May 13, 2009 — NEWARK, N.J.: African-born Paulo Serodio is suing the University of Medicine and Dentistry in Newark after what he calls a snowball of traumatic events that began in 2006, when he identified himself as a “white African-American” during an exercise in a clinical skills course taught by Dr. Kathy Ann Duncan. This drew several complaints from the black students in the classroom who found Serodio’s claim of being African-American to be offensive.
Serodio, who is Portuguese, was born in Mozambique, located in southeastern Africa; his great-grandfather emigrated to the region years before, and Serodio moved to the United States in 1984 to study to become a doctor.
In the months following the exercise in Dr. Duncan’s class, Serodio was the subject of many complaints from black students on campu, due largely to articles and online postings written by Serodio defending his right to call himself a white African-American. All the run-ins eventually culminated in his suspension from the school, and Serodio is now suing the institution.
When the story broke, we contacted Byron ‘Man-Man’ Jones, an inmate currently serving 5-10 years at Rikers after being convicted of first degree robbery.
“Naw, man, that [expletive] is crazy,” he said; “African-American is what got my black ass in here in the first place! For some [expletive] I ain’t(sic) even do!” Asked to elaborate, we learned that Byron believes that he was wrongfully convicted of the crime in question.
“Man, listen. I’m walkin’ down the street after leavin’ my job and the cops just come up and bust me in my head, talkin’ bout I fit the description. I said yo, man! What description! And you know what they said? ‘African-American.’ And that’s it!'”
Another Jersey resident weighed in on the matter. “Well, on the one hand, I can see where he’s coming from, but honestly, when I sit back and think about it…there may be advantages to people not knowing that you’re African-American.” She paused to take a phone call before she resumed speaking. “I’m sorry,” she said, “another ‘thanks, but no thanks. I’ve been job searching for months. You’d think that someone with a master’s in urban planning from Rutgers would have little problem finding a job, but it’s been a struggle.”
Asked what she thought the problem was, she said: “My name is La’Quintranequetta Lovettanay Jenkins. See why sometimes it’s better that folks don’t know?? I can’t BUY a freakin’ interview!!”
—(c) The Impoverished Times