Zandria Robinson, the former University of Memphis assistant professor who faced a wave of online backlash after tweeting that whiteness is “terror,” has taken a faculty position at Rhodes College.
The private liberal arts college in Memphis released a statement on Wednesday, saying the hiring shows Rhodes is “a place where intellectual engagement and the exchange of ideas are among our highest priorities,” a local CBS affiliate reported.
“As a leading scholar and author in the areas of race, class, gender, culture, and the South, Dr. Zandria Robinson’s comments are sometimes provocative, controversial, and debatable,” the statement said.
“Dr. Robinson was hired for a faculty position in the Rhodes Anthropology & Sociology Department that calls for expertise in particular areas, specifically gender studies and social movements,” it continued. “Her expertise in these areas, her extensive understanding of the complex problems of race in American society, her deep roots in the Memphis area, and many years of successful teaching experience, made her an attractive candidate for the position.”
Ms. Robinson, who is black, made headlines after she posted on her now-protected Twitter account, “Whiteness is most certainly and inevitably terror,” among dozens of other racially charged messages. Campus Reform reports that in a March 5 post, Ms. Robinson blamed her premenstrual dysphoric disorder on “trauma from whiteness.”
The University of Memphis sent out a tweet Tuesday that simply stated the assistant sociology professor no longer worked at the school.
At least one of Ms. Robinson’s new colleagues at Rhodes believes Ms. Robinson is the victim of racial attacks.
Dr. Charles McKinney, the Chair of Africana studies at Rhodes College, denounced the media coverage as “hard-right, anti-academic and uncritical … racist attacks,” The Commercial Appeal reported.
Mr. McKinney went on to praise Ms. Robinson as the “future of African-American studies, of Southern studies,” Campus Reform reported.