Tuesday, January 22, 2008

to whom it may concern:

NOTE: I wrote this last year when my son's school suspended him for defending himself after a white boy hit him. Didn't want to write on politics today so I found this. Hope u dont mind. And for the record, he was reinstated that day. The things they try and do to our young men. Fathers stand tall.

I am writing this letter in reference to the disturbance that my son (in picture) was alledgedly involved in on Wednesday, November 14, 2007. I am disconcerted given from my terse understanding of the situation and the resulting suspension of my son. More disheartening is the understanding that the white male youth was not suspended when he was involved as a "mutual combatant."

First is the recantation overheard by my son regarding the comparison of the participants in a monochromatic fashion, specifically the references of behaviors described as "black" and "white." I would hope that professionals such as you would not participate in the usage of stereotypical references that would suggest, "everyone knows black boys can fight." Or that the clothes one wears is indicative of being in "a gang."

Such a locution, I would remind you is similar to he disposition of those school administrators involved in the "Jena Six" situation. Albeit on a smaller scale, the white students involved were not suspended nor dismissed and the punishment was less sever than the young black men involved. I would have anticipated that professionalism would have proffered better judgment. I was informed that my son ran from the scene when in fact he walked to basketball practice as he does each day at that time. In addition, was informed that he was handcuffed, when neither he nor his associated resisted arrest. Lastly, I was informed that he was accosted verbally as t why he changed clothes, when it should be common knowledge that one changes clothes for basketball practice as well as football practice, which he also did regularly.

There is an additional concern regarding the LABELING of my son as being part of a gang and/or exhibiting "gang-like" behavior. I would like to know your definition of gang like given the courts have admitted that such definitions are broad and not exact enough to connote actual gang membership or participation in a gang. Four your information I have included four such definitions. Neither of the three apply to my son for he is not a criminal, nor an eloquent, nor had any social affiliation with the first youth who accosted the alleged victim.

  1. A group of criminals or hoodlums who band together for mutual protection and profit.
  2. A group of adolescents who band together, especially a group of delinquents.
  3. Informal. A group of people who associate regularly on a social basis: The whole gang from the office went to a clambake.

An additional point of order regards the videotape. From my current understanding, I do not see the exercise of due diligence nor due process on your behalf. I understand it is the essence of your allegations, since only the words of the white youth were accepted as the truth. Again, I hope the stereotypical assertions of what a white person says when compared to a black person is always right. If such is the case, then it is an incessant extension of history fro Dred Scott, to Medgar Evers, to the Sccotsboro Boys and Emmitt Till who were convicted on the lies of white men just based on the fact they came from white people. Due diligence serves to confirm all material facts in investigation. Such would mean that you would look at the cell phone video and discern if it was complete or chopped or edited. If the first portion of the fight was not on the tape, according to you purview, they way in which the tape is being used against my son, then there is a chance the first fight did not occur. Then there is the issue of sequence. Was the tape in the sequences of events as described by the young man who asked my son "if he wanted some too?" And proceeded to hit him. The history of America dictates that Black men defend them selves from white men. I am certain you can understand why such is the case, regardless of the size of the individual. Due diligence means that you would know that my son has never been involved in a fight throughout his public school tenure. Can you say the same for the alleged victim? Or did you not investigate such before you made your presupposed judgment of guilt against my son.

As an infectious disease expert and a behavioral epidemiologist, I use a corpus of variables to come to conclusions regarding disease prevalence, vector concentration and tenable pandemic expectations. Not a single variable, nor the single word of a single material witness. I would advocate that you seek the truth in this mater and defer from your stereotypical purview of asserting that black youth, particularly males are always the perpetrators and their word can never be trusted.

Torrance T. Stephens, PhD.

I have attached my CV for the record.


Blu Jewel said...

Good for you. More parents; especially fathers need to take a stand in favor of their children instead of going with the status quo. Your children are fortunate that you're proactive and educated in order to protect as well as defend them.

I applaud your convictions.

guerreiranigeriana said...

haha...they probably couldn't even understand half the words you used in the letter...i remember those days when mommy or daddy would whip up a letter complete with gre vocabulary words and sound arguments...hehe...yes indeed, your children are fortunate that you don't just allow the system to do as they please...

