New Yorker editor David Remnick may have split the crowd at Syracuse University during his commencement speech at the school this weekend, reportedly receiving boos from some audience members for comments on topics such as race and gun use in America.
According to The Post-Standard, Remnick’s speech broke from the mould of more traditional commencement addresses — which may focus more on congratulations to new graduates — in favour of remarks that touched on Trayvon Martin, marriage equality, and last year’s well-recieved speech from writer George Saunders. “[It] was a pointed, socially charged speech that provided a thoughtful, if opinionated, commentary on the real-world ails that face graduating college seniors,” The Post-Standard reports.
Audience members expressed both their appreciation and distaste for Remnick’s speech on Twitter:
The New Yorker’s David Remnick gave a great speech at Syracuse’s commencement – honest & inspiring
— Elise Garofalo (@elisegaro) May 11, 2014
Kudos to SU Arts & Sciences Dean George Langford and speaker David Remnick for charging grads with duty to address income inequality in US
— Tom Boll (@tomboll1) May 12, 2014
SU commencement hijacked by redical leftist David Remnick of New Yorker, pure hate speech!
— Eli The Fanatic (@elithefanatic) May 11, 2014
SU comncmt spkr Remnick unleashed a full-on leftwing screed in his address this AM.unconcerned that he might be offending 50% of the crowd
— michelle gerdano (@xsmommy03) May 11, 2014
Via The Post-Standard, here are some of Remnick’s more contentious remarks:
Needless to say, my triumphalist description of global advance is full of holes and gigantic, horrifying exceptions. If you think racism in America is disappeared, you know nothing of Trayvon Martin. If you think racism in America is disappeared, you haven’t tried to drive or hail a cab while black or brown. If you think sexism is dead in America, you haven’t taken note of the unbearable maleness of corporate boardrooms in New York or Silicon Valley. If you think sexism in America is dead you haven’t noticed that women are still paid markedly less than men for comparable work. If you think homophobia is dead, you are not watching the last round of Republican primary debates when a gay combat soldier in Afghanistan asked the candidates about his rights in the military and members of the crowd booed him and the candidates, cowards one and all, failed to stand up for him…
What gnaws at you? And what will you do about it?
Is it the way we treat and warehouse our elderly as our population grows older? Is it the way we isolate and underserve the physically and mentally disabled. Is it our absurd American fascination with guns and our insistence on valuing the so called rights of ownership over the clear and present danger of gun violence? What will we–what will you–do about the widening divides of class and opportunity in this country? You are, dear friends, about to enter an economy that is increasing winner take all. Part of this is the result of globalization. But do we just throw up our hands and say that’s the way it is? And what about our refusal to look squarely at the degradation of the planet we inhabit? In the last election cycle many candidates refused even to acknowledge the hard science, irrefutable science, of climate change. The president, while readily accepting the facts, has done far too little to alter them. How long are we, are you, prepared to wait?
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.