Over the last week there have been some racially charged statements from a couple of black Professors that have stirred people up. Professor Jerry Hough, Political Science, has taught at Duke University for 40 years and says he is set to stop teaching in 2016. His unconventional approach to ideas is not a new phenomenon. A 1988 book review in The Washington Post described Hough’s arguments as “forcefully put, backed by intriguing details and the kind of arch contempt for conventional wisdom that has made Hough an enfant terrible in his field.” In this case, he stirred the pot with what some perceive as controversial statements regarding the black community’s lack of desire to integrate into “American Culture.”
In response to a May 9 editorial in the New York Times titled “How Racism Doomed Baltimore,” Hough posted a six-paragraph comment that compared “the blacks” to “the Asians” and blamed black communities for refusing to integrate.
In 1965 the Asians were discriminated against as least as badly as blacks. That was reflected in the word “colored.” The racism against what even Eleanor Roosevelt called the yellow races was at least as bad.
So where are the editorials that say racism doomed the Asian-Americans. They didn’t feel sorry for themselves, but worked doubly hard.
He went on to illustrate his point by comparing how Asians and Blacks name their children and interracial dating habits,
“I am a professor at Duke University. 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. The amount of Asian-white dating is enormous and so surely will be the intermarriage. Black-white dating is almost non-existemt because of the ostracism by blacks of anyone who dates a white.”
While many view Professor Hough’s comments and Boston University Assistant Professor Saida Grundy’s comments as racist “free speech,” it could be argued that Grundy’s comments support Hough’s black anti-integration argument. In a recent letter posted by Millennial Activists United, part of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, they seem to support a segregated autonomous black community as well. In a letter demanding payment for their work as protesters in Ferguson Missouri, they wrote:
“We NEED to be thinking about justice for black people. This means white people must renounce their loyalty to the social normalcy that maintains white power and control. If black lives really matter, justice and self-determination for black people would mean the black community would control its own political and economic resources.”
Professor Hough has not backed down from his comments, in an email sent to several media outlets he wrote, ” I am strongly against the obsession with ‘sensitivity,’ the more we have emphasized sensitivity in recent years, the worse race relations have become.” Hough holds three degrees from Harvard and has penned numerous opinion pieces for national publications, he told one news outlet, “I am 80 and figure I can speak the truth as I see it. Ignorant I am not.” He also pointed out that, “The issue is whether my comments were largely accurate. In writing me, no one has said I was wrong, just racist.”
What do you think? Are his statements racist and inflammatory or is he, as he claims, stating an uncomfortable truth that goes against the typical race relations narrative? Let us know in the comments.