Boston University Expresses “Deep Sadness” Over “Racism and Bigotry” In Aftermath of Grundy Comments

GrundyPic-150x150Boston_University_seal.svgBoston University has been widely criticized for its response to racially-charged comments of its newest professor, Saida Grundy, an incoming assistant professor of sociology and African-American studies. Various news outlets are reporting that BU alums have threatened to withdraw support from the school over hiring a professor who has denounced “white men as a “problem population” and called “white masculinity . . . THE problem for america’s (sic) colleges.” Grundy has made her Twitter account private and refused to make any comments to the media about her past comments that have been denounced as both racist and sexist.

As discussed in the prior story, Colin Riley, the university spokesman, issued a statement standing by Grundy and, correctly, stating that this is an act of free speech. Many academics, including this one, believe that this is protected speech, but that does not prevent the university from denouncing such comments.

Riley has now issued a statement that “… we are deeply saddened when anyone makes such offensive statements.” The university further stated that it “does not condone racism or bigotry in any form and we are deeply saddened when anyone makes such offensive statements.” It may not do much to quell the anger among alums over the hiring itself or the delayed sense of “regret” expressed in the comments.

Many alums are suggesting that, had this been a white professor calling blacks the problem on campuses, there would have been an order terminating the contract. I hope that BU would adopt a consistent approach in such cases, but in the end the damage is likely to linger. Universities are facing tremendous financial pressures today and BU has long been the poorer relation to its neighbors, Harvard and MIT, in terms of fundraising. This will not help. However, the university is correct in maintaining the right of Brundy to be able to speak freely, particularly given the connection of this speech to her academic research. One can question the hiring decision on its merits in terms of such scholarship, but academics should be allowed to make controversial, even offensive, comments in their public writings.

What do you think?

89 thoughts on “Boston University Expresses “Deep Sadness” Over “Racism and Bigotry” In Aftermath of Grundy Comments”

  1. Pogo is right. She should be fired. Not because that is the “right” thing to do, but because it is the “winning” thing to do. I wrote this many months ago:

    Trying to explain right vs.wrong to a Democrat, is like trying to explain to a bad,
    cheating, folding-chair using, pants-pulling-down wrestler why he didn’t win the WWF
    Belt fairly. He is not able to understand what you are going on about. All he knows is,
    he won the match and belt, and if his girl friend jumped into the ring and whacked the
    good wrestler over the head with a chair while the referee wasn’t looking- – -well,
    what difference does that make??? After all, he has the belt. Isn’t that all that matters???

    Sadly, conservatives need to learn how to pick up the metaphorical folding chair and beat the crap out of Democrats and the Left. It is that kind of fight, and if we aren’t willing to get muddy and dirty right along with them, then we have lost. Which we have, because we won’t.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  2. Thank you, David. I try to give my comments rational thought and serious consideration before committing them to a public forum in electronic ink, and then usually only as an expression of my opinions. Without having respect for others and their perspectives, nothing constructive is accomplished.

  3. My little boy is Caucasian. I’ve taught him that God made people in a wondrous variety of shapes, sizes, hair color, eye color, and skin color. At 5, he already know that dark skin has more protection from the sun, which is why it evolved before we ever had sun screen.

    So, here I am teaching him that skin color is just an interesting feature, and people of all colors are beautiful, but there are many teachers out there who proclaim that it is wrong for a white man to be successful. That to do so he is taking it from someone else. A successful white man should be ashamed. How many teachers like that will cross my son’s path? I am just as offended by the view that white students should not succeed because of their skin color, as I would be if they said that black students could not because of theirs.

    It took a majority of voters to pass billions of dollars in Welfare laws and other benefits to help minorities, and yet whites are still viewed as the enemy and an obstacle. How about addressing the real obstacles to success for African American kids today? The crime, drugs, and gangs in some neighborhoods that chase employers out of town, and the high rate of absentee fathers and unwed mothers that throw roadblocks up to kids? How many business owners are thinking that after a riot and burning is a good time to open up a new store there?

  4. @David:

    “These draconian measures against speech that we do not like does not represent a free society. Only those who agree with those in power become the ones who are able to speak. We need to first agree with the principle, that speech should be free, that people’s thoughts should not be policed. “

    I agree with you, but we are no longer anywhere near the point that anyone on the left will agree with the principle that speech should be free.

    We are in a cultural war.
    Do we fight as if speech is in fact free, and let our behavior shame them and our words defeat them?

    It hasn’t worked so far. In fact, things have gotten measurably worse wince the left took over more than 50 years ago.
    I no longer think we can fight this battle pretending that merely demonstrating the benefits and desirability of free speech will foster its future survival.
    Our opponents are too committed to their SJW agenda to relent even a jot or tittle.

    Your experience being arrested for speech on campus shows that I am correct.

  5. DBQ has it rationalized. I think she should say whatever she wants, but whether she is hired or fired is up to her bosses. If she worked for me, she would be fired

    Thank you.

    Her profession is a JOB. Her duty is to fulfill her job requirements. If her personal biases, which she is allowed to hold and allowed to speak about, make it so that she cannot fulfill her duties to her employers and to her clients (in this case her students), then she should be let go and find another occupation.

    These are TWO completely separate issues which everyone is trying to conflate as one.

    1. She has the right to be a bigoted @ss and say so if she wants. People have the right to donate money to political causes such as anti gay marriage issues. People have the right to express their views without being retaliated against FOR those views.

