NAACP's Juanita Wallace Ready to Cancel DISD Superintendent Mike Miles' Black Card

Categories: Schutze

SHZ_GetOffMyLawn_TitleImageV2.jpg
Working on a big story about school reform these days. (Note to editor: definitely see completion this year, possibly early next. Best way you can help -- make sure I keep up my darned morale.)

Speaking of morale, I wanted to go ahead and share a bit of the reporting with you in advance of the story itself. I had a long, very interesting interview and visit yesterday with Juanita Wallace, head of the local branch of the NAACP. Wallace, a retired Dallas Independent School District reading specialist, told me that one reason for particularly low morale these days among black school district employees is what she said was the school superintendent's obvious dislike of black people in general, strong black women in particular.

I responded to that assertion by asking what I told her was probably a stupid white guy question: How can Mike Miles be a racist, since the man is himself black?

Wallace explained to me that Miles is a certain type of black person who thinks he is "white inside." She said black people with that belief think they are "neutral" in terms of their own racial makeup.

Thumbnail image for mike miles head.jpg
Mike Miles
Her words struck a chord with me. They were similar to words that older southern Dallas black leaders used when barring a former staff member here, who is black, the son of a former Black Panther in fact, from a meeting. They told him he was not black.

I take what black people tell me about blackness seriously. My experience is that it's very difficult if not impossible for white people to comprehend how black people feel about the concept of race.

On the other hand, I have been a student of racial politics and race relations in Dallas for a long, long time. Therefore I am aware that black Dallas is viewed by black people elsewhere in Texas -- in Houston and San Antonio in particular -- as having been the least involved of the state's urban black communities in the civil rights struggles of the 1960s and '70s.

Some black people have taken me to task in the past for my interpretation of the extreme conservatism of black southern Dallas. Critics of my writing about this have told me that rather than evidencing a passive willingness to strike deals and accommodations with white racists, the culture of southern Dallas has deep roots in black separatism, as opposed to the agenda of integration and assimilation sought by MLK Jr.

After hearing Wallace out, however, I came back to a conclusion I have held for a long time: In southern Dallas, a black person who achieves success in the general population of the nation -- on an equal footing with white and other ethnicities -- ceases to be black by virtue of that status and becomes one with the racist white enemy. According to this formula, blackness is a kind of award that the leadership of black southern Dallas may bestow or withhold based on whether an individual stays on the right side of the leadership or not.

Do what we want, you're black. Cross us, you're white.

In my experience, this phenomenon among older Dallas black leaders is completely unrelated to skin-tone bias within black culture -- the longstanding, well-documented existence of black-on-black prejudice against white-looking black people. This is not that. Physical traits considered black, as opposed to European, won't help the black individual who achieves too much success or does too much mingling outside of southern Dallas.

That person can get slapped with the ultimate insult -- being called white -- for reasons that seem awfully mundane, not to say petty, to an outside observer. In the case of our former staff member, he was stripped of his racial identity as part of a campaign of public pressure to assist one side in negotiations to buy a gas station.

I have used the term, older leadership, here, because usually I do not see the same phenomenon among black professionals in Dallas who are younger than 40. But among people older than that, it's almost the rule.

I did take Wallace's remarks to Miles for comment -- one of those journalistic chores that make me wish I went to dental school. I will quote both Miles and Wallace fully in my story, which is actually out a couple weeks from now. Generally I can characterize his reaction as a bemused chuckle. He said if news gets out of his being down on strong black women, he's going to be in trouble with his very strong-willed black sisters (meaning siblings).

And so now, much as my finger may tremble on this particular trigger and after donning my mental foul weather gear, I must ask, Lord help us, what you think about it.


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43 comments
BettyC1
BettyC1

Wallace is crazy but the sad part is there are a large group of people who think like she does.Dallas Southern Blacks will never move forwards until Wallace and people like her are gone.Most young progressive Black move to other Cities in Dallas County and avoid living in South Dallas proper so people like Price,Wallace and etc. continue to survive in leadership positions in our community.

sisterfunkhaus
sisterfunkhaus

I was literally laughing out loud at this article. I admire you for writing it, but I couldn't believe the words coming from Wallace's mouth. Heaven forbid anyone have any standards.I am glad that Miles feels like kids at failing schools deserve better principals. It saddens me deeply that the black community doesn't feel their kids  deserve better and will cling on to an ineffective principal simply by virtue of race. Talk about racism.

crg328
crg328

There is "particularly low morale" amongst ALL DISD teachers, not just black employees. The entirety of DISD is feeling immense pressure from Miles. I'm expecting to see a mass exodus at the close of this school year--myself included. I suspect anyone who is touting Miles educational philosophies (demands) is getting paid much more than I am. 

