Duke University professor Jerry Hough recently sparked outrage with online comments about “the blacks” and “the Asians” that he wrote in response to a New York Times article called “How Racism Doomed Baltimore.”
In his online comment on the article, Hough opined that Asian-Americans were more successful than African-Americans because “they didn’t feel sorry for themselves, but worked doubly hard.”
Thanks to the internet, these comments gave him instant notoriety. But it’s not the first time he’s attacked African-Americans for supposedly pitying themselves and perpetuating ideas of inferiority.
In 2001, he wrote a letter in Duke’s daily student newspaper, The Chronicle, in which he compared African-Americans to another minority group, this time people of Polish descent, to highlight how blacks have supposedly gotten it all wrong.
“Blacks at Duke should look at Mike Krzyzewski,” Hough wrote, speaking about famed Duke basketball icon Coach K.
“All of his life he had terrible Polish jokes thrown at him far worse that anything than that could be said about blacks in recent decades. The ‘n’ word is nothing in comparison to those jokes,” he wrote.
Hough’s most recent comments on the Saturday New York Times piece drew critique from Duke administration.
“The comments were noxious, offensive and have no place in civil discourse,” said Duke’s vice president for public affairs, Michael Schoenfeld, according to The Chronicle.
But in a nod to free speech and professorial autonomy, Schoenfeld also explained that “at the same time, as noted in the Faculty Handbook, every faculty member at Duke has a right ‘to act and to speak in his or her capacity as a citizen without institutional censorship or discipline.”
For his part, Hough argues that he isn’t racist.
“I graduated from college in 1955 and my cause was always black integration,” Hough told Business Insider.
And he stands behind the accuracy of his comments in the Times.
“The issue is whether my comments were largely accurate. In writing me, no one has said I was wrong, just racist,” Hough said according to the Washinton Post.
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