By Gio DiFazio
Say what you want about the political climate in this country over the lasts 20 years, Barbara Bush had an impact on millions of young lives. Unfortunately, for millenials, it took her death to fully appreciate what she actually had done. Associated in my mind only with the Children’s Hospital, her recent appreciation has opened my eyes to her heroic deeds.
On Wednesday, Randa Jarrar, a creative-writing professor at California State University Fresno, tweeted the following: “Barbara Bush was a generous and smart and amazing racist who, along with her husband, raised a war criminal. F*** outta here with your nice words.”
Being contrarian to the entire country is one thing, but saying such hateful things is another — putting down a recently deceased woman who has done incredible things to increase the literacy rate in the U.S. As an academic, your hateful remarks are not only ironic, but not even believable. As a liberal academic, it’s understandable that the Bush family is receiving of the criticism that you throw at it. But to have the myopia to be unable to see past that meaningless factor and appreciate everything Mrs. Bush did for child literacy is hilarious.
The real trouble is that Jarrar is trying to hide behind the First Amendment, as well as a make believe immunity she believes she is entitled to, all because she is within a tenured role at the college. Free speech protects us from government censorship. It doesn’t protect us from being fired from our jobs because we decide to be an asshole.
Ultimately, doesn’t it come down to the fact that Jarrar is a professor of undergraduate students? Should someone who has such an influence over undergraduate students be able to resume her career in education? Do such radical thoughts have a spot in the classroom, with teenage students?
Fresno State has already issued a statement regarding the statements, which we hope were made under the influence of every drug known to man. What kind of message is sent if swift action is not taken? At the time of writing, her termination has not been confirmed.
From personal experience, every single teacher that has spewed their political vile onto a classroom has been liberal. I have had numerous instructors complain about the state of conservative government to the class, but never once have I had a right-leaning instructor do the same. Educators have a responsibility to introduce both sides of political discourse. When my seventh grade teacher tells me that George Bush is a “whiner and a moron,” and then laughs when I tell her that my father is a supporter of the party, she oversteps the line between educator and propagandist.
Jarrar has no place or purpose within the realm of undergraduate education. Please fire her.