The University of Georgia has condemned comments made by an African-American teaching assistant on social media about “fighting” white people that some have described as racist.
“I got people in their feelings saying fighting white people is a skill,” Irami Osei-Frimpong, 40, said at the beginning of a 45-minute video posted Friday on YouTube. The video was in response to conservative bloggers’ reaction to a recent Facebook post.
That post about race relations, which ignited a social media firestorm, said that “some white people may have to die for black communities to be made whole in this struggle to advance to freedom.”
UGA said in a statement it “has been vigorously exploring all available legal options. Racism has no place on our campus, and we condemn the advocacy or suggestion of violence in any form. We are seeking guidance from the Office of the Attorney General as to what actions we can legally consider in accordance with the First Amendment.”
A spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office said Tuesday afternoon the matter is under internal review.
Osei-Frimpong is listed on UGA’s website as a doctoral student in its philosophy department. His duties include leading a discussion for a class taught by a professor, a university spokesman said Tuesday afternoon. He became a teaching assistant in 2016, a UGA spokesman said late Tuesday. Osei-Frimpong referred an Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter to a post on his Facebook page written Tuesday morning defending his positions.
In one post Tuesday, Osei-Frimpong explained his comments about white people dying by noting a white woman died protesting against racism in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017. “She didn’t wake up that day to die … But she paid the price.”
In Friday’s video, which has been viewed more than 5,000 times, Osei-Frimpong talks about using “nonviolent militancy” to combat white racism.
“Before white people will shoot you, they’ll try to take your job, they’ll try to take your house, they’ll threaten you, they’ll send you to prison,” he said. “The amount of fear … in black communities of white people is just horrifying.”
Osei-Frimpong frequently said in the video that “white people are crazy,” but noted at one point “not all of them” are and there are “white allies trying to do the right thing.”
At one point, he said the university’s Rutherford Hall should be renamed, saying the woman it was named after, Mildred Rutherford, said “slavery wasn’t that bad.”
Some critics have suggested alumni and donors withhold funding to UGA.
Osei-Frimpong has a website called “The Funky Academic” in which he’s been blogging about race relations since April 2015. He called himself courageous in Friday’s YouTube video.
“This may make it a little difficult for me to get a job later in life,” he said near the end of the video.
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