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Poor Behavior

Smith College Employee Resigns After Being Told She Can’t Wrap Because She’s White After Student Revealed To Have Lied About Racist Incident 

 

In the summer of 2018 we published a number of blogs about Smith College student Oumou Kanoute, after she claimed to have been discriminated against and nearly killed by an unarmed campus police officer who wanted to know why she was trespassing in a building that was closed. According to her “All I did was be black,” and she immediately sought out media attention by posting about it on Facebook. She also demanded to know the identity of the employee who followed campus protocol by alerting campus police, and demanded that the employee apologize to her and be fired for making her feel unsafe.

The mostly white mob was anxious to prove to Oumou that they were one of the “good ones” by sacrificing the white employee who called the police on her. Soon they got a name and the poor oppressed woman of color who attends a school that costs $72K a year, posted them on Facebook.

Food service worker Jackie Blair and janitor Mark Patenaude were named, shamed, threatened, placed on leave, and forever had their reputations tarnished as result of this post. School President Kathleen McCartney, who is white, had previously been attacked by students for not being sufficiently work, and felt the need to appease them.

Instead of waiting for the facts to come out she immediately apologized to the spoiled upstate New York brat who has had every possible advantage in life you could imagine, while chastising the service workers who made $40K a year. A thorough investigation ruled that the student was in an unauthorized area and no racial discrimination occurred, yet no apology was given to the workers whose lives were severely damaged and the student was not punished.

But please, tell me more about that “white privilege” thing. How did that work out for the lowly paid employees who did nothing wrong? I remember a time in history when college students used to protest on behalf of poorly paid school employees. Now they use their privilege to attack them. The fact of the matter is that there is no such thing as white privilege. There is socioeconomic privilege which Oumou Kanoute has, and there is black privilege which she also has. She has the privilege of automatically being believed when she is lying and then not being punished for it when she is revealed to be a liar because she is wealthy.

Former New York Times columnist Bari Weiss recently published a story on her Substack about Smith College staffer Jodi Shaw, who quit in protest of the way the school has responded to this Jussie Smollett incident.

But the climate — and my place at the college — changed dramatically when, in July 2018, the culture war arrived at our campus when a student accused a white staff member of calling campus security on her because of racial bias. The student, who is black, shared her account of this incident widely on social media, drawing a lot of attention to the college. Before even investigating the facts of the incident, the college immediately issued a public apology to the student, placed the employee on leave, and announced its intention to create new initiatives, committees, workshops, trainings, and policies aimed at combating “systemic racism” on campus.

In spite of an independent investigation into the incident that found no evidence of racial bias, the college ramped up its initiatives aimed at dismantling the supposed racism that pervades the campus. This only served to support the now prevailing narrative that the incident had been racially motivated and that Smith staff are racist. 

Allowing this narrative to dominate has had a profound impact on the Smith community and on me personally. For example, in August 2018, just days before I was to present a library orientation program into which I had poured a tremendous amount of time and effort, and which had previously been approved by my supervisors, I was told that I could not proceed with the planned program. Because it was going to be done in rap form and “because you are white,” as my supervisor told me, that could be viewed as “cultural appropriation.” My supervisor made clear he did not object to a rap in general, nor to the idea of using music to convey orientation information to students. The problem was my skin color.

As it turned out, my experience in the library was just the beginning. In my new position, I was told on multiple occasions that discussing my personal thoughts and feelings about my skin color is a requirement of my job. I endured racially hostile comments, and was expected to participate in racially prejudicial behavior as a continued condition of my employment. I endured meetings in which another staff member violently banged his fist on the table, chanting “Rich, white women! Rich, white women!” in reference to Smith alumnae. I listened to my supervisor openly name preferred racial quotas for job openings in our department. I was given supplemental literature in which the world’s population was reduced to two categories — “dominant group members” and “subordinated group members” — based solely on characteristics like race. 

They wouldn’t let her rap because she was white. Wait until they find out about Macklemore and Eminem. I would’ve paid good money to see this woman rap.

It should be noted that Jodi Shaw is a liberal and a graduate of Smith College. Like the cafeteria worker and the janitor she was vilified as the bad guy for being a white person who refused to completely immerse themselves in woke ideology.

Jodi Shaw was, until this afternoon, a staffer at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. She made $45,000 a year — less than the yearly tuition at the school. She is a divorced mother of two children. She is a lifelong liberal and an alumna of the college. And she has had a front-row seat to the illiberal, neo-racist ideology masquerading as progress. In October 2020, after Shaw felt that she had exhausted all her internal options, she posted a video on YouTube, blowing the whistle on, what she says, is an atmosphere of racial discrimination at the school.

“I ask that Smith College stop reducing my personhood to a racial category. Stop telling me what I must think and feel about myself,” she said. “Stop presuming to know who I am or what my culture is based upon my skin color. Stop asking me to project stereotypes and assumptions onto others based on their skin color.”

I can no longer continue to work in an environment where I am constantly subjected to additional scrutiny because of my skin color. I can no longer work in an environment where I am told, publicly, that my personal feelings of discomfort under such scrutiny are not legitimate but instead are a manifestation of white supremacy. Perhaps most importantly, I can no longer work in an environment where I am expected to apply similar race-based stereotypes and assumptions to others, and where I am told — when I complain about having to engage in what I believe to be discriminatory practices — that there are “legitimate reasons for asking employees to consider race” in order to achieve the college’s “social justice objectives.”

I need to get her on the live show.

The New York Times yesterday published a story on this, and it’s actually really good. Read it here. It discusses how the campus employees are afraid to enforce rules because the wealthy, spoiled brats who pay to go there could lodge complaints against them. And when a black student lodges a complaint against a white employee the black student is going to be the one taken seriously, regardless of truth.

They have their identity and their money behind them. They have the power. That’s why she even got the backing of the ACLU, who only gets involved when the government (not private colleges) violate your civil liberties. When the report came out showing that she had lied the ACLU still backed her and blamed the employees for not wanting to be labeled as racist.

But what really happened was just plain libel.

“This is the racist person.”

She made that up with the intent of hurting her, and it did. As someone who has been sued for libel many times (and won every time), I can assure you that this checks all the boxes. She lost her job and has had trouble finding a new one. Instead of forcing the student to apologize Smith College ended up trying to force Jackie Blair to go to mediation with the person who destroyed her for Facebook likes.

Woke college students are going to do what they do, but it’s the professors and college presidents who cater to them due to the “customer is always right” mentality. That’s why President McCartney said that even though the investigation revealed that the student was lying, it was “impossible to rule out the potential role of implicit racial bias.”

All Kathleen McCartney had to do was tell the student, “you were in an unauthorized area and were asked to leave. Your race baiting nonsense means nothing to me, and if you leave school over it someone will take your place.” But that would require courage, which is severely lacking these days. Instead she destroyed innocent people, and forced faculty members to go through diversity trainings while constantly acknowledging how horrible they were for being white. As much as I blame the college President, Oumou Kamoute is an adult and knew exactly what she was doing. She is the embodiment of privilege and evil, and we must stand up to people like this and continue to call them out regardless of the repercussions.

 

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