Tuesday, June 20, 2017

I'm A Social Activist. Black Lives Matter UNTIL A Black Person Challenges ME, A White Woman: Kayla Renee Parker and the Failure of Intersectionality



For the past few days, I have been attempting to write a post regarding Philando Castille, but it has been too painful to write.  Injustice in America 2017.  Sigh.  This morning, I noticed that an article had been sent to me via Facebook Messenger. Immediately, I said, “This is your blog post for today. You can write this one in your sleep.”   The breakdown of the story is:  A young, black female undergraduate challenged her white professor about a quiz question pertaining to the breakdown of the black family during slavery.  The faculty member, who is still heavily relying upon textbooks written during the 1960s, believed that slave families remained intact and attempted to downplay the role that slavery had in the destruction of the black family.

Ms. Parker's account, of her experiences with her instructor, can be found at:

 https://mystudentvoices.com/beware-of-wolves-in-sheeps-clothing-the-tale-of-a-progressive-professor-who-forgot-to-hide-her-7efe21b1fc5d


The student, Ms. Kayla Renee Parker, proceeded to justify her answer to Professor Morelock.  Morelock gave the class full credit for the question, regardless of their answer, and that led to her beginning to quest to open a can of “whup ass” on Parker.   Morelock challenged Parker to present her “alternative facts” to the class, and with the encouragement of the department chair, Parker did just that.  Morelock, like many social media users, turned to Facebook and asked for “advice” on how to retaliate against Parker.  Of course, there was a “Golden Negra” in the group providing Morelock with encouragement.  A “woke” African American woman admonished the Golden Negra and said how there was always a “coon” in the group.  Morelock discussed how she planned on ruining Parker via posting screenshots of her LinkedIn and Twitter accounts.  She also stated that after Parker graduated “all bets were off.”  

Morelock, an instructor who wore a safety pin to class, talked incessantly about “Black Lives Matter” and had a Black Power emblem as her Facebook profile photo, was now a White woman who wrote messages such as “I don’t forget malevolent attempts to harm me.  #karmawillfindyou” on her Facebook wall.  This “progressive feminist” demonstrated to Ms. Parker that she truly did not embrace the importance of feminism and intersectionality.  In her final email to Ms. Parker, she stated, “I’m sorry if I upset you.  Please accept this complimentary dildo, and go fuck yourself.”

For lack of better phrasing, Ms. Morelock elected to eff with the wrong bitch.  Parker is not one of those first-generation black college students that some white folk like to fawn over.  Her father was educated at Yale Medical School.  Over the past three years, countless people have said the same to me.  In fact, after my episode aired on Showtime, I had journalists even say to me, “Dr. Cobb, they chose the wrong bitch to mess with. You showed them exactly how “crazy’" you are by showing the nation, via Showtime’s “Dark Net” the sheer hell that you endured while being employed at Desert Vista High School as well as being an Ahwatukee resident. Wow.”

Ms. Parker, I know your pain.  I know your struggle.  I would like to tell you that it will get easier for you, but it will not.  At 42 years old, I had to deal with a Ms. Morelock. This young woman, similar to Morelock, likes to consider herself a social activist.  She wears the pins, fights against dress codes that infringes on the rights of women, etc. . . Yet, she is what I call absolutely dangerous.  For the sake of this post, I will say that her name is Heather.  Heather deems herself as an actress.  She has participated in local theater for years, and from what her peers have shared with me, she is a chronic liar.  Recently, I asked a Caucasian woman about Heather, and she said, “Cicely, she’s been a liar since we were in middle school.   She would tell us that her mother threw her out the window, and her brother would have to inform us to disregard his sister. Something is seriously wrong with her.”  Three summers ago, while exercising at a local gym, Heather came up to me to say hello.  Immediately, my guard was up, and I stated, “I am trying to exercise in peace. I do not want my whereabouts posted on social media.”  Heather proceeded to write a tweet in all caps about my presence at the facility.  You know who was believed – Heather.  In fact, the gym director told me that I had verbally assaulted Heather in the parking lot, and it spilled over into the gym.  I said, “Please pull the tape.  You do have video footage, correct? You will see me peacefully working out and Heather approached me.”  She said, “Cicely, oh, I stand corrected.  I thought that you confronted her outside.  That’s what I was told.”  The director had previously informed me that Heather was a nuisance due to her disrespect towards adults, but when that color line was drawn. . . . Y’all know the rest. 

Heather removed the tweet, but her “alternative facts” led to her mother sending me vicious Facebook messages as well as informing local landscapers not to service my residence.  A local Facebook page administrator contacted the landscaper’s wife and said, “Did you hear from Heather’s mother?”  The woman said, “Yes!  She said that Cicely was this terrible person, and that my husband shouldn’t come to her house.”  Months later, after servicing my lawn, the landscaper’s wife profusely apologized to me for ever believing Heather’s mother.  She thanked me for my support and spreading the word about their business.

Sigh. 

