A white professor of history could be fired from his position at one of the top universities in America after a Facebook rant in which he attacks white privilege was found to be discriminatory.
In May, as indy100 previously covered, professor James Livingston, tenured, wrote about his frustration with gentrification in his Harlem neighbourhood. In a post now deleted from Facebook for violating community standards, he wrote:
Ok, officially, I know hate white people.
He also said the burger shop he was in was "overrun with little Caucasian a***holes who know their parents will approve of anything they do".
Do what you want, nobody here is going to restrict your right to be white.
The post was later removed, but the Rutgers University professor continued in a subsequent post.
I just don't want little Caucasians overrunning my life, as they did last night
Please God, remand them to the suburbs, where they and their parents can colonize every restaurant, all the while pretending that the idiotic indulgence of their privilege signifies cosmopolitan--you know, as in sophisticated 'European'--commitments.
In response to mounting media coverage, and accusations of racism, Rutgers conducted an investigation and the report, Washington Post says, has concluded he was being ‘insulting' to caucasians:
Professor Livingston’s statements were clearly insulting and degrading to caucasians. While he may indeed have merely meant to express his views on gentrification, he exercised astonishingly poor judgment in his choice of words.
Professor Livingston clearly was on notice that his words were offensive, yet instead of clarifying that he meant to comment on gentrification, he chose to make another belligerent barb against whites. Given Professor Livingston’s insistence on making disparaging racial comments, a reasonable student may have concerns that he or she would be stigmatized in his classes because of his or her race. As such, professor Livingston’s comments violated university policy.
He was found guilty of violating the school’s policy prohibiting discrimination and harassment.
Livingston appealed the decision but it was denied and he will undergo disciplinary action that could end with him being fired.
The case has sparked a conversation about freedom of speech and the first amendment in America. The university claims that his first amendment rights were not violated as his words were discriminatory.
There is also the matter of 'reverse racism', with many people arguing that his words are an example of racism.
Others however insist that racism is based on a structure of power, and given the nature of white supremacy in the western world, the remnants of colonialism and slavery means that racism, which is in and of itself a violent act, can only be inflicted upon people of colour.