Drexel prof claims white genocide tweet was merely satire

George Ciccariello-Maher, an assistant professor at Drexel University who tweeted “All I want for Christmas is White Genocide,” is now claiming that his tweet was satire.

“On Christmas Eve, I sent out a satirical tweet about the imaginary concept, ‘white genocide,’” Ciccariello Maher told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “For those who haven’t bothered to do their research, ‘white genocide’ is an idea invented by white supremacists and used to denounce everything from interracial relationships to multicultural policies (and most recently, against a tweet by State Farm Insurance). It is a figment of the racist imagination, it should be mocked, and I’m glad to have mocked it.”

Although Ciccariello-Maher claims that he was just trying to be humorous, Drexel University issued a statement calling his post “inflammatory” and “utterly reprehensible.”

“Drexel became aware today of Associate Professor George Ciccariello-Maher's inflammatory tweet, which was posted on his personal Twitter account on Dec. 24, 2016,” the school's statement read. “While the University recognizes the right of its faculty to freely express their thoughts and opinions in public debate, Professor Ciccariello-Maher's comments are utterly reprehensible, deeply disturbing, and do not in any way reflect the values of the university.”

The statement went on to note that the school is “taking the situation very seriously” and confirmed that university officials have arranged a meeting with Ciccariello-Maher to discuss the matter in detail.

Ciccariello-Maher, however, called the school’s rebuke of his tweet “worrying,” saying it “lacked understanding either the content or the context of the tweets.”

“What is more unfortunate is that this statement amounts to caving to the truly reprehensible movements and organization that I was critiquing.” he added, calling the school’s rebuke of his threats a “chilling” precedent for free speech,” claiming that he has received several death threats because of it.

“I teach regularly on this history of genocidal practices like colonialism and slavery -genocides carried out by the very same kind of violent racists who are smearing me today,” he added.

This tweet has caused severe backlash about the incident, and over 11,000 people online have signed a petition urging Drexel University to “record and publish the the meeting with Professor George Ciccariello-Maher” in order to “ensure that Drexel University is taking racism seriously and so that the public can see the professor's reasoning for his apparent distaste for white people.”

The petition also cites another of his tweets in which he references an example of actual white genocide, noting that “when the whites were massacred during the Haitian Revolution, that was a good thing indeed.”

In a subsequent tweet, however, Ciccariello-Maher claimed that the was merely saying such things in order to upset the alt-right, which seems to have proven effective.

“‘White genocide’ is a mythical figment of the ‘alt-right’ (a.k.a. White supremacist) imagination,” he wrote.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @kassydillon