The irony in this situation is that Heather recently tweeted that she is a “social activist” and that anyone that knows her realizes that she fights for social justice.  Heather is a younger version of Ms. Morelock, and those are the type of White women that minorities need to fear.  Heather is a social activist/feminist, but when I was assaulted in my classroom, three years later, she tweeted that I was a “joke” and that it was a “simple tap.” She tweeted that I sold my assault video footage to the local news stations.  Heather also stated that I illegally filmed my assault.  Lies.   Feminism.  Intersectionality.  Feminism.  Intersectionality.   Heather is the type of white female that if I had a black son, I would scream, “Stay away from her before you end up in jail!”


Ms. Parker, thank you for sharing your story.  You have provided me with the strength to fully write about my experience.   Women, like Heather and Ms. Morelock, are not our allies.  They are racists who need to view themselves as “part of the problem” and most definitely are “contributing to a racist and unjust society.”

Thursday, June 15, 2017

That V Word: Vouchers and the Milwaukee Educational Crisis


Three months ago, I read Matthew Desmond’s Evicted (https://www.amazon.com/Evicted-Poverty-Profit-American-City/dp/0553447459/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1497280091&sr=8-1&keywords=evicted) .  His study focuses on poverty amongst Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s African Americans and Caucasians.  For two weeks, each time that I turned on my shower, I thanked God for clean water, working plumbing, and the ability to bathe in a clean environment.  The book paints a dark picture of life for poor Milwaukee residents.  Desmond also delves into the racial tension amongst blacks and whites within the urban city.  Dr. Desmond spends a significant amount of time discussing the impact that poverty has made on the children whose parents struggle to pay rent. At times, they are forced to live with relatives and/or in shelters due to their parents’ evictions. 

One cannot help but wonder how their living conditions have impacted their education. It would have been interesting if Desmond had explored how the children struggled with poverty and education, especially since Milwaukee has the oldest school voucher program due to the significant number of African American children living in poverty.   In “Lessons On Race and Vouchers From Milwaukee,” Claudio Sanchez discusses the pros and cons associated with the usage of school vouchers (http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2017/05/16/523612949/lessons-on-race-and-vouchers-from-milwaukee) .  He states that during the 2016-2017 academic year, the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program “issued nearly 28,000 vouchers for low-income kids to attend dozens of private and religious schools at public expense.”  Some would think that since these vouchers were allowing children to have a private education, that their academic experiences would be a vast improvement over their Wisconsin public school one.  For many students, their educational experience worsened.  Consequently, this has led to a major divide between African American Milwaukee leaders.  Dr. Howard Fuller and Wendell J. Harris are prime examples of this schism.  Fuller, a Marquette University professor, is a proponent of vouchers whereas Harris, a “member of the NAACP’s education committee in Wisconsin,” was one of the plaintiffs who sued Wisconsin in 1990 in an effort to prevent the issuance of vouchers.  Fuller uses Brown v Board of Education to support his views regarding vouchers.  Per Fuller, the landmark Supreme Court decision did not lead to equal educational opportunities for America’s black youth.  Harris, however, views vouchers as a means for Caucasian churches to improve the physical conditions of their churches on the “backs” of African Americans.  He argues that the Catholic and Christian schools are exploiting black children in order to “save” their church.  In short, the vouchers were providing the churches with the money needed to make repairs and replenish their building fund.  All of this was being done under the  “guise” of Jesus’ commandment, “Let the children come to me.”  In short, some parents feel that their children being in a safe learning environment supersedes what they learn, and these sentiments are nothing more than educators exploiting black children.

Charter versus public schools.  Charter versus public schools.  Daily, I feel as if America is on a never-ending merry-go round when it comes to this topic.  I have to agree with Harris – America has been “demonizing” public school teachers and schools for the last 25-30 years.  Charter schools and vouchers have been deemed as the “cure” to the United States’ epidemic regarding ineffective school systems.  From my assessment, vouchers are serving as a cute, Hello Kitty/Marvel Comics Band Aid to a wound that needs surgery in order to properly heal.   Children, with learning disabilities, are leaving public schools and enrolling at schools that accept vouchers.  There, these schools are not required to retain them. 

The theory of “Well, my baby is at a Christian school all day, and is being taught about the goodness of the Lord” appalls me.  I love the Lord, and I am a product of a Catholic K-12 education; however, there has to be a balance.  My parents did not spend thousands of dollars for me to learn about Jesus.  They paid tuition in order for me to receive an education that would enable me to be accepted into a university.  Learning about Jesus should not take precedence over receiving knowledge about the three Rs. 

From my assessment, vouchers are another form of racism.  Rather than running to schools that accept vouchers, I need for minority parents to find an educational advocate and learn more about public versus charter/private education.  This is how parents can become empowered.  

Questions to consider:

1.     Parents, if the statistics are showing that vouchers are not improving your child’s educational experience, why is your child still attending that school?

2.     For low-income parents, what doors will these schools open for your children?  Oftentimes, the vouchers do not cover book fees, uniforms, etc.  . .
3.     Who actually benefits from vouchers – children or these churches?
4.     Dr. Fuller supports Betsy DeVos.  Parents, are you alarmed?  Please educate yourself regarding how DeVos treated black children who were educated in Michigan charter schools (particularly in Detroit).


