A Former Greensboro City, North Carolina Zoning Commissioner Tony Collins was unanimously dismissed by the Greensboro City Council for “white privilege and entitlement” according to Council member Sharon Hightower following a short, terse verbal exchange with Carrie Rosario, DrPH an associate professor at the University of North Carolina Greensboro who holds a doctorate in Health Education.
In to her UNC-Greensboro bio, Rosario wrote,
“As a social scientist, my philosophy of research and practice is guided by principles of health equity, which is social justice in health. Several formative cross-cultural and international experiences have served as catalysts for the development of my early research interests related to tobacco control and the inequitable socio-environmental contexts which disadvantage communities.”
Can you see where this is going?
During the interaction, Rosario insisted that the Commissioner (an unpaid, volunteer position) refer to her as “Dr. Rosario” while he responded to her objection to the Commission’s business for that meeting. As Collins attempted to explain that Rosario’s concerns couldn’t be addressed by the zoning commission because they were meeting to approve the standards of a development already approved by the City Planners four years prior, Rosario repeatedly and forcefully interrupted him.
(AP journalistic writing style only calls for the ‘Dr.’ prefix to be used for Medical Doctors and only on the first mention.)
Black Privilege In Action
Most of us have met someone who just earned their JD (Juris Doctorate) or EdD (Educational Doctor) or their DBA (Doctorate of Business Administration) who is truly in love with their title and enjoy flexing it on conference calls… this is a phenomenon that knows no race, creed or color, only a bit of smugness and self-worship. This is an SJW with a doctorate.
Here is the exchange as reported by The Charlotte Observer,
Collins began by responding to Rosario’s comments saying ” I think that we’ve kind of lost our way on what we’re talking about here. We’re here to approve the standards that have been presented and if Mrs. Rosario has something about one of those standards-” Rosario then cut him off mid-sentence.
“It’s Dr. Rosario, thank you, sir,” she said in response.
“If Mrs. Rosario has something,” Collins continued.
“Well, you know, I’m sorry,” he responded. “Your name says on here ‘Carrie Rosario.’ Hey Carrie.”
“It’s Dr. Rosario,” she said again. “I wouldn’t call you Tony, so please, sir, call me as I would like to be called.”
“It doesn’t really matter,” Collins replied.
“It matters to me. And out of respect, I would like you to call me by the name that I’m asking you to call me by.”
“Your screen says Carrie Rosario.”
“I’m verbalizing my name is Dr. Carrie Rosario,” she said. “And it really speaks very negatively of you as a commissioner to be disrespectful.”
Collins finally responded, with some visible exasperation,
“I’m not trying to be disrespectful, but you’re negotiating something that happened four years ago. We’ve taken on this function and this is not a zoning function this is a planning function. Mr. Chairman, I think that if there’s something that she has something specific in these standards, let’s hear what it is. Everything we’ve heard is general. If there is one of these standards has been presented let’s hear what it is.”
So where is the “Black Privilege” you may ask dear reader? We need to ask a fundamental question to answer that: if the venerable Dr. Carrie Rosario were a straight Caucasian cisgendered-male, and the EXACT same interaction took place:
Do you believe Commissioner Collins would have been removed from his role? Be honest.
Was Collins being rude in not referring to Rosario as requested? Yes. However, Rosario was also extremely rude in interrupting Collins rather than allowing him to finish and politely correcting him after, as she had with one of his colleagues earlier in the four hour long meeting.
Both people behaved in an unprofessional manner. The bickering was more reminiscent of an adolescent spat between a student council member and the head of the drama club than a public hearing with a zoning commissioner and a respected academic. Both are worthy of reprimand.
Collins’ Firing Was Purely About Race And Gender–And Nothing Else
Check this out: RhinoTimes reported, “Council member Nancy Hoffmann, who appointed Collins, asked that she be allowed to have a conversation with Collins before the council voted, but
the decision was made that removing Collins couldn’t wait to hear his side of the story.”
Had Council member Hoffmann been allowed to hear Collins’ side of the story, this may have indeed ended in a reprimand, which is acceptable. Rosario should also be called before a disciplinary committee by UNC-Greensboro for her unprofessional immature public display. But that is unlikely.
Race and gender were the only topics on discussion here and an older white man had a rude interaction with a younger black woman. There is no mystery to this, two Council members said so precisely!
Sharon Hightower Hightower who accused Collins of “white privilege and entitlement.” said,
“To dress down an African-American female is unacceptable.”
Council member Goldie Wells said,
“We really don’t know if it was just because she was black. Men have this superior role and they think they are in charge.”
Tony Collins became irritated while being interrupted by someone half his age who insisted on flexing their superiority by virtue of their academic degree. Rosario cut off Collins while he was in the process of dismissing her objection as irrelevant to the ongoing proceedings. An objection she had earlier voiced which was also dismissed by Commissioner Zac Engle, who also failed to use her title. Engle however, apologized and switched to using her doctoral form.
An older white man became irritated by the rude interruption of someone who was wasting his time and he didn’t see fit to suffer indulging her ego. How dare he.
I ask you again: reverse the values. Make Collins a young black woman and Rosario an older white man. Who get’s fired? I’ll wait. That’s Privilege.