Boston University Professor Saida Grundy Apologizes For Racist and Sexist Comments As “Indelicate”

GrundyPic-150x150Boston_University_seal.svgWe have been discussing the curious start of the academic career of Saida Grundy, an incoming assistant professor of sociology and African-American studies at Boston University, who released a series of tweets denounced by many as racist and sexist. “White masculinity isn’t a problem for america’s colleges, white masculinity is THE problem for america’s colleges.” In a January tweet, Grundy wrote: “Every MLK week I commit myself to not spending a dime in white-owned businesses. and every year i find it nearly impossible.” Previously, she posted comments like “Deal with your white sh*t, white people. slavery is a *YALL* thing.” With many objecting that the University would have fired a male or white professor for such comments directed against blacks or women, donors have begun to revolt and the University was forced to issue a statement condemning the comments. Now, after a surprisingly long period of silence, Grundy has apologized but may have aggravated the situation further. She has called the statements “indelicate” and says that they were in response to unidentified events. The response has been withering with many saying that few would view the comments “indelicate” if a white professor encouraged people not to buy things from black people or calling black males as the problem on colleges.

Boston University president Robert Brown expressed “disappointment” with her statements and his concern over “statements that reduce individuals to stereotypes on the basis of a broad category such as sex, race, or ethnicity. I believe Dr. Grundy’s remarks fit this characterization.”

Grundy wrote that the tweets were the result of “personal passion” to “events we now witness with regularity in our nation.” She added “I regret that my personal passion about issues surrounding these events led me to speak about them indelicately. I deprived them of the nuance and complexity that such subjects always deserve.” She further promised to be fair to whites and males in her classes, acknowledging her duty “to create an inclusive learning environment for all of my students. Both professionally and ethically, I am unequivocally committed to ensuring that my classroom is a space where all students are welcomed.”

My greatest concern remains the question of equal treatment for other faculty in making controversial statements. As previously discussed, we have seen actions taken against faculty for comments viewed as racist or sexist in social media. I believe that Grundy should be protected as a matter of free speech in such comments, but I also believe that Boston University has created a bright line here for future such cases. In such future cases of “delicate” speech, I hope that Grundy will now be the first to step forward and defend the right of those making such comments. With the new effort to punish “micro aggressions” on college campus and regulate speech, such macro aggressions can still be matters of free speech.

121 thoughts on “Boston University Professor Saida Grundy Apologizes For Racist and Sexist Comments As “Indelicate””

  1. BamBam,
    I don’t think JT always is always online reading the threads. He’s got another career, lol. Darren isn’t always online either. There are no other moderators. I have rarely seen either JT or Darren delete ethnic or racial slurs. It is pretty surprising though, I agree.

  2. I. Annie

    I’m curious as to why that term was allowed to be given a pass by the moderator/moderators of this site. Aren’t certain words off limits? I would think that using that name, to describe a black person, who made some inappropriate comments regarding whites, would qualify as beyond the scope of decency. Guess not.

  3. BamBam, I haven’t been on this thread yet today, clicked on it because I saw you had commented. Yes Sabrina’s comment is pretty darn rude and crude.

  4. Sabrina @11:53 am

    While I find Grundy’s comments to be ignorant, hateful and prejudiced, rendering her to be unqualified and unsuited for the position of professor, allow me to be the first, and, seemingly, the only one on this thread to condemn the disgusting and inappropriate term you used for this woman. She is a sad and poor excuse for an educated individual, but using a filthy and derogatory name, to describe her, because she is black, is out of line. Attack her words. Attack her actions. Attacking her for being black, by using that vile term, should not be tolerated on this site.

  5. Good find, BFM. As you can see, it will be met w/ “Ho Hum, ‘Natch, Duh,” Hypocrisy, thy name is liberals.

  6. I am not sure the situations are comparable but there is an interesting story of a male professor at Duke who made allegedly racist comments while discussing the unrest in Baltimore. Apparently that professor is now on leave:

    It seems clear to me both made remarks based on stereotypes of various ethnic groups. And to this point their treatment is different. After that, there remarks are so different it may be hard to draw lessons from the responses of their universities – still one can’t help but wonder about their differences and their different treatment.

  7. issac

    1, May 15, 2015 at 5:46 pm


    You add up the pros and the cons. Clinton has some cons but far surpasses W in pros. In fact W has no pros unless you count the incredible power of the US to weather 8 years of having that as President. He came in on the upswing and took us to unfathomable depths. He can be your hero if you wish but, well, sad.

    Read up a little on W and Clinton. Compare and contrast. Then respond. So far ya got nothing.

    You don’t understand logic do you? Let me make it perfectly clear: How does being a shitty president make Bush a draft dodger?

  8. Louis CK is a very edgy comedian. I mentioned him earlier in this thread. Comedians push boundaries. Last night on SNL Louis pushed HARD. The joke was about child molesters. His riff was on how it must be REALLY good for child molesters to molest. That they risk prison, and being a pariah even in prison, to molest. Louis then relates it to his love of Mounds candy bars. But, although he LOVES Mounds bars, he would NEVER eat another Mounds if he knew it meant going to prison.

    I am on record being TOUGH on molesters. I go w/ the Dennis Miller riff on molesters, “If you find you simply can’t stop hurting kids, you need to do the right thing and kill yourself.” Miller touched this taboo subject but didn’t tread too far and said something many people think. I found Louis bit not as much funny as thought provoking, like much of his comedy. He tread on a very sensitive subject and took it further than Dennis Miller. He skewered PC and almost all boundaries. That’s what comedians are supposed to do. A good actor takes risky roles. A good comedian treads on taboo subjects. That takes courage. I can understand completely if people take offense. Anyone touched personally by molestation I ABSOLUTELY understand being offended. And, that’s what the First Amendment is about. No one has a right to not be offended. You have a right to scream @ Louis CK and vent your anger, W/ MORE WORDS. In a non PC world this college professor would be vilified on campus for what she said. There are MANY people on the BU campus that were very offended by her hurtful racist remarks. But, w/ our education industry, she is protected from angry words. She is a member of a protected class.

  9. We need a BDS Telethon. Jerry Lewis is available and he would be perfect!

  10. Gigi

    The argument that Clinton was responsible in part for 9/11 is just as ludicrous as Bush the Daddy being responsible as the World Trade Center Bombing of ’93 happened right after his watch, or more ludicrous, that Clinton was responsible because he had already been President for a month and should have known.

    W sewered the economy. W bungled Afghanistan by ignoring ALL the advice of the top military men who had been there and done that in Vietnam. W ignored ALL the military men who advised him on how to deal with Iraq and went in with no plan of what to do there or how to get out. It was only with the surge when he relinquished control to the military that some things were done right. Rumsfeld, Cheney, Brenner, etc, his boys and idiots all. They slaughtered hundreds of thousands and created an untenable situation.

    You can criticize how Obama is dealing with the chaos but W caused it. You can criticize how Obama is dealing with the economic mess but W caused it. Or have you forgotten

    The issues of blame for the first World Trade Center bombing, the Cole, and 9/11 are in the realms of stupid. It is the nature of a powerful and isolated country like the US to become complacent. No leader gains by keeping the country on and emergency war footing on a constant basis. Also, the entities such as the FBI, CIA, and NSA are virtually independent as they must be to function. It is a double edged sword. History has shown that the probability is that W and his handlers believed what they wanted to believe.

    Step back a bit and look at the mess W and his trainers caused. It’s only the blind that blame it all on Obama. Obama is not perfect but way way way ahead of the three stooges.

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