When is racism not racist? When no one dares call it racism. Because that would be racist.
That’s not a riddle from Alice in Wonderland, it’s the upside-down reality on college campuses.
The American Association of University Professors is condemning Indiana University Northwest for firing a tenured black professor after alleging he said “words to the effect that ‘the only way to end racism is to kill all the white people.’”
A new AAUP report calls “implausible” the allegation that the professor “actually threatened to hurt white people,” noting one person it interviewed who called his manner “mild and soothing.”
Mark McPhail was once the chief academic officer of IUN, as the campus is known.
“The racial climate at IUN appears to be unwelcoming to faculty members of color,” the report says. “In Professor McPhail’s case, it appeared to have been downright hostile, as evidenced by the presence of racist tropes of incompetent, angry and physically violent black men in the language used to justify his dismissal.”
He’s “mild and shooting” so he couldn’t possibly have said something horrible. What did he say?
You have to get nearly three-quarters of the way through this Chronicle of Higher Education article before the whitewashers will tell you the comments allegedly at stake. And that placement says everything.
On that September phone call, McPhail shared his disappointment with his suspension. Once the professor had been at the helm of the university’s academic enterprise. Now he was being sanctioned by it. As the two talked, the conversation drifted towards McPhail’s feelings about systemic racism in the U.S.
At some point he uttered a fateful remark: “if the Indigenous people had killed all the early white settlers, racism would not have established itself in the Americas,” a faculty review later found.
McPhail elaborated on what he meant in an interview. “I was basically talking about the fact that when colonists came here, they made agreements with the Native Americans, and then they betrayed those agreements,” he recalled. “If Native Americans had been less welcoming of the settlers and colonists, then we probably wouldn’t be in the situation we’re in today.”
If only all the white people were dead.
Here’s some context for McPhail’s mild and shooting comments about all the white people being dead.
McPhail argues that “black rhetors have sought persistently to re-sign the Racial Contract, and have contributed to the crafting in real terms of the ideals of the social contract.” Mills claims that, to the contrary, “White rhetors have largely resisted this re-signing, and have instead embraced and reshaped the Racial Contract in ways more subtle and insidious.”
Concerning the current status of this “Racial Contract”, McPhail asks the question, “Will white people ever be sorry?”At the conclusion of the article, McPhail asserts: “To re-sign the Racial Contract, whites must collectively atone for the history and consequences of white supremacy. I continue to believe that this collective atonement is unlikely.”
Mild and soothing!
Should an academic who hates a particular race this much really be teaching at all?