Professor Flooded With Threats After Drexel University Sides With White Supremacists In Twitter Scandal

‘“White genocide” is an idea invented by white supremacists and used to denounce everything from interracial relationships to multicultural policies,’ embattled Drexel University professor George Ciccariello-Maher noted in a statement.
By @KitOConnell |
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    In this Saturday, April 23, 2016 photo, members of the Ku Klux Klan participate in a "white pride" rally in Rome, Ga. Klan leaders say they feel that U.S. politics are going their way, as a nationalist, us-against-them mentality deepens across the nation.

    In this April, 2016 photo, white supremacists participate in a “white pride” rally in Rome, Ga. Attacks by white supremacists and far-right media outlets over satirical tweets about “white genocide” have led Drexel University to condemn professor George Ciccariello-Maher, who teaches history and politics at the university.

    PHILADELPHIA — George Ciccariello-Maher, a professor at Drexel University, is facing death threats after a series of satirical tweets about “white genocide,” a concept invented by white supremacists.

    The university is also facing criticism for its refusal to wholeheartedly support the free speech rights of its employee in the midst of an onslaught of complaints driven, in part, by far-right news outlets like Breitbart.

    “All I Want for Christmas is White Genocide,” Ciccariello-Maher tweeted on Saturday, according to a report published Monday by The Philadelphia Inquirer. A second tweet created on Sunday read: “To clarify: when the whites were massacred during the Haitian revolution, that was a good thing indeed.”


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    George Ciccariello-Maher, assistant professor in Drexel’s Department of History & Politics.

    George Ciccariello-Maher, assistant professor in Drexel’s Department of History & Politics.

    Ciccariello-Maher teaches in Drexel’s Department of History and Politics. According to his university bio, he often appears in the media to comment on “social movements, particularly in Latin America” and also frequently writes about “race, racism, prisons and policing in the U.S. and internationally.”

    A backlash to his tweets quickly began on social media and spread to the conservative media, leading Ciccariello-Maher to make his Twitter account private, allowing only users he specifies to follow and read his tweets.

    Although American universities have traditionally defended the free speech rights of tenured professors, Drexel condemned Ciccariello-Maher’s tweets in a statement published on Sunday.

    “While the University recognizes the right of its faculty to freely express their thoughts and opinions in public debate, Professor Ciccariello-Maher’s comments are utterly reprehensible, deeply disturbing, and do not in any way reflect the values of the University,” the statement read.

    Ciccariello-Maher defended his tweets in an email sent to the Inquirer on Monday:

    “On Christmas Eve, I sent a satirical tweet about an imaginary concept, ‘white genocide.’ For those who haven’t bothered to do their research, ‘white genocide’ is an idea invented by white supremacists and used to denounce everything from interracial relationships to multicultural policies … It is a figment of the racist imagination, it should be mocked, and I’m glad to have mocked it.”

    While genocide is a real and serious war crime in which a specific racial or ethnic group is systematically murdered or oppressed, “white genocide” is a conspiracy theory invented by racist white nationalists and applied to almost any policy or behavior which improves diversity and interracial understanding.

    “I woke up Christmas day to hundreds of emails, including many death threats directed at me and my family,” Ciccariello-Maher told Alternet on Monday.

    Sarah Lazare, a staff writer at Alternet, found more threats on Breitbart, a prominent far-right nationalist news site:

    “The comments section of one article about the tweet, published on the white nationalist outlet Breitbart, includes death threats against Ciccariello-Maher, with one post reading, ‘Shouldn’t somebody kill him? Before he breeds?’ The comments section also includes hateful remarks disparaging LGBTQ people and African Americans.”

    Breitbart’s racist and xenophobic reporting has been subject to increased scrutiny since President-elect Donald Trump named former Breitbart publisher Steve Bannon as his chief strategist in November.

    Many Twitter users also sided with Ciccariello-Maher and a Change.org petition in his defense had more than 8,000 signtures as of Tuesday afternoon.

    Michael Hiltzik, a Pulitzer-prize winning columnist at the Los Angeles Times, suggested that Drexel’s failure to support its professor means the school “flunks the free speech test.”

    “One can’t ‘recognize’ the right of free speech yet assert that this particular exercise of free speech does not ‘in any way reflect the values of the University,’” Hiltzik wrote on Tuesday.

    “Such cases are worrisome harbingers of the future of academic freedom in America.”

    The Ciccariello-Maher incident occurs amid heightened tension over freedom of speech in academic circles, as left-leaning and progressive teachers are increasingly under pressure. Last month, Turning Point USA, an NGO with links to the Republican Party, launched a “Professor Watchlist” website which encourages students to turn in their teachers if they spread liberal and humanitarian political ideas. Ciccariello-Maher is one of the roughly 200 professors included on the list.

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      • Kagey1

        If the Professor’s immediate reaction would have been something like this was meant to be a satirical tweet, sorry it was misunderstood and I do not want anyone killed, the University should have defended him. But when the follow up is “To clarify: when the whites were massacred during the Haitian revolution, that was a good thing indeed” that shows hatred of whites and was properly condemned.

      • SA360

        if a professor tweeted “all i want is black genocide” do you think he still has a job? do you think drexel university would have even entertained the thought of defending his racist statement as “protected speech?” would this pathetic overgrown hippie writer kit ocoonnell be defending “all i want is black genocide” and write an article titled “Drexel university sides with black racists” trying ridiculously defend another blatant liberal double standard? of course not…. that teacher would have been fired and blackballed for making a racist tweet immediately.

        Liberals continue to expose their blatant arrogance and hypocrisy.

      • kartashok

        Kill a commie for mommie.

      • Reason

        Oh, no! This poor, innocent man! Won’t SOMEBODY think of the communists???

      • Sanityisrare

        Maher: A prime example between the difference in education and intelligence…

      • Brian McKeever

        Dude just needs to admit he screwed up, apologize and lay low for awhile. All he’s done is give the racists plenty of ammunition to show that “the left” is no better than they are.

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        • Sanityisrare

          naw…too emasculated…

      • Mark Russo

        Yeah how did this genocide work out for haiti??? Lol ’nuff said

      • John

        So what does the picture in Georgia have to do with the idiot professor at Drexel?

      • Pingback: Professor Flooded With Threats After Drexel University Sides With White Supremacists In Twitter Scandal – Mintpress News (blog) | SFO()

      • Constantin2

        Actually, in his twisted extremist demagoguery, Mr. Cicarello-Maher, believes that those threatening to kill him internalize the “blinding brilliance of the universal” by displacing his personal frail humanity with his “political content”. To see why I am saying this read this paper authored by Mr. Cicarello-Maher: http://www.jffp.org/ojs/index.php/jffp/article/viewFile/641/654
        . He argues there that the systematic extermination of Haiti’s remaining
        white population is but a repudiation of slavery and colonialism and is justified where the humanity of the victim or some inherent birth characteristic such as the color of the skin is “brilliantly” displaced by the “political content” of the victim – in which case genocide is a good thing. The irony of all this is that it hard to be at the receiving end of your own extremist philosophy. My bet is Mr. Cicarello-Maher would prefer now that his humanity would not be ignored by those brilliantly blinded by his extremist political views. That’s a classic story of where you hit and where it cracks. To be clear, I am not supporting a crime being committed against this ideological imbecile. Instead I am calling for public shaming and unmasking his rotten intellectual refuse.

      • silus

        Not agreeing with the tweet doesn’t mean you’re siding with white supremacy. McCarthyism isn’t the way to deal with this issue.

      • TecumsehUnfaced

        I supported Professor Ciccariello-Maher at Philly.com, so the crazies started coming after me.