Jessica Sutherland

Black doctor 'shocked' after white North Carolina city official is fired for disrespecting her

Trust me: After the week this Black woman has had, I'm as surprised by the headline as anyone. Not that a mediocre white man disrespected a Black woman with palpable animosity; that's every day for us. No, I'm shocked that there were any consequences for this guy being such a jerk, much less such significant ones.

While Black men are the people white folks claim to fear the most so they can shoot them without consequence, Black women are to many, if not most white people, only here to be of service. We're not here to be treated with dignity, we're here to give their aging, racist fathers a sponge bath while earning pennies over minimum wage. We're mammies and maids, cooks and caregivers. We're welfare queens and whores, until election time, when we're the workhorses white Democrats swear they couldn't do without.

Racist perceptions may fuel those racist stereotypes, but we all know that perception is not reality. And as Greensboro, North Carolina's newest ex-government official Tony Collins just learned, Black women also get doctorates.

It all started with a four-hour slog of a zoning commission meeting, held virtually and televised on Monday. Less than a dozen items were on the agenda, but one concerned the impact of a development "a few hundred feet" from the home of Carrie Rosario, an associate professor at UNC-Greensboro who holds a doctorate in public health. After Dr. Rosario shared her thoughts as a concerned citizen, then-Commissioner Collins, who holds a bachelor's degree and is a partner in a construction company named Collins & Galyon General Contractors, decided it was his time to shine … like a racist fake diamond.

As transcribed by Greensboro's News & Record:

In the video, Collins is seen questioning Rosario about the relevance of her comments and referring to her as "Mrs. Rosario."

"It's Dr. Rosario, thank you," she said.

"If Mrs. Rosario has something ..." Collins said.

"Dr. Rosario," she replied.

"I'm sorry," Collins said. "Your name says on here Carrie Rosario. Hey, Carrie."

"It's Dr. Rosario," she said. "I (wouldn't) call you Tony, so please, sir, call me as I would like to be called. That's how I'm identified."

"It doesn't really matter," Collins said.

"It matters to me," Rosario said. "Out of respect I would like you to call me by the name I'm asking you to call me by."

"Your screen says Carrie Rosario," Collins said.

"My name is Dr. Carrie Rosario and it really speaks very negatively of you as a commissioner to be disrespectful," she said.

"I'm not trying to be disrespectful, but you're negotiating something that happened four years ago," Collins said.

Let's roll the tape. Note that Collins not only rejects her title and uses her first name, but despite multiple corrections, he also refuses to pronounce Dr. Rosario's surname correctly. He also leans on what's on the screen—twice—but "Mrs." is nowhere to be found.


As a preemptive strike against anyone who feels compelled to frame this as a mere mistake with double down sauce, The Charlotte Observer reports that, earlier in the meeting, another commissioner responded quite differently when he received a similar correction.

Before her exchange with Collins, Rosario corrected another commissioner regarding her title and he apologized, saying, "I really don't want to offend you in that regard, so, Dr. Rosario, I do apologize for that."

Given that Collins witnessed the earlier interaction, Rosario said she interpreted his refusal to acknowledge her request as "a personal attack of disrespect."

"I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt at first and corrected him, but as the exchange unfolded it was clear that he was intent on disrespecting me," she said.

Multiple people in the meeting apologized to Dr. Rosario immediately. Collins was not one of them.

Council members convened on Tuesday; though the video isn't embeddable here, I encourage you to go watch the full five-minute clip provided by the News & Record. Councilwoman Sharon Hightower, a Black woman, replayed the incident from the day before. She named the four people who apologized to Dr. Rosario before noting that "I get this regularly, from other folk. I know how this feels." Hightower also named the racism and white privilege on display in the moment, and added that the council did not appoint Collins to act like this, before stating that the incident was an example of "history repeating itself."

