Dear Editorial Board,
Last week was an interesting week to say the least. After having our History of Political Thought class cancelled as a result of threats against our teacher from various groups, students banded together and demanded that Drexel rescind its decision to cancel our course and reinstate Prof. George Cicciarello-Maher. These threats came after publications such as Breitbart and the Daily Caller misinterpreted and smeared Prof. GCM for his comments on Twitter. You printed this comment in your editorial last week, you printed it in the news story you wrote, but I’ll copy it here again.
“It’s the white supremacist patriarchy stupid. But liberals will drown out all discourse with a deafening chorus screeching ‘gun control.’ To believe that someone who would shoot down 50 people wouldn’t circumvent any gun law you pass is the height of delusion. But liberal escapism means talking about easy questions and proposing easy non-solutions rather than talking about who kills and why. White people and men are told that they are entitled to everything. This is what happens when they don’t get what they want. The narrative of white victimization has been gradually built over the past 40 years. It is the spinal column of Trumpism, and [its] most extreme form is the white genocide myth. Yesterday was a morbid symptom of what happens when those who believe they deserve to own the world also think it is being stolen from them.”
Read it. Now read it again. Now read the first word. Read that again. In your editorial last week you dissected and analyzed George Cicciarello-Maher’s statement as if he said that the shooter was a white supremacist. You stated that, “The issue lies in his assertion that the shooter’s motivations were based in white supremacist ideology.” But what it seems you heard was that the issue lies in the fact that he was a white supremacist, not that it was white supremacy.
White supremacy is a system. A system that puts into action the ideology that white people are superior and therefore entitled to more than non-whites. This white supremacist system is something that is so deeply ingrained in the history of this country that participation in it is compulsory for all. You are affected by this system and as a mostly white editorial board, sometimes you even benefit from it. Just think to Oct. 9 when we had school off to celebrate Christopher Columbus, a white male, when we could be honoring the indigenous people of this country. Think of your textbooks and the demographics of who writes them. Think of the National Rifle Association and how it’s supposed to fight for gun rights but stayed silent after the shooting of Philando Castile. Think of the overwhelming statistics about people of color in prison. Think of Harvey Weinstein.
It is this system combined with our patriarchal society that Prof. GCM is referring to. He did not say that the Las Vegas shooter was a white supremacist (that still remains unknown), he put forth a diagnosis that it is because of this white supremacist and patriarchal system that, even though there have been 91 mass shootings in the US since 1982, 50 of them have been committed by white people with the rest being dispersed over six other races and ethnicities. The sense of entitlement tied in with patriarchy and white supremacy is engrained in the psyche of this nation. It’s the foundation of what we call “white privilege.” For you to say that this is without evidence is simply incorrect. White supremacy as a system is something that is academic in its nature and has been studied for a long time through evidence-based approaches. Its effects have evidence to point to the pervasiveness of white supremacy in our society.
As a former editor at The Triangle, to see your gross misinterpretations and lack of understanding of Prof. GCM’s statement was disappointing to say the least. The way you twisted what GCM meant was dangerously similar to The Daily Caller and Breitbart. To say that Prof. Maher made “assertions without backing them up” is wrong. He presented a theory. Agree or disagree with it but theories differ from lies. In a time where the president lies without consequence and lying in government has become a norm, it’s important to call it out when you see it but don’t gamble with the truth if you’re not sure.