Professor loses teaching job for approving a Black Lives Matter meeting from which whites were excluded; I disagree with the firing

While I think it’s racist to specify that a meeting should be limited to people of a certain skin color, I cannot sanction Essex County College for firing a professor for espousing that view. On June 6, Essex’s adjunct professor of communication Lisa Durden appeared in this in this 6½-minute interview with Fox News’s Tucker Carlson. As you can see, Durden vigorously defended the idea of Black Lives Matter having a meeting from which whites were excluded.

Tucker Carlson calls her out for racism, and I think he does a good job, though Durden’s notion of racism isn’t Carlson’s; it’s “racism = power + privilege”.  When Carlson asks her, three minutes in, whether it’s racist to exclude people on the basis of their skin color, Durden ducks the question and continues her fulmination. She is, in other words, defending a “Day of Exclusion” that resembles the “Day of Departure” that recently caused a fracas at Evergreen State College:

Note that there is no identification of Durden as being associated with Essex. Nevertheless, according to Inside Higher Education (IHE), she was fired from her teaching job for this appearance:

Essex County College hired pop culture commentator and producer Lisa Durden as an adjunct professor of communications, in part for her past appearances on such networks as Fox News. She’d also built a relationship with the college over the years by inviting students to intern with her, assisting on TV and documentary production projects. But it took just one angry phone call about her recent appearance on Tucker Carlson Tonight for her to lose her teaching job, she says.

“I was publicly lynched,” she said Tuesday about being escorted from her summer-term class earlier this month to a meeting with administrators, who told her she was being suspended and investigated. “They wanted to send a message. ‘See what happened to Lisa Durden? You know it could happen to me.’ Free speech doesn’t matter if you’re a professor, make people mad and you’re in trouble.”

Durden says she was told that an unnamed person had called Essex to complain about her comments to Carlson the night before. The complaint surprised Durden because, in her words, she’s a regular commentator on Fox and elsewhere on everything from “Kim Kardashian’s ass to tough issues such as Black Lives Matter.” She’d appeared on a panel at Essex called Radical Women in Media, at the college’s request, earlier this year. And she’d satisfactorily — to her knowledge — taught two other courses in the spring term.

Pressed further, officials allegedly told Durden that she’d improperly identified herself on the show as an Essex professor. But Durden didn’t. The clip, in which she argues in favor of the right of Black Lives Matter protesters to claim all-black protest spaces on Memorial Day, includes no reference to Essex by Durden, Carlson or anyone else. In fact, Durden at one point says, “I’m speaking for Lisa Durden.”

I don’t agree with what she says, but, as they say, I’ll defend to the death her right to say it, and I decry Essex’s decision to fire her. That’s reprehensible. Why on earth should someone be fired for saying what she did? Yes, I think it’s racist to exclude whites from a meeting, just as it would be to exclude blacks or Hispanics or Muslims from a meeting, but racism falls within the purview of freedom of speech. (Do remember that many whites sympathize with the Black Lives Matter movement, so excluding whites is an exclusion based on race and not viewpoint.)

Now the American Association of University Professors has a statement about how faculty should comport themselves in such interviews. As IHE notes:

Many professors appear as commentators across networks, write op-eds or otherwise express their views as private citizens. The American Association of University Professors recognizes their right to do so and says that “professors should be free from institutional censorship or discipline.” Yet relevant AAUP policy cautions that “their special position in the community imposes special obligations. As scholars and educational officers, they should remember that the public may judge their profession and their institution by their utterances. Hence they should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others and should make every effort to indicate that they are not speaking for the institution.”

Well, Durden wasn’t at all restrained, but so what? She was passionate, just like Hitchens was passionate. And she didn’t identify her affiliation with the college, where she’s an adjunct, nor did Fox News. She even said she was speaking for herself, though I don’t have a big problem with anyone, including her, identifying her college affiliation. That’s where she works.

Essex should reinstate Durden immediately and apologize. They can say that they don’t agree with her sentiments, but firing her is beyond the pale.

There’s a petition to reinstate her at Essex. I’ve signed it, and if you agree, you might, too.


  1. Craw
    Posted June 29, 2017 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    I agree. Personally I think she’s a bit of a slug, but I don’t think this impairs her ability to do her job. If she had said, as another prof at another college has, that whites need to die then I think that would have, because what white could feel confident of fair treatment, but this does not.

    • Craw
      Posted June 30, 2017 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      I think Ben Goren has convinced me her behavior is prima facie evidence of racial bigorty. As such I would be uncomfortable telling whites they must take her class and trust to her impartiality. Her “passion” here is worrying too. So I think her ability to be a fair teacher is cast in doubt and I am reversing myself here.