Next, Councilwoman Goldie Wells, another Black woman with her own doctorate, spoke next, reminding the room that Black women can get multiple degrees, while white women with high school diplomas still enjoy more advantages. She spoke to how much education means to African Americans in general, particularly the journey to a Ph.D.:"That means something. Now this, just was some' bad manners. We know that if somebody pronounces name differently from what you want to be called, they quickly change (the pronunciation)." Dr. Wells then gave examples of previous oustings of appointees before making the case for ousting Collins.

Discussion continued for about a half hour, with Councilwoman Nancy Hoffmann, a white woman, offering to have a talk with Collins. The council then voted unanimously to send the weirdo and his racist nonsense packing.

On Wednesday—two days after the incident and one day after he got the boot—Collins decided to apologize, and left a penitent voicemail for Dr. Rosario, who responded with "a gracious message."

"I am so appreciative of her reaching back to me after I called her," Collins told the News & Record on Friday. "She didn't have to and she did."

No, she didn't have to. But she did.

Collins conceded that he behaved badly, but was adamant that his vile behavior had nothing whatsoever to do with race or gender, because "anyone who deals with him" knows that he treats everyone the same!

"I'm not saying that to make an excuse. It wouldn't matter who it is. It was disrespectful."

And though he said he isn't looking to justify his behavior, Collins does think he has learned from the experience.

"I live and work in a world of construction," he said. "We fight and tussle all day long and then we're friends at the end of the day.

"It's a little bit in my nature and I hate to say that. I didn't think. I really had no intent of disrespecting, but I certainly did."

It's an interesting defense to claim that you're an equal opportunity asshole.

On Thursday, Collins sent an email to each member of the council.

Good Morning Members of the Greensboro City Council,

I understand from published reports that you voted Tuesday evening to remove me from the Greensboro Zoning Commission because of my behavior at the Zoning Commission meeting Monday evening. I agree with you that my exchange with Dr. Rosario was out of line and accept your judgment to remove me from the commission. I have telephoned Dr. Rosario and left a message apologizing for my behavior.

I would also like to publicly apologize to Dr. Rosario, the Zoning Commission and to the City Council. There is no good excuse for my interaction with Dr. Rosario so I will not try to offer one. Citizens deserve better. I would never want to bring any harm to the City of Greensboro or to any of our citizens. I failed to live up to my own standards and to yours. I regret that sincerely.

I have appreciated the opportunity to serve Greensboro on the Zoning Commission and wish the other members of the Commission well and thank them for their service.

Thanks,

Tony Collins

Collins claims he sent the email, which doesn't acknowledge the racial dynamics at play, on Wednesday but it didn't go through.

Dr. Rosario, being a Black woman, admitted she was "shocked" that a the council voted to kick Collins to the curb. She held it up as an example of the importance of having diverse elected representation—three of the nine council members are women of color. The outcome is also indicates that in Greensboro, Black women fight for each other.

"Black women, regardless of level of education, are consistently dismissed and overlooked or judged in our society."

She went on to say systemic racism is what "made me even feel like I had to use my title in the first place" and also what compelled her to come well-prepared for her presentation "so as not to appear to be the stereotyped 'angry Black woman.'"

"I cannot judge what is in Mr. Collins' heart, nor would I presume to, but I will say that racism as a system devalues and dismisses Black women — and Mr. Collins' actions were evidence of the microaggressions that we face on a regular basis just trying to go about our daily lives," Rosario said.

A horrible Wall Street Journal op-ed isn't so far behind us—you know the one, where Joseph Epstein orders the First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, to drop the Doc because it "feels fraudulent, even comic." In a great interview with The Washington Post's lady vertical, The Lily, Dr. Rosario pays tribute to her late mother, a powerful Black woman named Janet Kennedy; she also further discusses the importance of her title.

Rosario, 38, sees her title as an essential tool. As a Black woman who says she looks young for her age, people are predisposed to dismiss her opinion and expertise, she said. "It adds legitimacy to what I'm saying," Rosario said, especially when she's discussing a matter relevant to public health, as she was on Monday night.

[...]

