On Tuesday Hunter College Puts Whitney Dow's "Whiteness Project" To Test

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Image from the "Whiteness Project" Q and A with Dow in NYmag

[Op-Ed] On September 9 The Black Star News published my article about a Hunter College Dean's list student who was denied a life-time chance to graduate with fellow students after Professor Whitney Dow gave her a failing grade supposedly because she missed too many lectures when in fact she has a doctor's note for the critical class in question.

She has appealed and it's due to be heard Tuesday October 6. Sustaining the "fail" grade would amount to a hate crime.

I have been a professional journalist for almost 20 years. I worked as an investigative journalist in Houston, New York, Massachusetts and most recently in Montana. I broke many stories during this time, and I've witnessed just about everything imaginable.

People in New York --Manhattan and Upstate-- as well as most in the journalism community know my work. The Village Voice,  High Times,The New York Times, The New York Post and The New York Daily News have all published stories of mine. Most importantly, everybody knows I am not a firebrand, a bomb thrower or one to incite undue malice on anyone in a career that now spans three decades.

But to be frank, in all that time have I never experienced the utter, wanton horror currently unfolding at Hunter College's uptown campus.

The student --a dean's list West African immigrant-- after working for years on getting her degree in media studies at Hunter College, could endure a twenty-first century academic lynching. Her nemesis is Whitney Dow, a race-obsessed adjunct. His superior, media department chairman James Roman seems to have sided with him preemptively.

Hunter College president Jennifer Raab could have taken quick action.

The three of them are responsible for the student not yet having her degree without any defensible justification.

Hunter College spin will surely be that is merely academics, but that is the furthest thing from the truth.

If she was not an African woman she would not have endured the nightmare as previously reported.

Instead she will now face a "grade appeal board," without a single Black person that will determine her fate on Tuesday at noon. Sure, they will go though the motions, but the setup amounts to a kangaroo court.

The power that be had already sided with Whitney Dow, founder of the "Whiteness Project."

What is the Whiteness Project?

That is a perplexing question. It has been thoroughly denounced by African-Americans and Whites. What I find disturbing about the Whiteness Project is the glossy, Super Bowl advertisement quality Whitney Dow put into racist whites saying "proud to be white" on camera.

According to what he told NYMag, Dow believes White people "don’t have a lot of experience talking about whiteness." Dow also claims White identity "enhances your life incredibly and enriches your experience in the world." The NYMag photo accompanying Dow's Q &A  promoting the glossy site, highlights the line- "I'm proud to be white" from Dow's website.

I'm sure David Duke, Mathew Hale as well as all the other bigoted folks and White nationalists at stromfront.org would agree with Dow. They too believe "White pride," is something that has been marginalized and normally something White people do not care to verbally or even internally express.

Another disturbing aspect of Dow's strange racial dialogues "Whiteness Project" is how he frames his narratives. What African-Americans face everyday in the United States is just mere entertainment for him, actually comparing incidents like the choking death of Eric Gardner to a short, one act play on a "stage."

"Whether it’s Ferguson or Trayvon Martin, we’re continually replaying this vignette," Dow aloofly says.

Dow's response to social media's totally denouncing his White pride site was most telling. Dow told NY-Mag "What is outrageous about speaking the truth?"

Dow then acknowledged that he does in fact harbor racist impulses. "I would argue that all white people, myself included, hold some of the most discomforting things we see somewhere inside us," Dow said. "I think some of them are actually racist, but I think we’re all actually racist to some degree. And I think that I’m also very aware of the power dynamic that I wield in that situation."

That is an interesting observation coming from a professor who is embroiled in accusations of racism from one of his own ethnic minority students, considering how "very aware of the power dynamic that" Dow would "wield" in a "situation" like he now faces with his student.

Since Dow is so "very aware" that "inside" he is "racist to some degree"  the racially-coded comments he made to me on September 9, 2015 about the student being "incredibly aggressive, incredibly abusive. Attacking me" were not an accident.  It was conscious effort by Dow. It's a well tested ploy in many situations-- remember how Ferguson's Darren Wilson claimed his victim Michael Brown was "aggressive" and even "demonic"?

Dow even had the blind arrogance to fabricate what he claimed were words she wrote to him in an e-mail message. He falsely told The Black Star News that she wrote the following words which he read: "Whitney, you are a racist. You always were a racist and you look down at me because I am from East Africa."

Prof. Dow claimed he was the victim.

The problem is the student is from West Africa -- and she would know. She never wrote such an e-mail message.

Talk about playing the race card.

What is even more disturbing about Whitney Dow's abuse of the student, failing her and denying her the degree is that he appears to have the backing of the Hunter College media department.

What is the point of a "grade appeal" hearing if James Roman the chairman of the media department preemptively sided with Prof. Dow in an August 26 private e-mail message, responding to Dow's version of the incident: "Hi Whitney. Your response and explanation appear to be very sound based upon the requirements articulated in the syllabus. All the best.."

Did the chairman send a similar e-mail message to the student about her version of the incident?

The "grade appeal" panel that will decide the student's fate includes: Prof. Shanti Thakur; Prof. Ivon Margulies; Prof. Carol Adams; and, Hunter President Raab.

To be totally honest, it is not the student or even myself that is driving this story. It is equally Raab's behavior --not taking decisive action all along-- and poor judgment along with Dow's ugly mischaracterization of her email message appeal letter that has turned this into a scandal.

This is the real Hunter College "Whiteness Project" and why Dow could get away with such behavior.

 

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