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Est. April 5, 2002
April 19, 2018 - Issue 738

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Superior College Accetpance Achievement
by a
Black Man
Ridiculed by White Racists

By Dr. Elwood Watson, PhD
"I was appalled to see three adults regardless
of race or gender, attacking and insulting a
teenager for achieving an highly unlikely goal
where the odds of success are highly futile at best.
A sad commentary on their part for sure."

Anyone familiar with the rituals of college life, knows that we are in the midst of college acceptance/rejection season. Last week, Lamar High School student Michael Brown made national headlines when he gained acceptance to all 20 colleges and universities he applied to including four Ivy League institutions – Harvard, Yale, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania. Stanford Northwestern, John Hopkins and 11 other top notch colleges and universities said WELCOME as well. The story does not stop here. No indeed. We are not done yet. Each institution awarded him a full scholarship to boot. A remarkable accomplishment indeed!

Videos of the young Brown yelling ecstatically as he was surrounded by equally ecstatic friends upon learning the wonderful news made headlines across the globe.

Congratulations poured in from numerous celebrities, reporters, academics, readers and others. Former president Bill Clinton gave a shout out and saluted the young man for his impressive accomplishments. When I first got wind of the story, I immediately went to social and print media publications to peruse initial reactions. Indeed, a story of this magnitude was bound to attract considerable attention and reaction. I was elated to see such a hard working young man achieve such a well deserved milestone.

As it turns out, it seems that most other people were happy as well. The young Mr. Brown was showered with numerous congratulations and well wishes from friends and strangers both domestically and globally. That being said, unfortunately, there were others who wanted to rain on the Houston, Texas teenager's parade. Yes. That's correct. Rather than join in the ample chorus of good will that was directed toward the young man, a group of Washington DC FOX News affiliate anchors, Holly Morris and Allison Seymour along with podcast host and contributor Sarah Fraser attacked and belittled Brown referring to his decision to apply to 20 schools as “ridiculous,” “obnoxious” and “showing off.“

Now get this! Fraser's rationale (if you want to call it that) for making such ill tempered remarks as due to the fact that, in her opinion, he was “waitlisting other kids!” There you have it, as Sarah Fraser saw it, Micheal Brown had no business “showing off.” applying to so many school and forcing other kids to be placed on waiting lists. Shame on him!

For real?! Like, lady, please! Morris and Seymour were equally as irrational in their comments. I am assuming the fact that he earned a 4.68 GPA and a 1540 out of 1600 SAT score was lost on them. For the record, students get waitlisted all the time. Nothing new here.

Predictably, Black Twitter an other avenues of social media went on the anticipated warpath and took the anchors to task for their arrogance and ignorance. Special contempt was reserved for anchor Allison Seymour whom herself is Black. In fact, many observers of social media suspected racial animus was involved. Given FOX News demographic such an assumption is not out of the question.

Personally, I was appalled to see three adults regardless of race or gender, attacking and insulting a teenager for achieving an highly unlikely goal where the odds of success are highly futile at best. A sad commentary on their part for sure. Morris has stood steadfast by her position and Seymour has checked out from social media for the time being. Fraser eventually spoke with the young teenager and offered her apology. Brown confirmed that a conversation with Fraser had taken place but made it clear that an apology was not issued. As of this writing, he is still seeking one.

The truth is that such a situation should have never occurred in the first place. Grown adults taking pot shots at teenagers and young people in general is tasteless and devoid of an sense of class and decency. Ask Laura Ingraham another FOX News host who thought it was cute to disrespect and ridicule Parkland, Florida high school student and student activist David Hogg, for not getting into several of the colleges and universities he applied to . . Indeed, FOX needs to get its act together and check themselves on targeting and attacking young people. Once again, I blame them all but Ms. Seymour. As a successful, professional Black woman, she should have known better! What was she thinking? Shame on you gal!

The fact is that in a current day America where far too many Black and Latino/a children and teenagers (this is the case for a number of poor White communities as well) are growing up in environments where vices such as drugs, HIV and crime are rampant. Abject poverty, broken homes, intense health disparities and echoes of hopelessness and despair fill the air. Amid such sobering realities, Micheal Brown is a shining reflection, testament and stark reminder that there is indeed hope and promise in many Black communities and that all is not lost. Lets' hope the he and others like him will continue to rise, ignore the detractors and naysayers and serve as a positive inspiration to their fellow peers. Guest Commentator, Dr. Elwood Watson, PhD is Professor of History, African American Studies and Gender Studies at East Tennessee State University. He is the co-author of Violence Against Black Bodies: An Intersectional Analysis of How Black Lives Continue to Matter (New Critical Viewpoints on Society Series). Contact Dr.Watson.
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Executive Editor:
David A. Love, JD
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