A history and politics professor at Drexel University received “hundreds” of death threats and was publicly reprimanded by the school’s administration after he tweeted satirically about “White Genocide” on Christmas Eve.
George Ciccariello-Maher, an assistant professor at the Philadelphia school, tweeted on Saturday:
In a follow-up tweet on Christmas, he said, “To clarify: when the whites were massacred during the Haitian Revolution, that was a good thing indeed.” Ciccariello’s Twitter account is now private, and the original tweet was apparently deleted.
As Slate notes, “white genocide” used to refer to genocides carried out by white people—but the most racist, Nazi-ish, and xenophobic corners of the so-called “alt-right” now use the term to refer to the multiculturalism they fear will bring about the end of white people.
The tweets was quickly picked up by conservative news sites, who took Ciccariello at his word, with the Daily Caller noting that the professor has a long history of being racist “towards white people on Twitter.”
By the end of the day, Drexel had put out a statement condemning Ciccariello’s tweets.
“While the University recognizes the right of its faculty to freely express their thoughts and opinions in public debate, Professor Ciccariello-Maher’s comments are utterly reprehensible, deeply disturbing, and do not in any way reflect the values of the University,” the statement said.
But Ciccariello used the firestorm over his tweets as a teachable moment, reminding us in interviews that so-called “white genocide” doesn’t exist.
“On Christmas Eve, I sent a satirical tweet about an imaginary concept, ‘white genocide,'” he said in an email to Philly.com. “For those who haven’t bothered to do their research, ‘white genocide’ is an idea invented by white supremacists and used to denounce everything from interracial relationships to multicultural policies.”
“It is a figment of the racist imagination, it should be mocked, and I’m glad to have mocked it,” Ciccariello also said.
He also told the site he’s received “hundreds” of death threats, despite locking down his Twitter account.
Ciccariello was also less-than-pleased about his employer’s’ remarks about the dust-up, calling its implications “worrying” and that it reinforces the idea that a barrage of social media trolling can influence university policy.
“What is most unfortunate is that this statement amounts to caving to the truly reprehensible movements and organizations that I was critiquing,” he said.