served on Columbia’s Task Force on Diversity in Science and Engineering, working to increase the number of diverse faculty in the sciences.

Initially, I was excited to participate because I thought the goal was to increase the number of faculty from those groups historically excluded from the academy as a result of discrimination.

It turns out that the term “diversity” can be anything from black faculty to military veterans. Well, I am both, but have yet to be subjected to discrimination because I’m a veteran.

I now cringe whenever subjected to meetings or speeches about the importance of having a diverse campus community. I’m even more appalled when I hear some vacuous university administrator touting their school’s diversity accomplishments. Of the nearly 4,000 faculty members at Columbia, only about 4 percent are black. Yet, we have been honored for our diversity achievements.

When compared with similar institutions, our low number of black faculty looks impressive. But when you consider that black people make up 25 percent of the population of New York City, where Columbia is located, 4 percent seems meager. I recognize that New York City might not be the most appropriate comparison, but neither are other exclusive universities whose numbers of black faculty are abysmally low.

Teaching university students affords me the opportunity to demonstrate to young adults that they don’t have to be perfect to make contributions to their country.

This responsibility also requires me to impress upon my students that they must obtain the necessary critical-thinking skills to be informed and that they should be courageous, especially in the face of injustice.

If only more of our university and national leaders did the same, I might not have to look out into the sea of predominantly white faces and hold back tears as I think about the fact that Ramarley Graham and Michael Brown would have begun their junior and senior years, respectively, this semester.

 
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Posted by on October 6, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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The Coming University Trainwreck

Discrimination is the new normal.

An Ivy League professor on why colleges don’t hire more faculty of color: ‘We don’t want them’

In “The five things no one will tell you about why colleges don’t hire more faculty of color,” a piece first published in the Hechinger Report, Marybeth Gasman took on a common question: Why aren’t college faculties more racially diverse? 

It’s a question gaining increased urgency from student protesters demanding change on campuses nationally.

While giving a talk about Minority Serving Institutions at a recent higher education forum, I was asked a question pertaining to the lack of faculty of color at many majority institutions, especially more elite institutions.

My response was frank: “The reason we don’t have more faculty of color among college faculty is that we don’t want them. We simply don’t want them.” Those in the audience were surprised by my candor and gave me a round of applause for the honesty.

Given the short amount of time I had on the stage, I couldn’t explain the evidence behind my statement. I will do so here. I have been a faculty member since 2000, working at several research universities. In addition, I give talks, conduct research and workshops and do consulting related to diversifying the faculty across the nation. I have learned a lot about faculty recruitment over 16 years and as a result of visiting many colleges and universities.

First, the word ‘quality’ is used to dismiss people of color who are otherwise competitive for faculty positions. Even those people on search committees that appear to be dedicated to access and equity will point to ‘quality’ or lack of ‘quality’ as a reason for not hiring a person of color.

Typically, ‘quality’ means that the person didn’t go to an elite institution for their Ph.D. or wasn’t mentored by a prominent person in the field. What people forget is that attending the elite institutions and being mentored by prominent people is linked to social capital and systemic racism ensures that people of color have less of it.

Second, the most common excuse I hear is ‘there aren’t enough people of color in the faculty pipeline.’

It is accurate that there are fewer people of color in some disciplines such as engineering or physics. However, there are great numbers of Ph.D.’s of color in the humanities and education and we still don’t have great diversity on these faculties.

When I hear someone say people of color aren’t in the pipeline, I respond with ‘Why don’t you create the pipeline?’ ‘Why don’t you grow your own?’

Since faculty members are resistant to hiring their own graduates, why not team up with several other institutions that are ‘deemed to be of high quality’ and bring in more Ph.D.s of color from those institutions?

If you are in a field with few people of color in the pipeline, why are you working so hard to ‘weed’ them out of undergraduate and Ph.D. programs? Why not encourage, mentor, and support more people of color in your field?

Third, I have learned that faculty will bend rules, knock down walls, and build bridges to hire those they really want (often white colleagues) but when it comes to hiring faculty of color, they have to ‘play by the rules’ and get angry when any exceptions are made.

Let me tell you a secret – exceptions are made for white people constantly in the academy; exceptions are the rule in academe.

Fourth, faculty search committees are part of the problem.

They are not trained in recruitment, are rarely diverse in makeup, and are often more interested in hiring people just like them rather than expanding the diversity of their department.

They reach out to those they know for recommendations and rely on ads in national publications.

And, even when they do receive a diverse group of applicants, often those applicants ‘aren’t the right fit’ for the institution. What is the ‘right fit’? Someone just like you?

Fifth, if majority colleges and universities are truly serious about increasing faculty diversity, why don’t they visit Minority Serving Institutions — institutions with great student and faculty diversity — and ask them how they recruit a diverse faculty.

This isn’t hard. The answers are right in front of us. We need the will.

For those reading this essay, you might be wondering why faculty diversity is important. Your wondering is yet another reason why we don’t have a more diverse faculty. Having a diverse faculty — in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion — adds greatly to the experiences of students in the classroom. It challenges them — given that they are likely not to have had diversity in their K-12 classroom teachers — to think differently about who produces knowledge. It also challenges them to move away from a ‘white-centered’ approach to one that is inclusive of many different voices and perspectives.

