Boston University Professor Grundy Accused Of Another Series of Offensive Postings

GrundyPic-150x150Boston_University_seal.svgWe have been discussing the racist tweets of Saida Grundy, an incoming assistant professor of sociology and African-American studies at Boston University, who used twitter to denounce white men as the central problem at universities and described how she tries not to do business with white people. After an outcry from alumni, Boston University president Robert Brown expressed “disappointment” with her statements and Grundy herself apologized for what she called “indelicate” wording. She has called the statements “indelicate” and says that they were in response to unidentified events. The response has been withering with many saying that few would view the comments “indelicate” if a white professor encouraged people not to buy things from black people or calling black males as the problem on colleges. She now stands accused of a fairly unhinged exchange with a white woman who expressed her personal feelings over an article attacking actress Patricia Arquette for her call at the Oscars for equal pay for women.


Boston University president Robert Brown expressed “disappointment” with her statements were the result of “personal passion” to “events we now witness with regularity in our nation.” Grundy is now accused of a new exchange with a white woman which combined race and rage in a particularly troubling way on Facebook. The other woman was Maghan Chamberlin who is a rape victim and wrote about her personal reaction to a controversial article on race.

First to the context of the article. Chamberlin was reacting to a screed by Grio writer Blue Telusma who found it terribly offensive that Patricia Arquette had given the following words at the Academy Awards in accepting her Oscar in February 2015. Here is what Arquette said (which is news to me because I would rather drink molten lead than watch the Oscars):

To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights! It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America!. . .

It’s time for women. Equal means equal. The truth is the older women get, the less money they make. The highest percentage of children living in poverty are in female-headed households. It’s inexcusable that we go around the world and we talk about equal rights for women in other countries and we don’t. One of those superior court justices said two years ago in a law speech at a university that we don’t have equal rights for women in America, and we don’t because when they wrote Constitution, they didn’t intend it for women. So the truth is even though we sort of feel like we have equal rights in America, right under the surface there are huge issues at play that really do affect women. It’s time for all the women in America, and all the men that love women and all the gay people and all the people of color that we’ve all fought for — to fight for us now!

That triggered a supernova in Telasum who called it another example of “feminism segregation” and “b.s.” Telasum decides herself as someone who spends her time writing “thoughtful op-eds” while resisting white feminism. She insisted the feminists were trying to assert equality as victims of our society and that was unacceptable:

And before you say “But, Blue, she said women not just white women,” let me be blunt: If you say black people need to stand up for you – that means you are asking every person in the room who is both black and a woman to choose her gender over her race in order to suit your agenda. It’s a very subtle form of feminist segregation that I’ve heard about for a few years now. And it’s complete b.s.

Who does she think nursed and looked after all of those white children during the slave era? Did she somehow miss the last 400 years of race relations? Does she not notice who the nannies are when she takes her kids to the park? Society has made it all too clear that not all women are created equal. So to ask the women who are below you on the food chain to once again lift you up is fifty shades of “You got some nerve.” . . .

Black feminists all over the world have written horror stories about how, when dealing with white feminists, they are expected to compartmentalize their blackness and put it away — while fighting on behalf of their womanhood. That ridiculous (and ironically misogynistic) expectation from their white feminist counterparts amounts to what feels like friendly fire; you’re basically being discriminated against by the very person standing next to you in the fight for equality.

28D671D900000578-3086976-image-a-2_1431987955987Ok, that is the article that led Chamberlin to react in a very personal way. Chamberlin posted the following statement on a Facebook site run by Frank W. Miller, an exchange later taken down according to Fox News: “I LITERALLY cry and lose sleep over this,” Chamberlin wrote, adding she had been raped as a child and felt that: “what this article did was tell me that I’m not aloud (sic) to ask for help… Because I am a WHITE woman… So when I read this article… you do understand what that does to me, right? It kills me . . . ”

As an academic and a blogger, I would view such a posting as helpful and allowing for a passionate but insightful exchange on both sides. This is an interesting social and political and historical question. However, a person who identified herself as “Sai Grundy” responded on Feb. 25th by attacking Chamberlin and mocking her expression of pain:

“’I literally cry’…. While we literally die . . . try this article. A white woman explaining this issue to other white women . . . who manages NOT to cry while doing it!”

