Tyrone B. Hayes is Hard As Hell: Scientist’s Emails Bring Controversial Herbicide to Light

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The Lyricism, The Emails, and Professionalism

Although Syngenta is responsible for releasing Hayes’ emails in hopes of exposing his aggression with the company, the plan may have backfired as the publicity has indirectly shed light on the controversy that is Syngenta. So although this may work to Hayes advantage in the end, is he apologetic for sending those emails? Yes and no. “They’ve said some lewd things to me and I will admit I have regrettably responded back to them with the same kind of language,” he said, adding that he “responded in a way that i would argue is culturally [relevant]. They tried to intimidate me, and I responded back with intimidation.”

The publication of those emails may have served to undermine his credibility but Hayes’ take on professionalism is one that does not align with that of the the status quo anyhow. “In one of my emails, I say screw professionalism,” he said. “What I’m doing by definition is professional because I am a professional. Not the other way around. When I write, I think there has to be a format. When I speak, I should be able to express myself any way I want as long as the data and information are getting across. I’m invited to give 50 lectures abroad every year – the info is getting across and it’s getting across in a way with who I am as a person.”

Tupac, LL Cool J, and DMX are a few of the rappers who Hayes evoked in his communications. There is no confusion as to why he used rap lines to get his point across as he cites the genre and the musical culture as naturally intertwined with his identity. “To quote an old rap line, you gotta know who you are to be black,” he said. “For a black man in academia, especially in the sciences, you really have to know who you are and you really have to be firm in the sense that everyone is still looking for you to screw up, everyone is looking for you to prove that you were some affirmative action mistake and you shouldn’t be here.”

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