Now for some good news. We have tried to withdraw or dismiss professors from their academic positions because of conflicting views about police shootings, the movement of the Black Lives Matter, or aspects of recent protests from the University of Chicago to Harvard. Now we have a professor at the Creighton University, who sparked an outcry by describing police support as an expression of white supremacy. The university later apologized on behalf of the associate professor of theology Zachary Smith, but no one did this after calling his mination. That is progress today. We can only hope that the university and his colleagues would have the same measured or subdued response if Smith's comments were directed at groups or issues related to the current protests.
On July 7, Smith tweeted a reply to an article in the Omaha World Herald. The article entitled "Back the Blue" rally in Omaha shows support for law enforcement.
He responded with discussed details for an upcoming rally in Omaha to show support for law enforcement. "Let me correct this heading for you, @OWHnews:" White Supremacist rally in Omaha to demonstrate racism in the Midwest. "
First, worse headline at all. Smith probably writes much more about Byzantine Christians than as an editor.
Second, the tweet obviously treats police support as an expression of racism. It is the type of labeling that we have seen across the country where it is no longer possible to disagree with others. Instead, any view that the protests consider non-supportive is called racism. It is the kind of defamatory statement that is popular in many circles for an academic and at the same time creates a deterrent effect on others who may have conflicting views. The smith's answer shows how such unfair and hurtful views become a kind of badge for academics. a public statement that they are on the right side of racism.
This time, however, it triggered a backlash in Nebraska, where the police still have significant support and Smith removed his tweet. While it would have been good for Smith to make a statement directly, this is a good story for freedom of speech, as no one is fighting to quit on Change.org or other websites. Instead, his outrageous views were denounced in the same public forum where they were given. Although I find his view of the police (and their supporters) extremely offensive, I would oppose any effort to punish him.
However, this measured response has largely been missing at our locations if the faculty expresses critical views on protests or underlying demands. In contrast to Harald Uhlig from Chicago, the editor-in-chief of the renowned Journal of Political Economy, there was no call to remove Smith's editorial position in the Journal of Religion & Society. Unlike Harvard's professor Steven Pinker, a respected member of the Linguistic Society of America, there was no effort to remove Smith from the American Academy of Religion or the Society of Biblical Literature. Unlike Cornell's William A. Jacobson, there was no effort to remove him from the faculty. In fact, the faculty was absolutely silent about his attack on the police and those who support them as racists.
I would like to believe that this is due to a faculty that affirms academic freedom and freedom of speech – no implicit support for his views or fear of retaliation when speaking out against such offensive comments.
Let us assume that the values of freedom of speech prevail. Smith can continue to call those with conflicting views of the police white supremacists, and the rest of us can counter this view with our own exercise of freedom of speech. No petitions. No public retaliation campaign. No threats to his physical security. Free speech only against free speech.