Too Much Or Too Real? Incoming Black Professor Says White Males Are The Problem For America’s Colleges

May 13, 2015  |  

Twitter will have you jeopardizing opportunities if you’re not careful with your words…or if you just don’t care who knows how you really feel.

According to theGrio, incoming Boston University professor Saida Grundy came under fire recently for a series of what some are calling racially intolerant tweets.

Grundy is set to begin teaching in July but some students are already questioning her ethics.

Here’s what she had to say:

why is white america so reluctant to identify white college males as a problem population?

white masculinity is THE problem for America’s colleges. 

Deal with your white [expletive], white people. slavery is YALL thing. 

Then she wrote:

every MLK week i commit myself to not spending a dime in white-owned businesses. and every year i find it nearly impossible. 

Her tweets were grabbed and shared on several websites and Fox News. Grundy made her account private shortly after that.

Some students are taking issue with the tweets. One junior political science major said, “If I’m hiring a professor, I want someone who can relate to all students, all groups of people from all walks of life. It just seems to me that she is just not able to do that.” 

Another student Ukrainian sociology student said, “BU is one of the most diverse schools in the country, and it actually has a lot of people who come from different backgrounds, and her tweets would just be exclusionary to a lot of those people.”

Other students have defended her comments. A student group called the People of Color Coalition expressed their support. One member of the group, studying neuroscience and philosophy said the tweets weren’t racially charged.

“I don’t think reverse racism against white folks is a thing. You need to have institutional and systemic power in order to be racist. People of color like Professor Grundy don’t have that…I’m 100 percent supportive of her and excited for her to come to campus.” 

Hell, I’d be excited for Professor Grundy to come through too. She’s about to shake some things up! But let’s talk about these tweets.

There is a lot of truth behind her words. White people need to deal with their stuff. Slavery, as this country knows it, has primarily been a White people thing. And White people, by in large, have yet to acknowledge, let alone mention the lingering aftermath of it. But I think her tweets become problematic when she starts generalizing and labeling a specific group of people. True, White people are the benefactors of slavery and perpetrators of racism; but still, it’s slavery and racism that are the real problems here. Not all White, college boys are a part of the “problem population” but racism is the force, the system that makes them most likely to belong to it.

White masculinity is not inherently problematic but racism and misogyny have made it so. Her tweets seem to be attacking the symptoms and not the disease. It would be the equivalent of a Fox News correspondent saying that Black and Brown people are THE problem in society because they make up 60 percent (in 2012) of the prison population. The statement fails to take into consideration the drug laws that disproportionately disadvantage Black and Brown people. It doesn’t consider poverty, the heavy and often unnecessary presence of police in Black and Brown neighborhoods and…#racism.

It’s all around us. So in that sense, I agree with Grundy. White people need to deal with their ish. And racism is a part of that. But in the meantime, I think we all need to be careful to invest our energy into attacking the system that bred these problematic White boys rather than the boys themselves.

Still, I don’t think her opinions disqualify her for the position. Unlike that particular student quoted above, I don’t believe all professors should be able to relate to all students. As Black women, there have been more professors who had absolutely no idea who we were or what we experience, than teachers, and later professors, who could actually relate. And while being able to relate would be a nice perk, it doesn’t mean that you can learn from that person. I’m sure the students at Boston University could learn plenty from Professor Grundy.

What do you think about Grundy’s tweets, were they out of line or did she speak the truth?

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