      • Posted June 30, 2017 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

        Thanks…but black students shouldn’t be subjected to her racist bigotry, either. When she gives them good grades, how are they supposed to know if it’s because of the academic merits of their work or the color of their skin? How are they supposed to defend themselves against charges of favoritism lobbied by white racists? And what if some insecure black students feel empowered by her hatred and embrace the racism that she, as a role model, is promoting? Or if her bigotry inspires a white classmate to, as the Resident is proud of doing, punch back ten times harder?

        The situation is equally dire for all students in her classroom, regardless of their race.




        • Craw
          Posted June 30, 2017 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

          All true.

  2. Marty Lonn
    Posted June 29, 2017 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Would it make any difference in your view if it was a private employer ?

    • Paul S
      Posted June 29, 2017 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      My employment contract has a clause that states I may not use the company name when expressing personal views outside of work.

      Simply stated, I can rant on fox news, march, picket, protest, advocate, whatever I like as long as I do not where something identifying the company or give the impression that I speak for the company.

      • Marty Lonn
        Posted June 29, 2017 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

        That may be a contract you hold, but there is nothing in the law that prevents a private employer for firing someone for their speech. Public employees have more protection due to the fact the First Amendment protects against punishment from the government (public employers). However, the courts have allowed public employers to fire employees for certain types of speech.

  3. Joseph Stans
    Posted June 29, 2017 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Clearly a school of undisciplined thugs who care little about education and care everything about their feelings. they should be expelled and refused readmittance until a suitable time of maturation has passed — say 10 years.

  4. Jackson Taylor
    Posted June 29, 2017 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Would you defend a white professor who had been fired for supporting and defending a “whites only” meeting?

    • Posted June 29, 2017 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      I would say that they shouldn’t be fired for that. Of course, colleges can do what they want, but I’d consider it an abrogation of free speech if the professor were doing his/her duties. Why do you ask that question?

      • Daniel Smith
        Posted June 29, 2017 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

        I suspect Jackson’s goal in asking this question was to see if you are consistent. I know many people who would take your position in Mrs. Durden’s case, but not in the hypothetical above. I have heard many times people say “minorities cannot be racist”.

        I agree with your opinion in general. However, I don’t really understand calling this “an abrogation of free speech”. Certainly, it should not be unlawful to make any statement (at least, that does not obviously lead to violence). I might call it “an abrogation of intellectual freedom” or “an abrogation of intellectual inquiry” (or something like that) which still vary problematic in a university setting. Yet, I must imagine that there are ideas and events that a professor might support that you would consider worthy of dismissal but would protected by “freedom of speech”.

        I fear these tenancies might eventually lead to restrictions of free speech (as we have seen in some cases) but that is a different issue.

    • Darjoy
      Posted June 30, 2017 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      I am pretty sure these same people with draw and quarter him…whats good for the goose is good for the gander. She is a teacher and her personal views should never ever enter the classroom…when that happens you are now in the realm of mind control.

  5. Joseph Stans
    Posted June 29, 2017 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Lisa Durgen is as qualified to be a professor of ANY discipline as I am — and that is to say not qualified at all.

    • tomh
      Posted June 29, 2017 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      You know her? Because you don’t seem to know how to spell her name.

  6. Ann German
    Posted June 29, 2017 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    I think I posted this once before, but I remember in the 60’s when my college (Antioch) was shut down by the feds because a black students’ caucus excluded white folks from certain buildings . . . what better place to work through all these knotty problems than in college???

  7. Posted June 29, 2017 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    As there is a public comportment clause in Durden’s contract, her employer was entirely justified in terminating her for this offensive, crude, foul-mouthed, racist, and — as Carlson put it — ‘demented’ public performance.

  8. Posted June 29, 2017 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    I know academia has its own rules on conduct unbefitting and the like. And, Jerry, you’ve made clear that you’d be just as opposed to a white supremecist making parallel arguments.

    But, outside of academia…well, at almost any company in America, and especially any larger company, anybody making white supremecist racist remarks would be immediately dismissed with cause; I can only hope that the same would apply to black supremecist racist remarks such as Ms. Durden made.

    And let’s make no pretense here: Ms. Durden is an unapologetic, proud racist. Mr. Carlson was spot-on with his analogy to Nazis.

    There’s a vast chasm between me and Mr. Carlson on virtually every matter of public policy. But he and I see eye-to-eye on this very narrow subject…and I also must compliment him for not being quite as batshit fucking insane and uncivilized as the Resident whose ass he licks most of the time.

    Ms. Durden, it must be noted, has wormed herself into a different but just as disgusting corner of that slimepit as Drumpf.