Saturday, June 3, 2017

Write Your Own Damn Story, Cicely!: Writing My Story and Inserting the R (Race) into the Cyberbullying Narrative


Last summer, shortly after Showtime departed Arizona, I began to reach out to cyberbullying experts for assistance. I was on a “high” from filming my episode, and I actually wanted to begin writing scholarship about my experiences at Desert Vista High School and Ahwatukee. I contacted two leading cyberbullying scholars.  Oh, how they burst my pretty little bubble. I received an email stating how my story did not “fit” into their research.  When I received the email, I happened to be in my office.  Immediately, I glanced at the wall and saw my graduation date on my Ph.D. diploma.  December 2004.  I reviewed the professors’ CVs, and I noted their graduation date.  Both men could have been my students if I had received a tenure track position.  I politely informed them that my story did fit within their research, and provided examples; however, they weren’t having it.  I realized that these men simply did not feel comfortable inserting that “R” word in their research. 

That same day, I contacted a professor at a Research One Southern university.  He nearly made the 219 come out of me.  Since he is an Arizona native, I thought that maybe he would be a good person to communicate with.  I explained my situation, and I received a nasty response.  Before I knew it, I said, “Dr. ________ please allow me to explain the following to you.  I’ve had my Ph.D since 2004 from Purdue University. I have a masters degree from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  I am also published.  Please do realize that you are not speaking with a graduate student or someone who just received her doctorate two months ago. His entire disposition changed.  He politely informed me that he would assistance me IF I emailed him from my work email address.  Dr _______ wanted to ensure that I was not fabricating my story/place of employment.  I got off the phone and said, “The day that I email this man will be the day that hell freezes over. I wonder if he would have done this to a white woman.  I also question if he would have grilled a gay white woman in this manner, since he kept trying to imply that gay cyberbullying victims were more important than black women who are being trolled.”

I was irate, and later that evening, I called my mom.  She said, “Girl, how many times do I have to tell your ass that no one can tell your story better than YOU?  How is someone else going to explain to the world how kids told you to suck all sizes of dicks, hit you on the head, followed you in a car, and the list goes on.  Write your own damn story.”  I shook my head and hurried and said, “Mom, I’ve got to go.”  She responded, “Do what you do best.  Hang up the phone.”

Nine months later, I am writing my own narrative.  Since the debut of my episode of “Dark Net, “ the trolling and cyberbullying has been fierce.  Racist white women – that’s a beast in itself.  I’ve heard everything from “Dr. Cobb illegally sold her video footage to the news stations” to “I need for you to educate me how my tweets are racist.”  White women, it is NOT my responsibility to educate you about how you are a racist and benefit from white privilege. AZ residents, I would encourage you to take Dr. Bebout’s Whiteness course at Arizona State University. Since he is a white male, y’all may be more receptive to what he has to say.  White men have trolled me, and have followed me on YouTube calling me all kinds of bitches.  Hmm, I got your bitch.  This is the bitch that is turning your negativity into something positive. 

As I was preparing for this video, I came across Jenny Ann Hunt’s article, “I Was Cyberbullied for Being a Black Feminist” (http://www.xojane.com/issues/it-happened-to-me-i-was-cyberbullied-for-being-a-black-feminist).  In her article, Hunt discusses how one simple Instagram photo led to a troll taking the image and placing it onto Facebook where Hunt was trolled.  Ms. Hunt attempted to contact Facebook about the matter, but Facebook gave her that same tired response, “We reviewed the content, but it does not violate our policies.  .  . “

I can recite that statement verbatim.  When “Bobby” posted blackface and pickaninny photos last summer, Facebook told me the same thing. I cannot help but wonder if Facebook would have been more understanding if I was a blonde-haired blue eyed beauty. 

Society is sending a message that black women cannot be cyberbullied, and if we argue that we are, white women will then turn the table and say, “No, I am the victim, and I will not allow you, black woman, to act as if you are the bully.”  It’s amazing how white women will cyberbully black women and men, and when you call them out about it, you will get the “Why are you cyberbullying me?  Why are you stalking me?  OMG! I’m going to call the police on you.  Why are you saying that I am a racist?  I am a huge social activist, and I believe that all lives matter.”

Sigh.

Research needs to be conducted on how America is trolling black women, and since a substantial number of people are not willing to explore this, I guess that I must be the person that carries the torch and leads the way. Jenny Ann also discusses how self-hating black folks trolled her as well.  Girlfriend, I know all about those type, and trust me, I am going to explore that in full detail.  A substantial number of black women are trolled by white men, women, and these Golden Negroes who co-sign on what these racists are saying about us.  From my assessment, they are typically unattractive black women whose favorite toy, during their childhood, was probably a Barbie doll. During their adulthood, they have used their money to purchase wigs, silicone breasts, and live at the gym in order to have the perfect Barbie body.  Ms. Hunt, I know all about your disappointment regarding black folk allowing whites to cyberbullying you without saying a word.  Please know that you have an advocate with me.