Professor Fired For Racist Remark -- Then Rehired

When two black students arrived late to Mark Wattier's class at Kentucky's Murray State University, the professor compared them to slaves. "Well, it's OK, I expect it of you guys anyway," he said, according to one of the students. Asked what he meant, he reportedly replied: "It is part of your heritage. The slaves never showed up on time to their owners and were lashed for it. I just don't have the right to do that."

One of the students made a formal complaint, Wattier was suspended without pay and, thinking his 30-year tenure at MSU was over, he filed for what he called an "early" and "forced" retirement in March.

But on Friday MSU rehired Wattier as a part-time faculty member, reported the Murray State News.

This pattern isn't unusual.

The sportscaster Sid Rosenberg was fired from Don Imus' show on WFAN-AM in 2001, after he called tennis hotshot Venus Williams an "animal" and said that she and sister Serena would have better luck posing nude for National Geographic than Playboy.

Imus called Rosenberg "a moron" and "a degenerate" during the show and fired him immediately. But after Rosenburg made a tearful on-air apology, Imus rehired him because he "wasn't expressing any deeply-held racist views about black people being an inferior species."

Philippe Virgitti didn't know who John Galliano was, when the creative director of Christian Dior hurled drunken anti-Semitic abuse at him and a friend in a Paris bar in March. Dior swiftly dismissed Galliano from his eponymous label, and Galliano spent the following months going between rehab in Arizona and Switzerland, and a courtroom in France (a country where anti-Semitic insults are illegal).

Galliano's sentence is pending, and the House of Dior hasn't budged in its position. But public sentiment has slowly turned in his favor. Kate Moss commissioned Galliano to design her wedding dress over the summer, and when Moss' father thanked Galliano at the party, every guest rose in a standing ovation, according to Vogue.

Virgitti himself came to the designer's defense. "I am convinced that his words overtook his mind. I do not believe he is racist or anti-Semitic," he is quoted as saying in the AFP. "John Galliano doesn't deserve this. I don't want him destroyed like that.

After talk radio host Laura Schlessinger berated a black female caller with the N-word 11 times last year, she decided to end her 30-year radio career. "My contract is up for my radio show at the end of the year," the socially conservative therapist told Larry King, "and I've made the decision not to do radio anymore."

Except she didn't make that decision. In January, Sirius XM Radio welcomed Schlessinger to the fold with a multiyear deal.

These patterns of firings, retirings and rehirings expose the often conflicted attitude of Americans to incidents of racism. In cases of racial violence or discrimination, the law, as well as mainstream public sentiment, is pretty unambiguous in its opposition.

For example, a Catholic school principal, Frank Borzellieri, was fired from his Bronx post earlier this month, after a Daily News' profile exposed his writings and views to be linked to white supremacist groups.

Few have come to his defense.

But when racist expressions take glibber forms, from the mouths of individuals otherwise respected, reaction can be mixed.

Philip Roth broached this subject in his 2000 novel "The Human Stain," in which a classics professor, referring to two students who had never come to class, asks his seminar: "Do they exist or are they spooks?"

Professor Zuckerman didn't know that the two students were black, but the meaning of "spooks" in a racial context embroils him in a controversy that ultimately forces his resignation.

Roth's study of the contradictions and cowardice of 1990s political correctness is still relevant today.

When Wattier made the racist remark, the public condemned it, and Murray State University responded in stark terms. But since Wattier wasn't seen as guilty of "deeply-held racist views," in the words of Imus, the university ultimately decided that his career didn't deserve total ruin.

"If we didn't feel that he could do a credible job in teaching these courses, we wouldn't have brought him back on a retirement contract for the next year," President Randy Dunn told The Murray State News.

Enrollment deadlines are a week away at Murray State, but Wattier's American National Government class already has almost filled its 40-student capacity.

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Woody Kelly

Many so-called, "African American Leaders" insist that Slavery is in their Heritage. In fact, some were dissing President Obama in 2008 because "slave blood" was not in him. So... if Black leaders can tout and value the heritage of slaves, why is it improper for a white man to refer to Slave Heritage and joke (dryly I am sure) or contrast in the next line about social standing during the days of slavery juxtaposed against the modern era?

The answer is, a double standard, it is so much like the "N" word double standard of of the day. Black gangsta rappers can use it several times a day in several songs yet we are squeamish when white brothers even use it to narrate a situation where it occurred.

In truth so many of our Black brothers are already on the big government plantation, established during the 60s by President Johnson during his "Great Society", that usurped fatherhood and family , replacing it with government checks for babies... We all know that story and in fact, the effect is "diversified", shared among the white and brown population these days.

Don't look now but the Obama's and Nancy Pelosi's of the world are looking forward to more and more of us joining the big Gov'ment plantation. They would like over 50% of the American Population eating out of their hands, kissing their rings. The more that join them, the better we can all be put into tidy categories and controllable groups for the uber-controllers in the Socialist Democrat Party.

Say what you want, when our black citizens vote 90% Democratic and 95% Obama reliably there is no need for the Democrats to actually make things better. The slide toward a dependent, quid-pro-quo black electorate is done, Democrats don't even have to work on it, they only have to mouth platitudes and parables, and blame-game propaganda and stand back while the leftist press amplifies and supports them. Individualism means nothing to politicians when they can depend on solid voting block. Enforcing overly-sensitive politically correct speech and ruining the careers of people who violate those rules is just one of the bars on the gate of that big Government Plantation.

The Government Plantation masters have low standards of behavior for those who have joined or have been touched by it's subculture. Sloth, victim-hood, class-envy, an attitude of entitlement in the name of "Social and Economic Justice" permeate their members. It makes those who buy the package into sloppy individuals without regard to the time, compassion and hard work of others.

Perhaps the most painful and truthful thing about what the Professor said was in it's relationship to the truth, perhaps he thought in the back of his mind that these kids who hadn't the courtesy of being to class on time (for their own edification) where touched by the modern plantation. Perhaps that part of his comment or analogy was not juxtaposed in time, we live it now.

September 10 2011 at 10:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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