Having a diverse faculty strengthens the faculty and the institution as there is more richness in the curriculum and in conversations taking place on committees and in faculty meetings. A diverse faculty also holds the university accountable in ways that uplift people of color and center issues that are important to the large and growing communities of color across the nation.

Although I have always thought it vital that our faculty be representative of the nation’s diversity, we are getting to a point in higher education where increasing faculty diversity is an absolute necessity and crucial to the future of our nation.

In 2014, for the first time, the nation’s K-12 student population was majority minority. These students are on their way into colleges and universities and we are not prepared for them. Our current faculty lacks expertise in working with students of color and our resistance to diversifying the faculty means that we are not going to be ready anytime soon.

I’ll close by asking you to think deeply about your role in recruiting and hiring faculty. How often do you use the word ‘quality’ when talking about increased diversity? Why do you use it? How often do you point to the lack of people of color in the faculty pipeline while doing nothing about the problem?

How many books, articles, or training sessions have you attended on how to recruit faculty of color?

How many times have you reached out to departments with great diversity in your field and asked them how they attract and retain a diverse faculty?

How often do you resist when someone asks you to bend the rules for faculty of color hires but think it’s absolutely necessary when considering a white candidate (you know, so you don’t lose such a wonderful candidate)?

Rather than getting angry at me for pointing out a problem that most of us are aware of, why don’t you change your ways and do something to diversify your department or institution’s faculty?

I bet you don’t, but I sure hope you do.

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2016 in The Definition of Racism

 

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Faculty and Staff to Join Mizzou Black Students Walkout

Unable/unwilling to take a stand, the University President is now facing not only action by the students and athletes – but the Athletic and coaching staff…And now the Faculty and support staff. There is an ongoing pattern of on-campus incidents which have brought things to a boil.

Mizzou Football Team’s Revolt Against President Grows

Joining student activists, the team refuses to play until Timothy Wolfe steps down after a tepid response to attacks on blacks. Now faculty are set to join them.

There was no football practice at the University of Missouri on Sunday, but the school’s training grounds were far from empty.

Mizzou’s black players had announced a strike the day before—joining scores of student activists demanding the ouster of university president Timothy Wolfe over his alleged failure to stem a wave of racism at the predominantly white school. Of the 35,000 students at Mizzou, 77 percent are white and 7 percent are black, school stats show, while 58 of the football team’s 84 scholarship football players are black.

Instead of putting on helmets, the team posed for a group photo, arm in arm, inside an athletics facility.

“The Mizzou Family stands as one,” head coach Gary Pinkel tweeted Sunday, just after the squad’s strike made national news. “We are united. We are behind our players.”

Faculty staff announced a few hours later that they would also stage a walk out in support of the football team.

Mizzou players have vowed not to play until Wolfe, who has been the school’s president since 2012, is removed…

The gambit comes amid months of simmering racial tensions at the Columbia, Missouri, campus. Minority students say they’ve been targeted with continuing slurs and harassment—and that the response from the predominantly white university has been tepid.

Last month, a swastika scribbled in human feces was found in the restroom of Gateway Hall, a dorm offering gender-neutral suites and bathrooms that is supposed to be a “‘gateway’ for the future of inclusive living,’” the Residence Halls Association president said….

The school’s racial strife made national headlines in September, when student body president Payton Head’s response to a racist attack went viral.

“Last night as I walking through campus, some guys riding on the back of a pickup truck decided that it would be okay to continuously scream NIGGER at me,” Head wrote on Sept. 12. “I really just want to know why my simple existence is such a threat to society. For those of you who wonder why I’m always talking about the importance of inclusion and respect, it’s because I’ve experienced moments like this multiple times at THIS university, making me not feel included here.

“Many of you are so privileged that you’ll never know what it feels like to be a hijab-wearing Muslim woman and be called a terrorist or a towel head,” Head continued. “You don’t have to think about being transgender and worrying about finding a restroom where you can go and not be targeted for violence…

“If you see violence like this and don’t say anything, you, yes YOU, are a part of the problem,” he said.

The shocking, hateful episodes on campus didn’t end there.

On Oct. 5, an inebriated white male student allegedly mounted the stage of a Legion of Black Collegians homecoming royalty court rehearsal and began spouting the N-word. The student was “moved from campus,” the Columbia Tribune reported.

Black student activists also say they faced harassment on Oct. 10, when they peacefully blocked the homecoming parade. They surrounded Wolfe’s car, but he refused to speak with them. Instead, the protesters claim, Wolfe’s vehicle hit one of their members.

Last week Friday, two female students said a drunken white man hurled a racial slur at them on a campus walkway. As a group of “four young Caucasian men” passed the women, one shouted, “You’re a n—-r!”

“We walk around this campus knowing that on any given day, there will be another racial issue,” sophomore Alexis Ditaway tweeted of the incident. “We go to classes with our white peers knowing that not only will they never understand our struggles, but many of them will refuse to try. We go to a university where the only place many of us feel comfortable is in a Black Studies class.”…

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2015 in The New Jim Crow

 

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