An Editor’s note: This is the first of a two part series. At its essence, the willingness to protest represents less a response to a perceived affront than the acting out of a state of mind.
Often, the desire to change the offending situation that is beyond our reach may be an incidental benefit and not the real motivation. Rather, those of us who speak out are moved by a deep sense of the fragility of our self-worth.
It is the determination to protect our sense of who we are that leads us to risk criticism, alienation and serious loss while most others, similarly harmed, remain silent.
Derrick Bell, first-tenured Black professor at the Harvard Law School, sacrificed his teaching job by protesting the absence of minority women on the law faculty.
This letter will likely not be published, for such things tend not to be done in the world of higher education. Former professors are rarely if ever permitted post-mortem voice, especially if that voice is critical commentary.
Just the same, I know some of my former students might like to read this. So, why keep it from them? By now, you are aware I am not returning to teach French and Spanish this year.
It was not necessarily my choice, since I did enjoy interacting with many of you. Currently, I am unemployed and collecting unemployment insurance from the State of Louisiana, though living in Massachusetts.
Four essays of mine, sent to The Gramblinite last academic year, were never published. In fact, neither editors nor staff ever responded with their regard. Eventually, I shall resubmit them because of their pertinence to your education.and to your professors!
Hopefully, this year’s editorial staff might prove more responsive than last year’s. If not, then indeed your professors have been doing a great job.teaching you that silence is the best form of expression in the professional realm.
See no evil, hear no evil, and especially speak no evil. Indeed, it has become the very key to “success” in our so-called democracy. Sadly, it has become the key to “success” in the nation’s institutions of so-called higher learning, including Grambling State.
Dr. G. Tod Slone is a former GSU foreign language professor.