At the beginning of this year, The College Fix reported on Diablo Valley College’s Albert Ponce, whose “Social Justice Lecture Series” talk included advocating breaking US law because of … white supremacy.
Standing before an image which read “The Abolition of White Democracy,” Ponce’s lecture — titled “White Supremacy in the U.S.” — did not specifically state which laws people should disregard; instead, the professor sermonized about slavery and “Thomas Jefferson’s belief that black people are inferior to whites.”
The professor also showed a photo of President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions standing before a portrait of President Andrew Jackson: “It is fitting that a white supremacist of old and a white supremacist of today exist and sit — they’re smiling — in the White House,” he said.
A few days ago, Ponce complained to Salon.com’s Chauncey DeVega about being “targeted by right wing attack[s].”
“It was a blitzkrieg,” Ponce said. “If you are telling the truth about these matters they are going to attack.”
DeVega writes that educators like Ponce “are targets for abuse and harassment as part of this right-wing effort to rollback American society to a point in time prior to the 20th century.” To achieve this, er, goal, higher education must dismantled and recreated “in keeping with the revanchist dystopia that American conservatives dream of inflicting on the country.”
Ponce says his story “blew up” on sites like The College Fix and Campus Reform and alleged “they hit all the key people to have [him] fired.” (College Fix editor Jennifer Kabbany denounced such accusations earlier this year in an interview which referenced Ponce, noting The Fix “has publicly denounced any vile emails that a professor might get.” See here, for example.)
[DeVega]: Painting a picture, what were some of the specific threats?
[Ponce]: There were arguments about why we need segregation, how blacks should go back to Africa, how I should go back to Latin America, and this country is for whites only. Why did I talk about Karl Marx, we’re in the United States.
Some of the things happening on campus I don’t think are too far removed from what is happening to me personally. I think it has a lot to do with how students and community members feel empowered by Trump’s rise to come out as explicit white supremacists.
A student asked me the other day, “Would you have not done the talk or maybe had done it differently?” My answer is, “No. I wouldn’t have.”
[DeVega]: What about white folks who get angry about discussions of white privilege because they somehow feel “oppressed” and “hurt” by “the system?”
[Ponce]: You have white people who respond by saying that, “I’m out of work.” “I don’t have work.” “I’m in school.” “I’m struggling.” “I can’t pay rent.” “I’m poor.” My response is that whiteness as a category is a set of privileges. Many will just refuse to critically think about their own advantages in this entire system.
Ponce predicts the midterm elections “will slow the white supremacist project coming out of the Trump administration down a bit,” but won’t stop it completely.
He concludes with a Freire-ian snippet, perhaps unintentionally, something which conservatives have been warning about since time immemorial: “Focus on advancing during education. If you’re concerned with change, link your education as transformation of society.”