Duke University professor Jerry Hough is receiving backlash after he posted a response to a New York Times editorial on the Times website. In his response he expressed disdain for what he said was a message being given to black Americans to feel sorry for themselves with regard to racism, WTVD reports.
“The blacks get awful editorials like this that tell them to feel sorry for themselves,” Hough, a political science professor, wrote. He also described Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake as “utterly incompetent” for her handling of the recent unrest in Baltimore, during which hundreds of people protested against Freddie Gray’s fatal detainment by police.
Professor Hough also seemed to suggest that the Asian-American community’s response to racism and discrimination has been better than that of black Americans.
“In 1965, the Asians were discriminated against as least as badly as blacks. […] So where are the editorials that say racism doomed the Asian Americans. They didn’t feel sorry for themselves, but worked doubly hard,” Hough said.
Then Hough wrote about how Asian Americans were more willing to integrate into American culture— because they gave their kids “American” names—while saying black Americans gave their kids “strange” names.
“Every Asian student has a very simple old American first name that symbolizes their desire for integration. Virtually every black has a strange new name that symbolizes their lack of desire for integration,” he wrote.
Hough also weighed in on how each group deals with interracial dating, which, according to Hough, sheds more light on how black Americans don’t want to integrate with white Americans.
“The amount of Asian-white dating is enormous and so surely will be the intermarriage. Black-white dating is almost nonexistent because of the ostracism by blacks of anyone who dates a white.”
Duke University issued a statement slamming the professor’s comments.
“The comments were noxious, offensive, and have no place in civil discourse," said Michael Schoenfeld, the school’s vice president for public affairs and government affairs. “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.”
Hough has since responded to the backlash, saying that Martin Luther King Jr. was his hero and that he’s a proponent of affirmative action, and arguing that those people encouraging him to be more sensitive about these issues are wrong, since “sensitivity” never moved the ball on race relations.
“I am strongly against the obsession with ‘sensitivity.’ The more we have emphasized sensitivity in recent years, the worse race relations have become,” Hough wrote to WTVD. “I think that is not an accident.”
Read more at WTVD.