Strive for Honor? Texas Tech Invites Radical Angela Davis to Speak During African American History Month
Texas Tech University proudly announced this week that they were inviting two speakers to Texas Tech to give speeches during African American History Month. Tavis Smiley, author and talk show host will travel to Texas Tech on February 5th to discuss his new book "Death of a King."
It's the second guest that should have many questioning the wisdom of Tech officials.
Angela Davis, who has been described and has described herself as a radical, will be speaking at Tech on February 12.
Davis will be speaking about what she calls the "prison industrial complex."
What does Davis think about the prison system in the United States? As the Washington Times has reported, Davis wants to shut down all prisons and jails. She believes that prisons are used to jail the poor and uneducated.
According to Davis it's not the person's fault that they are in jail, it is our fault.
Ms. Davis holds that any black serving a prison sentence in the United States is in reality a “political prisoner,” whatever offense they may have committed. In her lexicon, those convicted are only victims of “masked racism.” As she wrote in 1998, the poverty in which blacks are “ensconced” causes them to be “grouped together under the category ‘crime’ and by the automatic attribution of criminal behavior to people of color.” The purpose of prison, in her eyes, is simply to “disappear” people who come from “poor, immigrant and racially marginalized communities.”
Ms. Davis imputes to the American ruling class what she terms “racial assumptions of criminality,” which enable the nation to lock up the innocent under a veneer of legality and “disappear the major social problems of our time.” As she explains, most people “have been tricked into believing in the efficacy of imprisonment,” even though “prisons do not work.” Ms. Davis envisions linking her struggle against this “complex” with other “strands of resistance” to build a new “powerful movement for social transformation.
Davis believes that getting rid of prisons will lead to the socialist society that we all deserve.
Of course, Angela Davis is not just known for her views on prison. Davis was a former leader of the Communist Party USA and appeared twice as a Vice Presidential candidate on the Communist Party USA ticket.
She was such a great communist that in 1979 she was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize and even traveled to the Soviet Union to accept the award.
In 2014, Davis told the L.A. Times that she still had a relationship with the Communist Party, though she said she is no longer a member.
Her relationship with capitalism? Well, Davis also told the Times this:
"I still believe that capitalism is the most dangerous kind of future we can imagine."
Besides her feelings towards Communism, Davis was a leader of in the Black Panther Party. Another claim to fame for Angela Davis is that she was the second woman ever placed onto the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List.
While Texas Tech mentions this in her official bio, they never mention why she was placed on the list.
In 1970, an armed man entered a courtroom in Marin County California. A man named James McClain was on trial for murder when the armed Jonathan Jackson entered the courtroom. Jackson interrupted what was happening in the courtroom and armed McClain and two other convicts.
The four took Judge Harold Haley, the prosecutor, and three female jurors hostage and attempted use their lives to negotiate the release of George Jackson.
The hostages were put into a van and as the van attempted to get away, they were met by police. A shootout began, and Judge Haley was killed. The prosecutor was left paralyzed and a juror was hurt.
It was proven that Angela Davis had bought the guns used in the attack just days before and a warrant was issued for her arrest. She was charged with aggravated kidnapping and first degree murder. Davis fled California and was caught months later in New York.
While it was proved that Davis had bought the weapons and that she had written romantic letters to George Jackson, Davis was acquitted in 1972 with help from her legal team that was largely funded by the communist movement.
Recently, Davis has called for an academic boycott of Israel which drew protests in Santa Cruz, California. She has also called for all police to be disarmed in the United States and has said that the war on terror created a prejudice against Muslims.
Texas Tech will pay Davis $12,000 to speak next month. That money will come from different areas of Texas Tech such as the President's Office, Provost's Office, the Women's Studies Program, the Department of History, and the Division of Institutional Diversity.
In the press release of the speakers, Juan Munoz, the vice president for Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Community Engagement described the speakers in this way:
"Texas Tech continues to serve as a national model for inclusive excellence. The caliber of speakers who will be part of our African-American Lecture Series further affirms our commitment to diversity and the profound contributions of African-Americans to our campus, state and country.”
I don't see how Angela Davis has contributed profoundly to Texas Tech, the State of Texas, or to the United States. In fact, I think it's easier to say that she can't stand the values of this country and what this country stands for.
"Strive for Honor" is something Texas Tech likes to talk about. Strive for Honor appears in the Matador Song and it is inscribed into the official Texas Tech ring. How honorable is it to invite someone like Angela Davis to speak? Unless of course Texas Tech is having a lecture series on radicals and communists of the past. Then it would make sense. I doubt however that Texas Tech would ever do that.
Sadly, most of the students at Texas Tech don't know who Angela Davis is and they probably won't ever know the real Davis unless they google her name or tune into KFYO during my show. While listeners have expressed their outrage that Texas Tech would invite Davis to speak, the rest of the media has been silent. You will see more letters to the editor in 2015 about Tech students dropping the F-bomb at football games than citizens who are concerned that Tech would spend $12,000 to bring Angela Davis to speak.
If Tech were really about promoting diversity in February, they could have invited any number of black conservative or liberal leaders in the United States. Someone who could share their thoughts opposite of Tavis Smiley. Instead, Texas Tech chose a radical communist who believes that capitalism is evil. I hope that $12,000 was worth it for them.
For me, I have to wonder if Texas Tech is really doing all they can to Strive for Honor.