“Generational Trauma”: Students Demand The Firing Of Africana Studies Professor Who Used Racial Slur In Class On Hip-Hop

Melissa Hargrove, who teaches Africana Studies and researches the hip-hop movement, is the latest academic to face a campaign for termination after she was accused of using the “n-word” in a class at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. For the last month, the university has been struggling with the controversy. In her class, Hargrove was using an acronym and discussing a song with the same word from rapper Tupac.  The university ordered her into mandatory training but students want her fired.

According to a statement from Shayla Nunnally, the chair of the department, Hargrove wrote the word but underneath made it clear that it was an acronym for “Never Ignorant About Getting Goals Accomplished.” In talking about Tupac’s songs, she also used another acronym: “The Hate U Give Little Infants F (the ‘f-word’).”

The school apologized and ordered the training of Hargrove.  The department held sessions with students to address the controversy. However, the student government insisted on her being fired for not just racism but causing “generational trauma”:

Professor Hargrove is infamous among students for traumatizing Black students by eschewing appropriate teaching methods and instead dragging students through generational trauma that persists to this day. Dr. Hargrove create a hostile and racist learning environment for years, making her horrendous actions disappointing — but not surprising — to this student body….

A professor who is a best ignorant to what she inflicts does not belong in her coveted position. She should not have been supported by any faculty or the administration. Through her direct actions, she is reaffirming racism and anti-Blackness at this university and beyond. At this point the time to be “called in” has passed, and the time for removal has come.

The students do not explain the “generational trauma” or the alleged past misconduct.

As will come as little surprise to many on this blog, I view the effort as an attack on both academic freedom and free speech. One can disagree with the content of a class without ascribing a racist motive or reaffirming racism. I have seen nothing to suggest that Professor Hargrove is a racist or reaffirmed a racism messaging in the class.

I am actually more concerned with the university’s position. In a later statement, the university states “even given this context, we acknowledge that people will disagree about whether writing that word on the board, in any form, can ever be an effective teaching tool.” Yet, it has stated that Hargrove did not use the word as a slur but as an acronym in a class on a song that uses the term. If that is the case, why was she sent into re-training and what did the university view as wrong in her class? There should be clarity on such a point if a professor is being publicly sent into a re-training program. Is Hargrove barred from using the acronym or discussing the title or lyrics of a song that is the focus of the class?

Uncertainty and ambiguity is the death of both free speech and academic freedom. If the university is going to order mandatory training, it should be clear for other faculty as to the bright line concerning such material.



57 thoughts on ““Generational Trauma”: Students Demand The Firing Of Africana Studies Professor Who Used Racial Slur In Class On Hip-Hop”

  1. Like simple minded toddlers you expose yourselves as on a daily basis, out comes the routine troll baiting insults. Gee, I should get “my meds adjusted”. How clever , I mean, it’s not like this blog is not inundated with that exact same line a few thousand times to a few thousand different individuals every time one of your miniscule brains can’t fart as loud as your mouths. You rest my case.

  2. So I left a comment where I made the argument that the use of the word n####a, with an “A”at the end and not er at the end was not in fact the”N word” but a twist on it used in a casual friendly manner by the black community to refer to each other in dirt of ironic nickname. Sort of like referring to your buddies as “the boys”. Normally men would take offense at being called a bit however in that context it is meant as a term of endearment. I also pointed out since the course was on hip hop groups and music, that it would be impossible to mention one of the biggest hip hop groups of the last few decades “n##@a’s with attitudes” without using the word. After all it part of the groups name. Well guess what. Looks like Professor Turley censored my comment. It’s gone. Was there two hours ago. Now it’s mysteriously vanished.
    So looks like it’s easy to talk about how one hates censorship, but not so easy to put into practice. The article is this clearly a do as I say piece, just not as I do. Me Turley,.. you rest their case.

    1. And by way of clarity, the only difference between this comment that Professor Turley allowed and the one he removed ( censored) , aside from the obvious spell checker word replacements, (for example I didn’t write “Me Turley” I wrote Me Turley but the spell checker knew what I meant better than me or at least thought it did) was that I’d actually spelled out the word “n##$$a” rather than substituting special characters for some of the letters. And in response Professor Turley apparently found himself confronted with the use of the word in reasonable discussion like the censored college professor in the article, and chose the same response to censor it rather than permit free speech on his blog post condemning censoring and lauding the merits of tolerating free speech.

