We previously discussed the controversies swirling around Associate Professor George Ciccariello-Maher when he tweeted in 2016 that “all I want for Christmas is white genocide.” Now he is again in the news with tweets that blame the Las Vegas massacre on “Trumpism” and “white victimization.” There is still no confirmation of any motivation of Stephen Paddock but that does not appear to be relevant to Ciccariello-Maher. It is part of a torrent of comments using the massacre to amplify political or social views. Recently, Pat Robertson blamed the massacre on disrespect for Trump and the flag in society.
Just hours after the shooting, Ciccariello-Maher began his tweets on the massacre with a three word message: “A White Man.” He then held forth on what really happened and explained that “white people and men” will go on shooting sprees “when they don’t get what they want.” It is not clear if non-whites never go on shooting sprees or do so when they get what they want.
His tweet is filled with the same stereotypical and low-grade analysis that characterizes much of his past statements on social media:
“White people and men are told that they are entitled to everything. This is what happens when they don’t get what they want. The narrative of white victimization has been gradually built over the past 40 years. It is the spinal column of Trumpism, and most extreme form is the white genocide myth. Yesterday was a morbid symptom of what happens when those who believe they deserve to own the world also think it is being stolen from them.”
He ended with this tweet several hours later:
“Here’s a wild idea: white supremacy in the U.S. is a bipartisan project, & *both* the gun lobby *and* the anti-gun lobby are racist as f—.”
Drexel University issues a statement condemning the remarks:
“The recent social media comments by George Ciccariello-Maher, associate professor of Politics and Global Studies at Drexel University, are his own opinion and do not represent the University’s views. Drexel is deeply saddened by the tragic shooting in Las Vegas. The thoughts and prayers of the Drexel community are with the families of those affected by this senseless act of violence.”
It is hard to advocate for free speech and academic freedom with this type of simplistic and callous commentary. However, we have previously discussed how professors and teachers are increasingly being disciplined for engaging in political speech outside of their schools. Cicariello-Maher’s views are disturbing but he has a right to express his views on public events and issues.
What do you think?