...dr...er...sir stephens, i may need you to write an emergency letter of rec for me...i'll email if so...but, um, it's due the 31st of this month...*runs out*...

Cluizel said...

Get em!!! That was a great read.

Between you and bygbaby'post today I am getting a good dose of good black fathers! warms the heart...

PrettyBlack said...

Wow. That was the shit right there. As the saying goes; A black man with a gun is less intimidating to white folks than a black man with an education.

Aunt Jackie said...

Well good Doctor, may I call you Doctor? That right there is an example of parenting and fighting the good fight against the status quo which seems content with creating villians out of our men and children.

yes Doc, you done good by that boy and I hope he appreciates it!

memphiz said...

Great..your a good father.

Xcentric Pryncess said...

Wow, you write great letters, what a sista is trying to say is...if I get in trouble you got my back right??? :P

"D" said...

Peace Torrance~
Well you just don't stop do you?....lol
And you shouldn't. It is a fathers duty to protect his seeds, unfortunately our society is far more interested in kicking someones physical ass as opposed to unleashing a carefully thought out verbal assault that will provoke TRUTH of the matter. It is about Principle. Congratulations for using your wisdom to assimilate your sons defense. You should be very proud of yourself!

When dealing with people we should always discern a sort of pasivity. And that don't mean bein no PUNK. It means that our first instinct is to attack, if a dog is backed into a corner and is being lashed at, are we suprised or angry when he bites? One shouldn't be, he was defending himself. However, we are unlike the dog in that we have the ability to passivly observe our opponents. To passivly observe means to watch your opponent void of emotion and attatchment. If we are able to do so, we are viewing not only with our eyes but with our mind. You ever watch old Kung Fu movies? The lessons they teach in fighting are about principles and emotion control. It doesn't mean they are void of emotion but rather they study their opponents and in the deliberation void of emotinal attachment, they allow their opponent to get emotional, while they passionately observe void of emotion. By doing this, one can almost predict the opponents next move, therfor providing the apropriate block or counter attack. Observing emotions (energy in motion) is an artform and one that many don't choose to apply. We all have the capability yet we generally seem to be reactive as opposed to proactive. I am not suggesting that there isn't a time for violence. There certainly are circumstances that warrent some type of violence. The question is..... is it used as a resource of last result or is it a reactive habitual behavior? I certainly would defend myself violently if I was attacked in a dark alley. I'd say given those circumstances that is my last resort for survival. However, I wouldn't walk up to someone on the street and sock 'em in the face cause they looked at me crazy.

It is left open to ones interpritation of circumstances and their lack or application of careful deliberation.

One Love,

MsPuddin said...

I keep hearing about your post. I had to come check it out. I think the best part is it was so rational and well written. So what happened?

Trouble said...

wow, it is truly a pleasure to see a man defend his child in such a dignified way!

Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

blu - thank u

guerreiranigeriana - as i recant, could not understand them in m lectures for clas, send me inf ill write letter

Cluizel & memphiz - thanks hon

Pretyblack - dont know, u should see me with my gat and m ax

Aunt Jackie - yes u may but my mom named me torrance PHD really dont make folk here

Xcentric Pryncess - sure, let me know when u need one and 4 what

d - im in awe

Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

MsPuddin - u should read the previous one

trouble - dp come back and comment to the rest

VAR said...

That letter scared them folks, T. :-) You know it did and then you back it up with the credentials? They said to themselves, Oops!!! I think if God forbids the situation should happen with your daughter? Whew.. the gat and the axe is coming first and then the letter, though they wont be able to read it by then...lol.. :-)

By the way, I see a nice little picture there of you and your daughter in the snow. Nice.. show some more! I wish I could've been there for that snow. I'm bring'n my camera when I come see y'all...

Exquisitely Black said...

Wow, all I can say is kudos! Way to use the brain instead of the braun, much more effective.

Aunt Jackie said...

well if you mother named you torrance that's probably what God knows you as, so that's what I'll call you.

well torrance that letter reminds me of the smack down my mother used to lay on my teachers..they never what hit 'em.

