White Professor Under 'Discrimination' Investigation For Quoting Black Author

The College Fix
Aug. 09, 2019

White academics, beware: Elevating the work of black authors can get you in trouble. And your union may refuse to help.

Laurie Sheck of The New School, an elite multidisciplinary university in New York, is the latest professor to be investigated for quoting the N-word in an academic context, not as a slur.

The novelist and Pulitzer Prize finalist is already getting help from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which has warned The New School that it has no authority under its own policies to investigate Sheck, based on the allegations against her.

Sheck's faux pas was telling her creative writing graduate students that black author James Baldwin used the unedited six-letter N-word in his writing, and that the word would appear in "future class texts," she told Inside Higher Ed. Baldwin even said it on Dick Cavett's broadcast show.

She brought it up in a discussion about Baldwin to note that the word was sanitized into "negro" for a 2016 documentary on Baldwin. "As writers, words are all we have," she recounted telling students. "And we have to give [Baldwin] credit that he used the word he did on purpose."

A white student objected, saying a professor told her as an undergraduate that "white people are never to use the term, under any circumstances."

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