An uproar is taking place at the University of Central Florida because a professor had the audacity to disagree with the prevailing, politically correct narrative on racism.
Psychology Professor Charles Negy, author of “White Shaming: Bullying Based on Prejudice, Virtue-Signaling, and Ignorance,” has been active on Twitter since the death of George Floyd and the resulting protests. A sampling of his tweets is as follows:
I completely agree with these tweets, particularly the point that affirmative action, special scholarships, and being shielded from legitimate criticism are privileges. I 100% support the idea that everyone should be treated equally, no matter their skin color. In recent years, however, the overall trend in society has been to treat white people worse than other races. This has manifested itself in various ways, from the constant use of the term “white privilege,” to the contention that any criticism of a person who happens not to be white is racist, to affirmative action, to awards and scholarships set aside for people of other races. Kudos to Negy for pointing out this unpopular and often unrecognized truth.
Yet as a result of these perfectly reasonable tweets, people are now tweeting with the hashtag “UCFfirehim” and circulating a change.org petition (which has over 16,000 signatures) to fire Negy for his “abhorrent racist comments.” The university released a statement saying that Negy’s tweets are “completely counter to UCF’s values.”
UCF president Alexander Cartwright went further, saying “At a time when so many of our community members are hurting, we are disgusted by the racist posts one of our faculty members has shared on his personal Twitter account. At all times, we uphold the principles of academic freedom, but we have a responsibility to denounce intolerance. Racism is an undeniable reality across our society, and people of color frequently experience overt and covert racism. That is why Negy’s words are not only wrong, but particularly painful.”
I disagree vehemently with this statement. Negy’s posts are neither racist, nor wrong, nor painful. How could someone be “disgusted” by tweets that are reasonable and correct? And actually it is deniable that racism is a reality across our society. It can be argued, as Negy has done in his book and tweets, that white people experience overt and covert racism just as often as non-white people, if not more. Furthermore, with regard to the comment that many community members are hurting, why is it that only the hurt of those offended by Negy’s comments seems to matter to Cartwright? Various people have been hurting for all different reasons since the beginning of time; some for legitimate reasons and some not. Why is the unjustified hurt felt by those who are offended by Negy’s comments valued more than the justified hurt that Negy must feel because of the petition and tweets calling for his firing, or the justified hurt that I and those who agree with Negy feel because of Cartwright’s comments?
It is Cartwright’s comments that are truly disgusting, intolerant, wrong, and painful. Cartwright, in my opinion, deserves to be fired. It is the people calling for Negy’s firing who are truly bigoted. To fire a professor for having and expressing unpopular views would truly be discriminatory. For having the courage to speak unpopular truths, Negy deserves to get a raise or a promotion.