New version of Toledo Talk

    March 24, 2004

Mayor Ford loses support of black teachers - "The president of the Toledo Alliance of Black School Educators said his group is withdrawing its support for Mayor Jack Ford after the mayor made comments last week supporting Francine Lawrence, president of the Toledo Federation of Teachers. Controversy has been swirling about Mrs. Lawrence since she made comments in the January TFT union newsletter that Toledo Public Schools was "about to establish one set of performance standards for Hispanics and whites and a lesser standard for African-Americans." "

"Mr. [Rahwae] Shuman said he was upset because Mr. Ford backed Mrs. Lawrence and failed to recognize African-American teachers and community leaders who were offended by her comments."

Mr. Shuman said, "What Mr. Ford failed to realize is that 70 percent of Mrs. Lawrence's membership lives outside of the city and can't vote for him. I live in this community and I hear what people are saying and people in the black community are very upset about this."

"Mr. Ford said he doesn't make determinations on issues based on who is going to support him, and that criticism of Mrs. Lawrence's comments as racist was wrong. "It was wrong yesterday, it is wrong today, and it will be wrong tomorrow," he said."

"Mr. Shuman said his group is forming a coalition of African-American organizations, called a Black United Front, to address educational issues. He said a rally is planned at the Thurgood Marshall Building at 5 p.m. on March 30, before the school board meeting."

posted by jr to education at 1:23 P.M. EST     (2 Comments)

Comments ...

I hate to find myself agreeing with Mayor Ford but her comments aren't racist in the least. For anyone interested here they are in their entirety:

"Finally, I reluctantly inform you that the Intern Program [responsibe for training, evaluating and sometimes dismissing prospective new teachers] faces a serious challenge. Management is about to establish one set of performance standards for Hispanics and whites, and a lesser standard for African-Americans as a concession to the Urban Coalition. There is no evidence that our standards result in a higher percentage of African-American teacher dismissals than others. It is insulting and disappointing that to satisfy the Coalition, the Board and the Superintendent view support from teacher bashers more important than maintaining the integrity of our performance standards." - Francine Lawrence, President Toledo Federation of Teachers

Unless Shuman believes there *should* be lower standards for black people, I don't see what the problem is. Where does she say anything negative about black people? In fact she says that the current standards DON'T dismiss more black people than anyone else. (hint: that means prospective black teachers are just as capable as any others in the eyes of the union)

Maybe Shuman needs to read Lawrence's actual comments more and listen to racially charged rhetoric less. This leads me to wonder what the goals of this coalition could be because I fail to see how this can possibly help racial harmony or generate respect for African-Americans. What are the real motivations for this? profit, power, notariety?

posted by photodan at 02:54 P.M. EST on Wed Mar 24, 2004     #

Last week, Rahwae Shuman was on Denny Schafer's radio program on AM 1370 WSPD. It's interesting that he has accused Francine Lawrence of being a racist, since Shuman is a racist himself. He's disturbing. There's no way a white teacher could get away with the crap Shuman has said. Shuman should be fired. He can crawl back under whatever rock he came from.

Shuman has recently made several racist comments about whites. On Denny's radio program, Shuman tried to dance around these remarks. He said he was referring to the Lawrences and not all whites, even though he constantly made the "whites" reference and not the Lawrences reference.

I think it's obvious what Shuman really means. If he was misunderstood, then he shouldn't be teaching if he doesn't know the difference between making blanket statements about whites verus statements directed only at the Lawrences.

Shuman make a remark that appeared in an article about Francine Lawrence in The Toledo Journal. You can't find the original on the Toledo Journal website, because of their crappy content management system, which gets rid of articles after a short period. The article was indexed by Google, and you can read it from Google's cache.

You'll have to pour through the article to get the context of this comment, because I don't understand it completely.

Shuman said, "The NAACP should be saying what Iím saying. Itís their fight. But youíve got white people who consider us second-class citizens controlling the NAACP. ... That is a shame. I never thought Iíd live to see that."

I have no idea, so I'll ask. Does Francine Lawrence control the NAACP? I don't know if Francine Lawrence is white. I don't care if she is or isn't. Why should it matter? I just assume she is white based upon Shuman's comments.

In the March 10th issue of The Sojourner's Truth, which is a local weekly newspaper, there is an article titled "Black School Educators Call for Lawrence's Ouster". I don't think the paper has a website, so I'm retyping from the paper.

There was a rally organized by Rahwae Shuman at the Mott Branch Library that opposed the comments by Francine.

From the article:

"Since the comments were made public, Shuman and others, including Johnny Mickler of the Urban Leauge, have demanded an apology and/or Lawrence's removal from the office saying that such thinking has no place in the diverse community."

"Shuman also maintains that Lawrence's comments were divisive and relegated all of Toledo's African-Americans to the status of second class citizenship."

At the rally, Shuman also argued that fired teacher Rodney West-Estell, an African American, should be reinstated. West-Estell was fired according to the Toledo Plan, whatever that is. This teacher was rehired last week. So much for weeding out the deadwood.

From the article:

"Shuman argued [that] West-Estell should be reinstated immediately to his former position at the Lincoln Academy for Boys. "It is disrespectful to Lincoln students to not have a single African-American teacher in the building. It's time for us to wake up. No other race in history has turned their children over to the enemy to be educated," said Shuman."

