At a time when the American media invokes little sense of trust in the public, alongs comes a major Philadelphia news outlet to offer up a heartfelt look at the local professor who, over the Christmas holiday, tweeted “All I Want for Christmas is White Genocide.”
Drexel University’s George Ciccariello-Maher is the guy who made that tweet, and it was hardly unique in its vileness. He subsequently claimed his comment was “satirical,” which rang just a bit hollow considering his repugnant comment history.
Philly.com’s Susan Snyder laments the reaction to the professor’s remarks, noting how he had to deal with “thousands of emails and phone calls,” a “campaign to have him fired,” and even death threats.
Other Drexel staff also got threatening messages regarding the controversy.
The prof is actually an OK guy, you see; it’s just “difficult for [him] to respond calmly” to certain things, he says, like when a North Carolina police officer wasn’t charged in the shooting of a black man.
He said his fierce sense of social justice came from his mother, who “has always fought for what was right.”
Born in Maine, Ciccariello-Maher grew up poor, one of three siblings, his father a carpenter and his mother a probation officer. The family shopped at the Salvation Army store and lived without electricity for nine years, said his mother, Linda Maher.
He got his bachelor’s in government and economics at St. Lawrence University in New York and his master’s in social and political science at Cambridge. He came to Drexel seven years ago from the University of California at Berkeley, where he got his doctorate in political science.
Maher said she doesn’t agree with all of her son’s political positions. She cringed when she heard him call police “pigs.”
But she’s proud of him for holding to his beliefs.
“He’s very active and very antiestablishment, and that’s OK,” she said.
My mother, and the moms of many other folks, “always fought for what was right,” too. However, their offspring (and I) actually manage a degree of self control and don’t take to social media to advocate bodily harm to individuals … or an entire group of people.
Ciccariello-Maher says “because he was terribly misunderstood” he’ll be more careful about his social media presence.
“I will take whatever precautions I can to be clear about when I’m being satirical,” he said, “or when I’m being serious and think twice about whether these words will be completely taken out of context or misrepresented.”