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Duke professor makes controversial comment on New York Times editorial

Posted May 17, 2015

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— Duke University responded Saturday to a controversial statement made by a professor about an editorial in the New York Times.

Duke political science professor, Jerry Hough disagreed with the editorial titled "How Racism Doomed Baltimore."

The article focused on the notion that poverty and isolation of the African-American community in Baltimore were major causes of recent riots after Freddie Gray's death.

In the comments section, Hough said, "blacks get awful editorials like this that tell them to feel sorry for themselves. So, where are the editorials that say racism doomed Asian-Americans? They did not feel sorry for themselves, but worked doubly hard."

In a statement issued by Duke University, the institution called the comments "offensive."

39 Comments

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  • Paul Jones May 18, 2015
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    You're wrong. It's true that Asians were not slaves for hundreds of years, but they were nonetheless mistreated for a long time. And while you're too young to have ever seen a"whites only " sign on a restaurant or bathroom, that sign did not mean "whites and Asians". Th racism of years past absolutely was hard on Asians, too.

    When MLK set into motion positive changes in America, Asians were finally allowed to attend white schools, marry white people, etc. And look what they accomplished. Asians dominate math and science fields and often have high income.

    I never knew racism growing up. Every student of every race had the opportunity to learn and make something of themselves. Some choose not to work hard.

  • Derric Fuller May 18, 2015
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    It's amazing how some people in this country have this untenable assumption to sit back on their high horses and compare the plights of various minority groups in America, as if the hardships of what each of them went through were equal in scope .

    To gloss over that no other minority group in this country were literally enslaved for hundreds of years and then systematically and institutionally discriminated against by American society, past Presidents, Congress and Jim Crow laws as African-Americans were, is so simplistic that it passes the point of incredulousness. Also, let's not forget that the same Jim Crow laws were finally outlawed only 50 years ago. That's not that long ago.

    So to say that Black Americans and their descendants should suddenly be up to par with other minorities, especially having to deal with the roadblocks thrown against them, is like me suddenly telling my dog to stop walking and to start flying.

  • Matt Wood May 18, 2015
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    There were wealthy and powerful free black people when slavery was still legal. That doesn't mean the slaves weren't still oppressed. Any person who conducts research will tell you that a few outliers do not represent the whole data set.

  • Patrick Demby May 18, 2015
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    Oh how I hope your avatar is actually a picture of you.

    And then, PLEASE PLEASE tell us about the plight of the 'moccasin' wearing people you speak of. lollolol

  • Tammy Rush May 17, 2015
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    You're welcome.

  • Joseph Shepard May 17, 2015
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    Since when is the truth offensive? Oh--to those on the left who fear the truth like Dracula fears the light of day I imagine so, but Asian Americans were every bit as enslaved as the African Americans , to say nothing of the treatment of the Native Americans. The difference being that those groups do not and have not fallen into the "politics of vicitimization" which holds that because their ancestors of200 years ago suffered under an unjust and dirty social condition, they today are somehow limited or restricted. In a sense they are, given that they have fallen into the trap of government provision of all their needs, without any individual responsibility or accountability. Now, whose responsibility is that?

  • Joseph Shepard May 17, 2015
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    The man tells the truth. Asian Americans were, early on, just as much enslaved as African Americans. And Native Americans as well. Its called the Politics of Victimization---my ancestors were victims of an unfair and horrendous social condition--that is why today--some 200 years later--the African American community finds itself in the sorry state that its in. One hell of a sorry excuse for falling into the trap created by the Democrats to keep African Americans in that victim mentality by saying they cannot rise above that old enslavement and must depend on the government for their sustenance...Pitiful.

  • John Jones May 17, 2015
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    Being poor is a choice for most people. I was working in tobacco when I was 14 to buy school clothes. I am not highly intelligent, but I do have a strong work ethic. I graduated high school in 1986 and we didn't have hot water or indoor plumbing. That wasn't the way I wanted to continue to live so I made choices to change that. I am not against welfare, but I am strongly against it for lifelong help unless you are physically or mentally handicapped. If you aren't handicapped there in NO good reason to continue to live in public housing and remain on food stamps. No employer can discriminate against applicants if they are qualified. Unlike it was many years ago. What really bothers me is we have so many illegal immigrants coming over and working in housekeeping, agriculture and construction while a large population of blacks are on government and state assistance. Why is that?

  • Jamal Jensen May 17, 2015
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    Thank you for your correction. You have contributed so much to this discussion by correcting my minor omission.

  • Tammy Rush May 17, 2015
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    Correction: Colin Powell was the first black Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice was the first black female Secretary of State.

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