*Editor’s Notes: This writeup has been updated for accuracy. SB 361 goes for vote tomorrow in the Rules Committee in the Oklahoma House of Representatives.
OPINION | By Nehemiah D. Frank, Founder & Editor-in-Chief
Tulsa Community College’s willingness to yield its platform to Milo Yiannopoulos at one of its campuses undoubtedly echos the immoral behavior that allowed a white mob to invade the Greenwood District and massacre over 300 black residents during the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.
The government protected and supplied the involved-white participants: weapons, ammunition, and planes with full immunization.
No white Tulsan was ever charged by the state and federal justice system for the looting, destruction of 36 square blocks of black-owned business and homes nor for those black people they senselessly murdered, which included 38 lynchings of black male residents.
Moreover, no restitution or reparations have been paid to the victims nor their descendants.
Saint Augustine of Hippo, the Roman-African, profoundly said, “Lex iniusta non est lex.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., fervently reiterated the same quote centuries later during the Civil Rights Movement, “An unjust law is no law at all.”
On February 26, 2019, the Oklahoma Senate Judiciary Committee OKSB 361, the new law prohibits Oklahoma public colleges from choosing not to allow a speaker with a controversial message to engage with students.
The new law undoubtedly allows white supremacy the access with immunity to continue propagating the minds of the next generation with racist ideologies, which are harmful to a city that’s trying to reconcile with its past wrongs against Black residents.
Considering that the US Constitution already protected the freedom of speech, why did the Oklahoma Senate Judiciary Committee feel the need to pass such a partisan bill, with public tax dollars, through the Oklahoma legislature?
Think about it, none of the Black members of Congress want SB 361; furthermore, there are no black Republicans in the Oklahoma Senate.
State Congressman, Kevin Matthews — one of only two Black in the Oklahoma Senate, confirmed with the BWSTimes that Senate Republicans never approached him, concerning SB 361.
Now, these House Republicans in the Rules committee will pass the bill without thinking about their Black, Latinx, and Jewish constituency.
He stated, “They know I’m highly sensitive when it comes to issues around race,” verifying that many in the Oklahoma legislature are uncomfortable around issues of race.
Doesn’t the safety of her Black, Latinx, Jewish, Female, and Muslim students matter?
In an interview last year, here’s what Milo had to say:
“I am speaking on college campuses because education … is really what matters. It’s a crucible where these bad ideas are formed. Bad ideas like … progressive social justice, feminists, Black Lives Matter … that I think is so cancerous and toxic to free expression.”
Milo may be gay and married to a Black man, but it doesn’t negate the fact that he’s oblivious to why the Black Lives Matter movement began and why it continues.
It’s important to understand that the Black Lives Matter movement began long before it became a popular hostage; it began when the first blacks began resisting institutional slavery in America.
Our lives aren’t a game to be played with.
Oklahoma is an open carry without a permit state. And marginalized people need not be the targets of domestic terrorism after another one of his irresponsible speeches.
It’s interesting how quick Milo Yiannopoulos’ team booked Tulsa weeks after a bill that now protects racist hate speeches on college campuses.
Institutions of higher learning should be seeking to protect all of its students. TCC, however, doesn’t protect its Black, Latinx, and Jewish students — not when it welcomes a racist White supremacist to speak at one of its campuses.
Racism is the social disease that we need white people in power to speak and act publicly against.
On September 26, 2016, the President of TCC, Leigh B. Goodson issued a statement to the Tulsa community:
Statement from TCC President Leigh B. Goodson regarding death of student Terence Crutcher
“On Friday, Sept. 16, Tulsa Community College lost a member of our college community. In any situation, the passing of a student is difficult. The very public and graphic circumstances surrounding Terence Crutcher’s death make it especially important for us to acknowledge his loss to his family and our faculty, staff, students and community. We are saddened by his tragic death.
TCC employees have been asked to participate in an investigation conducted by the Tulsa Police Department. We are fully cooperating with that investigation. Terence was enrolled in a class starting Friday, Sept. 16 at the TCC Northeast Campus. On Thursday morning, the class was canceled due to low enrollment and we tried to notify all students by call and/or email about the cancelation.
It is important to me that I share what Terence Crutcher represented to our college community. He was a student who had openly expressed to our advisement staff and to others his desire to be successful in college. Like so many of the thousands of students at TCC, he brought to TCC his talents, hopes and dreams of creating a successful life by dedicating himself to completing a degree.”
Does President Goodson not realize that it was white supremacy’s ideology that triggered the fear in former Tulsa Police Officer, Betty Shelby, convincing her that Black men are presumably dangerous and that Terence’s Black life was without value because he hit a few stumbling blocks?
The same fear that Yiannopoulos will try instilling into the minds of those who attend his upcoming hate rally at TCC, with the approval of President Goodson, parallels that of Betty Shelby and the 1921 Tulsa Massacre.
Australia’s immigration minister, David Coleman, said that, Milo’s comments about Islam in the wake of the Christchurch massacre were “appalling and foment hatred and division.”
Twitter banned Milo Yiannopoulos for “inciting or engaging in the targeted abuse or harassment of others.” He twitted that Leslie Jones was “barely literate” and a “black dude,” which encouraged twitter trolls to attack Jones with racist tweets.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, “Milo Yiannopoulos tried to troll a Jewish journalist with Nazi symbols but it backfired on him.”
Two countries have banned Milo Yiannopoulos after his New Zealand Massacre remarks, so why would TCC President Leigh B. Goodson approve this? Perhaps she doesn’t have the guts to combat racism because she’s afraid of braking the law.
Will the President of TCC, Leigh B. Goodson, Ph.D. choose to operate within the white supremacy power structure that has further evolved, and with immunity, by the passing of SB 361, or will she make the righteous decision to be courageous and push back against White supremacy and hate speeches in order to show her Black, Latinx, and Jewish students that she won’t allow the institution, she’s in charge of, to be a vehicle that continues the legacy of racism in Tulsa and America?
Nehemiah D. Frank is the founder and executive editor of The Black Wall Street Times. He graduated from Harold Washington College in Chicago, IL, and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Oklahoma State University. A rising voice in America and an emerging leader in the education reform movement, Nehemiah frequently travels for speaking engagements around the country, is a blogger for Education Post, and has been featured on NBC as well as in Blavity and Tulsa People. Nehemiah is also a teacher at Sankofa School of the Performing Arts in Tulsa, OK, a 2017 Terence Crutcher Foundation honoree, a recipient of the 2017 METCares Foundation Community Impact Award, and a 2018 Oluko Fellow. He gave a TED Talk at the University of Tulsa in the spring of 2018.