JohnWileyPrice
JohnWileyPrice

As long as Sandra Fluke gets her free birth control pills what difference does it make?

jcgreen59
jcgreen59

Juanita Wallace has lost her mind! Juanita as a represented of the Community will not tell the media why Children are spending twelve years in school only to come out qualified for jobs at Dollar General, Wal-Mart, Denny's, and in some cases laborers for a City Municipality. Juanita Wallace will not tell the Community that these same schools are producing unqualified students with no strategic plans being implemented to engage students and teachers to buy into their methodologies. Juanita, sustainability entails, creating a community of learning through stimulating discussions, provocative readings, and challenging projects, all integrated by experienced teachers and delivered through the best of educational technology to students. Juanita, have you recently verified this value system is in place at Madison, Roosevelt, South Oak Cliff, Lincoln, etc? Juanita, can you tell this community why students during their senior years become so frustrated they give up even before walking across the stage to receive their diplomas? Leslie Swann is the only instructor that has been singled out unjustly. Dr. Swann has not been given sufficient time to implement her organizational designs to be effectively measured. None of these schools are producing critical thinkers who have gained the skills, techniques and perspectives necessary to become a true leader who can effectively manage and motivate people through thoughtful leadership in a business organizations. Juanita, you are aware of this correct? Juanita, stop settling for less, get you a strategic plan in place to get the Foreign Business owners who are building a strong economic base in the Southern Sector and taking their money to Southlake, and Allen to buy into coalesce economics back into the Southern sector. Juanita, is this above your reasoning? Juanita, I want to see students graduate with the skills to implement critical thinking, and methods for managing conflict and ethics as an essential component of leadership in the business organizations. In other words Juanita we have not been producing leaders, Stakeholders have allowed politics to systemically ruin our schools in the Southern Sector while the Stakeholders sit back complaining about frivolous matters which statistic prove differently.

RJDallas
RJDallas

South Dallas was first Jewish, then black, and it may changing again.  The number of blacks in public schools in the area has declined rapidly in the past few years.  I don't know if that is an indicator of  a general population shift but it's worth investigating.  There may be no one left to care what this lady thinks.

I had a very good (if not the proverbial 'best') friend who had to take this from his fellow African-Americans in high school (even some of his relatives) and then jaw-dropping statements from white Parkies and suburban types in college and as an adult. He was also gay.  No wonder he died young of a heart attack.

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

I think you're either a very brave, or a very foolish, writer.

keeponkeepinitdown
keeponkeepinitdown

I just can't believe we pay a superintendent enough to have a black card. 

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

Upon further reflection it occurred to me that Juanita and her ilk are a lot like republicans.

Make outrageous demands based on faulty "thinking" and refuse to cooperate with anyone in actually trying to resolve problems, but instead stomp feet and make lots of noise about how everyone else is against you and refuses to "compromise", i.e. do what I want and do it now.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

Cuz to be black you have to get what's comin to ya from whitey, and be loud about it.

Just being a normal person that goes along to get along is for pussies. And crackers.


These are the biggest racists around. And doing the rest of the folks that are trying to play and win the game no favors.

bstewart1987
bstewart1987

RGIII got his black card revoked because he wasn't down for the cause apparently.

Americano
Americano

In America you are only truly Black unless you are also a Liberal.  The Dems don't want their Blacks straying too far of the Plantation.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

Makes one wonder how representative Ms. Wallace's feelings are throughout the NAACP and the black Dallas community. 

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

At The DISD it's not about race, it's about money. Race is just a tactic to try to take and control the money.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

OH, I get it.  Black people can't be racist (according to JWP), but a black person CAN become a white person, as long as they turn racist at the same time.

OR, it could be that the black leadership believes in black superiority and is actually racist itself.  The only reason I don't think that is because JWP told me it is impossible, and he's right about everything.

James080
James080

Now I truly understand the strong opposition in the black community to DISD reforms, including removing low performing educators. Ms. Wallace and the over 40 set in south Dallas oppose adequately educating black students because they would become Oreo's.....the enemy.....successful. Oh...the horror.

