At UC Berkeley, a tenured mental health policy professor named Steven Segal has found himself in a bit of trouble, thanks to his conflation of black-on-black crime with the Black Lives Matter movement, and his eagerness to blame victims of oppression for their oppression—which is probably easy when you're not oppressed yourself. (Segal is white. Perhaps he listens to the part of Kendrick Lamar's "Blacker the Berry" that I choose to ignore?
According to the Bold Italic, Segal—who is unfortunately not the 1990s action film star—made some off-color comments last month during a Black Lives Matter event at UCB, going so far as to share a rap song he'd written. It's not funny, but a rap song? Come on.
"He was saying things to the effect that black on black crime is part of the problem, and I think that a lot of students in the group were offended by what he was saying," said Allensworth. "The focus of the event was on the Black Lives Matter movement, and it felt like he was decentering the conversation from that focus."
The following day in his mental health policy class, Segal started rapping again. This time, he added that people needed to "stop scapegoating the cops" and continued along his black on black crime rant. When a female student disagreed with him, he cut her off, raised his hands in her face and told her that only he was allowed to speak. Naturally, this being UC Berkeley, some students left mid-class and others reported Segal's actions to the Dean of the School of Social Welfare.
This isn't Segal's first offense: he's not rated well among students for his cultural sensitivity, which is—at least stereotypically—an important factor among students at Berkeley. Segal's students have responded by hanging banner outside of their school's entrance saying "School of Social Welfare: Striving to Maintain Oppression Since 1944." They also held a teach-in with Segal to show him how and why his conflation was wrong—and hopefully they asked him to stop writing rhymes too.
The UCB administration has promised to do something about the situation with Segal, and the professor sent his class a note of apology but the students who are paying good money for an education shouldn't have to finance some old dude who wants to write bad raps and tell them that it's their people's fault for dying at the hands of overzealous cops.
Contact the author at Hillary@jezebel.com.