Chamberlin responded by writing “No really. I got it. You can take your claws out, thanks.”

That causes Grundy to explode and accuse Chamberlin of playing the victim in response to her insisting that she and others were facing greater victimization:

“^^THIS IS THE S**T I AM TALKING ABOUT. WHY DO YOU GET TO PLAY THE VICTIM EVERY TIME PEOPLE OF COLOR AND OUR ALLIES WANT TO POINT OUT RACISM. my CLAWS?? Do you see how you just took an issue that WASNT about you, MADE it about you, and NOW want to play the victim when I take the time to explain to you some s**t that is literally $82,000 below my pay grade? And then you promote your #whitegirltears like that’s some badge you get to wear… YOU BENEFIT FROM RACISM. WE’RE EXPLAINING THAT TO YOU and you’re vilifying my act of intellectual altruism by saying i stuck my “claws” into you?”

Chamberlin against responds, in a far more measured fashion: “I am choosing to ‘exit’ this conversation, You don’t know me. I don’t know you. It’s really as simple as that.”

Even that does not sit well with Grundy who taunts “go cry somewhere. since that’s what you do”:

YOU DONT HAVE TO KNOW ME. what you SHOULD know is that you don’t know more about this issue than margenalized women. And instead of entering this conversation with an iota of humility about that, you have made it a celebration of your false sense of victimization. no [sic] go cry somewhere. snce that’s what you do.’

Chamberlin responded: “Will do.”

However, Grundy was not done. She then posted: “am I mocking her tears or am I saying that her tears are meaningless displays of emotions because they don’t reflect at ALL an intention to understand the issue from the prospective (sic) of women of color or queer women.” She then adds “my name is *Sai*, but you can call me Dr. Grundy.”

As with her earlier public statements, I find Grundy’s view to be deeply troubling and overtly racist. However, I still believe that they are protected speech. I do believe that such comments could have been considered (and should have been considered) at her hiring. I would have reservations about the intellectual and professional approach of a candidate who responded in such an intolerant fashion. I would certainly want to question the candidate about her approach to students and colleagues in light of such past positions. However, she was hired and I have considerable problem with firing academics because they take controversial positions, even positions with both sexist and racist overtones. As I explained yesterday in the case of the Duke professor, It is a dangerous and slippery slope. The greatest problem is that the uncertain standard creates a chilling effect on academics, particularly untenured academics in what views will be tolerated. In the academic world, such uncertainty can be devastating and strikes at the very heart of the academic mission.

Various sites have been organized to support Grundy like “StandWithSaida.”

What do you think?

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142 thoughts on “Boston University Professor Grundy Accused Of Another Series of Offensive Postings”

  1. realfakebrit said …

    I think many can agree that a real and rational discussion needs to be had about race …

    Regrettably, as things have re-developed today, you’re likely right. It is not a problem for me, however, as I really never had a racial bias. To me, the color of skin or the habits of various ethnic groups are not topics for anger or discrimination. I prefer to learn from those different from me…and I welcome their input to society here. Long ago, before the breakdown of the black family here I found the black families I knew to be the most unified and affectionate of all, always a joy to be affiliated with and invited to gatherings. Regrettably, upon my return to the states in the 70’s I found a different world than the one I left in the 60’s and was saddened by the change. Friends who joined me at what were then called “cabarets” in the black community found it necessary to escort me and my wife for protection. We had stepped backwards in time to an era I didn’t know other than from books. It destroyed what connections we had for a long time, it was embarrassing & awkward to have to be escorted putting them out as I saw it, but reminded me that not all blacks were angry at me for my white skin and my wife’s Asian skin, just a few too many it appeared back then.

    Long ago, one night in the Han Estuary of the ROK I sat drinking “makali” (nasty stuff, but in a pinch what the heck) with a ROK Marine and we discussed eastern versus western concepts of the the right to kill. His position was that we westerners presume the right to kill, but debate the means, while his eastern purview was the debate should be whether killing is justified, then not worry about the means. He had a point, one that has stuck with me ever since some 40+ years later. It moderated my attitude toward war per se, as I found it to be a profound concept. It explained a lot about my war at the time, earlier in RVN particularly.

