Incoming Boston University Professor Saida Grundy Accused of Telling Alleged Rape Survivor to ‘Go Cry Somewhere’
Incoming Boston University associate professor Saida Grundy, whose racially charged tweets calling white college males a “problem population” sparked a media firestorm last week, is drawing criticism yet again, this time for comments made on a different social network.
Fox News is reporting that, in a Facebook comment thread in February, an exchange took place between a person claiming to be Grundy and Meghan Chamberlin, an alleged rape survivor. The thread—appearing on the profile of Frank William Miller Junior, a marketing designer for Complex magazine and cofounder of the wildly popular site “Rappers I Know,” which helped foster the careers of Jay Electronica, Danny Brown, and Talib Kweli—linked to an op-ed from The Grio, an African-American-interest news and opinion site, titled “Dear Patricia Arquette: Blacks and gays owe white women nothing.”
The thread has since been removed, and the account believed to be Grundy’s has been deleted.
“I LITERALLY cry and lose sleep over this,” Chamberlin commented, adding that she had been raped as a child. “What this article did was tell me that I’m not aloud [sic] to ask for help… Because I am a WHITE woman… So when I read this article… you do understand what that does to me, right? It kills me…”
“’I literally cry’…. While we literally die,” Grundy allegedly responded, linking to an op-ed on RH Reality Check, titled “Patricia Arquette’s Spectacular Intersectionality Fail.” “Try this article. A white woman explaining this issue to other white women… who manages NOT to cry while doing it!”
The screenshot below contains part of the exchange that followed:
Later in the thread, Grundy continued: “Am I mocking her tears or am I saying that her tears are meaningless displays of emotions because they don’t reflect at ALL an intention to understand the issue from the prospective [sic] of women of color or queer women.”
According to the Fox News report:
Grundy did not return an email or a phone call from FoxNews.com about her posts on Thursday morning; within hours of FoxNews.com reaching out, her Facebook page was taken down. Before the deletion, FoxNews.com took a screenshot of her page which shows the exact same name and twitter article as appears in the screenshots.
FoxNews.com talked separately with three different people who also posted comments on that Facebook thread. FoxNews.com was tipped off to the existence of the thread by one of the three posters. Two of the participants in the thread had taken screenshots, which they shared with FoxNews.com.
Fox News is also reporting that the exchange has been brought to the attention of Boston University via email, with screenshots attached.
Understanding the Grio piece is essential to placing Grundy and Chamberlain’s exchange in context. It responds to actress Patricia Arquette’s impassioned speech at this year’s Academy Awards upon winning Best Supporting Actress for her role in Boyhood:
“To every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen in this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States of America,” Arquette said.
She later told press:
It’s time for women. Equal means equal. The truth is the older women get, the less money they make. The highest percentage of children living in poverty are in female-headed households. It’s inexcusable that we go around the world and we talk about equal rights for women in other countries and we don’t. One of those superior court justices said two years ago in a law speech at a university that we don’t have equal rights for women in America, and we don’t because when they wrote Constitution, they didn’t intend it for women. So the truth is even though we sort of feel like we have equal rights in America, right under the surface there are huge issues at play that really do affect women. It’s time for all the women in America, and all the men that love women and all the gay people and all the people of color that we’ve all fought for — to fight for us now.
What the Grio piece takes issue with—in addition to the lack of color amongst nominees—is Arquette’s failure to address intersectionality. To author Blue Telusma, Arquette’s remarks appear to urge black women to drop race issues in favor of a white feminist’s agenda:
And before you say ‘But, Blue, she said women not just white women,’ let me be blunt: If you say black people need to stand up for you – that means you are asking every person in the room who is both black and a woman to choose her gender over her race in order to suit your agenda. It’s a very subtle form of feminist segregation that I’ve heard about for a few years now.
Chamberlain’s comments are puzzling then, as Telusma makes no mention of rape or sexual assault in her piece. Is it possible Chamberlain misunderstood Telusma’s point? Perhaps. Does disclosing one’s status as a rape survivor gain him or her immunity from criticism? No. Should Grundy have called Chamberlain’s disclosure “a celebration of your false sense of victimization” or used the hashtag “#whitegirltears?” No. At any rate, this is precisely the kind of “nuance and complexity” Grundy said last week was missing from her conversations on race.