      So while it’s clear he writes passionately about the concept of free speech, when it comes to practicing the same its clearly not so easy. Not that I don’t sympathize with the obvious concern of being blackballed by his own university should someone there see my comment using the word openly and without concealment via special characters to replace letters, and go after him over it. As if he’s responsible somehow for what people write in his blog. But it does show a stark contrast to his denouncing faculty at other campuses for similar censoring ( albeit they of course follow up with punative action not possible here since I don’t work for the blog) then when confronted with the use of the very word his blog post is about, he immediately turns to the very censorship he decries in the article.
      While I do think on a personal level it does show an amazing example of do as I say not as I do as mentioned above, in all honesty I’m not sure I’m being 100 percent fair when I say he rests their case. After all his caving in to the very censorship he’s decrying in this blog post can also indicate the incredible atmosphere of fear in the country right now over being labeled racist and the retribution in real time associated with it. So he’s not exactly resting their case for them by joining them. Instead he’s showing how utterly helpless we the people seem to be when confronted with an environment of public censorship and attacks on free speech and those speaking it or allowing it. Or as other of his posts point out, often now in merely failing to join in the virtual book burning party.

      1. This blog is essentially Professor Turley’s house. If he doesn’t like the n-word getting spelled out (or even something near to it as in your example) in his house that should be accepted. That seems to me to be more of a social contract issue, an issue of civility in discourse. I wouldn’t want someone using that word in my house either. It is a crude and debasing word and by these characteristics seems to draw attention to itself, standing out like a sore thumb, and distracts from the merits of the rest of the discussion.

        Whether it has an ‘a’ on the end or an ‘er’ doesn’t matter, the word is essentially the same. With an ‘a’ on the end would be a colloquial version of the original–like saying kiddo versus kid. A distinction without a difference.

        The larger questions of tech companies that purport to be giant soapboxes censoring speech or the government doing so is a different matter.

        1. Your rambling tap dance trying to explain the untenable doesn’t even address my comment. I could care less that it’s deleted. You think this blog of lazy good for nothing ambulance chasers and the wannabees who idolize them means anything to me? It does not. He’s free to delete whatever he wants and I could care less. I don’t love my life in here like you trolls pathetically trying to find meaning in your vapid paper pushing lives. I made it clear my point easy the obvious hypocrisy of his incessant posts decrying the censorship by other faculty members when he himself does the same thing with the glaring irony being him censoring the very word that his blog post is condemning the censoring of by another universities faculty and worse, in the very same article in which he condemned them censoring that very word. That the obvious dichotomy eludes your supposed keen intellect is not surprising nor is your milktoast apologetics attempting to defend your idolized guru. What is surprising is that your inane assumption that I give a rats a$$ manages to ramble through a meaningless retort that doesn’t even address the comments. It’s as if you can write, ..bit can’t read.

          1. “Instead he’s showing how utterly helpless we the people seem to be when confronted with an environment of public censorship and attacks on free speech and those speaking it or allowing it.”

            This is a concerning observation–how easily speech can be shut down by those behind the technology. It is definitely worthy of further discussion.

            However, there is a difference between this blog and the tech platforms that have held that they are essentially large soapboxes in the public square, that they are not content-creators or publishers. Here, we are essentially invited into Turley’s parlor to discuss topics of import. You seem to see it as a hypocrisy because you do not view this website as such. I’ve had posts disappear, too, for who knows what reason. Yet, this is HIS HOUSE. I’d like to have engaged with him when that has happened so as to understand why my posts were deleted. One, this is not necessarily something that should be done ‘in public’. And, two, he is very busy, far busier than me–I appreciate that he puts up interesting and apropos posts at all. Yes, I’m left a bit perplexed sometimes when posts have been deleted and there is no follow-up discussion, but this isn’t my blog, this isn’t my house.

            Just don’t spell out the n-word if you want to discuss them. Professor Turley cares about civility in discourse. Do you think civility in discourse is beneficial to a discussion?

        2. And please don’t waste my time by pretending to lament the typos in my comments. I thing tap these on my phone one time and I don’t bother to proof them once the spell checker firs it’s hack job on them. I’d have to give a sh$#, to do that.

  3. I’ll start over. Remember when students went to colleges and universities to learn. Then great dive into no think occurred and the X+Y=Zero generations arrived. I’m a Frank Zappa U. Graduate. His quote was If you want to get laid go to college. If you want an education read a book.