    We can again move forward, hold the discussions necessary, among those who can listen to each other, and allow those who differ extremely to have their say. The proof isn’t in the talk, it is in the doing. I refuse to look back for reasons for recriminations.

  2. bettykath
    1, May 19, 2015 at 5:37 pm
    Annie, I think they are making her point.

    That white people alive today are guilty for slavery? Why so eager to justify absurd positions?

  3. Her words probably apply to some green men and women, too. Let’s not forget them. Being Green is important these days. If you’re not careful, some green man may plant a tree in your front yard.

  4. BFM,
    You’re correct, she didn’t say “some white men”, I broke it down that way. I won’t condemn all white men, I wonder if Grundy really does either, or if it was hyperbole. If she does condemn all white men, she’s forgotten the ones who marched and died in Selma. I haven’t given her a pass on her sweeping condemnation, read what I’ve said on both threads, but her words do aptly describe “some” white men, some white women too.

  5. ” her commentary regarding some white men, from the other thread, hit it right on the mark.”

    Exactly which comments are the ones regarding ‘some white men’.

    The problem that some of us have with Grundy’s remarks is that her remarks did not seem limited to ‘some white men’ or some whites. On the contrary, the remarks presented in the other article about Grundy seemed to include either all whites or all white males.

    I would argue that it is a serious mistake to attempt to defend racist remarks on the basis that some individuals in the group actually match the characteristics assumed by the speaker of the racist remark.

    We condemn racist remarks about Asian-Americans despite the fact that there are undoubtedly some truly gifted Asian-American students who are whizzes at math and computers.

    We condemn racist remarks about African-Americans despite the fact that there are likely to be some who are actually lazy.

    We condemn racist remarks about Northern-European-Americans despite the fact that some of them are truly problems on campus.

    The essence of racism is stereotypical thought that assumes individual members of the group necessarily share characteristics falsely attributed to the group.

    It seems likely to me that if Grundy had been talking about some whites or some white men her remarks would not have been controversial. The problem is not that Grundy pointed out some white men are bad actors. The problem is that Grundy seems to claim that all white men are bad actors and all whites are to be avoided.

    Grundy seems to have missed that the world does not divide along lines of black and white unless we let it. The world naturally divides between racists and those of us who abhor it. Grundy ignores the efforts of white abolitionist stretching back a hundred years. Grundy ignores the efforts of whites who marched, boarded buses, and sat in at lunch counters. Grundy ignores the efforts of whites who were gassed, beaten and shocked. Grundy ignores that of three buried in the bank of an irrigation ditch near Philadelphia, Mississippi, two were white. Grundy misses a lot. But that is natural when you vision is clouded by hatred.

  6. Annie, Privilege doesn’t recognize privilege. And some are rather thin in their understanding of what’s being said. I wonder if it’s deliberate or if they can’t help it? Either way, I hope Grundy matures in how she tackles the problem that we recognize, this thread and the previous being examples.

  7. Boston University probably hired Grundy to teach African-American Studies BECAUSE of her attitudes. That’s what black society is classically all about, isn’t it? Anger and attitude. She should be able to teach that quite well to anyone eager to learn about it.

  8. (??) What is the “W” word, whoeveryouare? I agree with your attitude toward hyphenation. That’s what Teddy Roosevelt believed, too. But, does the W-word mean “women”? If so, why not just say what you mean?

  9. I, too, was thinking that SJW meant “Single Jewish Woman,” but that probably goes back to reading the personal dating want ads decades ago. But I never would have guessed HBC stands for “Historically Black College.” The acronym-rich language used today, mostly because of texting on cell phones, has dumbed down real and actual communications for those who (fortunately) aren’t socially well educated. Newspeak is alive and well, but designed by the masses, not Big Brother.

    1. Tyger – HBC has been around for a long time. Generally, I have only seen it used in education, but not outside there.

  10. When in China, do you call Chinese “yellows?”

    I am INSULTED by the use of the “W”-WORD.

    Use of the “W”-WORD has got to stop.

    I am an American. My ancestors all the way back to 1607 were Americans.

    I am not a “W”-WORD.

    I’m going to sue.

    I’m going to start using the “n”-word, K?

    Stop insulting Americans.

    It’s just too bad if you’re a HYPHENATE. Sorry for you.

    When in China, do you call Chinese “yellows?”

