Sunday, October 2, 2016

Annie Has Her First Run-In With the Black Lives Matter Movement.

Two students wanted to meet with me on Friday. They were dodgy about what they wanted to discuss, but I said I'd give them half an hour. The two students show up early and basically just come in. I'm bunking with the guy I've hired til they can get a cubicle so out of deference to his work, I ask the students to join me in a nearby common area.

They jump right into it.

"We're with black lives matter and we saw that as of X date you were hiring for these two positions, yes?" They whip out a screen shot of the school jobs board and put it on the table. The two Junior Fellowships are highlighted.

"Uhm. Yes. One of the-"

Completely cuts me off.

"And you filled one of the positions, yes?"

It's like an interrogation over facts that are harmless and nobody disputes.

"As i was [i]about[/i] to say, yes." I try to show that I'm annoyed. Either they don't notice or don't care.

"And we see that you gave the position to a white male."

I control my physical reaction. Deep breath.

"Yes, it so happens that that's the way it worked out."

"We'd like you to hire a female POC for the other position as part of the university's goal to [goes off about promoting POCs and black lives]."

I blink. "I think I'm a bit too pretty for prison so I don't think I'll be using a quota for filling the position as that is quite illegal. And also even if I wanted to I couldn't."

They don't understand. I take another deep breath. "For non-teaching positions, which is what this is, the contract between the union and the school stipulates that I can only consider: Their CV and assorted research that they've published, written references, objective tests I ask them to take, and questions that I ask them to answer. For both of the last two it has to go through Human Resources. I will never seem, know their race, or even know their name. I get the resumes in a standardized format with all personal information removed. I could google their research to find their name, but that is prohibited."

Keep in mind I couldn't just say this. I had to overpower attempted interruptions multiple times.

One of them shouts "That's bullshit!" I frostily reply that it is not.

"The union fought really hard to put this policy in place. Do you know why? It combats nepotism, cronyism and, yes, it combats racism."

The male one stands and shouts, again "It [i]perpetuates[/i] racism!" He's getting right in my face. I can smell his breath. I'll admit to being a bit scared, but I didn't sense any immediate physical harm so I remained seated. The girl sort of reaches out to him to tell him to sit and he does. For a half second I contemplated calling security. But that would only turn it into a "thing". I determine that I need to end this now before it got out of hand and someone [i]else[/i] calls security.

"I have a lot of work to do. If you wish to continue this discussion, you should speak with Human Resources." I get up and fast walk away after a weak good-bye.

I honestly didn't believe stuff like this happened til it happened to me. I find out last night that the students recorded the conversation without my consent and then posted it online without my consent. Along with a diatribe about what an awful monster of a racist I am with charming phrases such as "her fucking white tears" (even though I absolutely shed zero tears), "white bitch", and "dumb white women". Both of these things (recording and posting w/o consent) are illegal in my state. Dean (who was the one who showed me) is going through the "channels" of discipline. He's pissed for me, not at me, fortunately but has said that this is a learning experience about meeting with students alone. Fiance wants to take vacation time to come to work with me in case they show up again. I have been with him nearly six years and have never seen him this angry. What the fuck? WHAT THE FUCK?!

I just... nothing goes right. The first fucking time I get a break this shit happens IMMEDIATELY. This could ruin my career if it blows up, and I bet that's exactly what the students want to happen. They WANT it to blow up. I want to cry and laugh at the same time. It's such fucking bullshit. I couldn't afford to MOVE OUT until, like, a month ago. And they think they're slaying Goliath. Fuck my fucking life. FUCK these selfish fucking students. Fuck society. /rant

73 comments:

  1. Ouch. Deepest sympathies. I guess we can all learn from this. To be honest you were cornered and it became a no-win situation. At least you are being supported by the dean.

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    1. You should not be concerned with the consequences that this racist gets for her bullshit against PoC.

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  2. This really sucks. But I have a hard time believing, given what you wrote, that you said anything that casts you in a bad light. If anything, the students seem to be setting themselves up for an epic failure and major life lesson. I am sorry that it had to be at your expense, though.

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  3. "...the students seem to be setting themselves up for an epic failure..."

    Such is the nature of the conversation on just about ANYTHING sensitive these days.

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  4. Getting some emailed requests to take the post down because it "celebrates the systemic racism of the academy," and because two writers do not want "to be lumped in with someone so tone-deaf" and "clearly, blindly, racist."

