The Art of Cleaning House: President Boren vs. #Ferguson

It would appear that "scathing" is the mot du jour.
University of Oklahoma President David Boren has been at the center of one of the week's major stories: a viral video showing multiple members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at the university singing a racist chant. Boren issued a scathing condemnation of the video Monday as he closed the fraternity and sent its members to find other living accommodations. On Tuesday, Boren expelled two of the students that the school says led the chant.

In a Monday news conference, Boren told reporters that he hoped his school's handling of the video would "be an example to the entire country of how to deal with this issue. There must be zero tolerance for racism everywhere in our nation.”

A day before he decided to expel two of the students involved, University of Oklahoma president David Boren offered a scathing condemnation of fraternity members who had participated in a racist chant. But in explaining Monday what he hoped the university would learn from the Sigma Alpha Epsilon episode, Boren referred to his previous career, as a U.S. senator. “I remember when I voted for the Martin Luther King holiday,” he said. “I received about 100,000 letters not approving.”

Boren added that the fallout over the racist SAE video that went viral and the much earlier controversy over the 1983 vote to make Martin Luther King Day a federal holiday are moments that “make us aware that there are still tinges of racism” in America.

...The reference came as Boren tried to explain his strong reaction to the incident in which SAE members were filmed making the racist chant. “The whole society has to change, and we’ve continued to change, and that’s the reason why I was so — I guess I’m too old to be shocked — but, taken aback when this happened,” Boren said in response to a question about past racial tension on campus.
While I don't know much about President David Boren of the University of Oklahoma, and I'm not here to brand him as some sort of saint, I do commend his swift action against the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.

Like many of you, I was expecting the usual bullshit about how "we're not all like that" and "we're so disappointed" and "we've spent many hours in prayer", and some vomit-inducing display of WMT while absolutely nothing got done.  Instead, President Boren promptly delivered a fiery "fuck you" to the SAE, stating that in no uncertain terms he was disgusted with them and that they had until midnight the next day to get the fuck off his campus.  It was an ultimatum heard 'round the world.  And y'all...that never happens.

Except it did, in Oklahoma of all places, and at a University of 30,000 students of which only 5% are black.
John Shaw, the city manager of Ferguson, Missouri, who oversaw city agencies that the Department of Justice accused of systematically discriminating against African-American residents, has resigned.

Shaw's resignation was announced at a meeting of the Ferguson City Council Tuesday evening. The council voted 7-0 to approve a mutual separation agreement , according to a statement distributed at the meeting.

A scathing Justice Department report last week accused Ferguson of using local police and courts to generate revenue instead of safeguarding citizens, a practice the investigators said fell heaviest on African-Americans. The department probe began after unrest in the wake of a Ferguson police officer's killing of unarmed Michael Brown, 18, in August.

The report details numerous instances in which Shaw seemed thrilled that revenue from court fees and fines was rising. When Shaw was told that gross revenue for 2012 had exceeded $2 million for the first time, the report said he responded by saying, "Awesome! Thanks!"

...The room was packed to capacity for Tuesday's meeting, and the crowd was equally divided between those who were in support of the city's leadership and those who wanted to clean house. At one point, Ferguson Mayor James Knowles had to use his gavel to calm a rowdy room after a woman led her public comment by saying, "First of all, I'd like to say most of you in this room owe Darren Wilson an apology."

"The honorable Mayor James Knowles III, resign from the position of mayor ... we cannot describe how disgusted we are with you," one resident read aloud during the public speaking portion of the meeting. Her request was followed by a large round of applause from the audience.

...Shaw is the fifth person named in the Justice Department report to lose his job.
And here's hoping there will be many more.

Starting with Boren, let me reiterate what I mean about the need to defang white opinion.  Already people are saying expulsion and exile won't stop these frat boys from becoming congressmen or hiring managers, because their opinions about brown people still have teeth.  I applaud Boren because he did what he could with what power he has; he might not be able to go back in time or control how other people raise their kids (or don't...whatever), but Boren sure as hell can get them off his campus in 24 hours or less and he did so promptly.

Ferguson, on the other hand...that's going to take time.  I recommend the residents launch a class action suit against the city to get their millions back, I think everyone currently in charge there needs to step down - starting with the mayor - and no more shooting of the cops, please.  That helps absolutely no one.
Knowles, who claimed early in the protests that Ferguson has no racial divide, has had a bumpy ride and remains under fierce scrutiny. He said his supporters have told him that there's a possible mayoral recall effort underway.

