Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Activist Says: 'I Want Anger' - Seyi Olaose '22 and Isaiah Blake '21 Rant at White Students at June 9, 2019 Williams College Student Council Meeting

To provide prospective students and their parents with insight into the dysfunctional culture of Williams College, I thought it would helpful to review a transcript of the verbal abuse recently leveled against white student representatives at the April 9, 2019 College Council meeting. To make it easier to compare the transcript with the video, I have uploaded a version of the video that aligns with the transcript presented below.

To keep it interesting, I'll add in my commentary as appropriate. I'll start by saying that Seyi Olaose '21 creeps me out with her controlling behavior. When I taught at Williams College in the late 1980's my area of focus was child abuse and neglect. I'm hypersensitive to verbal abuse. In the following exchange, she is basically taunting the white student representatives, basically daring even shaming them to talk back to her. She is supported in this effort by the actor/student Isaiah Blake, '21. As you may know Isaiah has appeared in a number of films including Newton's Law and The Rainbow Experiment.

Start - 50:27

SO: And that’s valid too. Like, if you want to talk, you can talk. But seems like you’all…you…you had a lot to say. So where is it now?

WH: Thank you, guys. You should have gotten your money. You got money. Then I’m very happy if you got your money.

IB: Wow. Wow. That’s crazy.

SO: Say it to me.

Student Representative: I’m sorry this is so hard for you guys. I was just at the end. You know. (PAUSE) I don’t know what to say.
At this point, I can only assume that some of the white students in the room were tearing up as a consequence of the abusive language coming from IB and SO. The speakers apparently notice the tears and use the white student's display of emotion to further their humiliation.

SO: This is white liberal s***.

IB: This is the s***, the tears…

SO: Because nobody wants to talk. Because you had a lot of questions. You had a lot of questions. And I’ve had classes with you. I know what kind of d***heads you are. I’ve had political science with you. It’s s*** that opens up all a yo white moderate f***ing liberal bullshit. I know the type of person you are. So what do you want to say?

WH: I haven’t taken a poly sci class here.

SO: I wasn’t talking to you.

WH: I’m sorry.

This last bit is kind of inspiring since the young white student pushes back on SO for making an inaccurate generalization. What creeps me out is that she asks for feedback, but then shuts down anyone with the nerve to confront her. This strikes me as classic controlling behavior. It is consistent with the suggestion that the student speakers are attempting rule Williams College through fear and intimidation. It will be interesting to me to see how, if at all, the administration seeks to improve what Maud has identified as a culture of open antagonism.

All in all, I'm most impressed with the bearing and peacemaking of TW. After reviewing the tape, he looks like the strongest and most gracious person in the room. When too many of his fellow student representatives absorbed the speaker's verbal abuse without comment, Tristan stood up to these bigots, as follows:

Start - 51:20

TW: When you were sitting here and you were in discussion, I observed the regular order and I gave you a certain parliamentary respect that we do, and I would just ask in your conversation with me that you preserve that same respect. Now, the first thing…the first thing, when you referred to what I was writing. What I was writing down was in reference to what you were saying…it was a note of sort. And, you mentioned that why isn’t black previews called minority previews? And that was something that was said in here. That was something that I found problematic. It was, it was, it was never suggested in here that black previews be called minority previews. I think that’s where, kind of…

SO: This is on?! You’all wanna to run it back? Actually how many people remember me?

WH: I’ll respond to that. I, I was the person who said that.

SO: Oh. You have the minutes?

WH: I can respond. I was the person who said that. That was just a comment about the inclusive nature. I think that what you said and what other people in this room said resolved my, all of my concerns about the inclusive nature of your event.

SO: How long did that take? How long did that take? Very f***ing long. For you. For you, your problems to get resolved. I had to f***ing sit here. I had practice at 8:00 o’clock. I did not have time for ya n***ers.

IB: Have you eaten today?

SO: I have not f***ing eaten today! BECAUSE YA DUMB ASS N***ERS WANTA F***ING TALK! Inclusion. Inclusion. FUCK YOUR INCLUSION! (HITS TABLE) BECAUSE I’M F***ING EXCLUDED. How many people look like you in this f***ing room right now?! How many people?!

WH: One!
This was actually some of the best comic relief during this whole regrettable incident. I don't know the student's name, but good for him too. You cannot deny the sheer logic of his response. After all, he doesn't have a twin brother in the room. I think the intellectual environment at Williams College would improve if there were more courageous students like this.

