The left is supposed to be the tolerant party, right? Aren’t professors supposed to teach students to keep an open mind?
That didn’t happen a couple of weeks ago when Clemson University professor Bart Knijnenburg called all Republicans racists who deserved violence. The Assistant Professor of Human-Centered Computing spread his hatred and scorn on social media.
Here’s what he wrote: “All Trump supporters, nay, all Republicans, are racist scum.” Naturally, because it was on social media, his comments sparked a furious debate. When people posted comments disagreeing with Knijnenburg, he went further: “All Republicans, yes, your complacency made this happen. Pick a side: denounce your affiliation, or admit that you’re a racist.”
Republican Party officials, as well as millions of voters in South Carolina, are naturally deeply offended by the professor’s over-the-top comments. Party officials sent a strong letter to Clemson President James Clements, urging him to immediately fire Knijnenburg: “We denounce this sort of hate-filled rhetoric directed at Republicans. As you are well aware, the South Carolina Republican Party helped elect our state’s first-ever female, Indian-American Governor and our friend Nikki Haley. U.S. Senator Tim Scott, one of the conservative champions of the United States Senate, is the first African American U.S. Senator from South Carolina and he is a member of the Republican Party. Our Party is diverse, young, and growing, and it is not exclusive to any one race, ethnicity, or gender.”
Clemson University issued a carefully worded response to the outcry, but the school administrators have not asked Professor Knijnenburg to apologize for his hateful comments.
This episode begs the question, “What if the tables were turned?” What if Knijnenburg was a Republican and had spewed his hatred toward the Democratic Party? The answer is that he most certainly would have been lambasted, handled by campus security and fired from his job.
When will we return to treating each other with dignity and respect? When will Republican Vice Presidents like Mike Pence be respected for holding that revered office, and not have students walk out on him during a commencement ceremony? When will people be open-minded and let speakers like Ann Coulter at least speak, regardless of whether people agree with a single thing she says? We won’t let Coulter on a college campus, but we let Antifa come to the same campus, spewing their hate and violence, and punching people in the face? They’re thugs. Coulter is outspoken, but she’s no thug.
The hateful rhetoric about race must stop if we are ever going to heal as a nation. Yes, we have freedom of speech, but when that speech does nothing but stir hatred, there are some limits. Academic leaders cannot use their positions at public universities to fan those flames.
All Republicans are not white supremacists and alt-right fanatics like those in Charlottesville. To think that they are is absolutely absurd.