Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Black Folks' Rule #4081: Know When To Shut Up And Sit Down.

A viral video of a college student being cuffed in class is circulating the web, and bringing back memories of Gates-gate. But I wonder if many folks are jumping to conclusions yet again, without considering context.
University of Wisconsin Milwaukee student Robyn Foster may have crossed the line last Monday, March 15, during a discussion with Anthropology professor Kathleen Foley Winkler.

In a video posted to YouTube, a student identified as Foster yells back-and-forth with Foley Winkler, who remains off camera, reportedly arguing over the wording of a question on a recent exam.

Things got heated and when a fellow student told Foster to sit down. Foster allegedly threw a water bottle at the student, compelling the professor to call campus police. That's when an unnamed fellow student and intern at a Milwaukee TV station began recording the incident.

Campus police arrived and took Foster to the ground when she refused to leave the classroom. Foster now faces a charge of disorderly conduct. A witness told WTMJ radio that before calling police, Foley Winkler gave Foster "four or five chances" to leave the classroom on her own.
Here's the video. You sorta have to wait a sec for the action to start, but watch the whole thing or you'll miss the context.

Predictably, this has some folks yelling "racism", claiming that the girl wouldn't have been arrested if she weren't black, and drawing comparisons to the Henry Louis Gates/Cambridge cops kerfuffle.


Watch the video. Homegirl is clearly way outta pocket. She'd tossed a bottle at a fellow student before this video got rolling. She'd interrupted class (for 15 minutes!) because she was "arguing over the wording of a question on a recent exam". You'd think they'd just given her an unwanted rectal exam if you look at the reaction.

Were the cops (who seem to just materialize out of nowhere, I have no idea how long they were watching) out of line for arresting her? Sure. But she specifically told them "I ain't goin' nowhere, so you gon' have to carry my ass out if you wanna!" And so they did.

You really can't defend this sorta conduct. She had thrown a bottle at a fellow student, and was cursing out a professor for damn near 15 minutes before 5-0 showed up. I don't know what sorta campus UW-M is, but I'm assuming they don't just have a gang of cops sitting outside each classroom door. Reality is, if the professor called them (before this video began) it took them awhile to arrive. And still, Foster wouldn't stop running off at the mouth.

I hate watching a sista go out like this, but damn, black folks, we gotta learn. There's a time and place for everything. If you have an issue with the wording of an exam question, it's probably best to take it up with the professor after class. Not during, when you're certainly not going to gain any grace points by showing up the person responsible for your final grade, while also disrupting other students who paid just as much as you did for the privilege of learning.

Go. Sit. Down. Robyn Foster.

Question: Were the cops out of line for arresting this young lady in class, or is there a time and place for questioning a professor's decisions?

Robyn Foster Arrested (VIDEO): University of Wisconsin Milwaukee Student Yells At Students, Professor [HuffPost]

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