At first, I did not understand why Seyi Olaose indicates she is frustrated that there aren't any black women in the room. The key to her views is a speech she gave in high school. It reveals that she believes it is a normal human reaction for her to react in fear if she doesn't see a certain number of blacks in a room with her.

I should add that one of the things that strikes me as extremely odd about the speaker's bigoted tirade is the way they repeatedly address the white students as niggers. I have never seen that before. The only explanation that makes sense to me is that this is another way that the black activist students lord their power over their white peers. Since white students are socially prohibited from using the word niggers, the black students are taunting them with language which cannot be answered under these bizarre social conditions. The discourse on campus might be improved if there was a new social compact where a white person can call a black person a nigger but only if the black person called the white person a nigger first?

SO: What the…? ARE YOU BLIND, MY N***ER? WHAT DO YOU MEAN ONE?! YOU’RE A WHITE MAN! I can count f***ing how many? Literally this f***ing row. They look like you! Who is the black woman who look like me?

IB: You look like her?

WH: No.

IB: Oh, okay. What the hell!

SO: Great. At least you know something. Now I know why you got to Williams.

The comment "Now I know why you got to Williams" got my attention. I think it should be obvious that a blond white guy got into Williams College because of his extraordinary test scores and probably some impressive athletic or artistic talents too. It was clearly inappropriate for SO to demean him by suggesting that there was a puzzle about what qualified him to matriculate at Williams College. Again, it is difficult to imagine a situation where a white student might say that the black students confronting them were there only due to the need to provide more non-white faces in the diversity catalog.

All in all, this episode is a telling reminder of a dysfunctional culture of open antagonism where black students can repeatedly verbally abuse white students and get away without suffering similar abuse.

As Maud Mandel has noted in her letter to the college community, many schools are dealing with the conflict inherent in the practice of establishing segregated spaces in an attempt to improve diversity and inclusion.  In the next portion of the transcript, we see the speaker IB deal with the issue of segregation by first noticing it in the room and then asking for it outside of the room.

Start - 53:10

IB: I’m just so confused. Because I did the same comment. I did the same and I don’t care or understand how the logic. I just don’t get it. The critical thing of the room is on the ground. I just don’t get it. Could you dare? How? Are we witnessing this? Am I here today? Because I can’t believe this. The room is literally segregated. Do you notice that?! Did you notice that? Because I noticed that from being here three seconds.

SO: Me too.

IB: What the hell! I just don’t understand it. Like how could you be so blind? I don’t know. Silence. Everyone goes back to talk to their fathers and their f***ing friends and all these God damn s*** and nothing gets to resolve. We just lose our breath. Right?

SO: Right? This is not a f***ing show.

IB: I’m not f***ing performing for you. This is not a monologue we created. We didn’t practice the lines before we came here. This is the lines of life. We do this s*** every day. I was talking to my father. I was living my life. I had essays and labs. Leave things behind. But here I am. You didn’t have to do that today. You get to catch up on your homework. Don’t tell me you’all have hard work. Don’t tell me you tired. I’m sick and tired of white people telling me they’ve got f***ing s*** to do. Because this wasn’t in their schedule today and damn, it wasn’t in mine.

SO: Not in my schedule.

IB: But, yet. Here I am wasting time, energy and life. And what do I got to do? You know what I have to do after this? You know what we have to do after this? We gotta find a space and time and community to heal and resist. It looks something like…black previews. And then when we ask for point four of a budget, we get asked to f***ing include you. What the f***?! After we done dealt with this s***.

And we say I just want a little bit of a break. I just want a little bit of an affinity house. I just want a little bit of a not having to speak to Charles Derbyshire time. I just want to have to deal with all these things. And then to come back and get asked: ‘Can it, can it be everyone else?’ What the f***? Everyone else isn’t here right now. It’s just us. We had to leave the meeting just to be here…with you. With ya’all. It’s your job. It is your job right there. And your job right there. And your job right there to be doing the work. We tired!

At this point, it looks like the room has been slowly filling up with other black students. As far as I can tell, SO addressed the room on her own earlier. She then contacted IB and requested that he come and defend her to the College Council. She or IB may have also sent messages to other black students to join them at the College Council meetings. Ironically, this example of piling on illustrates one of the dangers of the black community that John Derbyshire suggests white parents should warn their children. In particular, he cautions that it is best to leave an area if a large number of black people suddenly dominate a public space. IB recognizes the arrival of other black students and explains this show of force as a hallmark of genuine black community.