I wish you could teach a parenting class or two with some brothers who in need!

Pajnstl said...

I bet they read the 1st paragraph and said... "shit, he's not like the rest of them"

Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

Pajnstl - lol i hope the read it, i dont write for my health

Aunt Jackie - sounds like mom was the truth. and thank u again.

Exquisitely Black - thanks, dont get me wrong, i do believe in neogiation but a punch in the mouth works just as well

VAR - u know how we do. LOL. when u coming this way or does Zane own u LOL

Bygbaby said...

Cluziel - Thx boo!!!

Damn, this is intense & I am sure it fucked them up!!! So what was the final outcome?


Tony Stringfield said...

Way to smash bro, I don't think they were ready for the true Black Man. But what they don't know is the true Black Man. You feel me.......

Don said...

Cuz, I bet after they read your letter they passed the word on to never, ever take action against your son until they get to the core. lol. It's one thing to be heard out, but it's an entirely different thing when you are being heard out through an intellect which, you have to figure, they didn't expect.

The "authority" took the white kid's word over your son's word. That sucks. I guess they figured they would receive more slack from the white parent if they did otherwise.

It's crazy how every young black male has to be in a gang.

Jaded said...

Thank God you are a strong vocal advocate for your children. I am always at odds with my school district over my daughter's education because she has a disability. If they had their way, she'd sit quitely in a corner and never bother anyone, which would cost them less money. I am all over every single aspect of her education, and have cut throat attorneys who deal with the courts for us.

I am so sorry your son was the victim of something that should not occur in this day and age, and most especially not in a public school setting. The public is every color of the rainbow and should be treated as equals. What message does this send to our children? What did your son learn from this? Is it any wonder that racial stereotypes are perpetuated when a situation like this occurs? White men listened to a white child and discounted the testimony of a black child.

This, my friend, is a prime example of why I no longer teach in a classroom. I loved my students, even though they were very rough around the edges sometimes. I never once raised my voice in a classroom - not even when I was teaching behviorally disordered teenagers. Not once. I didn't need to. It's about mutual respect. When you respect your students, they respect you and they work harder so they don't let you down. But the "powers that be" fight you every step of the way. Oh, the stories I could tell... maybe I'll blog about some of them. It about killed me to watch these middle aged men on such a power trip that they would kill the spirit of a child just to prove they were in charge. I always thought it pathetic that a grown man felt the need to prove that he had more authority than a child.

I'm chatty tonight for some reason... sorry!

Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

Bygbaby - reinstated that day.

Uncle tone - u know i am a passive agressive unless hit, u know how i get down LOL

Jaded - u not being chatty, but he learned a valuable lesson i tell u that

Don - I am the only Bro in the PTA. and that what made me mad. His word like white is right

Ma'at said...

I'm glad I had a Mother who was just like you. No one but no one fucks with the children. Bravo to you dear, Bravo.

Qucifer said...

(Baby Dawg you know I stay visiting you!! Come on Now!)

I am Completely impressed that you are very involved with your kids (Sad shit I should be cause men should be expected to care for their young as you do) but at this moment I only want to know:

Did they call you groveling?

Or was the groveling done over the phone?? personal?? please Do tell me .... I wish I would have been a fly in that administrative office when that precious sledgehammer of a letter was opened

dejanae said...

i think its all been said so ill just go wit
they musta been thinkin " fuck it. We have us an educated negro"

princesa said...

When will all this discrimination against Blacks stop?!?!
Good you stood up for ur son.

VAR said...

Aww main, I'm tryin to get down that way. I've been dealing with some other ish, thanks to folk taking advantage of a good brotha and me allowing them to.. ya know? Been trying to get that squared but I'm working on gettin out there..

Don said...

wow @ the only brother in the PTA

Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

Don - Been like that since my son left private schools.

Var - yep, they and well some folks have no home training, and some women dont know how to treat a good man

princesa and dejanae - thanks ladies.

Qucifer - no they didn't but when i walk down the hall and show up at my son's game they make a point to speak to me. LOL

Ma'at - thanks hon, i guess i must still be your mentor. and your mom sounds like the truth.