    I'm reporting this info for folks to consider. This is more mail than I've got on anything in many months and have replied to any of them that come from legit email addresses for them to voice their concerns in the comments. But several of them are community members who "don't necessarily want to pop my head up on this one."

    The emails from outside people have been mostly sent through anonymous proxy email accounts, but I do have one from 2 young women from a BLM group in Florida who asked I not identify their school. They are both ed majors and say they "fear they're joining a cohort of well-inentioned but bigoted white faculty members whose liberal social reality does not extend to living, human, suffering beings."

    I asked them to feel free to write a longer post if they wanted me to publish it tomorrow, but I have not heard back.

    Fab
    Website moderator

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    1. It's tricky, because we're only hearing (and can only hear, for a variety of reasons) one side of the story, from someone who is, understandably, feeling blindsided and vulnerable.

      I'd be delighted to hear more from your BLM correspondents. Presumably they can't speak directly to the situation at hand (if they can, or think they can, that's a different level of trouble), but they can certainly contribute their own experiences to the mix, which is what this place is all about. While we don't, for the most part, know each others' races/ethnicities, I suspect that this place is pretty white. As far as I'm concerned, the more voices, the better -- and, although there's more than a bit of danger, given the sensitivity of the subject, of the exchange getting conflictual, it also sometimes works out that we're able to say things to each other, and ask things of each other, pseudonymously that we might have trouble saying/asking in person.

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    2. I'm more hurt by the fellow Miserians who think that I'm clearly, blindly racist. But I'd like to hear from them and from the BLM folks (because for obvious reasons I don't want to interact with the BLM chapter on my campus) What should I have said differently? How should I have behaved?

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    3. That being said, if this needs to be taken down, by all means take it down.

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    4. Don't take it down. I don't see anything racist about it. It looks to me like Annie ran into a couple of students with good goals but zero clue how to achieve them.

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    5. I agree, this post definitely shouldn't be taken down (unless Annie requests it at some point in the future). It's an interesting and important conversation.

      And "clearly, blindly racist"? Um, no, the racism isn't at all clear to me, nor, I suspect, to the majority of readers. (It may be there, but if you're going to argue it's there, you need to explain your case, and not hide behind a shield of "But this should be OBVIOUS to all right-thinking people!")

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    6. You said to them, "I'm too pretty for prison"?

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    7. Nick: That's a thing I picked up from my mother from when I was a kid. "Don't you run into that street, I'm too pretty for prison."

      I don't know, I just thought it was something everyone said when I was young and by the time I realized it wasn't I was already saying it. I'm pretty sure I say it in another post here.

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    8. I also agree that this post should not be taken down.

      I know in a later post you stated that you are not taking legal action, but maybe you should reconsider. The activists should be held accountable for breaking the law.

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    9. If I take legal action that will just make it a thing. And I currently have no damages.

      If I lose my job over the recording being posted? Yes, absolutely, will take them to court and extract as much of my salary as I can from their parents.

      But it's not headed in that direction. The recording has been taken down voluntarily, the students involved have been disciplined in a way that I believe is fair given that nobody was actually hurt or damaged in any way.

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    10. That place may be "pretty white," but are you saying that all those white people have had similar upbringings? This is why I can't stand academia--it's all about race and gender, with the occasional hat-doffing to class and sexuality. Never mind experience, disability, attractiveness, regional affiliation, and so forth.

      I would not be delighted to hear what any of these bullies have to say. Why on earth would I?

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  5. Oh, dear. I, too, am sorry. For whatever it's worth, my impression is the same as Ed's, and Prof D.'s: it doesn't sound like you said anything that will seriously hurt you in the long run, and the dean's support is a good sign (both of how you come off in the recording, and of generally sound institutional policies and practices).

    I think the key thing is not to overreact, and to discourage others from overreacting on your behalf, which is admittedly harder, and less in your control. But since the Dean is in your corner -- and you have the option of calling him, or security, if necessary --it's definitely best for your fiance not to get involved. And it's probably best for you to say as little as possible, perhaps citing the investigation in process (and using your recent hire as a witness if anybody else you don't already know shows up in your office).