IB: Another one. You see when you call community they come. That’s what community looks like. Not some minority black guy. What are you talking about? Community looks like…if I call YOU SHOW UP because we’re getting eviscerated, embarrassed in this space. We having to suck d*** and then tell you we don’t like the way it tastes.

That’s what’s happening today. Sure we got the money. But we sick and tired of having to beg, steal, barter, go into every f***ing office, suck some more d*** just to ask for some shit. That’s crazy! Just so that we can get more community. We didn’t ask to interrupt this space. But you have some way of intruding in ours. We didn’t ask for none of that and yet here…we…are. What’s wrong with you?
From IB's comments, it is clear that he sees himself and his fellow black students as invaders who have taken over the space set aside for white male students. Sadly, the social climate has gotten so bad at Williams College that the school is already segregated...at least in the mind of IB.

At this point in the video, I assume more of the white representatives are tearing up. Normally, these tears should humanize them in the eyes of their verbal abusers. In this case, however, they only enrage SO further. I believe it is fairly common for abusers to believe they have the right, the authority, and even the responsibility to tell others how they should react. In this portion of the transcript, you can see how SO and IB interacted with each other for dramatic effect.

Start - 56:17

IB: What’s wrong with you?

SO: And do not look at…don’t look at us with tears.

IB: I don’t want your tears.

SO: I don’t want that. I want anger. You should all be f***ing angry. I…I sat there and I had to f***ing listen to every single person. While I was siting there like my voice is not f***ing…I could not f***ing speak! I WANTED SO BAD TO TELL HIM TO F*** YOURSELF. F*** YOURSELF. F***. ALL OF YA SHOULD ALL F*** YOURSELF.

IB: You had to be real nice.

SO: But I had to be real nice to get some f***ing money. So all you had to say was f***ing motion, I approve. What the f***. You should be f***ing angry.

IB: You just told me ‘You got the money so you should be quiet.’ That’s f***ing crazy, son. (HITS DESK) I can’t believe this man said that to me in my face. You got your money so you should be quiet. What the f***?! That’s what they say. Right. You got your financial aid, shut the f*** up. Right?! You got your little house. Right. You got your little food. Right. Shut the f*** up. You don’t need nothing else. You got your job at the best institution in the f***ing school So you shouldn’t ask for nothing else. Right? We made it number one. You couldn’t be number one without me. Period. So what’s the word?! Every time we ask for something, you’all grant it, your rating stays up. So what the hell is the part of the equation. I don’t get it, son. You only go to the number one liberal arts school because I’m here, n***er. Period

If we weren’t here could you possibly be? Or would you be some white exclusionary school who can’t do diversity. What?! So when we…try. What do you think we do when we do black previews? We retain pre-frosh. Fool! What’s wrong with you people?! I just don’t get it. You just said ‘You got your money. Stop talking. Why did you come back?’ Because you thought we had no honor. You said you got to come. You sucked it up. (SPAGHETTI SUCKING SOUND) What are we here for? To vomit it back out. We tired, son. I’m sorry. We couldn’t do it this time. You love it when we swallow. We couldn’t do it. Can’t believe that we just got told that to our face. That’s the level of respect that you have for me. Just in case you was confused with what you said to me.

When I heard IB make that spaghetti sucking sound on the video it reminded me of that moment in Silence of the Lambs where Hannibal Lecter tells Agent Starling that he once got a questionnaire from a census taker and reacted by killing him, cooking up his liver, and eating it with fava beans and a nice Chianti. (SPAGHETTI SUCKING SOUND)

It is clear that IB believes he is contributing to the U.S. News & World Report ratings of the school. I am guessing that these thoughts are not original to him. They are most likely repeated among those who believe that their primary contribution to the school is that they provide evidence of diversity. In truth, these ratings are more accurately seen as a consequence of the Williams College endowment.

This endowment, and the schools rural location, allow it to provide a high quality education at a lower than normal price. The U.S. News & World Report rating gives Williams College an advantage, in part, because it is a comparative bargain.

IB: When you said you got your money and so you should be quiet. I don’t even remember what you said. Because you know you all look like you. That’s that’s that’s what happened. Because when I get angry and enraged and stuff like that I don’t have the time to give you the dignity…no, in fact, I have the time to give you the dignity you gave to me. Because that’s what it looks like. That’s what it looks like. It’s crazy, son.