  9. alexandra Moffat
    Posted June 29, 2017 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Misusing the word ‘lynch” is a mistake. She was not lynched. (It was misused to huge effect by C Thomas in his hearing). Hyperbole is fine, often, but with the violence associated with this word, it should be used for the literal meaning of the word not as an exaggerated meaning for being dismissed.
    We need to work hard to use words appropriately, correctly, seems to me, now that they are tossed around helter-skelter without much regard for truth.

  10. DrBrydon
    Posted June 29, 2017 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    I dunno. I think the right to assemble allows you to hold meetings, and restrict attendence. That’s not the same as excluding people from public venues, or excluding people from public organizations. I think there are times when a group may want to say we want to meet in private, whether men, women, black, white, gay, or whatever. However, for a public group to say we are going to meet, and exclude certain people, would be wrong. For example, women Senators may decide to meet, but it would be wrong for the Senate to convene, and exclude women members. Where this particular BLM meeting falls, I don’t know. Darden has a right to espouse whichever view she supports. I agree Darden shouldn’t have been fired, and should be reinstated.

    • Randy schenck
      Posted June 29, 2017 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      I tend to agree. Congress has their black caucus, not sure about women but that would be fine as well. Now if you had a white caucus, that would be a problem. It’s a meeting anyway, not a demand for a separate country.

      • tomh
        Posted June 29, 2017 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

        One of the justifications for founding the CBC was that “there’s been a Congressional White Caucus for 200 years.”

        • Randy schenck
          Posted June 29, 2017 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

          Yes if you confuse the word congress with caucus.

  11. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted June 29, 2017 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    ANY private volunteer organization can exclude anyone they want, if it is of no direct detriment to the excluded party. It’s in part a matter of giving some parties the courage to speak freely.

    Some good female friends of mine attend a women’s only drumming circle, and I am a member of a men’s book discussion group which about half the time discusses books of interest primarily to guys.

    Almost every public library in the Bay Area has a teenager’s only room- no adults- as do one or two park facilities.

    I’d love to be able to vote in the Republican primaries too, but as a Democrat I have to suck it up.

    And yes, churches have every right to exclude whoever they want from Sunday morning services.

    I haven’t watched the clip, so I might very much disagree with Ms. Durden’s specific reasons for the Caucasian interdict, but on the face of it, a BLM meeting restricted the African lineage does not per se a problem.

    • tomh
      Posted June 29, 2017 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

      I agree, I don’t see a problem. I guess most people here would be opposed to the Congressional Black Caucus, whose goals are described as “positively influencing the course of events pertinent to African-Americans.” The bylaws do not exclude others, though all members have been African-American since its founding, and when a white Congressman applied for membership in 2006, he was denied (explicitly because of his skin color.)

    • Adam M.
      Posted June 29, 2017 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      I agree that BLM is completely within its rights to exclude whites from meetings held in private, but I think it’s clear that any group that excluded blacks from anything simply for being black would face widespread opprobrium. And I’m a little heartened that in this one case at least the same protection was extended to whites. (Usually there’s a stark double standard.)

      I don’t think she should have been fired, though – just debated and criticized.

      • Posted June 29, 2017 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

        + 1

      • tomh
        Posted June 29, 2017 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

        You don’t think the BLM has faced “widespread opprobrium” over this? Heck, this person lost her job defending the very idea of it.

  12. Adam M.
    Posted June 29, 2017 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    I agree. I don’t want to live in a world where Twitter mobs can render you unemployed and unemployable because of something you say or believe or a joke they overheard you make to your friend, even if it was far in the past. I don’t want to live in a world where businesses scrutinize what their employees say and do outside work to preemptively stave off those Twitter mobs.

    What’s the principle and endgame here? People with the “wrong” beliefs should have no job, be unable to support their families, and ultimately become homeless and broke? That’s a cruel thing to wish even on your (ideological) enemies.

    • Posted June 29, 2017 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      What’s the principle and endgame here? People with the “wrong” beliefs should have no job, be unable to support their families, and ultimately become homeless and broke?

      Consider the flip side. Imagine you’re in upper management at a typical American corporation with a diverse workforce, and one of your middle managers appeared on TV and defended the practice of excluding non-whites from a Klan rally because he wanted a “safe space” for the attendees who didn’t want to have to worry about the black men getting uppity with the women. And who also defended the practice of crossing the street to avoid a black man coming your way, because you never know which ones are going to mug you.

      Can you honestly say that that wouldn’t immediately create an hostile work environment for that person’s subordinates? How are you supposed to trust that middle manager to properly supervise and evaluate his subordinates? Wouldn’t you expect the darker-skinned employees under that manager’s supervision to immediately request a transfer?

