Monday, May 18, 2015

A Tale Of Two Professors

Actually, the tale isn't so much of the two professors as it is of the responses of their employers to their public commentary.

Professor #1, a black woman soon to be teaching at Boston University:
Boston University had a weekend change of heart about a new professor's angry tweets about white people, after and others reported on the racially-charged comments -- and Terrier alumni threatened to stop writing checks.

Saida Grundy, an incoming assistant professor of sociology and African-American studies at the school, tweeted in recent weeks that "white masculinity is THE problem for america’s (sic) colleges," white men are a "problem population,” and that she tries to avoid shopping at white-owned businesses. On Friday, her new employer's spokesman, Colin Riley, told that the tweets came from Grundy's personal Twitter account and that she was "exercising her right to free speech and we respect her right to do so.”

Then, amid a deluge of angry emails from former students, the school sought to amend the comment.
“The University does not condone racism or bigotry in any form and we are deeply saddened when anyone makes such offensive statements,” Riley told Saturday.
You would think that after embarrassing, if not herself then at least Boston University, Ms. Grundy would tone it down a bit, or perhaps have been told by BU to keep a low profile.  You might think that, but you would be wrong:
Boston University, which has already condemned the racist Tweets of an incoming faculty member, has now been sent an outrageous Facebook exchange in which a poster who identifies herself as the controversial sociology professor mercilessly ridicules a white rape victim.

Saida Grundy, a newly hired professor at Boston University who recently said she regrets tweeting that white males are a "problem population," and other racially charged comments, is now accused of Facebook posts in which she appeared to taunt a white rape victim...
Chamberlin, the rape survivor, responded: “No really. I got it. You can take your claws out, thanks.”
To which Grundy exploded:

“^^THIS IS THE S**T I AM TALKING ABOUT. WHY DO YOU GET TO PLAY THE VICTIM EVERY TIME PEOPLE OF COLOR AND OUR ALLIES WANT TO POINT OUT RACISM. my CLAWS?? Do you see how you just took an issue that WASNT about you, MADE it about you, and NOW want to play the victim when I take the time to explain to you some s**t that is literally $82,000 below my pay grade? And then you promote your #whitegirltears like that’s some badge you get to wear… YOU BENEFIT FROM RACISM. WE’RE EXPLAINING THAT TO YOU and you’re vilifying my act of intellectual altruism by saying i stuck my “claws” into you?”

Chamberlin responded by trying to leave the discussion. “I am choosing to “exit” this conversation,” she wrote.

But Grundy posted again, finishing with: “go cry somewhere. since that’s what you do.”
This woman will soon be teaching at Boston University.

Now let's visit Professor #2, a white male professor at Duke University:
A Duke University professor was defiant after the school last week condemned his "noxious" and "offensive" words in a letter published in The New York Times in which he compared African-Americans unfavorably to Asian-Americans.

The school's rebuke came after a student backlash against Political Science Professor Jerry Hough, 80, whose May 9 letter sought to address racism and the Baltimore riots. Hough said African-Americans don't try to integrate into society, while Asians “worked doubly hard” to overcome racism instead of blaming it.

“Every Asian student has a very simple old American first name that symbolizes their desire for integration,” he wrote on May 10. “Virtually every black has a strange new name that symbolizes their lack of desire for integration.”

Duke students and faculty blast Hough last week, and the school told The News & Observer of Raleigh that he was placed on leave and that 2016 will be his last year at the school.

“The comments were noxious, offensive, and have no place in civil discourse,” said Duke spokesman Michael Schoenfeld. “Duke University has a deeply held commitment to inclusiveness grounded in respect for all, and we encourage our community to speak out when they feel that those ideals are challenged or undermined, as they were in this case.”

But Hough, in an e-mail to an ABC affiliate, said political correctness is getting in the way of thoughtful and frank debate.

“I am strongly against the obsession with ‘sensitivity,'" Hough wrote. "The more we have emphasized sensitivity in recent years, the worse race relations have become. I think that is not an accident. “I know that the 60 years since the Montgomery bus boycott is a long time, and things must be changed. The Japanese and other Asians did not obsess with the concentration camps and the fact they were linked with blacks as ‘colored.’"
Interesting, the two responses from the two schools regarding the two professors.


maxutils said...

Where's your first amendment support now? This is a market solution, pure and simple. Both of these people are idiots, but I don't have to go to their schools or attend there classes.

maxutils said...

And I didn't note it … but both Universities cited are private, not public. And BU has a really good hockey program.

Darren said...

I didn't promote any "solution" at all, just noted the differences. Are you implying something?

Anonymous said...

If you look at recent news you'll see that Hough was already on leave (he was not "placed on leave.") Also, the university has supported his right to speak while decrying the content. You probably got one of the early, misreported, pieces.

Darren said...

That is entirely possible.

Darren said...

I just checked the article and it has today's date on it. Hm.

maxutils said...

Yes, I was implying … and, perhaps incorrectly … I think both of these people are idiots, and I wouldn't want to take a class from either. But by linking thema, as you said, you invited a comparison … and it's very difficult for me to differentiate between two people I disagree with on first amendment grounds. So I guess, I need to flip the question. Were you implying something?

Darren said...

I was implying the reactions were different because of their sex and skin color.

maxutils said...

Ok … having followed the first case, and just learning about the second? I didn't get that, because the reactions I have found treat both statements as being hateful and ignorant … and, supported by free speech. I must say, though; I don't know if there are more tweets in the BU case, but the ones cited didn't seem particularly hateful. Thinking that white males are a problem -- isn't that sort of expected if your teaching an African American studies class?

Ellen K said...

The first amendment was implemented when there was still a veneer of manners and general civility in our society. We don't have that anymore. What used to be considered offensive, gauche or stupid is now mainstream on social media. If Al Gore really did invent the internet-then this is all his fault. I predicted that cameras on phones would lead to more crime not less. Now we have self proclaimed citizen provocateurs seeking to goad police into tactics they can film for their fifteen minutes of fame. How many innocent people will be hurt or killed because a cop is so fearful of being attacked in social media that they hesitate to act?