Sunday, November 30, 2008

Excusers, Deniers, Enablers and Accomplices Pt. 1

It's time for Black women who get it and our allies to start drawing a definitive line in the sand. On November 20th students at Princeton University published what can only be described as racist, sexist, hateful material in the "Foreskin" newsletter where they trashed President Elect Obama. To add further insult to injury they targeted Dr. Yolanda Pierce, a Black woman who's an Associate Professor at Princeton Theological Seminary. 

Yes, let me repeat that: the attack was generated by students against a Black woman. So false religiosity trumps racism, common sense and actual MORALITY yet again. So far Princeton has done nothing but issue a punk ass blurb about how they're going to 'hold a committee' to discuss this. Oh really? Here's what will happen unless we take action:
Well we know they misspoke about a few things and were maybe a bit over the top, but they're good kids. Things just got a little out of hand. Why can't you rise above this? You're just overreacting. After all, your people know a little something about facing obstacles. Everybody deserves a second chance. Why do YOU want to punish some kids for a little ol' prank?
This sounds like a cross between the rape defense of blaming the victim and trying to excuse attempted murder by reason of mental defect. The perps know the difference between right and wrong. The end! Prosecutors are trying to charge 12 year olds as adults so what's their excuse? How many other times have these perps gotten away with inappropriate behavior growing up? Their sense of entitlement to privilege must be addressed. Princeton must take responsibility for fostering an environment where racism flourishes.

Why is it when Black people are attacked we are expected to take a breath and let someone else evaluate the situation and tell us how we should feel? Where is the outrage that harm has been caused to an esteemed Black woman and the community at large? You'd better believe if this was a white professor being attacked somebody would have been expelled already no investigation or conversation necessary. I'd also like to know what action - if any - Dr. Cornel West will take on this matter. He just loves to pontificate to hear the sound of his voice - does it extend to a fellow colleague? 

So now the administrators think they can allow a few teachers and students who weren't attacked determine the fate of the perpetrators? Not this time. This will be tried in the court of public opinion. By the way we still don't know who they are because the school has been shielding them. They don't deserve the protection. Let free speech reign  - but you had better be prepared to take full responsibility for the consequences when you throw a Molotov cocktail to start racial arson.  Just ask former Police Chief Johnson of Palo Alto. 

How many times has the word un-American been bandied about since after 9/11 for anyone questioning the effects of our militarism and the ongoing blowback? How many times are Black girls called 'fast', which is a convoluted way of saying they're inherently promiscuous after they've been sexually assaulted and some would try to deny accountability?  

I am tired of hearing twenty ways how a situation is not that situation when it's slapping you upside your head. I have loads of compassion. The gun fired at me is just as lethal whether it comes from a friend or a foe, whether it was intentional or an accident. Somebody might like to offer an apology or an excuse why the gun was discharged but that won't make me any less dead.

Contact the administrators and let them know nothing less than full public disclosure will be acceptable. The perpetrators need solid disciplinary action and make amends in a way satisfactory to those violated. They also need to do community service with populations they usually insulate themselves from to get an idea of what life is really like for the less privileged. I'd say they should be evaluated prior to their graduation, have a permanent note in their student records and still face possible expulsion if they do not meet the requirements set forth. All of this addresses the students but we must focus on cutting the head from the body and follow the money trail of the school. 

I'd also recommend lodging protests with the NAACP as well as the Governor of New Jersey but making sure we don't leave things to the benevolence of others to speak on what's important to us. Princeton gets money from the Federal Gov't and any Civil Rights Violations and racial attacks should be brought before the Feds and the State of NJ. If they're gonna be gangsta and want to harbor racists and spread hate speech they should have all gov't sources of funding and taxpayer money revoked! 


Future research and continued efforts should include acquiring:
  • Lists of endowments
  • Lists of those serving on Boards
  • Alumnae (see my sidebar for new link)
Nancy Lammers Gross
Dean of Student Life
Princeton Theological Seminary
210 Templeton Hall
Princeton, NJ 08542
Phone: 609-497-7880

Iain R. Torrance
Princeton Theological Seminary
132 Administration Building
Princeton, NJ 08542
Phone: 609-497-7800

NAACP Trenton Branch (looks to be the closest)
Phone: (609)392-6772
Fax: (609)392-7742
Address: P.O. Box 1355 Trenton, NJ 08608

New Jersey Governor Jim Corzine
Office of the Governor
PO Box 001
Trenton, NJ 08625

New Jersey Dept. of Education
Office of the Commissioner
100 River View Plaza
P.O. Box 500
Trenton, NJ 08625
Telephone (609) 292-4450
Fax (609) 777-4099
Lucille E. Davy, Commissioner

Update: We are monitoring the uptick in traffic from New Jersey as well as logging all IP addresses. Those of you monitoring this and other sites for activity are duly noted.