    Another aspect of not overreacting is trying not to take the whole thing personally (even though it affects you personally). It sounds like the students came in with an agenda/script in mind, and you just happened to get roped into playing the part of the representative of institutionalized racism (even as you were trying to explain procedures designed to combat institutionalized, including unconscious, racism -- yes, there's some irony there). The students have laudable goals, but they sound naive, and their tactics are clumsy and ineffective at best. In short, they sound very young, and the more you can be the adult in the situation (or, even better, let the dean play that role), the better. This, too, shall pass (and hopefully we'll all find better ways to talk to each other about these issues).

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    1. The students do NOT have laudable goals. There was nothing at all benevolent about their purpose. They wanted to get someone hired solely on the basis of skin color, not on merit. And they sought to stigmatize someone who does not agree with their worldview.

      That is the problem of social justice warrior groups, including Black Lives Matter. They are so assured of their moral superiority that they think that reprehensible, even criminal actions are appropriate.

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    2. Wait--she didn't say anything that will "seriously hurt" her? Of course she didn't! This is nuts. Nothing she did should affect her career at all.

      These students were looking to bully. This is how it was in Soviet Russia in the 1920s and 1930s--self-righteous bullies.

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    3. Um, you are too obstinate and thick-skulled to learn, so how could you possibly teach anything.
      You overrate your importance; I owe you no explanation or any 'counter-arguments.' You don't have one, and you are fooling yourself if you think I don't have better things to do than spar with you. You could learned something by getting off of the computer rather than spouting this shit.

      I am not going to bring this up again.

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    4. What is the problem with this anonymous "person" who replied at 6:29PM? The students were extremely racist, sexist, and abusive enough to verbally assault somebody. They obviously had no goal in mind but to terrorize white people in whatever way possible, and if it was a young white woman then so be it. Racism goes both ways and you better learn that quickly or else these monsters will eat you alive someday soon.

      By even pretending for a second that they had anything in their evil little hearts other than extreme hatred based on skin color you are enabling more of this abusive behavior. They should be expelled from school without question as should any student that yells in the face of any faculty member even once. If Annie was black and those two students were white then the Dean would have them permanently removed from campus that afternoon and possibly sleeping in a jail cell that evening.

      The only thing that happens when you let this type of thing go unpunished is it emboldens the perpetrators and causes onlookers to hate Black Lives Matter, and, by necessary extension, black people more at each passive handwaving. If you want everybody to hate black people then don't do anything to punish these students and sit back while they continue to verbally assault campus staff as the real world looks on at your college in horror, disbelief, and, ultimately, judgement.

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    5. Think I said this before, but to be clear the students were not black. I'm very much for open debate so I'd be leery of kicking them out for what amounts to being misguidedly passionate about an issue:

      -Nobody was hurt.

      -Nobody was in any danger at any time.

      -When the illegality of recording/posting without permission was explained to them they did apologize and take the recording down and destroy it.

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    6. - Invalidating the experience of a PoC is literally an act of violence.
      - Standing up to white people IS NEVER RACIST (seriously i should not have to say this)
      - PoC never have to appologize for racist antagonism they recieve
      - Annie was an instrument of racism, and is therefore super racist, and nobody has to say sorry for anything done to her
      - GET OVER IT

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  6. Annie, I'm so sorry--and also wondering what your dean meant when he said that "that this is a learning experience about meeting with students alone." What are you supposed to have learned? Are we now not supposed to meet with students alone?

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    1. He thinks it should be avoided for any purpose other than office hours. To be completely clear: His policy in that regard applies to everyone. Not just students. He absolutely, positively will not meet with someone one on one in private. He either has someone else join, does it in a public place, or just doesn't do it. It can take some people a while to pick up on because he's gotten very... diplomatic about it.

      He'll say "Hey, let's just go chat outside. It's stuffy in here." or something like that.

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    2. My suspicion is that he had a VERY bad experience with an accusation of his behavior in a one on one meeting and now wants to ensure that there's no possibility of that ever happening to him again. He doesn't require us to do that as well, but he preaches about it every chance he gets.

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    3. Your hypothesis strikes me as plausible, though his reaction still strikes me as a bit extreme. But he may also know your student body, and the tactics some students adopt under pressure, all too well. Although I find it a bit sad, it's probably a good policy to adopt for the moment.

