Incoming African American Professor at Boston U, in Trouble for ‘White People’ Tweets

A contemplative Saida Grundy
A contemplative Saida Grundy

*This certainly looks like a bad start for incoming Boston U professor, Saida Grundy. The African American professor was set to begin a teaching position in African American Studies in July, but that may now be in jeopardy due to a series of tweets she posted which shared her dislike of white people.

As you can imagine, this has caused considerable controversy at the school.

And let me tell you right now, African Americans may not have the historic structure in place to be considered “racist,” but that doesn’t mean they can’t be prejudiced as hell.

Get an attitude if you want to, but its not a good look on anyone!

If Grundy is not fired before her intended July start date, she may find herself with very few students, if any.

Her controversial tweets show her saying things like, “White masculinity isn’t a problem for america’s colleges, white masculinity is THE problem for America’s colleges.”

While another tweet reads, “Deal with your white (expletive), white people, slavery is a *YALL* thing.”

And still another says, “Every MLK week I commit myself to not spending a dime in white-owned businesses. And every year I find it nearly impossible.”

One has to wonder about an employee, a new employee and professor at that, who would be so blatantly open about her prejudice before she even gets her first pay check.

I’m sorry, but any way you spin this, its going to come up just plain dumb.

Students were quick to share their feelings about the professor’s controversial  actions. And it may come as no surprise that not every student was against what she did.

Mariia Yelizarova, a Ukrainian student studying sociology believes the professors comments would cause exclusion among students; in what she says is one of the most diverse schools in the country, adding,

“You want to give students as much leeway to have their own opinion as possible, and I just don’t feel this would happen with her. If I was a freshman, and that’s the impression I got about our department, I would definitely change my major as soon as possible.”

But on the other hand, a student from a group called  ‘People of Color Coalition’ defends the professor and even denies that the tweets are racially charged; using as a defense, what this writer alluded to earlier in this article about African Americans and racism vs. prejudice.

“I don’t think reverse racism against white folks is a thing,” Toraif said. “You need to have institutional and systemic power in order to be racist. People of color like Professor Grundy don’t have that. … I’m 100 percent supportive of her and excited for her to come to campus.”

Recent development…

Following the abundant attention Grundy’s tweets caused, the university issued a no-tolerance statement  through spokesman Colin Riley that said,

“While we recognize that Dr. Grundy has the right to hold and express personal opinions, BU does not condone racism or bigotry in any form, and we are offended by such statements,” he concluded.

Interestingly, according to Dr. Boyce Watkins, Boston University “did the right thing at first,” and stood by the professor – possibly hoping the noise would die down (though he throws in that this may have been part of a ‘liberal’ belief system).

He then goes on to reiterate that money changes everything.

“So, once big donors took issue with this ‘loud mouth black woman who doesn’t know her place,’ the university started to cave,” Watkins states, referring to Riley’s statement above, on behalf of the school.

“Riley’s statement is the kind of thing that universities say when rich people call up the campus president and threaten to stop giving them money,” he adds.

Its unclear if all of this is what motivated Grundy to issue an apology for sending the tweets, but she did, and it reads,

“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.”

Boston University’s president wrote an open letter describing Grundy’s comments as “hurtful”.

“I do not say this lightly or without a great deal of consultation and soul-searching,” BU President Robert Brown began his open letter – where he says the tweets were “hurtful.”

“But we also must recognize that words have power and the words in her Twitter feed were powerful in the way they stereotyped and condemned other people,” he added.

While I reiterate what was said at the beginning of this article about prejudice, it cannot be ignored that African Americans are subjected to these types of actions and words by whites more often than not…And they are generally followed by some half-hearted apology.

So to see similar words now espoused by an African American, who has now turned around and apologized, not only reiterates how powerful words are; but how an apology does very little to diminish the sting.


One thought on “Incoming African American Professor at Boston U, in Trouble for ‘White People’ Tweets”

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