Dear Chenjerai Kumanyika,
I was troubled by the condescending tone of your letter to Coach Dabo Swinney, so I felt it was only fair to respond in kind, although I don’t think I can live up to your expectations.
I’m a student at Clemson. We met briefly at the Sikes Sit-In, where you compared my student government campaign poster imagery to Dylan Roof, the Charleston shooter.
I’ve listened to you before though, when you implied I was a despicable racist on social media for daring to hold a legal rifle and U.S. Constitution on private property in front of an American Flag. You never reached out to me once. I wanted to share some impressions.
I cringed when you, a non-Muslim, wore a traditional, Islamic head scarf to the Donald Trump rally last year. Talk about cultural appropriation. Given your status as a professor at Clemson, the selective video editing to make it appear as if you were being removed for “your religion” is staggering and troubling.
To your credit though, your “test of our rights to practice the democratic process”, was well-intentioned as you nobly blocked the view of those sitting behind you, a statement of solidarity for groups that sometimes feel marginalized by campaign rhetoric.
You acknowledged that you don’t think that ALL Trump supporters are bigoted, and you merely wanted to start a conversation about equality for all. For a moment there, although you attempted to use me as political fodder to further your narrative of a “racist, backwoods Clemson,” I felt tempted to take one of your classes.
But then I read your “Rate My Professor profile.”
Dr. Kumanyika, I really wish I hadn’t done that.
In your Rate My Professor profile, you have an overall quality score of 1.8 out of 5. One student opines that you’re the “Worst professor I have ever had.” Grading is described as “unnecessarily tough and completely arbitrary” and your classroom habits include “cutting students off before they can finish a sentence, which scares most students into silence.” As a communications professor, I was very surprised to see one student say “Also never answers emails.” I thought that came with the territory.
The two comments that stuck with me were “Terrible. Worst class ever. Very condescending.” and “inside the classroom it’s as if he finds joy in making you feel stupid.” Perhaps you should take some of this feedback to heart.
Your open letter to Dabo indicated that much of this student criticism is true. At the Sikes Sit-In, you talked to me about compassion, yet the level of condescension in your writing is unbearable. Clearly, you are highly educated on the writings of MLK, by all accounts, a truly compassionate individual, but opt for an economic rant on class warfare instead of highlighting wisdom such as, “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
I’ll say that after a cursory glance at your twitter, I know you’re not a Communist now! You’re merely a self-described “anarcho-socialist.” Now I know why your statements against Dabo conjure up images of Capitalists in monocles and orange top-hats, suppressing the Clemson proletariat.
Although I’m sure President Nicolás Maduro would smile at your teachings, how exactly are the policies you’re advocating for working out in Venezuela? This is a country with a year round growing season and the largest oil reserves in the world. Crippling food shortages, arbitrary seizure of private businesses, and enslaving citizens to work farms are all things we can look forward to in your coming socialist utopia.
What better way to get your name and ideology out there than by condescendingly attacking perhaps the most genuine coach in college football? You’ve ridiculed the name of an incredible man, dearly loved by the Clemson community.
The rest of your letter lays the amalgamation of our nation’s problems at the feet of a college football coach, including, but not limited to, murder, unemployment, and the exploitation of prison laborers. Perhaps you should take these concerns up with the socialists currently running our country.
Now we all know that $55 million is a large chunk of cash for a football facility. As an anarcho-socialist, I know it’s tempting to redistribute the wealth, but not so fast! Currently, Clemson students do not fund Clemson football directly with their tuition. I realize this fact is disappointing, given that you teach the morals of taking other people’s money every day. Redistributing money from private IPTAY donations, ticket sales, and merchandise is not only immoral, but a temporary solution.
You go on to describe the lack of a day care center and treatment of Clemson’s international graduate students as “injustice.” Plans for a day care center at Clemson University were officially put in motion last year. Your explanation for how poorly our international graduate students are treated is nonexistent.
In addition, the affirmative-action style enrollment processes you’re asking for are insulting to the intelligence of African-Americans across the nation. Race has nothing to do with intellect and shouldn’t appear on college admissions packets, period. These policies are unconstitutional, violating the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.
You say that you’re tired of hearing you’re divisive and go on to call Coach Swinney a “stumbling block.” The problem is, you are divisive. Your self-promoting antics aren’t furthering noble visions of equality; instead they’re driving people further apart. The kind of injustices you’re speaking about could only be generated from the ivory towers of extremist, far-left academia.
Describing Dabo as “a white man who makes somewhere in the area of $5 million a year from the physical labor and bodily risk of unpaid black athletes” is not only disingenuous, it’s insulting to his legacy. You say, “Coach Swinney, I know that you are not racist,” while attempting to equate him to a slave master on “the former plantation of John C. Calhoun.” Nobody is buying this race-baiting tripe.
Coach Swinney’s life has been plagued with hardships and he knows firsthand what it’s like to undergo bodily risk as an unpaid wide receiver at Alabama. His alcoholic father and polio-stricken mother didn’t have easy lives of their own. In order to provide for his impoverished family, he had to share a dorm room with his mother. When summer came, he cleaned gutters and worked odd jobs to get by.
In your reference to Dabo, you attempt to discredit a lifetime of struggle based on the color of his skin. Have you heard MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech? In it, he states “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
Does any of this sound familiar?
If, after reading my letter, you find you disagree with me, the majority of your students, and most of the Clemson community, please spare us the continuation of your employment here.
We won’t take your class.