In the days since the resignation of the top officials — as well as a few lower level Ferguson cops and bureaucrats — protesters and some community leaders have turned the attention to Knowles, saying that he must resign, and that the city should disband their police department and build it anew to help the city heal. He said he has been told by supporters that they have been approached to gather signatures to begin a mayoral recall.

On Wednesday, two police officers were wounded outside the Ferguson Police Department at the end of a protest following the announcement that Police Chief Tom Jackson was stepping down. No suspects have been identified.

"Dismantling the police department would be the ultimate thing to do — outside of the mayor leaving," said state Rep. Courtney Curtis, a Democratic lawmaker whose district includes Ferguson. "I don't think we have time. I don't think the patience is there. The damage has been done and the damage is being done each day they drag their feet."

But Knowles questioned what good his resigning would do.

"I realize everybody is out there singing for ceremonial heads to be rolling," said Knowles, who indicated many Ferguson residents have pleaded with him to stay in the job. "So you're going to put another council member in my place?"
Uh...yeah, dude.  Hence the call for your head resignation.  You talk about healing wounds and shit (you know, "dialogue") when really, the first step towards healing in Ferguson is to see every shithead who got them into this mess removed from power...including you.


  1. I'm cautiously proud of President Bowen. I really wasn't expecting that. Wow..when he meant swift..he meant swift and it was surprising..perhaps because of what has been going on with police brutality against minorities..I don't know,but anything helps..especially to let folks know that people are getting tired of their racist mess.

    I think about that song EMF had called "Unbelievable". This is how I feel about James Knowles and their bandits( Yep..bandits, rogues, criminals, deviants..any adjective to describe their behavior). At least if you're going to pretend that there isn't no racism in your town, make use there isn't no video tape of people being beaten/harrassed by law enforcement or to make sure that there are people who are willing to give you the thumbs up telling you that " we're all good" ( Of course his racist supporter will always do it).

    Over several years ago, I would read from a White guy who was a native of St. Louis and living in the community that he once lived in ( He was raised in a Black community all of his life, then he moved to D.C.,but he may have moved back to his hometown). He would tell people how bad his hometown was..not so much because of crime,but because of the rampant corruption that was taking place there.. saying how Black people was constantly harrassed/brutalized by the police. Ironically , even with him being a White Muslim, he wasn't properly treated because he was a Muslim.
    When he talked about his hometown, I just thought that most police departments these days are corrupt, but when I look at Ferguson, I'm like this is crazy..making you say " just when you thought your police department was bad..."

    I agree, with the years of racial corruption that has taken place with the Ferguson PD, this will not be a quick fix. Just as gradual as the bandits( Yep..rogues,thug-lives..whatever you want to call them) took over their law enforcement( from what it is said, Ferguson became that was over 20 plus years ago) and brought it down, it will also possibly take those many years to improve..if it can. As arrogant as a remark as that was made from Mayor Knowles about his departure, he does have a point. Sure, he can leave and enjoy himself,but there are a lot of those racist losers who may remain on that force and you can never tell others who may share in their racist beliefs. I wasn't that long ago when some police force in another Missouri was disbanded for the same very things that Ferguson is now dealing with. (Ironically Darren Wilson left that very force for Ferguson).

    We're talking about a culture of racially corrupt individuals who make other police forces in the nation looks like they never had police brutality in their lives. The Ferguson PD aren't bad..they're TERRIBLE with a capital T in it.Something is terribly wrong with them if the DOJ is threatening to disband their police force(Which they need). There is serious problem with them..from their courts to their police department is stained with racist evil.

    Some people criticize the Black people in Ferguson for not voting/running for perspective offices. To them , it may seem like them being indifferent about voting. It may be the case,but not in the way the nation may perceive it. I don't see their situation as a matter of apathy, but maybe cheating. I just cannot see Democratic community..and a mostly Black one where the percentage of Blacks voting GOP is 5%, putting in a Republican mayor, he was the only person was running for that seat or maybe they couldn't put their faith in none of their local politicians because both parties have continuously hurt this community. You really get tired of going through that. One doesn't have to be a good mathematician to know that this isn't right.