Women of color "face lots of judgments on their value and what they are capable of doing," Rosario said. After they achieve something big, she said, the question becomes, "Did they actually do it? Is it legitimate?" As a Black woman, Rosario said, these kinds of comments can wear on your health. Sometimes she wonders why people can't just celebrate her success. To Rosario, the "Dr." title is a celebration of her accomplishments — and the people who helped her achieve them.

Dr. Rosario is certain that her mom, who died in February, would have celebrated her viral moment, with tweets shouting "It's Dr. Rosario!" galore. Because, as The Lily's Carole Kirchener notes, "Collins told Rosario that her title 'didn't matter.' It mattered to Rosario … and it would have mattered to her mom."

Dallas man charged for death threat against AOC after his social media 'incriminates' him in Capitol attack

As noted by Law and Crime's Jerry Lambe, Garret Miller essentially wrote his own charging document on social media. Before he went to Washington, D.C. for "this Trump shit," as he called it in a Jan. 2 Facebook post, Miller was expecting, perhaps even hoping, that "some crazy shit (was) going to happen. "Dollar might collapse," Miller predicted, and "civil war could start." Miller, 34, also told his Facebook friends what he planned to bring: "a grappling hook and rope and a level 3 vest. Helmets, mouth guard, and bump cap."

He tweeted video from the Rotunda, mid-riot, and under a handle that included his full name, with the caption "from inside Congress." He posted selfies in real-time, and he engaged with people, joking with one commenter that he wanted to "incriminate" himself "a little" with his photos. While still on Capitol grounds, Miller, apparently scrolling his feed, challenged false "antifa did it" narratives—by taking credit for the assault on Congress. "Nah, we stormed it. We (were) gentle. We (were) unarmed. We knew what had to be done," he tweeted, in addition to telling a member of the clergy to "wake the fuck up." "I charged the east gate myself with an anti-masker," he insisted on Facebook, while noting on Instagram that he and his fellow invaders got in "as peacefully as we could without weapons."

And when Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted "Impeach." from a Capitol safe room, Miller replied, "Assassinate AOC."

In the days after the insurrection, Miller's social media posts threatened the unnamed U.S. Capitol Police officer who shot rioter Ashli Babbitt with death, noting that "'millions' of people agree with him that the officer 'deserve(s) to die' 'so (it's) huntin' season.'" It was only in Donald Trump's final days in office that it seemed that Miller realized that "it might be time for me to ... Be hard to locate."

It was too late. Miller was arrested on Inauguration Day.

On Friday, the Justice Department released four of the charges Miller faces:

  • Knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted buildings or grounds without lawful authority
  • Violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds
  • Obstructing or impeding any official proceeding
  • Certain acts during civil disorder

On Saturday, CNN reported that new charges, stemming from the threats against Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and the USCP officer who shot Babbitt, were revealed.

Contrary to sentiments conveyed through his many, many social media posts—including a promise that "next time we bring the guns!"—Miller's lawyer insists that his client feels Very Sad and Didn't Mean Anything By It, and his family totally has his back. Also, he did it for the disgraced orange tyrant.

Clint Broden, a lawyer for Miller, told CNN Saturday that his client "certainly regrets what he did."
    "He did it in support of former President (Donald) Trump, but regrets his actions. He has the support of his family, and a lot of the comments are viewed in context as really sort of misguided political hyperbole. Given the political divide these days, there is a lot of hyperbole," Broden said.
    It's kind of hard to dismiss feverish vows of civil war, hanging a cop by a noose, and murdering a congresswoman as "misguided political hyperbole" when such violent promises and threats were made from within the U.S. Capitol, amid a siege.

    They blew it: Millions will see unemployment benefits delayed — no matter when new relief bill passes

    The outdated, hard-to-staff computer systems used by numerous state unemployment insurance programs made headlines this spring, as those systems were overwhelmed by the first wave of devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the subsequent aid ushered in by the CARES Act. Now, as current aid is set to end Dec. 31, Congress continues to battle over the next round of coronavirus relief before adjourning to head to their warm homes for the holidays. Even if they succeed, states are revealing that, thanks to those outdated programs, it's already too late to avoid weeks-long disruptions in unemployment payments for as many as 12 million struggling Americans.