Sha Boogie said...

WOOOORD!! See, that's what I'm talking about - we as a 'people' need to start slangin' more $5 words at white people so they will respect our gangsta and back down..lol. That letter was serious! I know they wasn't messing with you after that, because I bet they didn't even understand what you were talking about, ha!

jameil1922 said...

okay but do you even understand how much i love this post?! and that you attached your CV! man that's fab. LOVE IT!! i.e. "i broke it down for you but don't cross me."

Brownsoul said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Divine Blackness said...

This is incredible! I wish more Black fathers were this proactive in the lives of their sons (and daughters). Sha boogie's comment got me dyin' laughin'. Fo real!

Brownsoul said...

First, the picture of you and the little one in the snow is so cute.

Next,this reminds me of my high school. So many things were banned because they were considered to be signs of so called gang activity. I grew up in rural south GA where we had an official "Tractor Day". I mean, really! GANGS?!! Truth was that too many of these things were just "too black" for the white parents and the administration.

I remember when they saw wearing braids as a sign of gang activity, so braids were banned for guys. All the black boys with long hair would wear their hair loose and wild (I LOVED IT). The school got so tired of seeing afros that they discontinued the ban on braids.

Stay on 'em, T! Let them know that black parents ARE MOST DEFINITELY concerned about our kids and will get on that ass if necessary.

Koffee Dyme said...

Amazing.... i wish i had a daddy like you!!! I grew up fighting my own battles... Anyways back on topic.. The world needs more black men like you.... to think because the color of one skin... they are a certain way... roll eyes...

Nicole said...

Your words are more dangerous than any gun. Great job.

Lovebabz said...

Shit. I would bet money and I am not a gambler, that your letter scared the bejesus out of those folks. It scared me and I have no idea what part of the country you are from. Oh I am so lifting this for future reference...just in case I need a "I got more education than you, so don't get it twisted" letter. Ahh I do so love a man with a fine mind and a way with a pen. Bravo to you---you held it down for some many Brothers/Fathers who ain't able.
Bravo I say! BRAVO!

Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

Sha Boogie - not 5$ words, jus the way i talk and speak i use them like shit and damn and folk and jones. I wrote the letter in about 10 minutes and i didnt lok none of the words up, they came from my heart, just like i write here, never contrived and thanks hon

Babz - u silly albeit most folks scared of me when i wear my hair up and back in one braid.

Nicole - thank u, a dangerous mind and a beautiful person is what my momma said.

Koffee Dyme - thanks for the support and having my back

Brownsoul - i had to write it or else yawl would have seen me tear the club up s well as on the 11 o clock news

Divine Blackness - it is my honor to make all my folk proud and do come back more often pls,

jameil1922 - yea, 18 pages worth with more than 60 scientific publications

ALL I allways tell my son its ok to be cool and an athelete but women love smart men who wont hesitate to beat a mutha fucka in the head with hammer as wel as words. He whipped that boy ass

Mes Deux Cents said...


Just think of how many Black kids are suspended or expelled simply because they don't have a parent to stand up for them.

There ought to be some sort of advocates for Black kids in public schools, so if the parents are not capable, there will be someone to speak for them.

The Bear Maiden said...

Ha ha! $5 words? My comment was going to be "Dang, that's some $10 words right there!" but then I was also going to say that I'm quite sure those words freaked them out far more than if you rolled up on the joint shouting obscenities. Obviously this was the case, since they adjusted themselves.

I wish that more of us brown-skinned (and red and yellow, too) folk knew how to use those words as weapons in defense of our kids, rather than rollin' up on the joint like I see so many do. Cuz our kids need defending in a most powerful way. Your "sun" is blessed... may he grow up to be a great man.

the prisoner's wife said...

be out with you advocating for you son!! a lot of what schools/the system gets away with is because parents do not know how to be advocates for their children...and advocating in such a way that does not escalate the situation, but rather offers a clear, postured, and definite stance on the issues. bravo.

when they read this they were probably like WTF? this negro done hauled off and cited Dred Scott!!


lisa said...

