The Legal Beat
Why Can’t Emory Law School Professors Stop Using The N-Word All The Time?
Posted on Friday September 13, 2019
To catch everyone up on Emory’s bizarre fascination with racial slurs in the classroom, last year, Emory Law School made headlines when professor Paul Zwier kicked off back to school week by dropping the n-word in a class hypothetical. At the time, Zwier apologized in the way only white people can by admitting he shouldn’t have used a racial slur in class… BUT explaining that he was totally justified because of the educational goals he was trying to accomplish with the hypo. We really do need a word for this. Let’s just dub it a “Butpology.”
Zwier went back to the racial slur well during office hours which eroded a lot of the good faith from the earlier apology. That got him put on administrative leave and led the former interim dean to call on the institution to strip him of his tenure and fire him for “moral deliquency and incompetence.”
The thing about tossing around the n-word in class is that there’s just never any reason to do it. Does the hypothetical change when posited as “and then the manager grabbed the man’s plate and used a racial epithet”? As we’ve pointed out before: it “takes a special kind of narcissism for a random white law professor to think he’s the one ‘educating’ a group of black students about racial slurs.”
Anyway, another professor has now reportedly thrown around the n-word in class and it’s starting to seem like Emory’s got a more deeply rooted problem. From a letter drafted by Emory’s BLSA obtained by Above the Law:
During a Federal Indian Law Class, there was a discussion about assimilation, self-determination, and racism generally. The professor gave an example in which an acquaintance of his made a comment about how “Natives and N-words had to assimilate,” to which the professor remarked that he found the comment very upsetting.
So it’s a situation of quoting someone else to point out that it’s wrong which is… well, not actually better. There’s again nothing about this fact that couldn’t be communicated in a more professional manner. But given that it was coming from a place of expressing his own disagreement, the BLSA account makes it sound like this professor effusively apologized and offered to meet with BLSA to further discuss the issue and make amends. So that’s a positive, I guess.
But seriously, what’s going on Emory? It might be time for a faculty-wide sit down to just chat with everyone about pedagogy and the student experience and the subtle art of not being a total dick.
Earlier: Law School Professor Drops The N-Word In The First Week Of Class
Law School Professor Who Dropped The N-Word In Class Is Back At It
Law Professor Drops Racial Slur In Class Because Otherwise How Will Black Students Ever Learn About Racism?
Joe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.