Friday, July 21, 2017

Trump’s Weaponized Base Is Going After Academics — I Know Because I Was Targeted


cademic censorship is nothing new — especially for scholars of color — but in Donald Trump’s America, the issue has taken on new and frightening dimensions. Trump’s emboldened base, en masse, has been attacking leftist educators with renewed vigor since his election, and universities across the country have wasted no time caving to alt-right (read: white supremacist) pressure to discipline professors, freedom of speech/academic freedom be damned. In a peculiar twist of logic, members of the alt-right have positioned themselves as victims of discrimination, and as such, have demanded that universities take action to “protect” them. Sadly, many are. George Ciccariello-Maher was censured and is the subject of an ongoing investigation by Drexel University over a tweet mocking white nationalists. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor was bombarded with death threats for calling Trump a “racist, sexist megalomaniac” in a commencement speech at Hampshire College (though the school defended her, a rare occurrence). Johnny Eric Williams was placed on leave by Trinity College for using a hashtag drawing attention to systemic racism. Lisa Durden was fired from Essex County College for defending a black-only Memorial Day event while appearing on Fox News. This is just a small sample, all since November’s infamous election.

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