On Christmas Eve, a Drexel University associate professor drew fire when he tweeted “All I want for Christmas is White Genocide.”
Tenured Associate Professor George Ciccariello-Maher, who teaches politics and global studies, defends his tweet, saying it was “satirical.”
“To be perfectly clear, white genocide is an imaginary figment of the most paranoid racists of the United States and I sought to mock it by tweeting about it,” Ciccariello-Maher said. White nationalist groups refer to everything from multiculturalism and immigration, to interracial marriage as contributing to white genocide.
Ciccariello-Maher said he was inspired in part to tweet about it after seeing the reactions to a State Farm ad featuring an interracial couple. People replied with comments like, “I now know that I’m not ever supporting a company that promotes genocide like this,” and “Disgusting. This is White Genocide.”
The white nationalist website Breitbart published a widely-read article calling Ciccariello-Maher’s Twitter feed hateful and anti-American.
“It’s no surprise then that this is taken up, but I was myself shocked by how widely it was taken up by organized media elements associated with the racist far right,” Ciccariello-Maher said. He says he’s received more than 100 death threats.
Drexel did not respond to a request for comment but released a statement on Dec. 25.
“While the University recognizes the right of its faculty to freely express their thoughts and opinions in public debate, Professor Ciccariello-Maher’s comments are utterly reprehensible, deeply disturbing, and do no in any way reflect the values of the University. The University is taking this situation very seriously. We contacted Cicariello-Maher today to arrange a meeting to discuss this matter in detail,” the statement read.
A change.org petition, already with thousands of signatures, has popped up in defense of Ciccariello-Maher and academic freedom.