Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Risky Business: Affirmative Action Backfires at Williams College

I think it is fair to say that the effort to convert Williams College from an elite educational institution into a monument to identity politics has caused it to make risky choices, choices which have too often backfired, often with spectacular results.

While I was a member of the political science department in the late 1980s, one of the school's most prominent and sincerely beloved feminist scholars, Rosemarie Tong, left the school in disgrace after she was caught plagiarizing a speech.  Even at the time, I thought her case was a powerful example of how affirmative action had the unwanted consequence of promoting people who really did not deserve the honor of being an elite college professor.
Dr. Kai M. Green (l) reveals
the scars from what appears
to be her botched top surgery 
on the cover of No Tea, No
Shade: New Writings in Black
Queer Studies.

In my old political science department, they hired a black professor, Bernard Moore, who ended up being a total crook. While he was an assistant professor at Williams College, he admitted to student aid fraud, bank fraud and Social Security fraud. For example, he went on disability, collected his benefits, and then went back to work. According to federal prosecutors, Bernard opened over 90 credit card accounts under a variety of different aliases. This obvious affirmative action hire ended up getting fired by Williams in 2009 after pleading guilty to fraud adding up to $821,977.97 

Here's a really profound example of affirmative action gone wrong. Kai M. Green '07 is a former African American student who decided she wanted to become a man. Kai Green or Dr. G. ended up as an assistant professor in the department of women’s, gender and sexuality studies (WGSS). Kai M. Green appears to be something of an exhibitionist. She revealed the results of what looks like botched top surgery in a photo on the cover of No Tea, No Shade: New Writings in Black Queer Studies. She does not appear to be shy about her poor mental health either. Check out Kai Green's own report on her most recent psychotic episode from her Facebook page:
I have been trying to process all of the things that have happened in the last week, on multiple scales. Two weeks ago I asked that the chair of my program (WGSS) to resign because of her “unchair-like” behaviors for which she refused to be accountable for. This is where I'm at and this is some of what I remember about the last week.
1. There’s a lot going on.
2. I took all of my feelings and put them into my work.
3. I wrote maybe 15 articles. I picked up my Bible and discovered I know how to preach!
4. On Tuesday, Nov. 13th, I woke up around 4am (I don’t know if I had actually gone to sleep). I got dressed and got my Bible and went walking around Williamstown. I called my mother and asked her to pray for me. I called my father and he asked me to pray with him. I called Charlene and asked her to sing to me. One of my colleagues saw me sitting on the side of the road and stopped to check in with me and sit with me.
5. What I didn’t say to everyone I was reaching out to is that I WAS AFRAID! I started to believe that my chair wanted to assassinate me and that if I walked into my office, I’d die. So I walked around campus for 3 hours or so before my class with my Bible (the one I stole from the hotel I was at a few weeks ago;)
6. I had a great class. It was dope and filled my spirit.
7. I was less afraid after teaching, so I went back to my office.
8. Later that evening Dr. Kim Love and I went to the Clark to watch the stars like we always do.
9. Cops showed up. Flashing lights and told us we had to go. I froze. Hands up. Kim (Dr.Love) spoke and said WE ARE NOT LEAVING. There were other cars and there was no reason we had to leave. The cops left.
10. They return 10 minutes later, lights flashing. Our/my hands are up. They tell us that they know who we are (Kim has a faculty sticker on her car), “Kimberly Love and David Smith.”
11. They left. They wanted us to know they knew us. But they didn’t. D.L. (David L Smith) was one of my most prolific professors—he’s still here—still being brilliant—still teaching. But that is not MY name.
12. It hurt, but I couldn’t feel it.
13. I began writing with even more fervor. Kim and I co-authored a piece. We both started working and working and we forgot….
14. I stopped eating. I stopped sleeping. I was not sad, I was excited, because what is happening here at Williams and ALL over is that people are organizing and creating new worlds for themselves without permission.—We trying to get FREE!
15. I don’t know what happened between Tuesday evening and Wednesday evening all the way.
16. I know that I had a guest speaker, my sister-kin Je Naé Taylor(https://www.gildapapoose.com/). Divine Alignment.
17. Je Naé somehow found her way from Albany to Williamstown and managed to get into my house. I had stopped responding to phone calls and would not leave my room.
18. Kim stayed in the room with me all day as I shared ALL the FEELINGS I had been intellectualizing by writing articles and WORKING. We had both not been sleeping or eating or just taking care of our bodies.
19. We have been moving like we are in war—because WE are!
20. That evening Kim and I finally came out of the bedroom. Je Naé had been patiently waiting for and holding us all day—that’s Black Love.
21. We head to Mango Thai (we only have about 4 restaurants in Williamstown;)
22. After folk ordered their food to go, I suggest we go to the Clark instead (the very place we had been harassed by the Police the night before.). I was convinced that there was a new restaurant that had CURRY GOAT! lol
23. No one wanted to go with me, so I ask to be let out the car. I began walking from Spring street to the Clark. I started to cry, ugly cry, because I started to believe that Lil Kai had been murder by the police. I called Kim crying and relayed the news. (that was just my Black imagination stuck in a loop). I hung up the phone. And kept walking.
24. I then realized that it wasn’t Lil Kai who died, but my lil cousin Mekhi. I began to cry and cry and CRY because I had so many regrets about not getting a chance to really know or see the beautiful person I know he is. Luckily Mekhi is still with us—again that was just my Black imagination running away with me.
25. I begin singing songs and praying prayers I learned from my Grandma and "THE BLACK JOY EXPERIENCE" (https://www.facebook.com/…/byp100-present…/1898516523533003/). Every morning before school, Grandma made us all kneel by the bed and pray aloud (I was so afraid of praying aloud!)—
26. FEAR
27. My walking continued into the wilderness (LITERALLY). I wanted to get to the Clark to pray for all those I love who feel unlovable. I prayed for everyone I could remember.
28. Oh, I forgot to say that I started taking my clothes off piece by piece, so by the time I got to the Clark I was completely naked. My clothes were like breadcrumbs on the dark road.
29. Eventually Police came and put me in the back of the car. I can’t remember if I hand handcuffs on. I remember handcuffs because I was singing to myself “we have nothing to lose but our chains.” I remember thinking the song was magic spell that would unlock the cuffs.
30. I was eventually taken to the ER by ambulance and committed to Jones 3, (http://www.berkshirehealthsystems.org/psychiatricintensivec…). I was there for 5 days.
31. I didn’t talk to anyone for the first 2 days, and every time someone looked at me I just raised my hands and began crying.
32. This is why I missed NWSA and ASA. I didn’t even know I missed it. I had no phone and no access except through a landline.
My biggest fear, I learned is to be considered crazy. But I have no choice in this world full of a crazy that is not of my own making--Racial Capitalism.
Thank you all for LOVING me so fiercely. I have learned from you ALL how to love myself even more fiercely. We need rest. We need food. I need rest, I need food. AND I need colleagues to understand the insidiousness anti-blackness and it's not just about me....#doitforthedamned #doitforthedamn #crazyBlack #freeBlack #blackloveisblackwealth
I guess we can take comfort in the fact that Kai M. Green was not caught eating anyone's head while she was wigged out last year. It will be interesting to me to see what happens after her medical leave comes to an end. For now, it looks like the demand for affirmative action at Williams College has gone so far that the school will now overlook the flaws of candidates who suffer from chronic delusional disorder.

All in all, it looks like a good bet that the school will continue to overlook even the most bizarre and telling red flags as part of a larger effort to make a formerly great school into a monument to identify politics.

John C. Drew, Ph.D. is an award-winning political scientist.

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