Ted Thornhill, an assistant professor of sociology at Florida Gulf Coast University, knew he would stir up a pile of mess when he decided to teach a class on “white racism.” In this emotionally charged climate, how would it not upset people? After all, it sure sounds like a class that will do nothing to mitigate the current racial tensions, only make them worse.
Sure enough, there was outrage at the idea. “The number of emails I got pales in comparison to the thousands and thousands of comments and post on all manner of social media and traditional media outlet websites that said things that were unspeakable,” he told the local newspaper.
However, surprisingly, he admitted there have been no threats made.
Normally, most leftists — and anyone who is teaching a class on “white racism” is definitely a leftist — would claim death threats as a matter of course. This is simply the normal progression. You say something controversial then claim you got death threats over it, all so you can paint the other side as evil.
Thornhill, to his credit, didn’t do that. He did claim some pretty vile things were said, however. “Cancer (Stage 4) is what you and your family deserve for spreading hate, lies & intolerance,” was one he mentioned to the paper. I have no problem believing someone actually sent that to him, nor do I have any problem believing he received a lot of communications that included racial slurs.
Yet, despite the lack of threats, the class will still feature armed guards.
“We have prepared for any possible distractions related to Tuesday’s first class of the White Racism course, but we are expecting normal campus civility as our students engage in this and other courses at the spring semester’s start,” Susan Evans, FGCU’s spokeswoman and chief of staff, argued.
But I can’t help but wonder if it’s something else. After all, the presence of armed guards in a normally peaceful environment conveys a message. It tells people, “threat.” It puts people on the alert.
Follow that with the content of Thornhill’s class, and it’s not difficult to see how the two messages may well merge.
To be fair, Thornhill apparently isn’t one of those who believes all whites are racist. “Clearly, not all white people are racists; some are even anti-racist,” he said previously. Even so, he has said he believes the line that all white people have benefited from racism. How that will impact his lessons is a mystery at this point, but at least he isn’t calling every white person a racist. It’s a step, I suppose.
The fact remains that Thornhill’s class, one with no threats offered against it, will have armed guards present. Whether it’s to help press forward a message or just simple grandstanding is impossible to tell, but what I do know is that there is no reason for it without a specific threat … kind of like how the supposedly anti-racist side loves to lay everything at the feet of a single race.