      Are you as an employer now expected to keep this racist bigot employed as an expression of welfare, despite an open demonstration of a personal constitution incompatible with the job skills required?

      There’s a clear path towards reintegration with civil society for reprobates such as Ms. Durden. First, she must honestly recognize that her racism is unacceptable; and then she must sincerely renounce her current position.

      She likely wouldn’t be able to find a position in society as privileged as the one she currently enjoys, but she’d be more than able to start over again from the bottom of the ladder. Indeed, in her case, she’d likely land on her feet with a paid position with the Nazis, or whatever other racist club of bigots her particular “ilk” is.

      And, yes, society as an whole has a real problem caring for those at the bottom of the ladder — but that’s entirely orthogonal. Why should a racist bigot unqualified for a position of power in society enjoy continued well-paid employment when an honest day laborer struggles to find work? She had her chance, a chance that millions dream of, and blew it; why not let one of those millions have her place instead?




    • ladyatheist
      Posted June 30, 2017 at 6:58 am | Permalink

      Note that I do not use my RL name here. We do live in those times.

    • Craw
      Posted June 30, 2017 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      I agree with all of this, which is why she shouldn’t be fired unless this affects her ability to do her job. Part of doing her job is being credibly fair to her students. I do not think I could ask students to have faith in her fairness. So I think this rant has exposed shortcomings that really does impair her capacity to fulfill her job adequately. It’s not her defense of BLM having separate meetings. It’s the hostility and disdain for whites she let slip while making that defense.
      Imagine if you will she had announced “I hate Asians, and wish they’d all flunk out.” Would you say she could be fired from a teaching position? I would. This is a less explicit case of the same thing: she revealed a bigotry that seriously calls into question her fairness, and destroys anyone’s ability to rely upon it.

  13. Toodles
    Posted June 29, 2017 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Sure, she can say whatever she wants publicly and, like you, I would defend her right to say it. However, she’s a professor and (rightly so) the bar is high for the personal opinions she chooses to make public. The (not unreasonable) bar is: don’t support racial segregation that favours one group over another, and don’t disparage identifiable groups based on skin colour. She’s so obviously bigoted against “white folks” with all of their “boo hoo white privilege” that she can’t be trusted to teach and evaluate white kids fairly. There’s a difference b/t defending a person’s right to express their racist beliefs about an identifiable group, and trusting that same person to maintain their moral duty of impartiality with the identifiable group they hold racist beliefs about. I don’t know how someone as overtly racist like Durden can fulfill her moral duty to her students or to the school. She betrayed her duty as a teacher and don’t think the college did anything wrong.

    • Adam M.
      Posted June 29, 2017 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      That’s a fair point, but it would have been better if the university actually looked into whether she discriminates against whites in her classes. If there’s no evidence that she has, I’d say she shouldn’t be fired.

      Just as Christians and creationists should have to ‘suck it up’ and deal with professors who hold their beliefs in disdain – as long as those professors don’t actually pick on or mock them in class – I think white students should have to deal with black professors who dislike whites as a race. Maybe there’s a kernel of truth at the center of their hatred, as there usually is, and the students can learn from it.

      Or maybe I’m just wrong.

      • Posted June 29, 2017 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

        I think you are wrong in the 2nd part of your comment, but I fully agree with your 1st part. I am in a similar situation with a few Muslim students – they claim that I failed them at the exam because they were Muslim and I “have an anti-Muslim blog”. You see, they dig the Web to research the examiners’ views and personalities, instead of studying the syllabus, and when they fail, this is somehow the examiner’s fault. I have been accused also in anti-Turkish and anti-Greek bigotry.

    • tomh
      Posted June 29, 2017 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      “She’s so obviously bigoted against “white folks” with all of their “boo hoo white privilege” that she can’t be trusted to teach and evaluate white kids fairly.”

      There is no evidence of that, unless you know something no one else does.

      • Posted June 29, 2017 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

        Her ranting against Mr. Carlson is evidence aplenty.

        Clearly, she sees all whites — or, at least, those she doesn’t know — as disproportionately likely to make trouble for blacks. She said exactly that as the reason for excluding them from the event. Worse, she refused to name even one white person who would not have disrupted the sacredness of the event.

        Were you one of her white students, how could you possibly continue in her class? Can you ask a question in class without wondering if she’s secretly thinking you’re attempting to disrupt her sacred safe space? What if you submitted what you thought was the best assignment of your life, but she didn’t give you an “A”? Would you complain to the dean that it was racist? How is the dean supposed to evaluate such complaints — as legitimate, or as students attempting to take advantage of the situation?

