As you may have read elsewhere, a Rutgers University tenured professor named Brittney Cooper expressed her well-considered judgment on what is needed to heal this country when, describing white people as “villains,” she added that “we gotta take these motherf***ers out.”
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It’s not the first time the good professor has publicly denigrated white folks. When Arizona Governor Jan Brewer met Barack Obama in 2012 at a Phoenix airport with a wagging finger in his face, Cooper said the Governor epitomized “white rage” against blacks.
According to The Daily Mail, in an interview on MSNBC, she also claimed that American conservatives (read white folks) want to kill more African Americans, which explains why they want to open more businesses and social settings during the Covid pandemic.
She also tweeted concerning Covid in April 2020 under the name ProfessorCrunk that “not only do white conservatives not care about Black life, but my most cynical negative read of the white supremacists among them is that they welcome this massive winnowing of Black folks in order to slow demographic shifts and shore up political power.”
Clearly, one would expect Rutgers University to respond aggressively to end Cooper’s clear call for racialized bigotry. Ever vigilant in its fight against the forces of racism in its midst, just take a look at how the university has responded to other whiffs of bigotry.
1. The university quickly responded to calls to remove the name of Joseph P. Bradley from Bradley Hall. He didn’t simply donate a lot of money to get his name plastered somewhere on campus. In point of fact, he is a distinguished guy. A Rutgers alumnus and Supreme Court Justice, he also served as a Trustee of the university for 34 years. So why the removal? Because he showed, it is claimed, a clear inclination toward racial animus back in the 19th century.
According to the university, “at a time when the forces favoring and opposing Reconstruction were closely balanced following the Civil War, Bradley instead chose to use his position to tip that balance toward undoing Reconstruction, regressing on civil rights, and opening a new era of oppression and terror.”
Don’t bother mentioning the incredible pressures in the country at the time over the whole issue of Reconstruction. Brett Baier’s recent book, To Rescue the Republic: Ulysses S. Grant, the Fragile Union, and the Crisis of 1876, give more perspective on the troubling issue that dominated the post-Civil War period.
For what it’s worth, Grant advocated for an end to Reconstruction as part of a political compromise in the election of Rutherford B. Hayes, despite his strong advocacy for Reconstruction efforts earlier in his Presidency. He did this in order to save the Union and prevent another bloody separation of North and South. Grant, and perhaps Bradley, were on the side of the angels.
Regardless, Bradley must be banished from Rutgers.
2. A statue of American poet Walt Whitman is to be removed from Rutgers’s Camden campus because he, despite being long dead, has run afoul the safe-space keepers on campus.
One would think his being homosexual would protect him from the scolds, but in these intersectional times one’s “gayness” apparently cannot protect one from charges of racism. According to a student petition – when such petitions were all the rage in 2020 – “the statue of Walt Whitman glorifies a man who we should not hold such a place of honor on our campus (sic). … He instead stood for white supremacy and racism against Black and Indigenous Americans.”
So, Walt Whitman is no more. Rutgers will need a new poet and set of elegies to show the deep feeling of loss the country experienced in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, the Great Emancipator. “Oh Captain, My Captain” and “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d” will now, I guess, have to be tossed down the historical memory hole.
At Rutgers, punishment for one’s sins is swift.
3. Lisa Daftari is a journalist born of Iranian immigrant parents. She is also an aggressive critic of radical Islam. She was invited to make a presentation at Rutgers, until she wasn’t.
Another student petition, this time through Change.org, charges Daftari with “equating Muslims everywhere with ISIS.” “Sign this petition,” it says, “to tell Rutgers that we will not have our hard-earned tuition dollars be spent for bringing this bigot to speak at Rutgers.”
So quick is Rutgers when responding to injustice and racial animus that it disinvited her, apparently without bothering to investigate the claims in the petition. For her part, Daftari said the petition was made up of “baseless allegations and falsified quotes.”
After some blowback from the media, the university decided to go into Public Relations mode and contacted her to say the talk was merely “postponed” and asking that a new date be set.
Daftari wanted nothing to do with it. She responded: “The real question is, why did the university ‘postpone’ the event giving off the impression that they submitted to a slanderous petition if there was any genuine intention to reschedule the talk?”
A good question. Rooting out bigotry can be a tricky business, Rutgers is finding.
4. A Rutgers student, Aviv Khavich, was fired in late 2016 from his perch as a student Op-Ed writer for The Daily Targum, the student newspaper because he insisted on using the term “illegal aliens” for those aliens in the country illegally. Note, Khavich is, himself, an immigrant. His family legally emigrated from Belarus when the Soviet Union collapsed.
Now, Khavich is a bit of a provocateur. The student group he heads hosted Milo Yiannapoulos, a bit of a rhetorical bomb-thrower himself, for an early 2016 visit to campus to initiate his national campus tour of universities.