Now, who's being divisive? Here's a tip for you, Mr. Shuman, why don't you encourage more blacks to become teachers? So who exactlly is the "enemy" here? Ms. Lawrence? Or whites?

Shuman and the rally went on to discuss changes in the school system, such as abolishing the intern program of the Toledo Plan and decreasing suspensions and expulsions.

Shuman said:

"Our leadership has been bought out by our enemies, white people control the NAACP! You should be concerned; your child is spending eight hours a day with someone who considers them a slave."

Where does the word "Lawrence" appear? Do you think a white person could get away with something like this? Of course not. There'd be marches by day and candlelight vigils by night until the person who made the statements was kicked out of the country.

Shuman is obviously a blatant racist, and he doesn't hide that fact. He's coming across as an extremist. He's entitled to free speech, but he shouldn't be receiving a salary that's funded by taxpayers. He needs to find a different job.

More from the article:

"Shuman also addressed the state of Toledo's black leadership. He and several other speakers singled out the local NAACP for criticism. That organization, Shuman said, has been silent on the matter because its president WilliAnn Moore, a retired TPS educator, has been bought out during the last election by "white people, our sworn enemies, who consider us to be second-class citizens." "

"Shuman went on to explain that the implications of lowered standards for African-American teachers implies that African-Americans are inferior to whites and Hispanics and are not conerned with the quality of education provided to TPS students."

"Flute Rice, retired TPS administrator spoke for the group he heads -- the Urban Coalition."

" "I never asked them to lower standards for black folks. In the past they have never lowered standards for black folks, it was always for the white folks," he said. "In addition to getting rid of the intern program, we need to offer incentives to attract more black teachers to Toledo," Rice continued."

I say, don't restrict this to just trying to attract more existing black teachers, but also encourage more blacks to enter the teaching profession.

"We need our own to work with our own. Around 80 percent of the teachers in the district are white and about 20 percent are black whereas Toledo's population is about 50/50," Rice said."

"We need our own to work with our own?" Isn't that a divisive comment by Rice? What's wrong with being taught by a person that's different? It's just a color. Why should that matter when teaching reading, writing, and math? I don't understand Rice's statement. And we should pass more levies and have our taxes raised to fund this kind of thinking? Are we to believe that these students will never in their lives be around non-blacks? Seems like Shuman organized an anti-whites rally.

Back to the article:

"Toledo Attorney Lafe Tolliver, who has been extremely vocal since the incident began urged Toledoans to not allow themselves to be defined by Lawrence's perceptions of them and that the city should denounce her behaviour as something that is not acceptable. He said that with the letter Lawrence had "launched psychological warfare against the black community, hopefully it will have the opposite effect and galvanize our people." "

At least Tolliver was smart enough to single out Lawrence and not "whites", the way Shuman has.

The rally was not a complete lost. Something sensible was said.

"As the rally neared its end, Dr. Valerie Alloy, a psychologist, reminded those in attendance that the real reason for the rally was to provide aid to all the students in the district who she routinely counsels for issues including depression and self esteem. She stressed that all children need support and nurturing and, regardless of their race, their needs must be addressed soon because she has begun to feel that this generation of youth will not be as successful as those preceding it."

After the above article, Shuman wrote a letter to The Sojourner's Truth, which was published in the March 17th issue. Shuman pointed out a couple of mistakes made in the March 10th article. Shuman's letter to the editor said:

"I am quoted as saying "white people are our sworn enemies." I never made that statement using the word sworn. I have checked with several people in attendance and with another reporter who recorded my words on tape. There were over 125 people in attendance so there are ample witnesses to what was said. Other media outlets have covered this story as well. None of them mentioned the quotes you attributed to me. I challenge you to prove that I said those statements. And when you find that you can't prove it I expect you to print a correction in your next edition."

Then, there was an editor's note at the bottom of Shuman's letter, which said:

"Ed. Note. We agree with Mr. Shuman. He did indeed say that the board of education was considering the idea of a consultant. He did not use the word sworn -- he said only "white people, our enemies ..." In our follow up conversation with Mr. Shuman after the event, there was a misunderstanding on our part when we inquired about his quote. The error was ours alone."

So all that fuss by Shuman for one word, which doesn't change the fact that Shuman believes whites are the enemies of blacks.

Denny Shafer called Shuman out on these comments. On Denny's show, Shuman said he apologized if he offended anyone, because he was not referring to whites, but to the Lawrences, even though that's not what he said. On Denny's show he continued to use the word "whites" instead of "the Lawrences."

Denny opened his show up for callers to speak with Shuman. Shuman is a loose cannon. With the callers, Shuman was belligerent and obnoxious. Shuman was without tact and class and incapable of civil conversation. I wish Shafer made the Shuman interview available on the WSPD website. If you heard the interview, you would be angry with Shuman and with TPS for allowing this guy to teach. And as a Toledoan, you would be embarrassed that someone like Shuman lives in this city. Thankfully, not everyone thinks like Shuman.

posted by jr at 09:42 P.M. EST on Tue Apr 06, 2004     #

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