        There is a certain level of trust that students and teachers must share. Ms. Durden clearly doesn’t trust her white students, and how are they supposed to trust her?

        And I should note: this is entirely different from a difference of opinion on religion. Jerry can clearly state that Christianity is folly without implying that Christians themselves are fools incapable of serious academic work — up until, of course, the point that they try to substitute Christian dogma for peer-reviewed evidence-based science.

        But Ms. Durden is making no bones about her opinion that, if you don’t have a built-in suntan, you can’t be trusted as a person, period, no matter how pure your ideological bona fides. That’s racist bullshit, and it has no place anywhere in civil society.




        • tomh
          Posted June 29, 2017 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

          “Her ranting against Mr. Carlson is evidence aplenty.”

          That’s exactly NOT evidence aplenty. Evidence aplenty would be a showing of discrimination in the classroom. Ranting against Mr. Carlson is her expressing a point of view.

          • Posted June 29, 2017 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

            …the point of view being that whites are untrustworthy, violent brutes unfit to mingle with those blessed with the purity of dark skin.

            I’m serious. Wouldn’t you be comfortable with firing a Klansman who said the exact same things as justification for excluding blacks from a Klan rally? Would you consider it appropriate for such a proudly vocal race supremecist to govern a classroom if the supreme race were white?

            If so…um, okay; at least you’d be consistent. But I don’t think most of the rest of society wants be-sheeted bigots in professorships, no matter the color of the sheet.




          • Craw
            Posted June 30, 2017 at 11:57 am | Permalink

            “Evidence aplenty would be a showing of discrimination in the classroom. ”

            That would be evidence, but why should it be the ONLY evidence? I guess if Trump put Ken Ham in charge of the department of education and Be objected he was likely to impose crackpot creationism you could make a similar wait and see objection.

            Now in general I am in favor of wait and see, but it’s a bit much to insist some 20 year old or his parents to just take it on faith. Sometimes you go with the evidence you have.

            I watched again. During the kind of “whites are uncontrollable” stuff Ben is talking about, where Carlson was speaking *she was nodding her head* in what looks like approval to me.

            • tomh
              Posted June 30, 2017 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

              “That would be evidence, but why should it be the ONLY evidence?”

              It would be the only credible evidence. What you want to use for evidence is your interpretation of her remarks, speculation, and guesswork, all filtered through your own biases.

              • Posted June 30, 2017 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

                Again, imagine a white man making the exact inversion of her rant defending the exclusion of blacks from an all-white “Blue Lives Matter” “celebration.” Would you dismiss objection to such as speculation and guesswork filtered through personal biases?

                Indeed, right here right now, could you honestly mount a sincere defense of such, with as much vigor as you’re defending Ms. Durden?

                Judging people on the color of their skin, especially to the exclusion of all other considerations, is racism. It doesn’t matter which race is exalted and which reviled; racism in all forms is abhorrent anti-social behavior far, far beneath the stature of one entrusted to educate the next generation.




  14. Daniel Smith
    Posted June 29, 2017 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    I am not sure I agree with your logic. Of course, it is quite okay (for a variety of reason) to disagree with the firing.

    However, you invoke free speech as your argument. Free speech, however, does not give one (for instance) the right to say anything you wish and remain employed. I do not see this as a free speech issue at all. Rather, I see it as a sad and emblematic sign of the failure in our present culture to civilly discuss diverging opinions and perceptions.

    I too disagree with her firing. However, I disagree because the firing misses an opportunity to begin meaningful discourse. That is, the ironic racism that surrounds her meeting begets the opportunity to speak critically of the practice. Conversely, we who disagree with it now lack the opportunity to gleam the rationale that motivated it. Now, however, the entire discussion has simply wilted into another asinine case of identity politics.

    • Kevin
      Posted June 29, 2017 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      Should be an administrative policy of the employer. If it were my university I would give anyone the right to assemble and exclude. I would not cite any amendment.

      The people who, in the long run, do not benefit, are the ‘excluders’. Think of humans as machines with information. We can develop better prescriptions for a society if we all have more input. Mrs. Durden is unnecessarily restricting that input and it will not bring her an advantage. The same could be said about members of the same church. They’d much rather never talk with a atheist or another member of another church: it might cause them to change their mind.

      • Daniel Smith
        Posted June 29, 2017 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

        Agreed on both accounts.

