- The Washington Times - Monday, May 18, 2015

Duke University has condemned professor Jerry Hough following student backlash for “noxious” and “offensive” comments he posted online about blacks and Asians.

In the comments section of a New York Times editorial about racism and the Baltimore riots, Mr. Hough argued that blacks make little effort to integrate in society and that Asians “worked doubly hard” to overcome racism instead of blame it for their plight.

“Every Asian student has a very simple old American first name that symbolizes their desire for integration,” he wrote on May 10, a local ABC affiliate reported. “Virtually every black has a strange new name that symbolizes their lack of desire for integration.”

“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,” Mr. Hough continued. “So where are the editorials that say racism doomed the Asian-Americans. They didn’t feel sorry for themselves, but worked doubly hard.”

Duke students and faculty immediately responded to Mr. Hough’s sentiments after local media outlets reported them Friday. Mr. Hough, a political science professor at the private institution in Durham, North Carolina, told The News & Observer of Raleigh that he was already placed on leave before the controversy started and plans to wrap up his teaching career in 2016 after 40 years at Duke.

“The comments were noxious, offensive, and have no place in civil discourse,” said Duke Vice President for Public Affairs and Government Affairs Michael Schoenfeld. “Duke University has a deeply held commitment to inclusiveness grounded in respect for all, and we encourage our community to speak out when they feel that those ideals are challenged or undermined, as they were in this case.”

In response, Mr. Hough blasted political correctness and argued that society owes it to the black community to speak in frank terms.

“I am strongly against the obsession with ‘sensitivity.’ The more we have emphasized sensitivity in recent years, the worse race relations have become. I think that is not an accident,” he told the ABC affiliate in an email. “I know that the 60 years since the Montgomery bus boycott is a long time, and things must be changed. The Japanese and other Asians did not obsess with the concentration camps and the fact they were linked with blacks as ‘colored.’ They pushed ahead and achieved. Coach K did not obsess with all the Polish jokes about Polish stupidity. He pushed ahead and achieved. And by his achievement and visibility, he has played a huge role in destroying stereotypes about Poles. Many blacks have done that too, but no one says they have done as well on the average as the Asians.”

“In my opinion, the time has come to stop talking incessantly about race relations in general terms as the president and activists have advocated, but talk about how the Asians and Poles got ahead — and to copy their approach. I don’t see why that is insensitive or racist,” he said.

Citing privacy, the university would not comment on the professor’s future at the school, the station reported.

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