Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Supporters make matters worse for Saida Grundy

Saida Grundy, the incoming Boston University assistant professor of sociology and African-American studies who expressed disdain for white college men, has backed away from her comments, saying she regrets them.

Boston University President Robert Brown defended her right to make the comments but made clear he isn't pleased she made them. "[W]ords have power," Brown said, "and the words in her Twitter feed were powerful in the way they stereotyped and condemned other people."

But some foolish Grundy supporters don't have the sense to back off. They've started an on-line petition that says this: "Racism extends to virtually every institution in American society - including higher education. Calling Professor Grundy's tweets racist minimizes the very real effects of racism for people of color in the United States."

No, dear petitioners, it is Professor Grundy's tweets that minimize the real effects of racism for people of color in the United States. Her tweets served to affirm the wrongheaded notion that it is ever acceptable to reduce to vile caricature an entire group based on the misconduct of a small percentage of that group. Grundy's tweets endorsed the very thing she, and every other right-thinking person, opposes: stereotyping based on race and gender.

You can't have it both ways. If it's somehow fair, just, or proper to be prejudiced--and Grundy's remarks wrongly suggest it is--white bigots can find reason enough to be prejudiced against blacks, and especially black males. But prejudice is never fair, just, or proper to the vast majority of the group being prejudged, whether the group is black males or white males.

Give it a rest. Grundy was wrong, and you are just making matters worse.