        I do wish the discourse surrounding such controversies becomes similar to what you have so nicely articulated — that a group excluding a portion of the population from the conversation ultimately hinders it. This is particularly true with a group like BLM – without discussion between pertinent parties, the dialogue is unlikely to make progress

        That being said, Mrs. Durden should be able to do what she wants. However, she should be careful about alienating potential allies that might support her cause otherwise.

  15. ploubere
    Posted June 29, 2017 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    The only justification for dismissal would be if there was evidence that she discriminated against whites in her classes, or in any way treated students differently based on race.

    Outside of that, she should be free to express any opinion she wants as an individual. Now, whether that should factor in the decision to hire her or renew her contract is another question, and should be considered in light of the subject matter she’s teaching, and whether she is qualified to teach it.

  16. Posted June 29, 2017 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    When I was in the slow process of coming out as lesbian, I attended some support groups. These groups consisted of lesbian and questioning women. It was important for us that the other people there were like us because they wouldn’t judge us negativey just for being lesbian. We often discussed things like acceptance by family and friends, and how to cope with lack of acceptance. We talked about what, if anything, being lesbian means for the rest of our lives. These were things non-lesbians often have opinions about, but don’t really know about. I’m glad that there all-women, basically all-lesbian groups were around for me, and for others like me.

    So, I can see that Black Lives Matter groups might sometimes want to meet with only black, and this might be a good thing for those involved. Systematically excluding white from all Black Lives Matter meetings would create a serious missed opportunity for the group, though.

    • Posted June 29, 2017 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      But isn’t the true concern about civility, not about gender and orientation?

      What if a straight man outright said, “I know I’ve no clue what it means to be a lesbian, but I want to understand. Can I join and listen and maybe ask for some clarification every now and again?” Would he be unwelcome?

      Of course, if he became hostile, or if he tried to dominate the meeting or an individual, or otherwise disrupted the meeting or was uncivil, that would be cause to kick him out. But wouldn’t the same be true for any lesbian who tried to do the same? And shouldn’t he deserve the same benefit of the doubt as any other new attendee?

      And, again: consider if it was a club of wealthy straight white men discussing what it means to be a wealthy straight white man. Say, at the golf course where the topic of discussion for that day is banking deregulation. Wouldn’t your alarm bells go off if they explicitly excluded dark-skinned lesbians? Especially if they expressed fears or contempt about the sorts of things dark-skinned lesbians might say?

      It’s perfectly natural and healthy to seek out like-minded and welcoming individuals to explore things you might not yourself be sure about or comfortable with. The problem only arises when you start to exclude people based on your stereotyped fears of them as opposed to their actual conduct.




    • Diane G.
      Posted July 1, 2017 at 12:21 am | Permalink

      I completely agree, sedgequeen. I have a hard time seeing why others don’t.

  17. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 29, 2017 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    Call it what we will, there’s a difference between mere bigotry and bigotry combined with the power to act upon it. But whatever we call it, anyone with the authority to exclude others from a venue due to their race or ethnicity has it, and deserves to be called out when they exercise it invidiously.

    Still, I agree with you that this shouldn’t have been a firing offense, so have signed the petition.

  18. Randy schenck
    Posted June 29, 2017 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    I’ll just make a guess that if the Professor from a college, Lisa Durden, had a nice calm discussion with Carson, and made her case, she would not have been fired. That is just a guess. Sometimes it is the way you say it.

  19. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 29, 2017 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    I don’t agree with what she says, but, as they say, I’ll defend to the death her right to say it …

    Tried to warn you, man: Never go full Voltaire.

  20. Ken Pidcock
    Posted June 29, 2017 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Yeah. Turns out that not only the regressive left can intimidate. This was clearly done to preclude right wing backlash.

  21. Christopher
    Posted June 29, 2017 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    I don’t agree with the firing of the bigoted Durden and I certainly don’t agree with her bigotry but is it not a wee bit interesting when the shoe is on the other foot? The CTRL Left loves a good outraged mob, loves punishing free speech, just ask Nobel Laureate Tim Hunt, for example. So while I’m against the firing, I’m enjoying just the slightest bit of schadenfreude (I’m not proud). This is a natural consequence of their howling, infantile public shaming. The question is, how the hell do we dig ourselves out of this hole, back to the freedoms of the Enlightenment?

  22. Posted June 29, 2017 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Recently there was another case like this where a Yale dean was fired for using the words “white trash” in her Yelp review of a restaurant. Seems everyone in this world can rant, even the President, except academics.

  23. Daniel Smith
    Posted June 29, 2017 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    After watching the interview, I suspect her firing is quite linked to her tone and attitude.

