Gonzaga law prof: MAGA hat is 'undeniable symbol of white supremacy and hatred'
A Washington State law professor recently classified a Make America Great Again hat as “an undeniable symbol of white supremacy and hatred toward certain nonwhite groups.”
Gonzaga University visiting law professor Jeffrey Omari made this statement while reflecting on an incident in which a student wore the pro-Donald Trump hat to class, in a post for the American Bar Association Journal.
Omari was initially uncertain as to whether the unnamed student intended to provoke him with the MAGA hat, or was simply clueless to how the hat could be seen by a black law professor, but he indicated that he decided to believe the former.
“His shiny red MAGA hat was like a siren spewing derogatory racial obscenities at me for the duration of the one hour and fifteen-minute class,” Omari said in the post. "From my (progressive) perspective as a black man living in the increasingly polarized political climate that is America, MAGA is an undeniable symbol of white supremacy and hatred toward certain nonwhite groups."
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The professor said that because he is a law school professor, he recognizes the nuances of free speech and academic freedom, but noted “law schools are inherently institutions of professional training. Just as faculty and staff are required to maintain professional formalities to aid the training and matriculation of their students, it seems only logical that students, too, should maintain similar businesslike etiquette.”
“I understood that my lack of tenure, precarious status as a VAP and the hue of my skin meant that I would be fighting an uphill battle should I have asked the student to remove his distracting red hat during class,” Omari said.
The professor said that “normalizing such controversial political attire in the classroom likely does little to improve the diversity and inclusion that [colleges and universities] supposedly seek.”
Omari noted that the class had no reaction to the student wearing a MAGA hat, but suggested that that was most likely because it was a majority-white class.
“In a class with such racial uniformity, it appeared frivolous to rely on students to speak up on my behalf, as one of my associates suggested,” Omari said.
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“No other law faculty had experienced any students wearing such propaganda in their classes, which furthered my contention that this student was indeed trying to intimidate and/or racially antagonize me.”
Omari and Gonzaga University did not respond to requests for comment in time for publication.
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