Here’s a fact; despite white people’s white and tearsy claims that HBCUs are inherently racist because they exclude white people, Caucasian students can and do attend Black colleges and they even receive minority scholarships in order to do so. But every once in a while, a story comes along about one that chooses to do so that ultimately leaves current students and alumni scratching their heads.
Meet Michael Newman.
According to Fox 6, Newman attended Howard University School of Law on a scholarship until he was expelled in September 2022 because Black students at the school took issue with a series of what they considered to be racist (or at least problematic AF) remarks made by Newman during various interactions. But to let Newman tell it, his experiences at the University, as well as his expulsion, have caused him “pain, suffering, emotional anguish and damage to his reputation,” which is why he has filed a $2 million racial discrimination lawsuit against the university.
Now, UUUU know better. SMH
Fox 6 reports that issues arose after Howard switched to remote learning at the start of the pandemic, meaning students communicated through purely online forums and through GroupMe chats.
According to Newman’s lawsuit, one of those chats caused him strife and led to a myriad of other “issues.”
After a symposium featuring an African-American speaker in the run-up to the 2020 election, Newman said he posted on a professor’s forum page asking if further dialogue could be had on “whether: (1) Black voters didn’t question turning to government for solutions, and (2) reliably voting for the same party every election disincentivized both parties from responding to the needs of the black communities.”
Some students responded negatively to Newman’s post and reached out to school administrators, prompting Newman’s removal from one of his group chats for the class, according to the allegations.
Newman also described feeling “utterly disenfranchised” at the school and compared himself to a Black student at a primarily White university. The student response was again largely negative, with some calling his comment “offensive,” he claimed.
Newman repeatedly apologized for offending anyone, stressing he was seeking to “learn, not just law, but to learn the thoughts and experiences of people of color,” the lawsuit stated.
Newman is alleging that despite his attempts to apologize he was referred to as “mayo king” and “white panther” with students claiming that the “controversies” that they blamed on Newman had caused “severe stress” and “distracted them from their studies.
Newman tried to remedy the situation by sending out a four-part letter explaining his views, but the effort was labeled a “manifesto,” with one student accusing him of “manipulating [classmates’] emotions … as a social experiment,” the lawsuit said. The letters allegedly resulted in Newman’s removal from a second class-wide group chat.
So, according to the lawsuit, Newman feels he only received so much backlash for his controversial remarks because he is white, which, honestly, might be true, but not for the reason he thinks.
It’s not like his white skin is, in and of itself, disqualifies him from having opinions on things concerning the Black collective. But Black people don’t tend to appreciate input on Black issues coming from people who have zero lived experience being Black, or even a person of color, in a world dominated by whiteness. It just reeks of white privilege.
And before white people start calling me hypocritical for what they perceive as a racial double standard, they need to ask themselves honestly how often it has occurred to them to grill fellow white people about how they vote, why they vote, and how the simple act of voting constitutes “turning to government for solutions.”
It also probably didn’t help Newman’s case much that Black students learned that Newman had previously tweeted a picture of a whipped slave that included the caption, “But we don’t know what he did before the picture was taken,” which, according to the lawsuit, Newman defended by claiming it was meant to mock people who “attempt to explain away videos of police brutality by claiming the victim must have committed wrongdoing before the video started.” (OK, but if white people are going to be included in Black spaces, they really might want to learn how to read a melanated room.)
Anyway, eventually, it got so bad between Newman and his Black peers that administrators decided it was time to give Newman the boot.
More from Fox 6:
School of Law Dean Danielle Holley later secretly recorded a Zoom meeting she called with Newman and McGahee, during which she suggested Newman transfer to another school, accusing him of racially harassing classmates, according to the allegations.
During a digital town hall attended by 300 participants to discuss controversies surrounding Newman, Holley allegedly characterized Newman’s letters as “disturbing in every sense of the word,” according to the suit. She allegedly blocked him from using several functions to try and speak up in his defense, even disabling the chat function and turning off his camera.
Holley and Newman wound up filing simultaneous complaints, with Holley accusing Newman of “continual harassment of member [sic] of the Howard Law community, and disturbance of the learning environment at the School of Law.” At the same time, Newman claimed Holley had perpetuated “threats,” “discrimination” and a “hostile academic environment.”
In a panel reviewing Holley’s complaint, the school determined that Newman was “responsible” and ruled that he should be expelled.
Meanwhile, Frank Tramble, Vice President, and Chief Communications Officer for Howard told Fox 6 the school will “vigorously defend itself in this lawsuit as the claims provide a one-sided and self-serving narrative of the events leading to the end of the student’s enrollment at the University.”
Several people are wondering if the student’s enrollment was a ploy all along to file the lawsuit.
Happy last day of Black History Month! Smh…
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