  4. Remember when people went to college to gain knowledge and universities to get laid and if they really wanted to increase their knowledge banks they went to ZAPPA U. where Frank Z opined go to the library and read a book.

  5. OT

    Illegal deportation is no more or less illegal or immoral than illegal importation.

    Illegal emigration is no more or less illegal or immoral than illegal immigration.

    Hyphenated communists (liberals, progressives, socialists, democrats, RINOs) may import numbers of the population having stolen the election.

    Conservatives may export numbers of the population when power is rightfully restored to actual, patriotic, Constitution-supporting Americans.

  6. Were the American Founders racist? Of course, they were, which proves that racism is fully constitutional. Wake up and smell the coffee, folks. The United States of America was designed, engineered and legislated, through four iterations, to be white, wholly white and nothing but white – malicious and insidious conflation of racism and violence notwithstanding. Opinions consisting of racism are fully and immutably constitutional, while decidedly impolite and boorish. A society of laws must strictly adhere to the statute law and fundamental law which bind that society (that “Crazy Abe” Lincoln illegally seized power and forced, by brute military might, the nullification of the Constitution and the imposition of dictatorship does not bear).

    People must adapt to the outcomes of freedom.

    Freedom does not adapt to people, dictatorship does.

    NATURALIZATION ACTS OF 1790, 1795, 1798 AND 1802

    United States Congress, “An act to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization,” March 26, 1790

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That any Alien being a free white person, who shall have resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States for the term of two years, may be admitted to become a citizen thereof…

    1. Look Heinrich, the fact the founding fathers declared black men as being considered only two thirds human being in the original constitution doesn’t make it right. Anymore than thinking you can put an iron dog collar on a black man and own him, make it right. That’s why they pointed out our country is a never finished work in progress, and why we have the amendment process which evolves our humanity with our understanding and intelligence. They also crapped in a hole behind their houses. But we’ve come a long way, baby.

      1. What isn’t right is you taking facts absurdly and completely out of context.

        African tribal leaders sold Africans. Arabs marketed Africans. Britons shipped Africans. British planters bought Africans.

        Drawing and Quartering was an oft-used penalty.

        Times were different.

        Slavery was legal and involved titles, receipts and recording of deeds.

        What is unconstitutional is affirmative action, generational welfare, forced busing, quotas, minimum wage, WIC, TANF, HAMP, HARP, HUD, HHS, “fair housing,” “non-discrimination,” Obamacare, etc.

        America is a nation of laws.

        Freed black slaves must have been deported upon the issuance of the wholly unconstitutional emancipation proclamation in 1863 as the Naturalization Act of 1802 was in full force and effect requiring citizens to be “…free white person(s).”

        Secession is not only constitutional, it is precisely what the British colonies did with respect to Great Britain.

        The CSA had the right to secession.

        The Civil War was illegal, unconstitutional and criminally against a sovereign foreign nation.

        “Crazy Abe” Lincoln was a criminal against fundamental law and should have been thrown in prison.

        “It’s the [law], stupid!

        – James Carville

        1. “forced busing”, I remember that term.”

          Apparently you don’t remember how that term was used by black parents who objected to their children being “forced” to ride in school buses for 45 minutes (or more) to and from school every day, after school integration began.

          Like everything, it is a double-edged sword, and not as simple as you make it out to be, while displaying how virtuous you think you are.

          Lyndon Johnson purposefully did more damage to black Americans than any other President with his Great Society welfare state that destroyed the black nuclear family. Which is why “Baby Daddies” have become a socially accepted norm.

          What are Baby Daddies? They’re worthless black men who don’t take responsibility for their children, and black mothers who get impregnated and have children by multiple black men without any thought as to how that will effect their offspring.

          You’re just another example of why the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Though a more accurate description in this case would be; The road to hell is paved with self-serving good intentions. So while the intentions appear to be good on the outside, they’re really not good at all on the inside. Because it’s really all about you, not them.

          1. Your first mistake troll, is that I have any good intentions. Your second is thinking rewording your racist rant somehow elevates it or you. Your third remains to be seen.

