The Targeting of Philosopher Tommy J. Curry


Mr. Dreher’s post sent [Professor Curry’s] words racing across a network that was primed for racial outrage—like New York City’s black-radio scene circa 2001, but much more powerful. The internet’s right-wing news belt had expanded under President Obama. Websites like Infowars and Breitbart, once on the fringe, had found a champion in President Trump, who seemed passionate about defending white America’s borders and voting rolls from usurpers like Muslim refugees, undocumented Latinos, and poor blacks.

One of the first online hubs to notice Mr. Dreher’s article about Mr. Curry was r/The_Donald, a Reddit forum devoted to the lionization of President Trump. “‘When Is It OK To Kill Whites?’” somebody wrote there, posting a link to The American Conservative. “THE HELL?!?! This guy teaches at Texas A&M!! Liberalism at Universities as gotten completely out of hand!!”Infowars was next. On May 10, Paul Joseph Watson, a commentator writing for the site, posted his own take on Mr. Dreher’s discovery. “Presumably,” he wrote, “the university thinks that advocating for the death of an entire group of people based on their skin color is something that correlates with their values.”

Mr. Watson’s article opened a line to another audience: neo-Nazis. That evening somebody posted a link on Stormfront, a forum for white racists. Some of the people who responded seemed to welcome the thought of a race war. They liked their chances.

Cristina Laila, a writer for The Gateway Pundit, a blog devoted to exposing “the wickedness of the left,” also saw Mr. Dreher’s post about Mr. Curry. “This is more proof that rasicsm [sic] is ok,” she wrote, “as long as the attacks are against whites.”

That’s an excerpt from an article at The Chronicle of Higher Education that tells the story of how Tommy J. Curry, a professor of philosophy at Texas A&M, recently found himself on the receiving end of death threats for remarks he made years earlier concerning race and violence.

The article also tells the story of how the story got around, tracing it though several right-wing publications and groups, as well as other sites, and is accompanied by a an interactive timeline showing the travel of the story over the internet:

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