I am a high school principal at a school whose student population is 100% African-American. I make it a practice not to suspend students for self-defense - this is a practice derived from personal experience - and that is a LONG story I won't share in your comments section!

I am so proud of you for standing up for your son. That's our job as parents, but the way you chose to do so was commendable.

Believe it or not, though, our parents are becoming a lot more savy - they know how to fight for their kids. . . they know how to go to the board of ed (and sometimes the media) and complain when they do not appreciate decisions made concerning their child.

The letter was tight. I bet you $20 they had to get the dictionary, though, to understand it - hell, I wanted to (I just knew how to use the context clues :)

Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

Lisa - I a glad to here that for the sake of Americas future. And would hope that one who teaches my child would not have to supperate a dictionary to discern what ws saying....thank god for context clues

TPW - thanks siter, i was lookin for u, where and what have u ben up to?

The Bear Maiden - lol, i gues they all say, u know how they roll. But I have never attended any school that was not all African American. Not even college.

MD2 - u are astute in your observation again, but history tells us such an advicate witll do such for the status quo, not us. we have to d our own work, we already lazy as it is and want folks to do what we need to do on our own

Lovebabz said...

I am definetly in agreement with the Prisoner's Wife. Dred Scott! WTF! I am still laughing about that! You are a BAdd Man.

Rayo said...

You better tell them! Something somewhat similar happened to me when I was younger. When I came to the states from Nigeria (a former British colony where the primary language is English), I was placed in the ESL (English as a second language program). When my father was informed he wrote a letter that reminds me of yours and also emphasized the fact that he and my mother had received their phds from the best university in Africa. Several months later I won an award on behalf of the county for an essay that I wrote.

I wish more black fathers could do the same; standing up for their sons and daughters, because if it hadn't been for the letter he wrote, I would have probably been discouraged from learning.

dc_speaks said...

late to the party...but ummm everything was alraedy stated.

good one, fam!

a similar situation happened to my son but I popped in instead, a note would have calmed me down too much. I prefer the "he's too mad to even show he's mad" look that school administrators had come to get from me.

yayyyyy for your son having an advocate in you like that.

Anonymous said...

You son is so lucky to have a father like you.

Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

DC & Anon - Thank you both and DC, never late folk

Rasyo - thanks hon for the visit and do come back, and where in Nigeria?

Babz - u making me blush....again

msladydeborah said...


This is a great parent to the school letter!
I know that the officials were probably stunned to receive it!
I love how you worked on tapping that mental ass in a proper manner.

Dusty said...

As a brown bitch I don't take kindly to labels, especially when they are knee-jerk ones from folks that don't have a clue.

Kudo's Torrance..you rock sir!

Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

msladydeborah - thanks, i write cause i did wana whip some ass on the real

Dusty - y thank u maam, all woman, i mean bitch LOL

Karrie B. said...

omg...thank you so much for this...thank you for doing exactly what no one expected the "black" father to do. ur blog-i dig it. a lot.

-karrie b.

Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

Karrie B - y thank u hon

Anonymous said...

You have Newly Literate Affectation Disorder. It tends to afflict blacks with more than a high school education and a thesaurus, though it is also appears in black males with a rhyming dictionary. Prescription: Read "Elements of Style" by Strunk & Honk--err, I mean White. Twice. Three times if necessary.

A "saltine"

Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

Saltine - LOL now tha if funny. U should stop by more, and I'd like to chk out some day. u my kinda folks. BTW, i'm cursed, when i read a book, any word i look u a the time satys with me.

tAnYeTTa said...

That's right!!!!!!!! stand up for your son. i know they were NOT ready for you! Bravo!

Ghetto Philosopher said...

First of all T,
I'd like to say that you're real. I have seen a lot of brothas talk the talk and since Cordie got me here I have been watching to see if you were one of those. You ain't. Ya say what you mean and live what you say. Thats refreshing. Not to be a downer y'all (and I applaud Torrance for handling his buisness)but it is a sad day of affairs when a black man taking care of his own is an exception and not the rule. I hope that one day, in my lifetime a post like this would inspire comments of "good, I did that too" and we would at least learn how to handle our business.

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