Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Politics of Race and Profit in B-Lo Schools

The Sorority of The Sisterhood

Now that Pamela Brown is furiously pressing the eject button on her throne at City Hall before Carl Paladino and the Casucasian Caucus can press it for her July 1st, the question arises yet again: does a majority black school system need a black Superintendent to make it successful?  To the amazement of nobody WBEN’s listener poll clocked in with a resounding  91% nay vote to the above proposition. And therein, friends, lies the rub whenever the extremes dictate the norms. No secret either Brown's sudden willingness to stand down has nothing to do with the good of the children or the schools and everything to do with avoiding a much deserved skidmark down the middle of her tissue paper thin resume. Like her sisters, Lil Faith and Yammy, the thought of being sent packing for a job shittily done could be the deal breaker. All three of their inability to perform at any level of their job description beyond making it to M&T with photo ID every other Friday might have more of an impact than a B-Lo Schools boot print on their asses and 5 form letters of recommendation on Alpha Kappa Alpha stationery. The fact that all three of them sucked at their jobs and were only hired because other black women in power were looking to do their sisters a solid should be weighed with all of the concomitant damnation it entails in the big wide world beyond the sorority house hiring parties. 

A quick glance at the last 4 Superintendents, 3 of whom were black does little to dissuade anyone with a brain or even  half of one from wondering if the God, Guns and Gutsers of WBEN’s listenership might just be barking up the right tree for once. Brown has been a ghost, a negative space hiding somewhere as Rome burned tossing occasional flunkies out the front door to deal with the flames.  She’s made use of Elena Cala’s Cerberean  guard dog skill set just as Williams did protecting the perimeter of the office from Huns, Mongols and Mary Pasciak and her cameraman. (Possibly one of the most hilarious encounters ever filmed in City Hall where former political hireling Erin Comerford actually did a cameo and snapped at Mary for calling her “unqualified” which she was.) You can watch the whole bizarre episode here: . Williams brought in Fosaldele Oladele (sic) as his gal goon with the sap and brass knuckles tucked inside her her Gucci knockoff handbag intimidating administrators with her stank eye glare and Bantu-sized monikker. Likewise, Brown has hired and rehired Mugsy Guinn the blonde bomber to perform similar duties. Superintendent James Harris, not to be confused with former Buffalo  Bill and Grambling QB James Harris, left in a cloud of ignominy when it was learned that a certain female employee with benefits had been once again allowed near the grant funding cookie jar and just as she had  in her last jobs elsewhere she’d been granting herself some loot. She’d come to Buffalo  with a red sash around her saying  “Don’t let me anywhere near the money!”  But interbuilding scuttlebutt had it that she was more than just a grant thief to the Chief. My favorite detail of this kleptoministrator whose name escapes my best googling was the time she was on a  flight to Chicago and as the passenger next  to her dozed she opened the lady’s purse and made a surreptitious and unapproved cash withdrawal somewhere in the $200.00 range. Her theft was discovered and she gave the money back. I can’t recall whether or not she was prosecuted but the story was out there and verified as accurate.   An employee of the Buffalo Public Schools grant office caught  stealing  from a fellow passenger on an airliner. WTF.  An employee Harris had been explicitly warned to keep away from grant money because she steals it.  I can’t see how the color of his or her skin improved his decision making abilities one bit. But we still have a significant number of people in Buffalo who will dismiss this and insist only a black person can manage all these unwhite kids. The reality that Harris, Williams and now Brown all failed miserably at running the school system does not deter  the race zombies in the slightest. They will ignore the reality that Harris only marginally worsened what Albert Thompson handed him calling him a success who was railroaded out of Buffalo because of his skin color. Oh yeah I have heard that from at least one colleague who believed it to be the case. They will somehow overlook the voluminous destruction James Williams inflicted in his 6 year reign of racism, hooliganism and attempted union busting here. They will also pretend not to recall that the graduation rates of black males actually sunk to a new all time low percentage under Williams, hired by the Board majority because only a black Superintendent knows how to handle black kids. Again I can't see how Williams skin color played any role in the declining graduation rate of black males on his watch but I can show you countless episodes where his ego, his ineptitude and generally shitty job skills may have contributed in hurting the very young black males he was purportedly brought in to help.  Likewise, Pamela Brown will get the same golden excuse parachute if not the financial one from the same raced based claque of apologists. They will blame the board who brought her here, yes they really will do that, they will blame Buffalo telling us all it's nothing but a racist city – ignoring the fact that the majority of black women on the school board were committed to not hiring anyone who was white. Ralph Hernandez in a rare moment of candor late one night told several tables of his constituents straight out that the sisters on the board would never let Amber Dixon keep the job or hire any other white person for that matter. Owch. Tough call when a fellow board member blows you up to the peeps but that's that. See, the racism charges kick in when Brown's sorry performance, her invisibility in the community and the schools is pointed out by a non black person.  The race baiters will blame teachers, parents and Lake Erie too if they have to but they will NOT accept the reality that their black Superintendents did shitty, shittiest and shittier in that order. Not to say Brown couldn’t have out shat Williams but Jimmy Dubz had a full 6 years to run his game and Pamela’s has been kept on a mercifully short leash for only 2 years. So where does all this black and white leave us? 

Board Member Carl Shows His Colors

Sadly, the sisters have dug us a hole that the pale brothren are going to fill. No disrespect to Pierce but she has allied herself with good old boys so I wouldn't expect any of them to spend too much time asking what she thinks. The motives behind the sorority majority are actually in my estimation slightly more noble than what Paladino, Sampson, Quinn, Pierce and McBobblehead are going to perpetrate. I think if you are chiseling, angle working and woodscrewing qualified folks out of a job so that you can hand it to one of your own there's at least a concept of loyalty in play even if it's got nothing to do with the good of the kids or schools. The so called "reform agenda" of the Caucasian Caucus is going to attack teachers, their unions and kids too all of whom will be deemed "failing" and in need of a good corporate buggering from the powers of privatization, profits and charter schools. Lest we forget Carl already leases properties to three of them and Holy Angels is having its wings and halo shorn and replaced with chartery excellence, grit and rigor under Carl's proprietary hand. Sampson scrubbed his name from the ReformEd website but before he was elected to the Board he was I think their Chief of Excellence, Reformy Adulation and Accountability. He is also a Trustee of the West Buffalo Charter School one of Carl's lease clients, unless of course he scrubbed his name from that one too but if he did he shitteth nobody.  

It makes me hurl to see Hibernian names like Quinn and McCarthy mixed into this unholy quintet taking aim at public education. My hope is somewhere in the middle of the heist Pierce or McCarthy realize they are simply rubber stamps and dupes of the other three and decide to play hard to get or God forbid even try to advocate for the good of the schools and kids. Yeah I am not holding my breath but remember past boards when members Ralph among them did their best impression of Afghan warlords switching sides in mid firefight. This majority might be a little more fractious than they are presenting it right now. The egos in play are considerable and the big 3 white men are used to giving orders and watching underlings kowtow. It's not a Tolkien script to imagine a rift developing when the egos clash or someone perceives a slight. You know how these guys are. And with Tom Golisano tossing his name into the ownership rodeo for the Bills, who knows, Larry Quinn just may be trying his luck at football to see if he sucks any less on the gridiron than he did on the ice.  Say Quinn packs his bags for One Bills Drive and a replacement is found whose priorities are other than reforming the flow of cash from classrooms into rich guys' pockets and it's game on bitches. 


  1. As a white guy writing about black racists I always forget I am the only one dumb enough to do this and nobody is going to comment on it.

    1. Sheila Moore was the lady with the "sticky fingers".