For continued action see my next post: When White Racism Hits the Wall 

Update: Princeton Seminary has a new Diversity Initiative with an email address. Let them know we don't need "healing" we want the gavel of justice with swift action and punishment. Talk is cheap - because people lie to get what they want all the time. In this case the perps want to be let off the hook and Princeton continues to allow hate crime perpetrators to walk around. 

Make no mistake: words have meaning. There is a breath of difference between hate speech and hate violence. One proceeds the other. This is NOT the time for puppy dogs and smiles. This is the time for dismissals, firings and expulsions so people know there are CONSEQUENCES for spreading hate!!!! 

Additional update 12/21 Princeton has previously engaged in allowing their student newspapers to be used for hate speech in attacking people of color - and used other non-whites to do it so they could claim it wasn't racism. They didn't PUNISH THE GUILTY and tried to let it go - and we can see where less than 2 years later the SAME THING happens AGAIN!!! 

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Miriam said...


Khadija said...

Hello there, Faith!

Thank you for standing for justice!

As far as I'm concerned, that's what this is really about. For me, it's not about any particular individual who was attacked this time. It's about the pattern & practice of these attacks being winked at by the administrators of these universities.

As you noted, it's about the hostile & threatening environment against Black women that is allowed to flourish on these campuses. This type of mess happened quite frequently when I was in college. I'm disgusted to see that it's still happening 20+ years later.

Access to higher education changes the destiny of a family for generations. We must resist any activity & its enablers who are hindering our access to, and presence within, places of higher learning.

I'm also happy you mentioned the good Dr. Cornel West, who has so much to say about so many things. I had forgetten that he's at Princeton (where these fliers were also passed out, in addition to the Princeton Theological Seminary). Gee, where is his voice right now?

Thank you again for standing in support of justice!

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Faith at Acts of Faith Blog said...

Hey All,

I'm just trying to do my part. Every link connects to make a chain. If we don't stand up for each other NO ONE ELSE WILL. I know there's administrative oversight at school publications and SOMEBODY had better take responsibility. Otherwise I say any student should be allowed to write anything they want and let the school deal with an all-out war on campus. It starts with thoughts, then words and then ACTION. If they're allowed to get away with this people should attend other schools and let all the like-minded heathens stay in one place. I also think these schools are breeding grounds for corruption of all types and group-think for when you look at who's plundered Wall Street you'll find they're all coming from these so-called elite schools which are quite exclusionary and narrow-minded.


Hey there!

Continue to blow the trumpet!!

Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!

Anonymous said...

I'm a PTS student, not connected to the newsletter other than having read it and knowing who wrote it.

My question for you: Have you actually read it? I've read several blog posts similar to yours railing against the newsletter. But they haven't actually read it.

I want you to read it (if you haven't) and then tell me why it is racist. To me, it was bad humor for sure, but not racist. I'm just not understanding the incredible reaction.


Faith at Acts of Faith Blog said...

Chris: Welcome

It is not my responsibility to prove anything to you to qualify my position. If you note the title of my post you can then apply that to yourself since you know the people involved and may in fact be one of the people involved. Take ownership of what was written and the mentality behind it and deal with the consequences. It is not my responsibility to point out your racism when you will continue to deny it and see no need to change. Child molesters don't see anything wrong with what they do but they deserve punishment all the same.

This comment has been removed by the author.

Hey Faith! {waves}

I love your response to that laughable inquiry posted in this discussion!

If that person IS DELUDED enough to think that you have to spend YOUR valuable time to justify your actions or decisions then all I can do is toss up the hand!

Let them contact the president of Princeton and ask why they stated it was "malicious and racist" on the PTS web site. Surely, the president has seen the newsletter and would be HAPPY to explain to any students who are SOOOOO CONFUSED about why that language was used by the president to describe the contents of that newsletter!

Are they really oh-so-confused about why PTS deemed it racist?

I think not.

The miseducation of the Caucasian is not a priority for me.

Continue to blow the trumpet!

Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!

Faith at Acts of Faith Blog said...

Yeah he got the side eye with his fake confusion. He clearly didn't even bother to read my post. I'm glad to know some of these little peons are starting to run scared though. They were too careless and hit the wall of NoTrifilingBlackWomen, lol!

Anonymous said... said: "I love your response to that laughable inquiry posted in this discussion!"

