Trinity College professor Johnny Eric Williams is capturing headlines once again for proposing “whiteness is terrorism” on Twitter.
The Hartford, Connecticut, sociology professor who called white people “inhuman a-holes” who need to “die” following a shooting attack on congressional Republicans now says “whiteness is terrorism.”
School officials, as they did for years, are standing by the professor.
“Trinity College supports academic freedom and free expression and inquiry, which are hallmarks of academia and democratic society,” Trinity College President Joanne Berger-Sweeney told the educational watchdog Campus Reform on Monday. “When speech proves controversial, our responsibility as educators is to promote more debate and discussion, not less. Twitter is a challenging place for a thoughtful discourse, which is clear from this example.”
Mr. Williams, who is black, switched his account settings to private after the April 21 tweets.
“All self-identified white people (no exceptions) are invested in and collude with systemic white racism/white supremacy,” he also tweeted, the Hartford Courant reported April 24.
“Yes, we know about the tweets by Professor Williams, which were made in the context of his academic scholarship on issues of race,” A Trinity spokeswoman told the newspaper. “A discussion of the tweets followed on a closed Facebook group of some Trinity alumni. In that thread, an alumnus reports having reached out to ask Professor Williams about the tweets. Professor Williams then shared a broader scholarly context for the statements, as well as some relevant publications on the concept of whiteness. The context provided by Professor Williams speaks for itself.”
Trinity officials acknowledged in August 2017 that Mr. Williams’ rhetoric after Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise was shot cost the college at least $200,000 in donations and 16 incoming students.
“This stuff is not for the faint-hearted,” Mr. Williams told the Courant.