          2. I have to go to work now princess, so apologies for not being able to sit here like you on your no doubt ballooned bottoms all day attempting to find meaning in the cesspool of troll rants and bile you call lives. See I actually work for a living. A high risk difficult and dangerous job that most 30 year olds won’t do any more. Blue collar, you know, the work you pencilneck chestbeaters are constantly heralding but never engaging in. So you’ll have to toss out the rest of your infantile troll baiting to the usual suspects so as to try and restore a bit of the over inflated ego you lost here this morning. I’m sure their misery will love your company. I however will have to go do some real work now. In fact my recent spare of comments comes this week only due to my time out recovering from a somewhat gruesome on the job injury that I am now about 90 percent recovered from. As for Mr. Turley I actually like him to a point, or I wouldn’t bother. We share many of the same opinions on several topics the foremost being a stalwart opposition to censorship and a passion for the neccisity of free speech and the free thinking that naturally proceeds it. I only come in here occasionally to keep him honest and on his toes and to take a crap or two, then wipe my a$$ with the pansy a$$ed paper pushers like you and the band of boneheads that placate to your sort and be on my way. So I’d say have a nice day but I don’t think you know what one is. So I’ll just say that I’ll think about you…not, …, throughout the day as I go do actual work of value and leave you to your virtual momma’s-basement and white supremacist-circle-jerk you clowns waste your lives in. Catch you on the flip side Matlock, and please someone change the roll before my next visit. This ones all used up.

  7. Better to expel students making such demands. Let them learn that THEIR behavior has consequences.

    1. All Fat, No Lean & I doubt much IQ.

      What does one get in the bargain?

  8. HA!HA!HA!HA!HA!HA!HA!HA!HA!HA! Someone is offended over profane words in a class on hip hop! What a great article from the Onion. Wait? This is not a joke? Really? This is real? Has the offended person ever heard the words used in Hip Hop? How does one study Hip Hop and not use the words as an illustration? I wonder if this is more about control as compared to actual offense. But then, I think most of all of this Wokeism as really about control and not about outrage. If this is a real class and real studies, then the university should be ashamed how they responded.

  9. There are miscreants who drive around the countryside randomly shooting things — signs, barns, cows, you name it. There are scum who walk city sidewalks, pushing random strangers into oncoming traffic. They are not your typical criminals who steal for personal gain. If you ask them why they did it, their answer is: “Because it’s fun.”

    That nihilistic psychology is now driving the purge culture. They like to destroy people’s reputations and lives. Why? “Because it’s fun.”

    Where does that cultural nihilism come from? — philosophy and art. For an example of the latter, look no further than the recent Grammy Awards.

  10. Like it or not, universities are a business. If the buyer doesn’t like what’s being sold they can go to another business. Students, so called – they are really know nothings with mush between their ears, are short term customers and there is no earthly or logical reason to allow them or even listen to their childish demands to change the product or the businesses workers.
    Where the hell are the adults?
    Lastly, why would anyone waste their time and money taking a class on hip-hop?

    1. Because they are not bright enough to take courses in math, science, (real) social studies, (real) history, economics, etc. They probably failed the remedial writing course – if the instructor was permitted to fail them.

  11. I noticed that the University’s statement included the following: “We acknowledge that presentation of a racial epithet, even within the learning context, has the power to injure.” Injure? I can understand be “offensive” in the wrong context but “injure” as in requiring medical attention? Does the University have medics on standby for courses reviewing Joseph Conrad’s novels or those of Samuel Clemens?

    We desperately need a George Carlin to lighten things up a bit. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAkPudcbNz0

    1. I love being anonymous. It’s the only way to say what you feel in today’s society where social media, big tech and mainstream media control the narrative and have taken on the role of ‘Thought Police’ and have rendered all thought unacceptable if it does not fall within the liberal manifesto. You must worship blacks, women, cross-dressing men who pretend to be women, etc and attacks white men, all white men as racist homophobic male chauvinist.. Now, keep in mind, many if not most of these liberals don’t really feel this way, they are hypocrites pandering to the masses. Who in their right mind could, in today’s society share the opinion that overall “blacks are the much bigger problem, not whites”? or that “cross-dressing men who pretend to be women have obvious mental problems”?

  12. Looking at her bio (which you linked) she is definitely a racist—an anti-White racist.

  13. The acronym was actually part of the title to the 1993 album, not merely a word in a song.

  14. Let’s start calling these “re-training programs” what they actually are: struggle sessions, reminiscent of Mao’s attempts to humiliate and persecute his enemies. Students are just passing through the university; teachers are there for the long term. There should be no question of who sets the rules and who makes the decisions.

  15. (music to tune of Hotnuts)
    Trauma! Yes it’s trauma!
    What …kind of kis call it trauma?
    Fat kids, skinny kids, kids who climb on rocks!
    Dumb schmucks who have no bucks.
    Even kids with chicken pox …get trauma

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