“Who’s Left to Defend Tommy Curry?”

“The drama that unfolded at Texas A&M is about a scholar who was welcomed by a public university because of his unusual perspective and who became estranged from it for the same reason. It is a story about what a university values, how it expresses those values under pressure, and how that pressure works…
In the paper, Mr. Curry explained that he wanted to raise violent resistance in the context of American racism “not as a call to arms, but as an open-ended political question.”
Still, the young philosopher knew he was treading on dangerous ground…
Amy Smith, senior vice president for marketing and communications, advised Theodore George, head of the philosophy department, on how to respond to inquiries about Mr. Curry. “Barring direct threats by him to others, Dr. Curry has a First Amendment right to offer his personal views on this subject,” she advised him to say, “no matter how incendiary and inappropriate others may consider them to be.”
It soon became clear that would not be enough…
To some of Mr. Curry’s colleagues, the statement the president sent out to mollify the professor’s critics was not an affirmation of the university’s core values. It was a betrayal…
Earlier in the year, a panel of judges from the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy honored Mr. Curry’s radio work by giving him an award for public philosophy. (“Our committee was impressed,” wrote the chair of the panel, “by how seamlessly Dr. Curry is able to fuse his work as a professional academic philosopher with a very public and intellectually rigorous engagement with lay audiences across a variety of platforms.”)
His radio commentary wasn’t some offbeat rant, the professor told his bosses. This is part of what you hired me to do.”

It was hard to pull for a summary from this. It should be read through.

I find myself full of negative emotions and deep cynicism about the realities of “diversification”. Blackness is still seen as dangerous, and black scholars have to give themselves boundaries to avoid being pushed out.

It’s not an anti-free-speech moment here, it’s systems of racism and the power of white discomfort.

Related: “Research shows prejudice, not principle, often underpins ‘free-speech defense’ of racist language”; “Free Speech Isn’t Free

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