Boston University has created a red-hot controversy by hiring a new professor of sociology and African-American studies. Normally the hiring of a college professor is hardly news, but when the professor in question is a known racist the picture changes. But what if the racist in question is a black female with a long record of making derogatory and stereotypical comments about white men? Saida Grundy has made her bias against white males abundantly clear in Twitter messages over the past few months; messages that show she harbors a mile-wide streak of racial bias against white men. The kindest thing Grundy has had to say about white males is that they are a “problem population.” Other comments made by Boston University’s newest racist in residence include this one: “Every MLK week I commit myself to not spending a dime in white-owned businesses.”
If Professor Grundy included a lesson on the Civil Rights Movement as part of her course on African-American Studies she would be forced to admit a couple of inconvenient facts. First she would have to admit that Martin Luther King, Jr. and his followers were trying to win the right to shop in white-owned businesses, not avoid them. Second, she would have to admit that many of Dr. King’s most effective campaigns were financed by white men, including Nelson Rockefeller, and that white men and women participated in every protest march Dr. King organized. White men bled and died fighting alongside Dr. King in Selma, Birmingham, and Montgomery in the cause of Civil Rights and racial equality. White men were taunted, humiliated, and even beaten alongside black protestors during sit-ins and freedom rides in the 1960s. When Mississippi was “burning,” white civil rights workers were murdered alongside black workers and their bodies were thrown into the same excavation pit. One can only wonder what “problem” Professor Grundy attributes to these white men who were martyred in the cause of Civil Rights.
Grundy’s comments are textbook examples of one of the more subtle but malicious manifestations of racism: stereotyping. Stereotyping is the act of selecting certain perceived characteristics of specific individuals and then generalizing those characteristics to an entire population made up of those individuals. For example, those who view all young black men as being the kind of violent thugs and hoodlums seen burning and looting in Ferguson and Baltimore are guilty of stereotyping. Obviously, all young black men are not violent thugs and hoodlums but that is the stereotype held by some people; a stereotype that is inaccurate and unfair to an entire cohort of the population. Stereotyping all white men on the basis of her experiences with some of them is no different that stereotyping young black men on the basis of what some of them did in Ferguson and Baltimore.
If Professor Grundy had qualified her negative comments about white men with the word “some,” she would have come closer to being accurate. After all, if one uses the word “some” the same kind of statements could be made about black, Hispanic, or Asian men and be equally accurate. It is when she groups all white men together and paints them with the same derogatory brush that Professor Grundy ventures into the realm of racial stereotyping; a realm that is unacceptable for someone who proposes to be a college professor. One can only wonder how Professor Grundy will be able to encourage diverse opinions and perspectives in her classes when she is so obviously biased against white men. But then once the word gets out, it’s not likely that many white men will enroll in her courses (except, of course, mushy-headed, masochistic liberals who are suffering from misplaced white guilt).
In dealing with the hiring of their problematic new professor, Boston University officials are trying to have it both ways. While they have not endorsed her stereotypical comments, neither have they challenged them. Their defense of the indefensible act of hiring this racist professor is to claim that Professor Grundy is just exercising her right of free speech. Oh really? So were the SAE Fraternity brothers who were expelled from the University of Oklahoma after exercising their right of free speech by singing a disgusting racist song. Hiding behind the banner of free speech—something regularly and systematically denied to conservative, Christian, and white students in colleges and universities—is a hypocritical cop-out on the part of Boston College officials. It is also evidence that America has adopted a double standard when it comes to race.
Imagine the following scenario: A white male college professor claims that “black people are a problem population” or “women are a problem population” or “I avoid shopping in black-owned businesses.” What do you think would happen to this professor? At the very least the he would be fired, but the punishment wouldn’t stop there. He would also be publicly vilified and hounded unmercifully by the mainstream media, forced to make a weepy, maudlin apology, and made to do penance for the rest of his life. One thing is certain—he would never again be hired as a college professor. However, when the professor in question is a black female she is just “exercising her right of free speech.”
While it is true that Professor Grundy is free to make racist remarks if she is so inclined, the First Amendment means she will not be prosecuted for doing so. It does not mean that an educational institution cannot apply good judgment in determining whether or not to hire her. Grundy has a constitutional right to be a bigot. Correspondingly, Boston University has a constitutional right to exercise good judgment in not knowingly hiring a bigot. The college cannot deny her employment because she is black or female, but it can certainly deny her employment for exhibiting behavior that undermines one of the foundational pillars upon which higher education is built: the encouragement of diversity in thought, opinions, and perspectives. How can a professor who exhibits such hostility toward white males possibly be an effective teacher, advisor, and mentor in a college setting? Pity the poor white male who decides to major in Sociology, then draws the unlucky straw and is assigned Professor Grundy as his faculty advisor.
According to David Horowitz, author of Reforming Our Universities, “Anti-white racism is rampant in Black studies programs which are generally indoctrination programs in leftwing politics. If she were a white racist rather than an anti-white racist, she would never be hired. Professors are supposed to be experts in some scholarly field, and professional in their classroom discourse. They don’t have a license to indoctrinate students in their prejudices—whether these prejudices are right or left.” Boston University has no business hiring Saida Grundy because she is not qualified. Regardless of her academic credentials, she lacks something fundamental to being a college professor: a willingness to objectively expose her students to a variety of opinions, perspectives, and points of view without prejudicing them for or against any of them.
Last week while Boston University administrators were defending their decision to hire a known racist professor who is a black female, a white female high school principal was fired for pointing out that blacks were rushing to exit her school’s graduation ceremony. I will not defend the high school principal. Her remarks were out of line. But they were hardly more out of line than the stereotypical remarks Professor Saida Grundy has made about white males. So what is the difference in these two cases, as well as many others like them? Only one thing: the race of the individual making racist remarks. This case at Boston College juxtaposed against that of the high school principal who was fired is just one more of many examples of the racial double standard that now prevails in America. Clearly we have established a racial double standard in America, something that helps no one in the long run. Double standards that treat one race differently than the other races do nothing to end racial hostility in America or to promote racial accord. Sadly they just contribute to the perpetuation of racial discord, and all Americans suffer as a result.