Black Professor Calls for ‘Black Bereavement Leave’ Whenever a Black Person is Killed
An Illinois college professor argues that black workers should receive paid time off whenever someone in the black community is killed… even if they are unrelated. Dr. Angel Jones, an educator at Southern Illinois University, published an op-ed arguing that black teachers should be eligible for “black bereavement leave” due to the emotional toll of public tragedies.
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Jones cited the death of Tyre Nichols in her column, saying that she burst into tears while emailing students in the wake of the brutal beating at the hands of five black cops. She said this was not uncommon and that she had cried “numerous times… while sending similar emails.”
“In fact, I have tears in my eyes right now just thinking about all those emails I’ve sent and all the ones I know I will have to send in the future.
[H]istory has shown us that Black educators often have to exert additional emotional energy to pick up the slack the academy leaves behind after it sends its obligatory, and often performative, statement to the campus community.”
Jones criticized the “obviously copy-pasted, campus-wide emails” sent by campus administrators in the wake of public tragedies. The professor called the outreach “the bare minimum” and said that black faculty and staff “don’t even get that.”
“Where is the acknowledgment of our pain? Where are our counselling services? Where is our grace for missed meetings and deadlines while we mourn? Yes, we have jobs to do and students to support, but we also have trauma to process.”
Copy-pasted, campus-wide emails have been the subject of criticism in recent headlines. Nicole Joseph and Hasina Mohyuddin, two Vanderbilt University deans, recently sent an email offering support to students in the wake of the Michigan State University shooting. The 297-word email was revealed to have been written by the ChatGPT AI.
Vanderbilt Univ. Diversity Deans Under Fire for Sending MSU Shooting Condolence Letter Written by AI
One of the deans, critical race theorist Nicole Joseph, was suspended over the email. Joseph once lauded the work of “White Fragility,” saying author Robin DiAngelo was “like a sister to me.”
Jones, however, says that the lack of care is due to “racism and anti-Blackness on and off campus.”
“Where’s our Black bereavement leave?” she asks.
The professor continues, describing something she calls “racial battle fatigue”—a term for psychological consequences of racism coined by ethnic studies professor William Smith.
“Psychological consequences of [racial battle fatigue] include anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts, while physiological consequences include elevated heart rate, tension headaches and stomach ulcers. We experience these symptoms on a regular basis as a result of our first-hand racial trauma as well as the trauma we experience when we see people such as Philando Castile, Eric Garner and Patrick Lyoya murdered on camera.”
Jones says the solution to racial battle fatigue—or RBF—is paid time off.
“Some may have thought I was joking when I mentioned Black bereavement leave, but I wasn’t. We need space and time to grieve without having to explain or defend it.”
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Angel Jones is a visiting assistant professor at Southern Illinois University’s department of educational leadership. She is the author of Street Scholar: Using Public Scholarship to Educate, Advocate, and Liberate.
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