  11. The grantors of affirmative action know it is unconstitutional bias.

    The beneficiaries of affirmative action know they do not deserve special treatment.

    Everyone knows that freedom means neutral governance.

    As in a fair boxing match: May the best man win.

    Let the games begin.

    Gentlemen, start your engines.

    ___________________________________________________

    “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

    The courage to change the things I can,

    And the wisdom to know the difference.”

  12. Affirmative action should be eliminated wherever and whenever it rears its ugly head.

  13. Lincoln preferred Liberia:

    “If all earthly power were given me,” said Lincoln in a speech delivered in Peoria, Illinois, on October 16, 1854, “I should not know what to do, as to the existing institution [of slavery]. My first impulse would be to free all the slaves, and send them to Liberia, to their own native land.” …he asked whether freed blacks should be made “politically and socially our equals?” “My own feelings will not admit of this,” he said, “and [even] if mine would, we well know that those of the great mass of white people will not … We can not, then, make them equals.”

  14. I would like to send her to Nigeria for a few months to live with Boko Harem. Then she can report back on the wonderful world that her black brothers have created for the women there.

  15. As with many, time is a limited quantity, so my apologies if I missed this already being said.

    I had to take a mental step back and focus objectivly. To that end, I agree with Professor Turley that this is a free speech issue and Grundy has a right (protected by the Constitution) to voice it. While I strenuously disagree with her opinion and approach, I would defend her right to exercise free speech. That being said, I find it difficult not to conclude that Grundy, at the very least, has an intense racial hatred of White people. Worse, this could extend to other races but we don’t have evidence of that, yet.

    “Minorities cannot be racist”, in my opinion, is becoming a pervasive fallacy in America. The first 2 definitions of ‘racism’ (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/racism):

    : poor treatment of or violence against people because of their race
    : the belief that some races of people are better than others

    While we can’t say Grundy necessarily believes in the latter entry, we can say that she practices the former. So why did I use the phrase ‘racial hatred’ instead of just labeling her a ‘racist’? The answer is I believe the word ‘racism’ has lost it’s importance and meaning. The word is thrown around so casually now that people are either becoming numb and indifferent to it, or have become hyper sensitive. You now see people’s reaction in two extremes. They feel it has gotten to the point where if someone is called a ‘racist’ or accused of ‘racism’, they brush it off as some politician trying to score cheap points with their ‘base’. At the other, the knee jerk, retribution culture of Social Media’s ‘Mob Mentality’ has destroyed careers, relationships, and lives.

    The meteoric rise of ‘Identity Politics’ (IdPo) has done more harm, in my opinion, to America than anything else. The idea that everyone is to be labeled (Left, Right, Conservative, Liberal, Black, White) has driven a wedge into our society that is tearing us apart. Combine the PC culture of silencing differing opinions, IdPo’s exploitation of underlying racial tensions, results in division and violence we haven’t seen since the time of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I think many can agree that a real and rational discussion needs to be had about race and many other important issues. However, when it seems the only choices are to pick an extreme, that simply can’t happen.

    Grundy has the right to her opinion, as we all do. She has the right to voice it in our society without persecution from the law. However, we as a society have the right to judge those actions and respond ourselves, objectively and without IdPo ‘Labels’ and PC silencing. My response is that Grundy is unsuitable to be an educator at any level. Grundy is incapable of separating her racial hatred of white people in order to objectively educate and evaluate anyone. I believe she should be dismissed from BU, not because of her practice of free speech, but because her character would be toxic to any unbiased and objective educational endeavor.

    RFB

    Note: I intentionally omit using the honorific ‘Dr.’ in regards to Grundy as I feel it is incredibly insulting to those who actually exemplify Doctoral Excellence in education.

  16. You should see the three pointer I made today.
    It wasn’t during the actual game I played yesterday, but it hit the mark all the same.
    Swish!

  17. Bettykath and I both addressed her tweets directed to a white woman child sexual abuse victim on this thread. The comments she was “calling out” white men for was on the other thread. We know that. Looking at the comments by some of the white men here on this thread, her commentary regarding some white men, from the other thread, hit it right on the mark.

  18. “lol. Nothing quite like a bunch of white men railing against a Black woman for calling them out.

    In this series of racist tweets, she was ‘calling out’ white women.

    Think, then write.

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