Last week, Tommy Curry, professor of philosophy at Texas A & M University, began receiving racist hate mail and death threats as a result of an opinion piece by a conservative pundit who framed remarks of his in a misleading way.
Surprisingly, the president of his university, Michael K. Young, had been taken in by this deception and publicly condemned Curry’s remarks. Now, after a week of loud objections from the academic community (including an open letter of support), President Young has issued a new statement about what he previously said:
In the letter, President Young:
- affirms his support for academic freedom
- notes that soundbites and headlines oversimplify issues
- acknowledges that scholars may be misunderstood
- says he did not intend to suggest that Curry’s remarks were not about a movie or to overlook racial oppression
- expresses regret for contributing to the misunderstanding of Curry’s remarks
- reiterates his opposition to racism and racially motivated violence.
It would have been nice if he had just come out and said, “I owe Professor Curry an apology for hastily accepting and then promoting a caricature of his work that led to his receiving racist hate mail and death threats and I will take some time to reflect on why it was I was so easily misled,” but I suspect #5 is as close to that as we’ll see. The Eagle reports: “the spokesperson for the university said Young will not make further comments on the issue.”
Meanwhile, an article published yesterday reports:
Tommy Curry has had a rough eight days. “I have received death threats from white men and white women,” the black Texas A&M University professor said. “Many of these have called me a Nigger, a feral beast, a savage and a boy,” he added. “They have threatened to shoot me and my family. Some white women have claimed I am a rapist and would be lynched for [my] crime.”