Rutgers University has withdrawn its punishment for a history professor who said he “officially hates white people,” absolving him of blame for violating the institution’s discrimination and harassment policy.
Back in May, James Livingston posted on Facebook and Twitter that he “officially hates white people” following a visit to a café where he encountered “little Caucasian assholes who know their parents will approve of anything they do.”
Livingston subsequently asserted that he would “resign from” his race, writing, “Do what you want, nobody here is gonna restrict your right to be white. I hereby resign from my race. Fuck these people. Yeah, I know it’s about access to my dinner. Fuck you, too.”
After the university was alerted to “numerous complaints about the purported racist content of the posts,” its investigation concluded that Livingston had damaged the institution’s reputation, releasing a statement which said, “Given Professor Livingston’s insistence on making disparaging racial comments, a reasonable student may have concerns that he or she would be stigmatized in his classes because of his or her race.”
However, following an appeal by Livingston, who was represented by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a civil liberties advocacy group, Rutgers reversed the decision.
“FIRE is pleased that Rutgers did the right thing and reversed the charge of racial discrimination against Professor Livingston,” said FIRE’s Marieke Tuthill Beck-Coon. “Any other result would have undermined the free speech and academic freedom rights of all Rutgers faculty members.”
One wonders whether the outcome would have been the same if a professor had said he “hates black people.”
Would Rutgers have done nothing, or fired him on the spot?
It seems as though free speech without consequences only applies when the target of racism is white people.
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