Friday, October 24, 2008

The Shird Preface

The preface to the Mangum Opus was penned by a North Carolina A&T professor named Myra Shird—perhaps best known on campus for abruptly resigning her department chairmanship in the middle of the semester last year. Shird’s preface is . . . eye-opening.

Shird reflects on her introduction to the case, and the negative reception from the media she claims serial fabricator Crystal Mangum received:

Public ridicule? Should I even know the victim’s name so early in the investigation? Aren’t their [sic] laws that protect the victim [sic]?

Shird appears unfamiliar with basic U.S. law: there are no “laws” dealing with topics such as knowing “the victim’s name so early in the investigation.” (A side note: most college professors know the difference between when to use “there” and when to use “their.”)

Shird continues,

I can only imagine that every word out of the accused mouths was orchestrated . . . On the other hand, there was no one “real” there for the accuser.

The “accused mouths”? What is she talking about? (This, again, is the writing of a college professor.) And the assertion “there was no one ‘real’ there for the accuser”? Did Mangum have “unreal” associates?

As has become customary with those associated with the Nifong/Mangum effort, Shird plays fast and loose with the facts. “The Friends of Duke,” writes she, “raised millions to assist the Duke players with their defense.”

In fact, the Friends of Duke was a grassroots alumni organization devoted to returning the university to traditional academic principles of upholding due process. The group raised nothing—much less “millions”—to “assist the Duke players with their defense.”

Shird laments the unfair treatment she claims Mangum received because of the serial fabricator’s chosen profession:

If an exotic dancer is promiscuous and sleeps with five or six guys within a twenty-four-hour time period, do we find her less credible if she says that the seventh guy raped her?

Yes—if, as in this case, the “exotic dancer” denied having had sex not just “within a twenty-four-hour time period” before the party, but for a whole week before the party.

Shird occasionally veers toward uncomfortable conclusions. She reflects on AG Roy Cooper’s press conference announcing the players’ exoneration:

Cooper further explained, “We believe it's in the best interest of justice not to bring charges.” Whose best interest, Mr. Cooper?

Whose, indeed. Is Shird now suggesting that it would be in Mangum’s best interest for the state to bring charges against her for filing a false police report?

Shird wraps up her preface with two passages that offer an unintentional, if revealing, insight into her skewed mindset. She asserts,

I know women who call exotic dancers whores, but who find their own penchant to only sleep with BMW-driving, well-dressed, white-collar, college graduates who pay their bills as a simple act of self-preservation.

Who are these women? Shird, of course, doesn’t say.

And what is the appropriate historical context through which to interpret the reaction to Mangum? Shird makes Group of 88’er Bill Chafe (who said that the whites who beat, kidnapped, and murdered Emmett Till provided the appropriate historical contest through which to interpret the actions of the lacrosse players) look like a piker. Shird detects enormous implications to the alleged prejudgment of Mangum:

The hypocrisy of judging or labeling has led to major societal catastrophes such as slavery and the holocaust.

The Holocaust? Slavery? And Crystal Mangum’s treatment by the press?



Anonymous said...

I am trying really hard to be open-minded and avoid the obvious conclusion to be drawn from Crystal's NCCU degree and the logorrhea of this barely literate member of the NC A&T faculty:

that a diploma from either one of these schools is like a diploma from a real institution of higher learning in the same way a medal from the Special Olympics is like one Michael Phelps won in Beijing, which is to say they look pretty much the same from a distance.

Anonymous said...

I have been following this case for a while. I have previously seen some of your writings WRT the state of the academy. I thought I might comment.

I noted your sarcasm WRT one of your fellow professors. I believe that sort of commentary is very valuable criticism within your community. Policing yourselves so to speak. I have found peer criticism to be very effective.

As full disclosure, I am an active duty Marine Corps LtCol. In many cases our two fields tend to be at odds as we are the enforcement arm of national policy that in many cases is at odds with the academy. If I satisfied myself with the level of analytical rigor in my planning that appears to be acceptable in the university system today I would be dead in a ditch by now. In my own field we are very critical of one another. Spouting out the kinds of drivel I read from purported PHds in a debrief would get you figuratively crushed by your peer group. Applying less than reality based thinking in actuality would get you literally shot.

Getting to the point, the academy, and liberal arts in particular is looking somewhat buffoonish. Is promoting the politics of self victimization and learning how to be serially affronted the core competency of a college education? Stop handing out degrees to those who don’t earn them. Stop worrying about people’s feelings. I’m sorry your paper sucks little Johnny, I would give you an F, but we don’t have grades here, as they are class, race, gender biased. Horsepuckey…. Eliminate the tenure system as a crutch for mediocrity. Fix this mess within the academy before the worth of a liberal arts degree is further marginalized.

Debrah said...

Myra Shird is shown here in front of Mangum.

Anonymous said...

KC says "A side note: most college professors know the difference between when to use “there” and when to use “their.”) I would add that book editors should know that, too. :)

There are so many more black women out there who are true victims of injustice. I can only conclude that Mr. Clark is a publicity hound devoid of any decency or integrity.

Anonymous said...

My mother taught at NC A&T. The stories she tells about the way they get kids through class is just beyond belief. She tells tales of students missing Friday and Monday classes due to "illness", (read that hangover) and the teachers gave them make up tests at full value. Mom had that problem and was told to make a retest available to the students. She did. It was far far tougher then the original multiple guess. She never had a student miss class after that.

The teachers at A&T have been known to go through a remedial reading program as an undergrad. Mom knew one. Not all degrees are created equal.

river rat said...

Amen to the USMC LtCol who commented above...

And - thank God that the men selected to serve in his position of Leadership have the common sense, discipline and rational thought patterns - FREE OF EMOTIONALISM or RACISM - to lead warriors in times of peril...

Men such as the LtCol are MOST responsible that so many of us old Marines came home alive.
Had we been led by folks such as the infamous 88 of Duke or those educated in Ethnic victimization -- I'm certain there would be far more names on the cold stone Wall on the Mall...

I wonder how it was in the 60's, that the Marine Corps had only Americans in the ranks -- who were white, brown, black, yellow, red --- but no "African-Americans"...

EVERY ONE who bled on the field of battle - Including the enemy - bled the same red blood.... Remember that.

Anonymous said...

She's not a scrivener, she's a scrivenot. The scrivenot wrote:

"If an exotic dancer is promiscuous and sleeps with five or six guys within a twenty-four-hour time period, do we find her less credible if she says that the seventh guy raped her?"

The answer to her question in many instances -- and in all instances like the Duke Hoax -- is yes. The court will allow it into evidence.

Here is just one exception to the Rape Shield law, North Carolina Rule of Evidence 412: "evidence of specific instances of sexual behavior by the alleged victim offered to prove that a person other than the accused was the source of semen, injury, or other physical evidence." MOO! Gregory

Anonymous said...

Myra Shird was a 'Director of Speech Communications'? HOW? The only kind of communication this buffoon seems capable of is either smoke signals or hand puppetry.

mac said...


No, no, no: Shird is "Directur of Speach Commonacaucasions." Must have gotten her degree from a comedy college somewhere - probably online. The spelling proves it.