    1. I'm cautiously proud of President Bowen.

      As I am. I know little about the man, and I like to make it clarify that I admire how he handled this particular incident. No delays, no bullshit, and most importantly, no fear.

      So now he's come under fire and his former political opponent (and defender of Timothy McVeigh) is the hired attorney representing SAE as they attempt the sue the school. For what? If this was a predominantly black fraternity singing about how there will never been any crackers in their fraternity, they would have been shut down promptly as well. The entire fraternity - not just two members - would have been expelled, and a host of other charges would've been slapped against them to deliberately fuck up their futures. No one would be arguing for their 1st Amendment rights, and no one would view them as the victims.

      These white boys however...totally different story. Their antics cost the university a high profile football player, and some reporters are theorizing this incident will impact recruitment efforts. Yet these kids could care less; OU was mean to them and they want payback. Forget that their behavior has dragged a bunch of people into the spotlight who were minding their own business. Forget what future revenue they may have cost the school. This is about the fact they got caught doing something wrong and just don't want to be punished. Consequences are supposed to happen to Other people, browner people, poorer people - not them.

      So I think people need to rally behind Boren on this specific issue and make sure and he and university remain firm.

  2. If you would ask whites from the 1900’s to 1965 (a time when black codes were in full effect and blacks were being lynched for sport) what they thought of race relations in this country, many whites would tell you, there is no race problem in this country. “We get along fine with ‘Our’ Negroes,” would be the standard talking point. But consider this: Because of terrorism/racial intimidation, people of color were obliged to assume a submissive- deferential role in society. So no, there would be no race problem (as long as blacks stayed in their place). But now that people of color have elevated their political/cultural and socio-economic profile (some believe at the expense of white privilege) certain elements are seeing their role as ‘The Racially Dominate Class’ wane. Consequently, because of this loss of centrality, only ‘Now’ is there a race problem.

    Knowles, who claimed early in the protests that Ferguson has no racial divide, has had a bumpy ride and remains under fierce scrutiny. He said his supporters have told him that there's a possible mayoral recall effort underway.

    Just to be clear: Some whites are more likely to believe in the existence of alien beings from outer space before they’ll concede to the reality that is racism. That's why we have more collective experiences with whites than whites do with us. It’s the reason our racial perceptions are more honed (much like a sentinel species) we see it, taste it, smell it and recognize it before most whites ever get a whiff. In fact, racism is kind of like bad breath, because the last person to know they have it is usually the person doing the talking.

    According to the report residents are seen ‘less as constituents to be protected than as potential offenders and sources of revenue,’

    White officers have become so habituated to the opiate of White-Equals-Good, you’d be hard-pressed to convince them otherwise. Charged with the task of keeping white neighborhoods safe from ‘The Other’ they bear the additional burden of keeping inner-city neighborhoods In Line. So for them, profiting from those animals is a no brainer.

    Watch this open-carry activist taunt cops outside a school:

    Notice, they stood back and let him have his say. They allowed him to berate them without consequence. They refrained from arresting him- neither did they lay hands on him for being uncooperative/dangerous: A whole list of reasons that could have been cited for killing a black man/child. This man’s skin color acts as a shield of protection that says among other things, “Above all else, Do no harm.”

    1. If you would ask whites from the 1900’s to 1965 (a time when black codes were in full effect and blacks were being lynched for sport) what they thought of race relations in this country, many whites would tell you, there is no race problem in this country.

      You know, I'm glad you brought this up because this explains Knowles perfectly. In his mind, a segregated city where black people's rights are violated on a daily basis has no racial divide or nor racial problem of any kind. It's simply the natural order of things. Disturbing that order in the attempt to bring about equality and social stability is the problem.

    2. ...It's simply the natural order of things. Disturbing that order in the attempt to bring about equality and social stability is the problem.

      History has a way of repeating itself. Case in Point: Meet Sheriff H. Clarence Strider

      “We never have any trouble until some of our Southern niggers go up North and the NAACP talks to 'em and they come back home. If they would keep their nose and mouths out of our business we would be able to do more when enforcing the laws of Tallahatchie County and Mississippi.”

      As if to say, if it weren’t for these trouble makers threatening the status quo in Ferguson (demanding rights of any kind), we’d have no race problem. Of course this quote could apply to any municipality where white police officers patrol neighborhoods they aren’t personally vested in. A preemptive strategy based solely on "fighting them there so we don't have to fight them here" mentality, culminating in the very same fears expressed for Islam. But played out in a covert race war where an increasingly militarized police force mans the front line.

