Used to be that some crusty old white, Southern tenured professor could say a bunch of outrageously racist stuff, and people would just roll their eyes and use it as an anecdote to prove that relics like that really do exist.
On May 9, the New York Times editorial board published an Op-Ed tracing much of the inequality in racially divided cities like Baltimore to unfair mortgage lending practices from the early-to-mid 1900s that kept black folks in Baltimore — even those with money — locked in ghettos, segregated from white neighborhoods, and ultimately robbed them of home ownership altogether, one of the most common ways for families to build wealth.
The article is fascinating, and it traces the origins of the racial unrest in cities like Baltimore directly to unfair restriction and public policy that intentionally kept black Americans marginalized and in poverty, and starts to give us a clearer view of the black American experience and what we need to protect their rights.
Others weren't as impressed. The Op-Ed hit a nerve with Duke professor Jerry Hough, and he took to The New York Times comment section to air his dissent.
"The blacks get symbolic recognition in an utterly incompetent mayor who handled this so badly from beginning to end that her resignation would be demanded if she were white," Hough wrote. "The blacks get awful editorials like this that tell them to feel sorry for themselves."
Not content just to spew his self-righteous brand of bigotry at African-Americans, he also wanted to point out that "the Asians" faced discrimination and took it like champs. Why can't black people and other Americans completely disenfranchised by the system just be cool like American-Asian immigrants?
This guy can't be for real, right?
"They didn't feel sorry for themselves, they worked doubly hard," he wrote. The Asians really have been totally cool about being marginalized. The Japanese are totally over the whole WWII internment camp vacation they were given, right?
Is he done yet? Not yet. He's on a roll.
The cherry on the cake of this racist sundae was this bit, where he took the opportunity to identify himself as a professor at Duke and how much he hates it when his black students have names that confuse him.
"I am a professor at Duke University," he admitted. "Every Asian student has a very simple, old American first name that symbolizes their desire for integration. Virtually every black has a strange new name that symbolizes their lack of desire for integration."
There's more ranting about how black people don't want to date white people and all sorts of nonsense so ridiculous it could only have come from some old, protected, statused white dude so woefully out of touch and clinging to his old-school racism under the guise of "the good old days."
It's not the Professor Jerry Houghs that are changing — it's the rest of us.
This clown has been put on leave from Duke while his comments are being "investigated" by the university. Not sure how much investigating needs to happen here — seems pretty clear what he thinks is appropriate.
But what's more telling than his bigoted comments is his insistence that he's not saying anything racist at all. He really doesn't understand why any of that would be the least bit offensive.
"I am, of course, strongly against the toleration of racial discrimination. I do not know what racial intolerance means in modern code words and hesitate to comment on that specific comment," Hough told WTVD news. "In writing me, no one has said I was wrong, just racist. The question is whether I was right or what the nuanced story is, since anything in a paragraph is too simple."
And predictably he accused those who thought his comments seemed a little tone deaf to being too sensitive.
"I am strongly against the obsession with 'sensitivity.' The more we have emphasized sensitivity in recent years, the worse race relations have become," he kept shoveling. "In my opinion, the time has come to stop talking incessantly about race relations in general terms, as the president and activists have advocated, but talk about how the Asians and Poles got ahead — and to copy their approach. I don't see why that is insensitive or racist."
Exactly. Which is why this joker doesn't have the judgment to be in a classroom of any kind. Sorry, Jer, you've lost. America is moving forward and leaving you in the dust.
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