    As POLITICO reported Friday, the systems involved simply aren't able to flip a switch once the Republican Senate finally stops blocking much-needed relief to the nation.

    Worker advocates say it could take weeks for the jobless aid programs to get back online as lags in programming for outdated state systems cause delays in relief checks. "We're already too late," said Michele Evermore, an unemployment insurance expert at the National Employment Law Project. From the time Congress passes an extension of unemployment aid, she said, many states wouldn't be up and running for "three weeks or four weeks" at the fastest.

    [...]
    Anything Congress includes in the next round of aid that is even modestly different from the programs implemented earlier this year "is going to take time to reprogram," said Elizabeth Pancotti, a policy adviser at the pro-worker Employ America. "In some states that might be a week or two; in other states, we've seen it [take] five, six, seven weeks."
    [...]
    Should Congress pass an extension of the programs, states would then have to wait for the U.S. Labor Department to issue guidance before sending out payments — which could be hard to turn around quickly during the holidays.

    The news comes as new unemployment claims ending the week of Dec. 5 soared to 1.28 million. As noted here on Thursday, "it didn't have to be this way."

    Kyle Rittenhouse out on bail after right-wing fans raise millions

    The headline was jarring: "Black Man Who Spent 25 Years Incarcerated for a Murder He Didn't Commit Has Been Exonerated," The Root's homepage shouted at me. The story of 62-year-old Jaythan Kendrick, who was arrested for a crime he did not commit on Thanksgiving Day 1994—when he was just 36—is a familiar one to anyone who's paid attention to the chronic miscarriage of justice Black people face: Had law enforcement and or prosecutors actually done their job, Kendrick could have been home in time for Christmas, or maybe never arrested at all. The evidence was thin—at best. It also was manipulated.

    But this story is not about Jaythan Kendrick.

    With a quick click of the Back button, and I was back to The Root's homepage; just below the Kendrick story I'd just read was the face of Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old high schooler who definitely murdered two—almost three—Black Lives Matter protesters in Kenosha, Wisc. with an illegally obtained AR-15 rifle back in August. Rittenhouse was released Friday on a cash bail of $2 million, paid in part by Mike Lindell—the Trump fanatic usually referred to as the My Pillow Guy—and Rick Schroder, an ex-child actor best known for the vapid 1980s sitcom Silver Spoons.

    While both Kendrick and Rittenhouse will be home just in time for Thanksgiving, the justice system journeys for these two men—one guilty, and one innocent, one white, and one Black—couldn't be more different. And so I rage.

    Lin Wood, attorney for the newly-freed yet wholly unrepentant Rittenhouse, posted a photo of the grinning (and maskless) homicidal teenager to Twitter Friday evening.


    Rabid militia enthusiasts, endorsers of white supremacy, and lovers of Donald Trump have all latched on to the murderous teen, elevating him to hero status in their hateful white power fantasies; over half a million dollars has been raised for Rittenhouse beyond the bail money, according to the local CBS affiliate.

    Most of the money came from small donations, and Rittenhouse's attorney took to Twitter thanking donors and saying, "We the people did not let him down."

    Rittenhouse, who again, absolutely killed two people, has a fucking fan base. A rabid one, with deep pockets. The murderer, who has admitted to two murders and one attempted murder, told police "No, I don't regret it" at the time of his arrest, and is currently enjoying some surreal hero's life, admired by the sort of folks who vicariously watched cell phone footage of his cold killings and opened their wallets in support. These folks know exactly what Rittenhouse did and respect it. They consider his actions right and just, even as they smear his victims—all white men—to help justify their cold-blooded murders.

    As Rittenhouse—an admitted killer whose injurious and life-ending acts were caught on video—settles in to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday as a real life Natural Born Killer, his jail time is currently a brief blip in his life's history, despite his night-of fears of being incarcerated for "the rest of (his) life." Army veteran Kendrick, on the other hand, would hardly be considered anybody's hero.