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  7. FWIW, I have a little recording program on my PC desktop and I click it every-time I meet a student I do not know well (or know and don't trust). In my state that's legal. I have never had to use them for my own protection, and it may go against my school's rules, but I'd rather be in trouble for recording a conversation than try to defend myself against an allegation without proof.

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  8. Annie asked to see some of the comments privately and I've sent her a sampling. I've made sure the text is free of any personal info that would identify anyone who did not want to be identified.

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  9. The students are blaming you for hiring procedures that are outside your control. If they have a problem with color-blind hiring (and my understanding is that some people critique that as privileging traditionally advantaged groups), they do need to take it up with HR and the union, since you don't make the rules. It is unfortunate that these students have chosen to see you as the face of unfeeling bureaucracy and as inadequately sympathetic to the students' concerns, rather than as simply powerless. And far from "celebrating" anything, this post is mourning an interaction that threatens to result in multiple negative consequences.

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    1. Uhm... they weren't black. I didn't mention their race.

      Why did you assume they were black?

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    2. I don't believe you.

      Nick

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    3. Like others, I also made an assumption: however, it was that these students were unlikely to be black.

      Not all student advocates for BLM are black.

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    4. Terry, I cannot believe you actually typed that shit.

      Have you ever had some deranged students screaming at you ... for any reason? I have had students... WHITE STUDENTS, since that matters to you ... literally get in my face and scream at me. It's scary. You can feel their breath. And you can see the deranged sparkle of zealotry in their eyes. And when it's clear they are delusional about how institutions work (like the hiring procedures at Annie's joint... which are not at all strange!), it sends a fear response right along your spine.

      So, unless you want to share some of your many frightful encounters with students screaming at you about common, everyday procedures that they simply don't like, then please continue with your ignorant opinions unabated.

      Until then, you're just another gumdrop unicorn who should have nothing to do with this blog.

      Oh, and I hope these 2 miscreants are sued and censured for their illegal activities. They did a huge disservice to the BLM movement.

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  11. I once had a student get into my personal space and shake a finger mere millimeters from my nose while yelling "THAT'S A LIE!". The student's race didn't enter into how upset I was about the whole incident. And she was about 4 foot 10, we were both standing, so it was far less physically intimidating than a situation where she would rise out of her seat and lean into me while I remained seated, which is what Annie's account would suggest, and yet I was still greatly taken aback and unnerved by it all.
    So, if you picture an angry guy leaning down into a woman's personal space while she's seated and yelling into her face, you honestly think there's a circumstance here where the woman is being unreasonable by becoming upset about the incident? Good lord.

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  12. I apologize to Annie and retract my earlier comment.

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    1. Nick: That's a thing I picked up from my mother from when I was a kid. "Don't you run into that street, I'm too pretty for prison."

      I don't know, I just thought it was something everyone said when I was young and by the time I realized it wasn't I was already saying it. I'm pretty sure I say it in another post here.

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    2. Terry:

      Please don't apologize. I'm a big fan of discourse. There's nothing I've encountered that is so dangerous it can't be talked about. I'm sorry you felt the need to delete it: I want you to know I felt no different about you because of it.

      I'm honestly hoping to hear back from the BLM people who emailed the RGM about what I could have done better. I've long considered myself a supporter of BLM and their goals and that has't changed.

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  13. As much as you might enjoy prosecuting these students - werethey students or from off-campus? - you are better off letting the school handle it internally. Getting the police involved will get the media involved, especially if the local BLM movement thinks that you are overreacting. Not only does that make more hassles for you, it also creates blog posts, press releases, news stories, twitter comments, etc with your name in them. They won't all be flattering or even true. Everything will appear in online search reaults. You have your reputation to protect. Anybobdy thinking about hiring you will do a google search and may conclude, "Geez, who whants that drama?" and not hire you. (Not everybody shares your school's strong hiring practices.)

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    1. Oh yeah, I've decided that I'm 110% not going to take legal action.

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  14. I am sorry. For everybody there, and here.