    If she simply said something along the lines of:

    “Sometimes, it is healing and useful for the black community to be among ourselves so we can speak and celebrate in the absence of any potential racial tension. I understand how this could be perceived as a hypocritical action, but we come from a historically oppressed community. We do not have the luxury of assuming every white person who would attend is equally jubilant to celebrate among us as equals. This has nothing to do with excluding others for being white and everything to do with what it means to be black in the United States. I suspect you will still disagree with me, but I hope you will acknowledge that you cannot understand my position fully without having experienced the hardships that nearly all members of the black community face in this country.”

    she would have been fine. But she was clearly far too aggressive.

    • tomh
      Posted June 29, 2017 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      Those uppity (black) women need to be put in their place.

      • Posted June 29, 2017 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

        Exactly my response.

        I’ve no problem with her passion for the subject, though I’m definitely not a fan of the shout-over-each-other style of TV “discussion.”

        Had she phrased her objection the way Daniel did, she might have left herself more maneuvering room to recognize just how bad her idea really is, and, as such, would have been an improvement.

        But the fundamental problem is the racism.

        Here’s another way to look at it:

        It would have been perfectly proper to restrict attendance at the meetings to members of the organization. And there’re all sorts of ways to define membership and identify those who’re in good standing.

        But if the color of one’s skin was one of the defining characteristics of eligibility for membership…that would clearly be a big problem.




        • Daniel Smith
          Posted June 29, 2017 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

          I agree with you Ben. I think the overall idea is the problem and how it is articulated is less of a intellectual or moral issue. However, keep in mind that I am neither personally critiquing Mrs. Durden nor putting anyone “in their place”.

          I am simply voicing the opinion that her failure to articulate her position in a calm and potentially convincing manner is what raised eyebrows to the point where the university would consider her a liability.

          I also note that I find Mr Carlson’s diction unhelpful as well (“calling her disgusting” , etc.) but he is not really the subject of this discussion.

    • Posted June 29, 2017 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      Exactly. It was not much about what she said, but how she said it.
      Very inappropriate behavior for a university professor.

  24. Toby
    Posted June 29, 2017 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    Isn’t the question “is this person good to have at our university?” & not “did she break the law”? Dr. Coyne, you’re acting like the university claims she broke the law. They can fire someone for being anti-white if they like.

  25. tomh
    Posted June 30, 2017 at 1:00 am | Permalink

    Ben Goren wrote:
    “…the point of view being that whites are untrustworthy, violent brutes unfit to mingle with those blessed with the purity of dark skin.”

    Yeah, I didn’t hear her say that, nor did I hear her say that she hates white people, as some have claimed. Maybe I missed it in the shouting. But you claimed that her views were “evidence aplenty” that she would discriminate in the classroom. This is so obviously false that it needs no further belaboring, just as it would be false if it were a Klansman, a Voodoo Priestess, or whatever. Whether you are “comfortable” with someone’s views has nothing to do with their classroom performance.

    Ben Goren wrote:
    “But if the color of one’s skin was one of the defining characteristics of eligibility for membership…that would clearly be a big problem.”

    So you have a big problem with the Congressional Black Caucus, where skin color is the only requirement for admittance, and the Hispanic Caucus (there are separate D & R ones,) and they are filled with racists, 47 black racists in the CBC. BLM wanted ONE DAY, these groups are permanent.

    Ben Goren wrote:
    “But the fundamental problem is the racism.”

    I would disagree with that. If I were to scream that only a fool would fail to admit that there is an unacknowledged white privilege that permeates the nation, I guess most people here would label me a racist who hates white people. Because that’s basically what she said.

    I thought sedgequeen made a good point up above, when she talked about lesbianism. Whereas you wanted her to invite some random straight male into their group, so they might educate him, she talked about the importance of being with others who had the same experience, an experience that is impossible to transmit to outsiders. In the same way, there is not a single white person in the country who has an inkling about what it is like to grow up black in America. BLM decided that for ONE DAY they would celebrate their survival and success with each other.

    • Posted June 30, 2017 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      Ben Goren wrote: “…the point of view being that whites are untrustworthy, violent brutes unfit to mingle with those blessed with the purity of dark skin.”

      Yeah, I didn’t hear her say that,

      Of course I exaggerated the tone in my paraphrase of her rant, but the content is no exaggeration. She very clearly states that the reason whites were excluded is because the organizers don’t know which whites are going to be disruptive.

      So you have a big problem with the Congressional Black Caucus

      Medium to medium-large problem. They officially don’t discriminate based on skin color…but they screwed the pooch big time with their handling of Rep. Cohen. A 60% black district elected a white man who pledged to represent them as fully as possible by joining the CBC…and his application was denied. Clearly, the CBC cares more about the whiteness of Rep. Cohen’s skin than they care about the blackness of the tens of thousands of citizens he represents — and less about the content of his character. Rep. Clay’s remarks defending the rejection of Rep. Cohen were especially problematic.