How is asking someone if they read something that they are vehemently protesting against a "laughable inquiry"? You don't have to read it to trust others condemnation of it and even support them in their protest, but it comes across as rather reactionary when you take a lead in sabre-rattling without actually reading it.

ActsofFathBlog, you undermine the credibility of your own protest if can't respond to someone moderately questioning your position with anything other than: "It is not my responsibility to prove anything to you to qualify my position" and the ad hominems: "If you note the title of my post you can then apply that to yourself" and a "little peon" who is running scared. So anyone who might disagree with your take is an excuser, denier, enabler, and accomplice?

Faith at Acts of Faith Blog said...

To Becky, Chris and all of You Princeton students and people from New Jersey lurking here:

You need to apologize to Dr. Pierce and make amends with her and the entire student body. You also need to take responsibility for your racism. You can whine and stomp your feet like a petulant child all you want or you can GROW UP and learn something. Read my post from Tuesday since you are sooo clueless about what to do and how to respond!

Taylor said...


I happened to stumble upon your blog, and I am in no way affiliated with Princeton. However, until you actually read the supposed racist newsletter yourself, you are just adding fuel to the fire and relying on speculation rather than fact.It very may well be inappropriate, but telling people to write letters to various groups slamming the institution or particular people without actually seeing the document is irresponsible and ridiculous. It takes away from the credibility of your argument. Justice isn't about perpetuating rumors but about seeking the truth and standing up for what is right. You are not seeking out the facts and you are giving other people information that may be false in order receive a reaction. No one can make a fair judgment until all the the facts are presented. Innocent until proven guilty.


@ Faith

You are wise not to even bother with feeding the trolls who are just trying to create ammunition.

They aren't confused at all.

You don't have to answer ANY questions they pose.

You have NOTHING to justify to them.

I suspect that their SUDDDEN desire to discuss this issue with those who are not at PTS has much to do with a hidden agenda.

There are so many Princeton, NJ visits at my blog lately and it is obvious that they are all well aware that the heat is on... I promise, it will ONLY get hotter.

Khadija said...

Hello there, Faith!

{3 z-formation finger snaps in salute}

I love the way you handled these bad-faith questioners/enablers/accomplices!

As you noted, they need to man-up & woman-up & take ownership of their hateful actions and/or their support of hateful actions. It's time to face the music & accountability.

If they are wise, it's also time for them to repent.

To repent for their arrogant assumption that those they have injured must explain their injuries.

To repent for their attempts to obstruct accountability/justice being applied.

To repent for their eager willingness to be complicit with evil.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

A.Smith said...

In my attempt to find what was written (the one link a blog provided couldn't be found) I discovered this posted on the PTS website:

Seminary Response to Malicious and Racist Newsletter
On Thursday, November 20, 2008, a satirical newsletter entitled “The Foreskin” was distributed on the campus of Princeton Theological Seminary. This document contained material which was racist, deeply insulting, harmful to the community as a whole, and targeted a number of individual members of the community.

The president immediately issued a statement expressing his disgust and his sorrow at the hurt done to the entire community. He invited those who produced “The Foreskin” to identify themselves and to see him the next morning.

Two students did come forward and expressed their regrets. They were asked by the president to apologize to the community as a whole and to the individuals who were targeted. They were told that a further penalty would be determined in due course. The possible involvement of other students is being investigated.

Student disciplinary matters are under the authority of the dean of student life. The president is in the process of appointing a committee to initiate a process of listening, healing and learning for the community as a whole. The committee will be comprised of administrators, students and faculty.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I see most blog posts about this have occurred in the last week, so I'm wondering how public these apologies have been, even on campus.

Faith at Acts of Faith Blog said...

Whoops I had a lot of stored comments - for some reason I missed the notification.

Welcome A. Smith: I don't think Princeton Admins have done enough. They are going to need "encouragement" to not just go to Point D and pat themselves on the back for a job well done. They need to look in the mirror at themselves first. Then they can address the students. The students are by no means innocent but they do need real leadership. That leadership sets the standards. If they don't like it they can go to school elsewhere. If you and others who are outraged spread the word and let it be known this will not be tolerated they will be forced to reassess their priorities. They don't need to agree they just need to adhere to what we know to be acceptable standards for behavior and to not denigrate Black women.


@ Taylor

Rely on speculation rather than fact?

You must be joking!

That's hilarious.

Clearly, the person who doesn't have facts is YOU...the President of the seminary read the newsletter and posted a statement that it was MALICIOUS AND RACIST!

Was the president just exaggerating and making that statements without a review of the facts?

Or are you implying that the president is not a credible or informed source of information in this situation?