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If you want to hear offensive, incendiary comments, you need look no further than Fox News. But apparently the racially-charged remarks are only acceptable when they come from White men because when Lisa Durden, an adjunct professor at a community college, made a remark that I wouldn’t consider offensive but happened to mention race, all hell broke loose.
Burden appeared on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” and while there, she and Carlson spoke about a Memorial Day event that was exclusively for Black folks, hosted by Black Lives Matter.
When Carlson asked Durden her thoughts, she said, “Boo hoo hoo. You White people are angry because you couldn’t use your White privilege card.” [to attend the event.]
Two days later, Durden was suspended with pay. After she addressed the matter in a public meeting, she was fired.
Essex Country College President, Anthony Munroe said the school “supports and affirms the right of free speech and independent views and expressions of those views” for faculty and staff. He also noted that although Durden did not mention her affiliation with the school during her television appearance or claim to be representing its views, “her employment with us and potential impact on students required our immediate review into what seemed to have become a very contentious and divisive issue.”
Durden says the school “publicly lynched” her.
While she said she’s received a lot of support from staff and students, she likened her experience to a rape victim being blamed for their assault.
“I fully believe that institutions of higher learning must provide a safe space for students to explore, discuss and debate, not only academic philosophies, but the harder issues related to living harmoniously and growing together in our communities and as a country. The character of this institution mandates that we embrace diversity, inclusion, and unity. Racism cannot be fought with more racism.”
Now, I don’t think Durden has been publicly lynched and I don’t think she should liken her situation to a rape victim. But there is absolutely no reason she should have been fired. White privilege is a thing. And there is nothing wrong with calling it out. Mentioning someone’s race is not racist or divisive. And it’s a shame that the college wasn’t willing to stand by Durden for highlighting a very real issue. It is White privilege that causes White people to feel insulted for not receiving a formal invitation for events that they likely wouldn’t want to attend in the first place.