  3. Came across this term a day ago: White Fragility: “…which she defined in a 2011 journal article as “a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include outward display of emotions such as anger, fear and guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence and leaving the stress-inducing situation.”

    Again the author writes:
    I do atypical work for a white person, which is that I lead primarily white audiences in discussions on race every day, in workshops all over the country. That has allowed me to observe very predictable patterns. And one of those patterns is this inability to tolerate any kind of challenge to our racial reality. We shut down or lash out or in whatever way possible block any reflection from taking place.

    One of those defensive moves worth mentioning is, Deflection: deflection turns the argument about racism on its head whereby the oppressor implies, the mere act of calling out 'alleged' white racism is racist/egregious on its face. Hence, (sir or madam) your Reverse Racism trumps any meaningful dialogue we might have had on the subject, as every race is guilty of racism (followed by an itemized list of self-help articles designed to purge you of 'Your own' racist views). This tactic shifts the historical burden of race relations- to people of color, forging a more attractive narrative where the good whites of Ferguson have been oppressed by overzealous blacks and their divisive- unsubstantiated claims. Still many express shock to learn that such a dichotomy existed in their fair city. As many of us already know, Privilege distances/protects the oppressor from the effects/realities of racism.

    An excerpt from: Why Whites Call People Of Colour “Racist”
    The second reason why Whites call people of colour “racist” is quite different. I’ve been in several graduate-level psychology classes where White students stated that being called “racist” is the absolute worse thing that could happen to them. I always wondered why saying or doing a racist thing didn’t scare them more than being called “racist.” What I realized is that some Whites will call a person of colour who called out their racism “racist” in an “I know you are but what am I” reductionist retreat. The defense mechanisms of projection and denial are to protect their egos. If there’s nothing they fear more than being called “racist,” then the best thing to do is to get that label “away” from them as soon as possible. By deciding that a person of colour rejecting racism is the “real” “racist” act, not the racist act that they or another White person was called out on, they can deflect and derail.

    Hence, whites fear being acknowledged by the R-Word more than anything else. It doesn’t seem to matter how many crosses they burn, or how many racially-themed Halloween parties they have, or how many emails they send likening the President to a monkey no: the mere suggestion that one could be pigeonholed as Bigoted is deemed far more harmful than the poisonous action perpetrated against the victim. “It’s not who we are,” they’ll claim. The reputation of the oppressor is at stake here, (as it threatens an idealized- public persona whites project for themselves). Such an appellation comes with the potential of Negating their Humanity, along with every positive attribute, so it’s best to avoid the epithet at all cost. Likewise, family- friends of said racist, maybe even the entire community becomes (God forbid), ‘Guilty by association’.

    1. I said this before the fellas on "Key & Peele" said it: Racist is the N-word for White people.

  4. Yep..Im cautious about him. Im hoping that what Prez Bowen did this from his heart and not to meet any quotas or to look good. O dont want him to be one of those people to renege on what he says.

    Yeah...those of SAE egos are shattered and its killing them so their "honor"has to be defended..spoiled little racist boys.

    1. "Yep..Im cautious about him. Im hoping that what Prez Bowen did this from his heart and not to meet any quotas or to look good. O dont want him to be one of those people to renege on what he says."

      I will admit that when he acted swiftly, I thought "Wow! That was the quickest I've seen someone act towards something like this." But I did wonder what was the ulterior motive behind it. I am waiting for someone to uncover some dirt on President Bowen to show that he is not as fair as he seems. I am not saying that he did not do this from the heart - he may have done it for that reason - but too many people have played both sides of the fence.

  5. OU President David Boren’s strong statement on the issue was encouraging, but his claim that OU has a “zero tolerance policy” for racism gave me pause. As Michael J. Dumas, a professor of education and African-American studies at the University of California at Berkeley, has rightly argued, no institution of higher education in the country has a zero-tolerance policy for racism. Racial bias — much of it unconscious — is so ingrained in American society that any institution that actually enforced zero tolerance would have to expel half its freshman class before winter break. What Boren actually means is that OU has zero tolerance for overtly racist actions that are caught on camera, are posted to YouTube and embarrass the institution in the national news. (Source)


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