Professor Watchlist Spotlight: Johnny Eric Williams

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According to Professor Watchlist, “Dr. Johnny Williams is a Professor of Sociology at Trinity College. After Republican Congressman Steve Scalise was shot by a Bernie Sanders supporter, Williams said the first responders should have let the Congressmen die for being white. He said white people should “fucking die” and called them “inhuman assholes.”

The controversy has escalated since then. According to a local newspaper, “Trinity College Professor Johnny Eric Williams Thursday issued a public apology and said he was in hiding far from Connecticut as the campus reopened amid a furor over his recent controversial Facebook posts. Williams said his posts were not a call for violence against white people, as some claimed when the posts spread across social media. Some of his colleagues spoke out in support of Williams, who fled Hartford after receiving death threats. The controversial pair of Facebook posts included an inflammatory and profane hashtag — “Let Them [expletive] Die” — that was widely shared on social and conservative media, leading to the threats against Williams and calls…”

According to Williams’ bio, “Johnny E. Williams is the author of African-American Religion and the Civil Rights Movement in Arkansas (University Press of Mississippi 2003) and Decoding Racial Ideology in Genomics (Lexington Books 2016). The former book examines the role of religious culture in motivating civil rights protest among African-Americans while the latter investigates the complex role racialized culture plays in delimiting how genome researchers think about human genetic variation. He is the author of numerous articles examining culture’s role in politics, social movement mobilization and scientific knowledge production.”

What do you think about Williams’ statement? How should the school respond? 

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