Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Robert R Jennings and the Unnecessary Apology

The story begins with Robert R Jennings President of Lincoln University, a Black University, giving a 26 minute speech at a Women's Convocation in September.  Only now in November has a 4 minute clip of the speech come to light.  From the looks of it, someone in the audience smuggled a potato into the auditorium and recorded this speech.  At the time of this post, no video of the full 26 minutes exists.

At the time of this blog there are 227 comments and about 30,000 views.  Most of the comments side with President Jennings and a few take issue with the title of the video.  Essentially the tl;dr version of the 4 minute speech is this.

  1. Women do not allow men to use you, because they will use you up and throw you away if you allow them to.  Men chose to settle down with the lady wearing the dress.
  2. Too many cases of false rape accusations going around.
  3. Take steps to protect yourself from attack
It is the second point that really got people upset.  As far as the claim of the 3 rape accusations I have been unable to verify that other than to find one news article which found an assistant D.A. who denied knowing of any such accusation from "last semester"

"All three cases were investigated by the university and reported to authorities, the university said. But Michael Noone, first assistant district attorney in Chester County, said he has no reports of rapes at Lincoln from last semester. There was one allegation of attempted sexual assault, but the case was dropped, he said, because it could not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt - not because the woman recanted."

Let's go through this point by point.

For men there really are just two types of women. 
There is the kind you take to the motel, and the kind you take home to meet your family.  Another way of saying this is, "The kind of woman you meet at bars is the kind of woman you meet at bars."  I can think of no better Hollywood example of this than Eddie Murphy's Coming to America.

Here is the story.  Eddie Murphy plays Prince Akeem of Zamunda and he is set to be married on his 21st birthday when really all he wants is to be able to use the bathroom by himself without the royal wipers.

He is then presented a wife who has been trained since birth to be a mindless slave.  She has no desires of her own, no will of her own, and only lives to serve her husband.  Akeem decides this is not what he wants and travels to America in search of his true love.  To ensure that a woman falls in love with him and not his title of Prince, he rents a cheap studio in Queens and casts off his royal robes.

His first place to find a wife is in the bar scene.  Which fails miserably.  They later pass the barbershop where Clarence is closing up, and it is the advice from Clarence that wins out.  He tells them in order to find a nice girl, you have to go to where nice girls go.  Upon his suggestion that they go to the Black Awareness Rally and there Akeem finds the woman he eventually marries.

Now while there are no doubt many stories of couples who found true love after hooking up at a bar, these are the exception not the rule.  For bonus points read my blog on why I don't date bar girls.  Now if two consenting adults just want to get together and have sex right after meeting then I say go for it.  It's your body, you can do what you want with it.  However, which type of person do you want to be, the kind that goes home to meet the family, or the kind that goes to the hotel?

False Rape Accusation is real.
It is not just a delusion of some pathetic Men's Rights Activist.  Bonus Blog, why I can't be a MRA.  It is a small percentage but it does exist.  It comes down to buyers remorse where a person can accuse another of rape and with laws such as California's Affirmative Consent laws it is becoming harder for due process to protect the rights of the accused.  

Rape is a tragic thing that for the victims can mean a lifetime of recovery and a difficulty in future relationships and I have no pity on those who commit such crimes.  Likewise there is the problem where the victim is now the accused as his or her sexual past is brought out as the defense lawyer tries to get their client found not guilty.  It is because of this that some rape victims decline to press charges.  Still due process is due process.

Take steps to protect yourself
President Jennings didn't elaborate on this point to much but I will.  As a man I have better sense to walk alone in dangerous part of town wearing expensive clothes.  I have better sense than to use an ATM alone at night in a poorly lit parking lot.  Both cases make me a prime target for being robbed.  

Likewise don't go into a nightclub and get so hammered that you can't walk straight.  If you do, go as a group and serve as cockblocks for eachother, unless of course you are looking to hook up.  Just as there are steps you can take to prevent yourself from being robbed, there are steps you can take to prevent being raped.

Controversial speech is controversial
A little backstory on President Jennings.  He has been facing votes of no confidence from the faculty for quite a while, and it has nothing to do with his speech.  The concerns are falling enrollment and a drop in endowments.  Were this uproar just about his speech the video would have been posted in September when the speech was given.  Rather, I suspect this has to with faculty wanting to pressure Jennings to resign. Remember, this is a four minute clip of a 26 minute speech.  President Jennings also gave a speech to the men on campus as well but no video or transcript of it can be found at the time of this blog.

Did President Robert R Jennings say anything wrong?  In my opinion no.  This is the same advice every father is giving their daughter, or at least should be giving.  Be a woman who commands respect, don't party and sleep with random strangers, and take precautions to protect yourself from men who will only use you.

However, there is a tragic end to this speech.  While I can tell you that the Board of Trustees fully supports President Jennings, he did cave in to pressure and issue an apology.  To read the apology click HERE.  As such part of my respect for him died.  I truly wish he stood by his words, even if it meant costing him his job, our educational system needs more men like him, not fewer.

Deep down I like to think he truly meant what he said.  That he wrote out his speech and spoke from the heart.  I like to think that, however I also understand what it is like to depend on a paycheck and can understand he may have been forced to issue that apology.  I also hope some of the women in the audience learned something.  At least half of them applauded at what he was saying.  I would also be interested in what kind of fatherly advice he gave to the men in their convocation.  I would very much like to read that speech and soak up that wisdom that can only come from experience.

In the end women are not helpless victims and to treat them as such is degrading.  Likewise we should shame anyone who tries to portray women as victims be they feminist or misogynist.  To follow this discussion go on my Twitter.