      The partisan skew of the CBC is also troubling. I’m not referring to the fact that most black members of Congress are Democrats, but to the fact that most black Democrats are members but only half or so black Republicans are members.

      If I were to scream that only a fool would fail to admit that there is an unacknowledged white privilege that permeates the nation, I guess most people here would label me a racist who hates white people. Because that’s basically what she said.

      Almost all of us have acknowledged the white privilege — and even those that haven’t been explicit about it have been explicit about the pervasive racism, which is another way of labeling the exact same phenomenon.

      But, again, that’s not the part of Ms. Durden’s rant we’re objecting to.

      It’s the part where she’s attempting to establish racial privilege and racist discrimination.

      The struggle isn’t — or, at least, shouldn’t be — black v white. Those of use who’re upset see the struggle as segregation and discrimination v inclusiveness and equality. We don’t want to re-draw the color lines; we want to erase them entirely. Ms. Durden, on the other hand, is perfectly happy to maintain a “whites only” and “coloreds only” drinking fountain, so long as the whites are the ones stuck with the contaminated water and the coloreds get the good stuff.

      I thought sedgequeen made a good point up above, when she talked about lesbianism. Whereas you wanted her to invite some random straight male into their group, so they might educate him

      No, that’s not at all what I wrote.

      In no way did I suggest that they go out and recruit people at random as part of an outreach effort and include them in sensitive discussions.

      What I did write is that, if somebody comes to them sincerely expressing a shared interest and desire for understanding and mutual support, they should judge that person by the content of character and not by genitalia.

      Three examples.

      What if the man in question is considering transitioning to female but is still attracted to women? Would not that person be even more in need of the experience and counsel of lesbians than the average closeted woman attracted to women?

      How about a frat boy who meets his first (as far as he knows) real-world lesbian in class and is shocked to discover that she’s not like those in porn films, and she’s also not a lumberjack-lookalike? Is it really a good idea to spurn somebody like that if he reaches out to a lesbian association to get some idea of what lesbians are really like? Would it not do a great deal to further the cause of gender equality to help him understand what being a lesbian really is all about? And is rejecting him not more likely to convince him that all lesbians really are feminazis?

      Rep. Cohen I’ve already given as an example. Here he is, one of the most powerful people in the country, eager to work for all the goals of the CBC and to help lift up his black constituency…and snubbing and humiliating him like that does what, exactly, to advance the CBC’s legislative and other agendas? They missed a golden opportunity and tarnished their reputation at the same time, setting their own cause back in no small way.

      BLM decided that for ONE DAY they would celebrate their survival and success with each other.

      Can you not understand the blatant racism in this sentence of yours?

      Are you incapable of understanding that there are people whose skin is not black who passionately believe that black lives matter and who would join in a celebration of survival and success?

      Clearly, for you, it’s not that black lives matter equally, but that black lives matter more — or, at least, that black lives (and voices) rightly matter more to the BLM movement.

      That’s the heart of the problem, here. This implicit racism, even if it’s a bigotry of low expectations…it’s every bit as reprehensible as assuming that, because the applicant for the job has a built-in suntan, you shouldn’t hire him because he might steal from the cash register and deal dope from the loading dock as he rapes the white women.

      After all, you never know which one of “those people” is going to get uppity and become a disturbance to the purebloods at the exclusive party.




  26. Alan
    Posted June 30, 2017 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    Because free speech wasn’t infringed upon (that only protects you from government action, it doesn’t protect you from other people thinking you’re an asshole and acting accordingly), and universities and colleges are increasingly aware of the possibility of nurturing pockets of unacceptable behaviour; segregation based on skin colour is a wonderful example of behaviour a university might find in opposition to its mission statement of inclusive learning.

  27. Sally sue
    Posted June 30, 2017 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    She should be fired if it were the other way around there’d be outrage!! So only white people should be punished? This world today is sick I’m scared for my white/black children to grow up in a world where they are scared to be white or black!! People of all colors should be ashamed of themselves!!!

  28. Some guy
    Posted July 1, 2017 at 12:28 am | Permalink

    I disagree. She has the right to say what she did, but that doesn’t mean she is immune from repercussions. A college should have professors who reflect their ideals. Her ideals are very evident when she says “oh boo boo, poor white people” and likens whites to toddlers with the excuse that she doesn’t know how they’ll behave. Her narrative shows extreme bias against whites and thus it reflects poorly on the school and suggests that someone so racist could not be a fair evaluator of students of different races.

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