    I recall a situation similar to Annie's. The topic was different to Annie's, nevertheless, I well remember the visceral response, which colleagues tell me is real and has something to do with adrenaline. I also recall being wholly unable to think as clearly as I needed: intermingled with my fight-or-flight reponse was righteous indignation at being (to my mind at the time) unjustly accused (why do I reflexively want to disagree with anyone who's yelling at me?); empathy for their frustration at the injustice that was the subject of their ire and their powerlessness against a faceless bureaucracy; frustration at my own powerlessness within said bureaucracy; and utter disappointment at the way that humans too often treat each other, which had ultimately set up the chain of events that brought these students to me. My blood pressure must have been through the roof. I couldn't discuss anything rationally if I wanted to. It took the better part of the day for the loud buzzing in my head to subside, followed by a bad night's sleep before I could begin to untangle the rat's nest of emotions.

    A few days later, I met with the students again. I had a colleague---more level-headed and knowledgable about the topic than I---sit in on the meeting. We all learned a lot.

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  15. Hi Annie. I've been thinking about this since you posted it. As someone also involved in hiring, I sympathize with the dilemma of the blind application and the pressure (strong from all sides) to hire more diverse candidates. In my case we do get names, but they only tell you so much and can be (and have been) misleading.

    I recently had a conversation with someone who had a perspective similar to the two folks who confronted you, only this person did not begin with an attack. Ah, that makes such a difference, when we don't attack each other and when instead we begin with the assumption that everyone is trying their best and has positive intentions. Even if it is not always true, it is ALWAYS a good assumption with which to begin a discussion.

    Anyway, I'd honestly love it if we could find a way to make it easier for search committees and others involved in hiring to give diverse candidates a better chance. I'm white, and I understand about hiring the most qualified applicant no matter what. I've listened to search committee members get mad after we get the affirmative action talk and claim that to do otherwise (ie, hire a candidate on any basis other than their qualifications) would be unfair to white applicants who may be chosen and may be the best candidates. But still----in my field we see sooooo many applicants. When we carefully narrow down the pool to only highly qualified applicants and we still have 30 people to narrow down more, I'd honestly like to know who the diverse candidates are because damn straight I'd consider them first. And I'm not allowed to know. It's against the law for me to know.

    What I think could have helped you in this situation would have been if instead of going on the defensive right away (a very difficult thing to avoid when you are being attacked, I do realize) you had admitted, right up front, that there is a problem somewhere. Because in spite of best efforts, opportunities DO go to white folks more often. And there IS a long history of exclusion of minorities in higher ed that cannot be mitigated by a (relatively) short history of policies trying to move things the other way. And everyone has biases they don't even realize. So, when I am looking at an application, even though I think I'm not being biased, of course I am in ways that are an intrinsic part of the way I think. It's inevitable. We all do it. I don't know the cultural background of the person whose application I am looking at, but that doesn't mean the inherent, built in bias I know I have doesn't come into play in the way certain details appeal to me, and others don't (for example).

    If you had started by acknowledging that there is a problem, maybe then you could have shared the process with them, and asked them to think of ways it could be improved to be made more inclusive. You could have told them about the process in a way that was more sympathetic to the situation they are trying to solve. By making a cute comment about prison, you were trivializing their concerns and closing the door without any discussion or sharing of ideas.

    In my case, we began brainstorming things to put in the next job posting that would subtly encourage more minorities to apply, qualities that would make any candidate more appealing anyway on my campus, btw.

    Annie, I am old enough to know that nearly everything passes away with the next controversy, and that what does not kill you really does make you stronger and wiser. I hope you end up finding a way around this situation that makes your community stronger and your place in it even more secure than it is now.

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    1. That's actually really awesome advice. Thank you. And yeah the prison thing is just something I say that I picked up from my mom. Should have been more sensitive.

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    2. Great advice, wisely and sensitively said.

      Annie, I think it's more than understandable to have a less than optimal reaction when you're feeling attacked. Kudos for being open to the possibility that you could have done things better, as--certainly--could the students.

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    3. Good advice, indeed. The "too pretty for prison" thing is an odd little saying. I'd never heard it (at least not coming from or addressed to a woman -- I think I've heard a male version, which is even more complicated/perilous), but it turns up plenty of google hits. It definitely has the potential to carry all sorts of implications/assumptions about gender, race, class, the value we place on appearance, the relationships among sex and power, etc., etc., so it seems like a good one to avoid, especially when communicating with people with different experiences, assumptions, etc. There's a lot of potential for miscommunication there.

