“Whiteness is terrorism.”
A Trinity College professor is back in the spotlight after his declaration that “whiteness is terrorism” caused backlash last week, according to a Campus Reform report.
Johnny Eric Williams, a sociology professor at the Connecticut liberal arts college, followed up his initial sentiment, which came via tweet, by adding that “all self-identified white people (no exceptions) are invested in and collude with systematic white racism/white supremacy.”
Williams also took aim at prominent African-Americans he believes aid the cause of white supremacy, including former President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle.
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“I’m referring to [Turning Point USA leader Candace Owens’] other and less brazen but more insidious dangerous ‘white’ kneegrows like Barry and Michelle Obama and many other white kneegrows you encounter daily,” Williams said.
This isn’t the first time Williams has sparked an uproar with inflammatory comments about white people. However, the college is declining to take any action to punish the professor.
“Trinity College supports academic freedom and free expression and inquiry, which are hallmarks of academia and democratic society,” Trinity College President Joanne Berger-Sweeney told Campus Reform. “When speech proves controversial, our responsibility as educators is to promote more debate and discussion, not less. Twitter is a challenging place for a thoughtful discourse, which is clear from this example.”
A student belonging to the Trinity College Republicans told Campus Reform that most students at the school think Williams should face consequences.
“Everyone really questions, even liberals, why is he still here?” the student, who wished to remain anonymous, told Campus Reform. “I think that’s kind of a question a lot of people are asking is, he advocated for white genocide, why is he still here?”
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“I think if you ask anyone on campus that is not as radical as he is, they will be like ‘he needs to go,’ which is interesting because at Trinity College, most students are pretty apathetic toward really everything, so to have such a high defensive that an individual needs to go, that really says something,” the student continued.
The student, who has had Williams in a class before, added that the professor often makes students sign a waiver promising not to repeat what he says in the class in public forums.
“He tells students all the time [that] he doesn’t care about their grades, he’ll fail students just to fail students,” the student said. “Most students, even students of color, do not like Professor Williams. I’ve talked to many students that either have him or have had him. He’s a terrible professor. He makes students sign a waiver as they take his class where they’re not allowed to send emails, they’re not allowed to talk about what he says in class because he knows what he says will get him in trouble.”
While the student indicated support for academic freedom, the college Republican argued that Williams’ comments go too far.
“His behavior is horrible and that needs to be checked by the administration,” the student said.
Williams was previously suspended in the summer of 2017 after making racially charged comments about white people in a Facebook post.
“I’m fed the f— up with self identified ‘white’s’ daily violence directed at immigrants, Muslims, and sexually and racially oppressed people. The time is now to confront this inhuman a–holes and end this now,” Williams said in the post.
“It is past time for the racially oppressed to do what believe who believe themselves to be ‘white’ will not do, put an end to the to the vectors of their destructive mythology of whiteness and their white supremacy system,” William added in a second post a minute later, along with the hashtag “#LetThemF—ingDie.”
The “#LetThemF—ingDie” hashtag was also the title of a Medium article that insisted the black police officer who saved Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., after he was shot during a practice for the annual congressional baseball game should have let the Republican representative die due to his supposed white supremacist positions.
At the time, Williams insisted he was not referencing the Scalise shooting.
“I never intended to invite or incite violence,” Williams wrote after receiving backlash for his post. “My only aim was to bring awareness to white supremacy and to inspire others to address these kinds of injustices.”
The school later lifted Williams’ suspension after an investigation, saying his posts were covered by academic freedom.
“His statements fall squarely within his area of scholarship and teaching, and are consistent with his published works,” said Tim Cresswell, Trinity’s dean of faculty and vice president for academic affairs.
“There are no grounds to institute disciplinary action against Professor Williams.”
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- Johnny Eric Williams: Screen grab