He just said, ‘Yo. Yo. I got somewhere to go. Can you please stop?’ What?! I had somewhere to go two hours ago. I missed work…to plan this shit. I missed…I missed everything…to plan it. What could I possibly be doing that I have to go and do all these other things? What could possibly be taking up my time? Why I can’t do my homework? He came for my job. He said, ‘Why aren’t you at work right now?’ What? It almost drives me crazy. Why am I not at work? Why am I not sleeping at night? Why do I have? What?

So I can take out time during my middle of my day to not do homework next Wednesday, so we can create space for black frosh’s. You ain’t creating it. You were going to create it? You were going to create minority previews? You was going to do it? Or the black woman who always got to do the God damn thing going to come in this space and create it. You was going to create minority previews, right? Right. God damn.

I think that the conventional wisdom is that the abusive behavior illustrated in this controversial video is that the black activist speakers were behaving this way as a reaction to their political environment and the way they have been treated as students on campus. I know enough about verbal and physical abusers, however, to call into question the conventional wisdom. Rage and controlling behavior, for example, can also be a side effect of drug and alcohol abuse. If either of these abusive students are in counseling, I'm confident that the therapist will ask them what, if anything, else contributed to their feelings of extreme frustration.

We see one of the greatest ironies in the objectionable video right at the very end. It turns out that both IB and SO believe that further visibility of their encounter with the College Council will work in their favor.

This assumption is consistent with the immediate after action spin off the event offered by the CC co-presidents. I think this is why they posted the video on the College Council's Facebook page. They sincerely thought the video made the white male students look bad. Unfortunately, the College Council made an even more foolish mistake when it deleted the video from their Facebook page after it was being linked to by numerous on-line sites including The College Fix.

IB and SO sought to invoke fear and further build their power and control over the College Council by threatening to expose them in some sort of movie or documentary film. As you may know, Isaiah Blake '21 does have experience in film. In 2018, for example, he was one of the stars of a film about the ramifications of a high school science project that left a New York student badly burned. The film was called The Rainbow Experiment and you can read about it here. By the way, creating films was part of the political activist style taught and practiced by Prof. Green, a self-described black transgender male.

Start - 59:53

IB: Oh, you want to make it all illusion. Why do you have to tell them what it’s like? What?! (PAUSE) This is what it’s like. We’ll make sure to tell them that this is how it was.

SO: Definitely!

IB: We’ll make sure.

SO: I’m going be text messaging…one or two.

IB: We’ll make some videos out of that shit. Because its wow.

SO: Best f***ing movie.

IB: I just can’t…believe it.

Finally, this tag team of anti-white bigots rounds off their evening with the most embarrassing moment of all, a not so subtle humiliation of the black/minority students in the room. The aim, as far as I can tell, is to embarrass the minority students for not being as aggressive and as black nationalistic woke as the speakers. The controlling nature of this final exchange is cringe-worthy. Even IB, an obviously sensitive actor, seems to realize that he has gone too far.

IB: You have anything to say Cleveland? Or, or Shane? Cause you know ni***ers never get to say anything?

SB: I’ve said everything I felt I needed to say (Unintelligible) sometimes…the nature of council is just kind of (Unintelligible) questionable.

IB: Shane, why aren’t you president? Why didn’t you run president again? Why didn’t you run for that other shit?

Shane: I wasn’t… (Unintelligible)

IB: Cleveland, you got something to say? (PAUSE) No. No. Okay, because of you… anyone?… you’all got something to say? Does the minority coalition in the minority cove? Because that’s what you’all look like over here. (LONG PAUSE) That’s all right. We want to make sure we open this space. We never get to be heard. (PAUSE) I’m done. You done?

SO: I am.

IB: Okay. I hope you have a great day. Goodnight. (SLAMS DOOR)
All in all, the video of the April 9, 2019 College Council meeting is an excellent example of the sort of critical race theory activism that tore up Evergreen State College. Surprisingly, the black student activists were so proud of this outburst that they planned to prolong their righteous indignation by staging a demonstration in support of IB and SO. According to a report in the Williams Record, however, this demonstration was cancelled after the video recording was shared on other platforms.

"A larger protest had been planned," the Williams Record says, "but cancelled because of student fears about safety after last week’s meeting livestream was distributed by several online sites."

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

No comments:

Post a Comment

Most Popular Posts