      I think the initial attack really was key to the situation going downhill, and is probably another good reason not to sue: I strongly suspect your male interlocutor has at least one parent who is an attorney, or trained as one, and/or aspires to be one himself. I can't think of a context other than legal cross-examination (except maybe really annoying salesmanship) in which that style of interrogation-posing-as-dialogue is common. I'd usually say that it's best to just hear an angry/upset student out as fully as possible before interjecting your own thoughts (makes them feel heard, and gives you time to assess the situation, and to think), but he wasn't giving you that option, which makes the situation a lot harder to handle.

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    4. Annie, I am glad you found my suggestions helpful. I see that I posted this after you asked folks who wrote Fab to condemn you to please post here and explain. I just wanted to write that I never wrote Fab to condemn you! As I wrote, I was always sympathetic to how you must have felt!

      Anyway, glad the situation seems to have blown over, that the recording was removed, and that your Dean is one of the rare decent administrators who has his or her faculty's backs.

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    5. Bella, I'd meant to say earlier that I, too, found your comments helpful.

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  16. I can't be the only one who read "BLM" as Bureau of Land Management and took nearly half the post to figure out the right reading, can I?

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    1. And then Ted Bundy came in and he was pissed as Hell...

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    2. Nope. I keep coming back to look for more comments to read, and I read it as Bureau of Land Management first every time. The first time I read this post, I spent quite a bit of time puzzling about what that academic job would be like before I figured out what I did wrong.

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    3. I, too, read it as Bureau of Land Management first (at least without additional context). It may be a generational thing. I suspect the two BLMs do have some enemies (or at least antagonists) in common, but, otherwise, they're pretty different, so I guess context will usually reveal the correct reading given a bit of time.

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  17. Yeah, I do the "Bureau" read a lot with this topic. Re. the thugs: It doesn't take long for the Left and the Right to meet when they go to the extremes. I, for one, judge these activists by the content of their character and find them wanting. Pretty much it comes down to SYP's (stupid young people). Oh, well.

    As far as hiring practices, I truly believe the fairest way to go is to blank out ALL indications of race, gender, religion, and country of origin when committees review applications. Once the final interview group has been selected, software exists to change the voice of the interviewees. If an actual teaching demonstration or some such in-person activity is required, then we just have to do our fallible best as human beings to pick the best person for the job. At least the in-person event can come after the blind screening.

    Sorry for your epic, Annie. I've been on the receiving end of a deranged, unstable student. It's no fun. Hang in there.

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  18. The head of HR met with the search committee, said he was getting pressure from the top to increase diversity, and asked what we were doing about that. We told him we were doing the best we could with the CVs that had been scrubbed of any information that might help us identify URM candidates such that we could prioritize them when all else is comparable, of which we were unanimously in favor.

    We explained that the bigger problem was the candidates we attract: our practice of waiting till someone has left before we even advertise for a replacement leaves us with some relatively specialised shoes to fill with no time to do it. So in addition to advertising in the typical venues, we cast our net in professional societies where such specialists convene, and we word the advertisement pretty specifically, and then we get what we get.

    We said if HR guy and "the top" were truly serious about this, they'd approve a new line and search well in advance of the need. How about we even look to a future want instead of a need? How about we look for someone who is doing some interesting research, and who might also have expertise to---oh, we don't know---hybridize some of our courses, or develop all new courses or even a new program? We would advertise solely where URMs are not so under-represented, with some reasonably non-specific criteria, and we'd have the luxury of time to see what comes in and be pleasantly surprised by what they offer---things we couldn't even dream of now because we're so beaten down just trying to cover the core curriculum with our skeleton crew?

    You can guess where that went.

    HR guy simply restated the need to increase diversity, and to do whatever we could. Whatever. We. Could. Wink. So, because we could, we tracked down the papers of the candidates on our short list, and we found photos on their current and former labs' websites and such. It was easy enough to narrow down with some confidence the post-docs and former grad students whose profiles matched the CVs in our hands. And one of the ten was just who we were looking for!

    He declined our invitiation for a campus visit. I suspect he's in a better place now.

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    1. If Uncle Same comes a-knockin', HR guy is gonna throw you under the bus.

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    2. A fund for targeted hires of underrepresented minorities (i.e. hires in addition to those already planned), assuming it could be done within legal and union constraints, is probably the best hope (as, of course, is increasing the number of members of underrepresented groups getting Ph.D.s, and maybe even making sure that professors' jobs are actually ones that a sane person, especially one without all that much of an economic safety net, might actually want).