    2. The employer can’t (or shouldn’t) be able to fire the employee because she is a bigoted @ss or because the employee holds a political view that is counter to the employer’s. HOWEVER, if the employee’s bigotry or anti gay marriage political stance interferes with their ability to do their job, the employer can fire the person for cause. NOT performing their job duties.

    You do not have a right to a job if you can’t or won’t do the job. In the case of this professor, should it be shown that she is discriminating against those horrible white males and giving them poor grades because they are white or making them the target of her hatred in and out of class, then she is unable to do her job which is to teach a subject and treat all students in the same impartial manner.

    Just as if the executive of the company who is anti gay marriage were to bring his discriminatory ideas into the workplace and mistreat his gay coworkers or make policies that discriminate against the clients of the company and cause the company to lose market share or money…..then he is allowing his personal bigotry to interfere with his duties to his job and he should be fired.

    TWO separate issues.

  6. Max
    I know, han?
    David, well said.
    Although I have disagreed with you on many things, including gay rights, I respect your willingness to make an intellectual argument, rather than just react emotionally.
    in handcuffs, han?

  7. Grundy has a right to free speech. The University has the right to terminate her contract. What’s the problem?

    Tell you what, though: if a white man said what she said, he would be unemployable for the rest of his life!

  8. DBQ has it rationalized. I think she should say whatever she wants, but whether she is hired or fired is up to her bosses. If she worked for me, she would be fired. I judge people on their merits alone, and this would not reflect my personal or business philosophy. I really don’t care what racial or ethnic group she aimed her animosity towards–whites, asians, catholics, muslims, jews, people who like oak tress, or other people of color.

    I do forewarn though–there is a generation coming into adulthood who were not educated to think this way at the outset, and that this animosity against them is opening fresh wounds. Kids who have been educated to be totally open-minded will reconsider. And it will be the kids who are the leaders and decision-makers for tomorrow. If this game of race wants to be perpetuated, people will have to learn to take the good with the bad. Perceptions wax and wane like everything else. We see it played out in the world every day. One group whose name ends with a vowel kills a bunch of people in a group whose name ends in a consonant. Next generation it is reversed. I was hoping in the 21st century we would be a little better than that.

    1. slohrss29 wrote: “If she worked for me, she would be fired.”

      I can’t help but view this attitude as discrimination. If we do not embrace latitude for bad ideas and even bad attitudes, then we move backwards from the value of free speech to fascist attitudes of what is best for everybody. Sooner or later, you will find yourself being discriminated against for your thoughts.

      Why is it so hard for people to grasp the concept of free speech? You answer bad speech with good speech, not with punitive actions like firing them, fines, or imprisonment. Let persuasion be your tool.

      This woman said things on Twitter on her own time that others found racist and objectionable. Do you really think she should lose her job over that? I once engaged somebody on twitter talking about gay marriage. That person welcomed me to talk about it, but that same day, Twitter banned me for violating their policy. I also have spoken on this issue on a university campus and it was not long before the police slapped the handcuffs on me because they judged my speech as being contrary to university policy. These draconian measures against speech that we do not like does not represent a free society. Only those who agree with those in power become the ones who are able to speak. We need to first agree with the principle, that speech should be free, that people’s thoughts should not be policed. Only actions harmful to others should be policed. The mind will make mistakes and people will say things that are wrong. The solution is not to be punitive toward them, but to correct bad speech with good speech. Persuade them of the better argument.

  9. I spoke about emotion ruling people on another thread. It seems a select few people want love or hate, Coke or Pepsi, Us or Them. They are angry people who don’t understand that reasonable people can disagree. They belong to groups where you are in for a penny, in for a pound. All in baby, Your either w/ us or against us. Those are all contrived, hate based, false choices. We lovers do not need to get sucked into that hateful drama that trolls this blog. They try to divide and conquer. They want drama, emotion, conflict 24/7. They are emotion junkies trolling many blogs looking for a fix. We regular folks use logic to be @ the core of our thought process. We acknowledge emotions are important, but they must know their place. Just like children.

  10. We had a Principal at the local grade school here who was easily set aside. And he was worthless.

  11. The university leftists have always counted on the love of conservatives for the Constitution to allow them to dismantle it over time.

    They will not see the inherent hypocrisy in their position, but will merely continue on as before, now with a racist white-hating professor to help them indoctrinate students. And they will continue to forbid speech heretical to progs. They will learn nothing form this at all if this becomes another example of how free speech works on the right.
    They already know you’ll let them say anything they want.
    They learned that in the 60s.
    They just want to shut you up. Hypocrisy is a tool for them, not something to be avoided.

    The Constitution is not a suicide pact.

  12. In the 1960’s, the John Birch Society seemed like a bunch of extremists to me. Today, I’m amazed at how much they got right and what they seemed to know back then. And it’s only gotten worse.

  13. Today, freedom of speech is allowed only when it that speech is politically correct and done in an acceptable setting for those listening to it. But, the ideal educational institutions would promote the exposure and dissemination of truths, allowing opinions of what truth is by anyone and everyone, while providing guidance to students on how to analyze opinions and determine what truths they may hold for themselves. Ideal news agencies would report information from all perspectives in an honest and balanced way, letting the audience each draw their own conclusions. Instead, schools are run like businesses with proprietary objectives and profits as goals. The news media promotes only the information which reflects the opinions of the wealthy owners of the stations and publishers, plus that which is sensational enough to increase circulation and profits. Whether it’s the politics of business, education, religion, or government, it’s not about WHAT IS RIGHT but always about WHO gets to be in control of what is being said and whether it affects those being controlled in ways that are favorable to the controllers.

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