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Duquesne University denies professor promoted white suicide, won’t provide full video

Relies on a Reuters fact-check that exclusively relied on a denial from the professor

Duquesne University said that one of its professors did not say that it could be considered “ethical” for white people to commit suicide to atone for past racial injustice, but no one will provide a copy of a longer video that allegedly gives better context.

A video of Professor Derek Hook’s June speech at a American Association for Psychoanalysis in Clinical Social Work conference began circulating at the end of August, after anti-critical race theory group Mythinformed MKE posted it on social media.

The group told The College Fix it did not have a full video and the social workers’ association would not provide it.

In it, Hook discussed an idea by South African professor Terblanche Delport who previously wrote that “[w]hite people should commit suicide as an ethical act.”

Here’s where the debate starts.

In a statement that appears to have been sent to numerous media outlets, Duquesne spokesperson Rosemary Ravasio denied that Hook supported Delport’s arguments.

“The statement attributed to Professor Hook is ridiculous and reckless. He did not make a statement advocating anything like what was suggested. In fact, he said that the statement in question was ‘crazy,’” Ravasio said.

“Professor Hook also said that the provocateur who used this example was wrong in suggesting any such radical action,” Ravasio said. “The words being circulated were simply lifted out of context to distort the actual comments. Saying that Professor Hook called for anything like the words in question is false.”

Did he though? Consider the context in which Hook used the word “crazy.”

“Here’s the kind of crazy gambit of this talk,” Hook said. “I want to suggest that psychoanalytically we could even make the argument that there was something ethical in Delport’s statements.”

“Crazy,” in this reference, appears to suggest that that Hook realizes arguing for white suicide sounds out of left field — but he still plans to present an argument for it.

Ravasio ignored multiple emailed requests for comment in the past three weeks. The College Fix also requested a copy of the full video of Hook’s talk.

She also ignored a question sent by The College Fix just several hours after her September 2 email that asked the spokeswoman how people should understand Hook’s statement that “I want to make the argument that there is some kind of ethical dimension to his provocations.”

Professor Hook did not respond to an emailed request from The College Fix on September 20 for a full copy of the video, nor did Barbara Matos at the American Association for Psychoanalysis in Clinical Social Work.

A “fact-check” from Reuters also did not contain the video of Hook’s comments nor show any indication that the unnamed fact-checkers saw a full version of the video. Duquesne linked to the fact-check in its media statement online.

Hook told Reuters:

The suggestion that ‘whites should commit suicide as an ethical act’ is absurd and immoral and does not at all reflect my beliefs. Some white South Africans have faced challenges to their sense of self in adapting to no longer having the same cultural prominence and related identity that they once had. Sometimes facing such a significant change in identity and position can feel like an end, like a ‘death.’

A fully video, or even a longer clip, would help people understand what Hook did or did not say.

MORE: J school hires fact checker who falsely accused federal agent of Nazi support

IMAGE: Mythinformed MKE/Twitter

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Matt has previously worked at Students for Life of America, Students for Life Action and Turning Point USA. While in college, he wrote for The College Fix as well as his college newspaper, The Loyola Phoenix. He holds a B.A. from Loyola University-Chicago and a M.A. from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He lives in northwest Indiana with his family.