"My experience is that it's very difficult if not impossible for white people to comprehend how black people feel about the concept of race." ---Schutze

For Christs sake Jim, they're just people, they're just like us, and they don't all look or think alike, regardless of what your experiences lead you to believe. You seem to have some deep seated prejudices you seem unable to avoid injecting into your writing.

bealotcoolerifyoudid
bealotcoolerifyoudid

The lone year I taught in the absyss that is DISD, I taught in a school that was 90% black.  I still remember students that were well mannered, knew the answers, and did well academically were taunted as "acting white."  They could do more in undermining themselves than the Klan could ever dream of.

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

This is how any group gets beat - by beating themselves.petty internal squabbles..

But GREAT theater.

roo_ster
roo_ster

Funny, in his photo he looks a mixed-race white/oriental to my eyes.  Your revelation that Double-M is actually black(1) will cause me to Rhee-evaluate everything I think about him.  Or not.

As for what a race-hustler says about dang near anything, I could not care less.  Talking to them or reading their writings is makes one more poorly informed than before.

 .

.

.

.

(1)  Well, "black" according to the "one drop" rule.  In New Orleans he'd pass for Creole or maybe even just pass.  He looks less black than Anatole Broyard of NYT fame (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/3/33/Anatole_Broyard.jpg) who passed for white.  Unless, of course, MM exhibits more African physical characteristics in person than he does in his photo.

oakclifftownie
oakclifftownie

" Wallace explained to me that Miles is a certain type of black person who thinks he is "white inside." She said black people with that belief think they are "neutral" in terms of their own racial makeup."

JUANITA is saying Mike is a House _______________.


OakParkStudio
OakParkStudio

Given this observation, one wonders how former Mayor Ron Kirk stands in the Dallas black community.

He can hardly have his "Black Card" taken away since he worked with President Obama...yet at the same time he is taken to spending plenty of time with a lot of the "White-Swells" inside and outside of Pennsylvania Avenue. 

keeponkeepinitdown
keeponkeepinitdown

@jcgreen59 National Association for the Advancement of Colored Democrats(for government sector jobs)

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

@bmarvel 

At this point in the day and judging by the level of the discourse, I will put five bucks on foolish.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@Americano 

Can't really disagree with that statement.

That is a strange dichotomy too, because, black folks that I know and associate with happen to be some of the most socially conservative people I've ever met.

Politics is weird.

James080
James080

@TheCredibleHulk  

I don't get the impression the NAACP has much stroke or participation in Dallas. The Anti-Miles Gang of Three didn't solicit the NAACP in this battle, they went to the real power in South Dallas, the Ministers.

James080
James080

@primi_timpano  

That's exactly right. DISD has been run as a jobs program for political supporters of city and county elected officials, and as a source of contracts by politically connected insiders.

sisterfunkhaus
sisterfunkhaus

@JohnWileyPrice Only if scratching one's butt crack and then sniffing one's hand qualifies as genius.

gregmarcydagama
gregmarcydagama

@JohnWileyPrice Sir, you contribute nothing but idiocy to a civilized society with your fake name and stupid, off topic comments. We strive as best we can for decades to build a city, and you contribute nothing to it of observable worth. Amuse yourself; you are not amusing. ~ / ~ OM

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@James080It's all about infantilizing black people.  As long as you think of them as (inevitably) underdeveloped people, then you can wrap your head around all the liberal bigotry of low expectations with no problems.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

From my reading, Obama probably had his card revoked when he graduated law school.

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@JimSX LEVEL OF DISCOURSE??! You expected level of discourse?? For heaven sakes, Jim, put down that silly gun and step off the porch for a minute. Feed the chickens. Take a canoe trip or something.

halldecker
halldecker

@James080 @primi_timpano Jobs,  Jim/James,  jobs!  Just when Black Dallas entrenched into what should be a lifetime guarantee of very high dollar employment,  here came all the Browns demanding some of their jobs.  That's what this is really all about.  "

roo_ster
roo_ster

@Tom434 @ScottsMerkin @bstewart1987 About as meaningful as Mitch McConnell revoking some other dude's hispanitude.

All these whiter-than-me goobers biting and scratching over how hispanic one or the other is is a big, fat joke.

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