    The former mail carrier was in prison for longer than Rittenhouse has breathed air, yet no six-figure fundraisers have been held in Kendrick's name to help him reclaim some semblance of a life; instead of the My Pillow Guy and a washed up actor, it was only a determined family member and the good folks at the Innocence Project who fought for his freedom.

    "Mr. Kendrick has endured an unimaginable injustice for over 25 years. He has spent decades trying to right this wrong, but the system failed him at every step," said Susan Friedman, Mr. Kendrick's Innocence Project attorney. "This is a textbook case of wrongful conviction exposing the worst flaws in our system – racial profiling, unduly suggestive identification procedures and a lack of police accountability at very least. Thankfully, the new evidence in this case, including DNA, has provided overwhelming proof of Mr. Kendrick's innocence."
    "I never thought this day would materialize. Tomorrow I am going to wake up and go home," said Mr. Kendrick. "I saw so many other people get to leave and I was still here. Finally the truth is out that I didn't commit this crime."

    Rittenhouse's trial—assuming he gets one and doesn't plea out—will be one that both his fervent fans and justice seekers alike will follow in earnest. Whether he walks free for taking the lives of two white men—and shooting another in the arm—remains to be seen. It certainly seems impossible and wrong that a human being who crossed state lines with a illegally-procured device designed to kill as many people as possible might walk free after absolutely using that weapon to create two dead bodies and an injured one.

    But it also seems impossible and wrong that innocent people like Kendrick whither in prisons all day, every day, waiting for justice, while an admitted and lionized killer walks free.

    And so I rage.


    3 of the 4 'executive orders' Trump signed weren't actually executive orders

    If you didn’t know, Donald Trump is golfing and hanging out with rich people in New Jersey this weekend, so of course, high on flattery, he’s holding media events. Saturday’s press conference took Trump away from the links for less than half an hour, ending abruptly when a CBS News reporter challenged the impeached president on one of his favorite falsehoods. The event centered around the signing of several sweeping “executive orders” which aim to bypass Congress and bankrupt Social Security, all under the guise of helping the nation navigate the prolonged COVID pandemic … while also, predictably, benefiting the wealthiest of Americans. Trump was sure to repeatedly blame Democrats for just about everything, and promised a dark future for a United States that fails to re-elect him to a second term.

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    RNC announces convention press ban — one day after Trump encounters yet another tiny crowd in Florida

    The latest modification to the ever-changing Republican National Convention is one that seems to cater to the incumbent seeking re-election, and his endless war on the media: The entire four-day event will be closed to members of the press, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

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    Trump administration insisted this Democratic congressman hold hearings in person. Now he has COVID-19

    Days after being forced to share air with a Texas congressman (and staunch anti-mask enthusiast)—who tested positive for COVID-19 the very next day—Democratic congressman Raúl Grijalva announced Saturday that he, too, has tested positive for the deadly virus. 

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    Reagan Foundation demands Trump and RNC stop raising money off his image: report

    The legacy nonprofit of the 40th U.S. President, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute, responded this week to a joint fundraising stunt from the Republican National Committee (RNC) and Donald Trump’s re-election campaign by squashing it, the Washington Post reported Saturday. The Foundation’s concern? The Trump campaign’s trading of trashy coin and photo sets featuring the Gipper and the Orange Menace for a little less than 50 bucks.

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    Failed Republican candidate hilariously mocked for rage-tweeting Pottery Barn over COVID-19 policies

    Former North Carolina state Rep. Scott Stone took to Twitter Friday afternoon to voice his righteous indignation with a furniture chain’s reduced hours and appointment-only shopping policies.

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    Senator Burr's cellphone seized amid federal investigation of stock trades made ahead of COVID-19 spread

    Months after it was revealed that he had made dozens of questionable stock trades ahead of a global pandemic—and advised wealthy constituents to do the same—Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina had his cellphone seized by federal agents Wednesday night. The agents were at the senator’s Washington, D.C., residence.

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