      The sort of "race blind" hiring described in both the original anecdote and yours, OPH, strikes me as about as effective as another invention of the '80s (give or take) that is now getting another look: lowfat cookies. Both fail to take into account the full complexity of human beings, both individually and in groups,and the intended effect tends not to be achieved, though lots of unintended and unwanted side effects are.

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  19. They were "with" BLM? Immediate red flag. Black Lives Matter isn't a political organization, it's a hashtag -- a way to index conversations on twitter. You can't be "with" BLM as it's not an organization. That attempt at intimidation through faux authority would have been enough for me to immediately end the conversation.

    As I'm sure you're aware now, what you actually had were two extremely racist students who were singling you out for attack and bullying based on racist motivations.

    Note that they probably have some fashion of puffed up redefinition of racism to exclude their own behavior -- the most common one I've ran into with the Black Supremacist Movement as of the past few years is "Racism is Power + Prejuduce, and since White People have all the power that means only white people can be racist, black people can only be prejudiced, and since white people are racist monsters that's to be expected and encouraged."

    So, lessons learned -- never speak to students alone, call security at the first sign of trouble, and for the love of pete, press charges about the illegal recording or they WILL continue to do it.

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  20. Link to audio please.

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  21. This isn't surprising at all. Totalitarians aren't typically known for their finesse.

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  22. Im so sick of yall fragile white feelings. If you are not talking about ending racism, then it is not germaine to the discussion. This garbage needs to be removed ASAP. I do not care about her white feelings, we have a real problem with black genocide in this country ,and until we can start to populate positions of power with POC, we cannot expect any change to happen. I think most white people are secretly revengeful for not still having slaves. POC to the front of the line.

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    1. Look, that just makes no sense. It's such a poor argument that I'm convinced this was written by someone who opposes BLM. Actually, I am positive of that now.

      Please do not troll here.

      Delete
    2. I think one problem here is with the pressumption that college professor and (non-upper-level) adminstrator are in any practical (i.e., "real world") sense "positions of power".

      That said, until the student body and faculty represent the population at large, I won't rest. I totally get that being polite and respectful has often not worked in the past, however, I would prefer that on our first encounter I not be saddled with blame for every previous bad encounter one has ever had with people I can't control.

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    3. Prof. Pottah, I agree that this is a very poor argument, but it's also extremely similar to actual positions that racist Black Supremacists take on social media and during protest marches. It's either someone trolling by parroting actual racist comments that certain activists state, or an actual racist activist.

      Poe's Law, General Case -- Without some form of indication, it is impossible to determine if someone is trolling or genuinely an extremist.

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    4. OPH: I was thinking much the same thing. Although we do have a certain amount of power (especially when viewed from a student's perspective), we have much less power than we'd like to change things like hiring practices (let alone all the practices, social forces, etc. that lead to relatively few members of underrepresented groups pursuing Ph.D.s in the first place). We can and should chip away from our own position, but we're not exactly in a position to enact sudden, sweeping change (in fact, I doubt anybody is; as the current president has pointed out more than once recently, even he has limited power to make the changes he'd like to see. That's known as democracy, and is mostly a good thing, but can be frustrating, too).

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    5. Um, excuse me, but you do not know what my experience were. I was repeatedly denied entry into a phd program, because of racism. RAcism is still very much alive today.

      When I tried fililng complains, I only later found out that that the person who reads the complaints letter is the PERSON WHO I WAS DIRECTING COMPLAINTS ABOUT. I will not rest until I get justice. This is exactly the definition of a system who is aimed against people like me.

      Nobody there responded to me, including people who I did original research with. And they even removed me as a co-author before publishing a paper that I contributed to!!!

      None of my emails have been replied to. I have written to the dean of students, the office of student life, the all of my professors and former colleagues. No matter how much I email them, almost nobody replies. Also my tuition remission did not happen even though a counselor told me it was, and I was victim blamed because I was "supposed to have checked". Uh huh. They deactivated my student id, and when I tried explaining my situation multiple times, they still would not let me in the building anymore!!!

      So there you have it. Racist faculty driving a PoC out of university. So check yourself and stop talking bullshit!

