- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 2, 2015

An assistant humanities professor at Shimer College has sparked social media ire after writing on Twitter and in his blog that all white Americans are complicit in slavery.

“Whether or not your individual ancestors owned slaves, you as a white person have benefitted from slavery and are complicit in it. Sorry,” Adam Kotsko, who describes himself on Twitter as “an obscure white professor,” wrote to his more than 8,000 followers on June 25, according to screenshots captured by The Social Memo.

“I know it sucks having a racial identity that exists to legitimate the subordination and exploitation of other races. #whiteness,” he added.

The tweets were eventually deleted, but in a tweet directed at The Daily Caller, Mr. Kotsko clarified that he still stands by his statements.

“I deleted the tweet in question in this article solely b/c I was sick of retweets in my mentions. I stand behind it,” he said.

In a blog post, titled “What does it mean to be complicit with social injustice?,” Mr. Kotsko further explained his position.

“[A] more social concept of justice recognizes that individual choices are not the only relevant factors,” he wrote Wednesday. “People of ‘white’ races may have been enslaved in the past, but the fact that they are now recognized as ‘white’ means that the disadvantage that might have accrued from that history is no longer very relevant. The consequences of the enslavement of Africans in America, by contrast, are ongoing and massively relevant.”

“Every white person benefits to some degree from the differential treatment of blacks. Sometimes, as in cases of extreme poverty or social marginalization, that benefit is negligible. In most cases, however, it is significant, constituting advantages in wealth, education, social status, and vulnerability to police violence,” he argued.

“Systems can be changed through collective action, and complicity with social injustice creates an obligation to join into that collective action in some way,” Mr. Kotsko continued. “It means that black problems, for instance, are not only black problems — they are white problems, too. Blacks should take the lead in defining what it would mean to solve them, but whites also have a moral responsibility to help them reach their goal.”

According toMr. Kotsko, Shimer College is standing by him “completely.”

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