The official reason for Khavich’s firing is that he refused to take editorial direction, using, for example, “illegal aliens” rather than “undocumented immigrants.” The editor insists the change was for “stylistic” purposes.
To this former journalist, a 13-letter description that concisely describes a group of people stylistically beats a 21-letter more vague and abstract description every time.
But that’s just me. Surely the student editor knows best. Right?
It would seem the general topics of Khavich’s columns were the real problem for the powers-that-be at the paper. He would write very critical columns that “disparaged socialism, questioned the Black Lives Matter movement and praised Donald Trump as the presidential candidate of ‘peace’ and called Hillary Clinton a ‘warmonger’.”
In other words, he writes the sort of columns folks around The Blue State Conservative might write.
But in the name of all that is pure we cannot have that around here, Rutgers declaims.
So clearly, Rutgers has no tolerance for bigotry, or at least perceived bigotry. Each of these four cited cases are debatable. Regardless, Rutgers comes down hard against the former alumnus, the poet, the journalist, and the student who challenges the dominant narrative. Surely, the university will come down hard on Professor Cooper. Right?
The university’s official response to Cooper’s desire to take these white “motherf***ers out” can be found here.
And then there is this. Another Rutgers University professor is Palestinian apologist Jasbir Puar. I doubt if you’ve ever heard of her. She has a fervent following among the academic left and is a star in those circles as a Queer Theorist who publishes articles with titles like “Mapping U.S. Homonarrativities” and “Queer Times, Queer Assemblages.”
A recent book of hers is titled Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times. It is her most recent book, however, that has raised the hackles of many: The Right to Maim: Debility, Capacity, Disability.
In her book, published in 2017 by the progressive Duke University Press, she makes the claim – without evidence and completely unsubstantiated – that the Israeli Defense Forces (the IDF) deliberately and with malign intent shoot young Palestinians not to kill, but to maim, in order to put fear into the Palestinian populace and destroy resistance to Israel’s “settler colonial rule.”
To be clear, the IDF does have a policy to shoot to disable rather than kill. Leave it to a Palestinian apologist like Puar to take a humanitarian gesture to save lives and re-make it into a horrible act of bestial brutality.
Even more absurd, she argues Israelis kidnap Palestinians and harvest their organs for research. In Campus Watch, she is described as making a presentation at Vassar College in which audience members were told not to record what she was about to say. Hmmm, I wonder why.
A Jewish group that recorded anyway in order to rebut her provocations later, show her “using numerous ambiguous phrases, including ‘purportedly’ and ‘some speculate that,’ [in order to claim] that Israel refused to return the bodies of 17 terrorists because it wanted to harvest their organs for scientific research.”
This is simply a modernized version of the Blood Libel charge from Medieval times. Haters of Jews claimed that Jews would kidnap a young Christian child and drain its blood in order to fulfill Passover ritual needs for matzoh. These kinds of charges led to pogroms that resulted in violent attacks on, and murders of, Jews.
The Blood Libel charge, for the most part ignored now in the West, is still a part of Arab discourse about Jews in mosques throughout the Middle East. To put it plain and simple, the “Blood Libel is the purest expression of Jew-hatred there is.”
Yet Rutgers has said absolutely nothing about Puar’s unsupported expressions of Jew-hatred. Any more than it has about Cooper’s seeming hatred of white people. Why is that? Do they have anything in common that might explain it?
Puar is faculty in the Women’s and Gender Studies department, wouldn’t you know. Cooper one-ups her as a professor of Women, Gender and Africana Studies. In other words, they are professors in disciplines that don’t even exist at real universities.
These “disciplines” exist as the academic bastard-child born through concessions to grievance group pressure and academic cowardice at universities in an earlier time.
“Scholarship” in these disciplines appeals to a very narrow niche and is hardly ever read. Which I suppose is a good thing.
One Internet-driven theory about Cooper is that she suffers from an ugliness of soul that manifests itself in word and deed, and in other ways. The Daily Mail story referenced earlier has a picture of her with her stretch purple pants and purple print jacket held together by the Grace of God and industrial-strength buttons. It is not a pretty sight. Plus, Brittney Cooper has got to be the whitest name on earth, and that has to leave her angry.
Oh, that reminds me, both Puar and Cooper are People of Color (POC), as they like to say these days. There is that, too.
Does any of this explain Rutgers remaining silent on the sheer hatred expressed by Cooper and Puar towards whites and Jews, while punishing those folks who have invaded grievance group safe spaces by being a distinguished alumnus to the university, writing extraordinary poetry while nativist, talking knowledgeably about radical Islam, and writing controversial newspaper columns?
Somehow, it seems all out of balance.
By Ron Nutter
Ron Nutter is a regular contributor to The Blue State Conservative, and retired college professor of Philosophy and Religion living in a cabin on a mountain in Western North Carolina with his retired physician wife, and he still reads voraciously.
Photo from NJ101.5.com