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    6. To deny an applicant entry to a program based on race is illegal (and also stupid, since programs benefit in countless ways from having a diverse student body). If you have evidence that this is why you were denied, you can sue the institution and expose them. If you co-authored a published paper and were denied proper credit for that publication at the same institution, that would be very interesting evidence as well, giving background to the first claim. The only way to help prevent future wrongs is to expose them when they happen. One place to start looking for help is your local chapter of the NAACP, who can help you find a lawyer who may take your case for free (providing you have ample evidence to support your claims) and get paid in the end with both publicity and a court ordered payment from the defendant. Look here to find your local chapter: http://www.naacp.org/find-local-unit/

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  23. Actually, something similar happened to me and I am a WOC (woman of color), just not their kind of WOC. I learned you always have to be as cool as ice and never, ever use sarcasm because they will not understand it when they're gunning for you. College students nowadays are looking for that video that will allow them to get their social media account up and going. They don't really care about racism in employment because if they did they'd crack open a few books on human resources and civil rights instead of repeating the same tired old cherry-picked lines.

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    1. We don't need to understand there system in order to bring down racism. Educate yourself. It aint my job to educate you. I will never even appologize for standing up against racism.

      We are literally being shot down in the streets every day, and you try to turn against us? I am actually speechless.

      I think your lying about being a WoC tbh.

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  24. Jesus the writing style of this post sounds so adorable despite all the technical sounding jargon and the cursing

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    1. You know what's adorable? Your very informative posts on reddit. It's charming that you find sex so troublesome because you'd rather "mastubate to an 11" than "have real sex with a 7."

      It's equally interesting to read this comment:

      Jesus what's with feminism obession with holding up rape to be this end all be all thing? Men are talking about men working themselves to death on the coal mines! Somehow taking a dick is worse then that??

      I find your open hostility toward women refreshing. Your repeated references to feminism as "a cancer" is telling.

      Also refreshingly honest is your hostility toward homosexuality. This statement helps me understand your perspective:

      I fully support gay marriage but gay people are fucking retarded.

      That your post in Reddit about Annie's situation is nearly identical to what you said here in CM is also also very convenient, as in your response to the Reddit thread about Annie's experience:

      God her writing style is so adorable despite all the technical sound jargon on the post and her cussing at the end(its one of those cases where the cussing only makes them more adorable)

      It's especially helpful to me to understand the perspective of some of the posters here, so thank you for clarifying yours.

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  25. Jesus the writing style of this post sounds so adorable despite all the technical sounding jargon and the cursing

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  26. Grumpy Sergeant here, not anonymous. I'm so sorry for what you went through. You did the best you could to answer them fairly and you took them at good faith. Nothing wrong with that. Unfortunately, they wanted a gotcha, ambush moment. The comments they posted (if it was them) show just how racist and misogynistic they were when you had an answer they didn't agree with. They weren't there for an explanation or a dialogue.
    It is better to let the administration handle the fallout. I hope this doesn't rattle you for a long time but makes you stronger. All the best to you.

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  27. Annie, what an awful experience. I'm dismayed by the students who felt completely comfortable in their attempt to bully you about something over which you have no control. That you've indicated that they are also white says a lot about their ironic ignorance of their own white privilege. That the male's physical behavior was menacing is beyond disturbing; the mere fact that he felt justified in attempting to intimidate you physically in a public place makes me shudder.

    I am glad that your dean has your back.

    I am also dismayed by the number of people who have posted here and emailed to condemn you. There is an awful lot of finger pointing about something traumatic that others themselves did not experience.

    I will not comment on the BLM movement nor on any of the other (justified) unrest we've seen on college campuses. That is, in fact, a topic for another thread altogether.

    What I will say is how disheartening it is to see strangers condemn a colleague (in a broader sense) who was bullied and intimidated for something over which she literally has no control.

    It's also disheartening to see in such responses a total lack of compassion for a human person, an individual, who is not personally responsible for the systemic injustices in our society. No one here or through email appeared to ask Annie what her personal beliefs and practices are in regard to higher education; no one here or through email appeared to address the culture that has lead to both the reality of discrimination and fact that one, single white woman -- or that any individual, really -- can be targeted as the sacrificial cog in the wheel.

    I am sometimes dismayed by what I read here. I try to remain open minded, as I understand that I am not privy to the personal experiences of individual posters. Never, though, have I been more disheartened by anything that I've read on CM -- not Annie's experience (which is awful in itself), but the apparent rush to condemn her.

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