Thumbnail credit: TED Conference via Flickr (license)
Brittney Cooper of Rutgers University is back in the news. In September, she was interviewed as part of an online conference put on by The Root, a website whose motto is “The blacker the content the sweeter the truth.”
It takes that motto seriously. The content is black, black, black, and more black.
The most widely quoted of Professor Cooper’s remarks was, speaking of whites, and I’m quoting her precisely here: “We gotta take those motherfuckers out.” But let’s be fair to the professor and put this in context. If I understand her correctly, she believes black and brown people were in America, having a fine time before white people showed up. [[ 2:24 – 2:52 – The world didn’t start . . . take everything from everybody.]] I’m not sure how black people had libraries without a written language, but she is a professor and I’m not. Alas, white people barged in determined to make a mess of things. [[ 0:00 – 0:04 White people . . . in the aggregate, right?]]
Fortunately, white people have low birthrates and are dying out, so we are just a temporary curse upon the planet. [[4:19 – 5:06 “but in the end . . . gargantuan historical tragedy.”]] Today’s black people had the great misfortune to be born in this tragic period of whiteness, but their descendants will live to see the affliction lifted. And so now we can fully understand Brittney’s thinking. [[1:48 – 2::01 The thing I want to say. . . our souls suffer from that.”]] You see? She’s not as bad as you thought. We deserve to be exterminated but she’s not urging that because it would hurt the gentle souls of black folks.
Brittney Cooper makes a good living complaining about white people. In 2014 she wrote an article for Salon called “Michael Dunn and open season on black teenagers: The onslaught of white murder.”
She wrote: “Black boys officially exist in a state of social death, because the law continues to tell us that their lives, when taken by white men, are legally indefensible. They have been rendered by the law dead men walking.”
The result, in case you were wondering, is that white people are “mowing down black folks at every turn.”
Back to the conference, though, where there was another Brittany: Brittany Cunningham.
She unbosomed the view that “If the stated goal of the criminal legal system in America is to increase profits for certain communities of people, to decrease autonomy for other communities of people, and keep folks that look like you and I under control, then, frankly, the criminal legal system is doing quite well.”
And so it went at the Root Institute Conference, where the content was very black and the truth very sweet.
Now, Brittney Cooper’s words did not go unremarked. The Daily Mail was incensed that “Rutgers University fails to condemn tenured professor.”
There were tweets like this one: “I am disgusted and embarrassed to be a Rutgers alumna if this is the type of person you have as faculty now.”
Weeks later, not a peep out of Rutgers.
I can’t help thinking about a little incident in March of this year at a different university. Adjunct Professors Sandra Sellers and David Batson of Georgetown Law School were having a Zoom talk that they didn’t know was recorded. [[0:09 – 0:34 “And you know what . . . drives me crazy.”]] Later in the conversation, David Batson wondered whether the problem might be their “own unconscious biases playing out.” A black student appears to have found and publicized the clip. The Black Law Students Association then issued a fierce letter demanding that the woman be fired and that the man be forced to apologize.
Along with the usual demands: more black professors, implicit bias training, etc.
The blacks needn’t have bothered. William Treanor, dean of the law school, said the conversation between the two whites was “abhorrent” and “reprehensible.”
So, they crawled on their bellies and smote the ground nine times with their foreheads, but they, too, needn’t have bothered. The dean fired the woman and forced the man to resign.
Doesn’t the dean look like a happy fellow? No one, of course, looked into whether what Sandra Sellers said was true. You’d think legal scholars might want to know the facts in the case, but you’d be wrong. Prof. Sellers was guilty of the exclusively white crime of noticing.
There was an almost identical flap in 2018 at Penn Law School. “After ‘disparaging’ comments on black students Amy Wax barred from teaching first-year course.”
What was Professor Wax’s crime? She had said: “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a black student graduate in the top quarter of the [Penn Law School] class and rarely, rarely in the top half.” Blacks roared, but Prof. Wax has tenure, so she wasn’t fired, but first-year students are now shielded from her malign influences.
But back to Brittney Cooper of Rutgers, who thinks us white motherfuckers ought to be taken out. The silence from Rutgers continues. Why? Maybe the administration agrees with her. Here are the top six “core faculty” of Brittney’s Department of Africana Studies. That’s Brittney at the lower left in what I guess is an old photograph.
Do you think any of these people are going to yell at her for saying we ought to be taken out? And here is the chair of the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, where Brittney also teaches.
One of Ethel Brooks’s specialties is Post-colonialism and Critical Race Theory. Oh, dear.
How about the Dean of Humanities, Rebecca Walkowitz?
Does she look like a tough customer to you? Let’s imagine that Dean Walkowitz didn’t like what Brittney said, but don’t forget whom she’s dealing with. Here is Brittney’s Instagram Account, where she calls herself Professor Crunk.
In one of her many blasts, she writes, “Nor will I ever apologize for being fat, loud, and confident.
I bet she rarely apologizes for anything.
I suspect that when this well-nourished lady walks into Dean Walkowitz’s office, Dean Walkowitz does what she’s told.
What about other officials? Here are the first eight of Rutgers’ assistant deans.
I imagine that when loud, fat Brittney rolls down the hall these girls scatter like tenpins. And the president of Rutgers? At least he’s a man.
But Jonathan Holloway is also proud to be Rutgers’ first-ever black president. Is he going to slap down Brittney?
White people love to call each other “racist.”
Nothing makes them feel more virtuous. But black people attacking other black people for racism? Does it ever happen?
But just to wrap up, I want to get back to the Root Institute Conference where Brittney was part of what appears to have been an all-black cast.
With one exception. There was one white man who spoke. Just listen to this goof:
Joey, you’re a real credit to your race.