Ted Thornhill, the Florida Gulf Coast University professor who drew criticism for teaching a course titled “White Racism,” now argues that “black racism” does not exist.
In an op-ed for The Conversation that has since been republished by Salon, Thornhill doubled down on his defense of the controversial course, arguing that the term “white racism” is “nothing new.”
“Whether a course is titled ‘White Racism,’or ‘The Problem of Whiteness,’ or any other appropriate term, in no way diminishes the academic legitimacy of the course,” the professor writes. “Scholars have used the term for decades.”
Alongside a rigorous defense of his course, Thornhill also dedicates a section of his op-ed to addressing the question of “black racism,” noting that several critics of his work have observed that “anybody can be racist.”
“They ask indignantly: What about ‘black racism’? Or what about other forms of racism they believe exist on the part of Latinos, Asian Americans, and Native peoples,” Thornhill writes. “My answer is: There is no such thing as black racism.”
“I am in no way the only one who holds this view,” the professor continues, referencing the view of Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, president of the American Sociological Association, who said there is a “difference between having prejudiced views about other people and having a system that gives systemic privilege to some groups.”
“Indeed, blacks did not develop and benefit from a centuries-old comprehensive system of racial oppression comprised of laws, policies, practices, traditions, and an accompanying ideology—one that promotes the biological, intellectual, and cultural superiority of whites to dominate other groups,” Thornhill adds.
According to the professor, Europeans and their descendants were the ones who benefited from such a system, a relationship that he calls “systemic racism.”
“This is systemic racism,” he argues. “And students in courses such as mine are introduced to the scholarship that attests to this reality, past, and present.
“For instance, students will read and discuss pieces by and about W.E.B. Du Bois, Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Joe Feagin, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Charles Mills, Paul Butler, Nikki Khanna, and Derrick Bell, among many others,” he notes. “They will also do work that will strengthen their ability to identify and confront colorblind racist statements.”
Dr. Ted Thornhill did not immediately respond to Campus Reform’s request for comment.