Fresno Prof Blames Racism For Backlash Over Barbara Bush Comments

(Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Vulture Festival)

Virginia Kruta Associate Editor
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Fresno State University professor Randa Jarrar, in an interview that was published on Tuesday, blamed racism for the backlash she received after attacking former first lady Barbara Bush on Twitter the day she died.

Jarrar, who is of Egyptian, Greek and Palestinian heritage, told The Cut that she believes her own race was certainly a factor in the response to her comments.

“Women of color routinely have their tone policed, their justified anger painted as hatred, and their criticism of injustice framed as racism toward white people,” Jarrar told The Cut.

After calling Bush a “racist” and the mother of a “war criminal,” Jarrar received criticism from a number who felt that she had crossed a line and should be fired. She argued back that she was tenured and therefore could not be fired.

Joseph Castro, president of Fresno State, later told the Associated Press that even tenured professors are not immune to the consequences of their actions.

“A professor with tenure does not have blanket protection to say and do what they wish,” he said. “We are all held accountable for our actions. This was beyond free speech. This was disrespectful.”

A number of conservatives — among them Ben Shapiro, Christina Sommers and David French — defended Jarrar, saying that no matter how repulsive one found her comments, they should be covered under the protection of the First Amendment.

The university has since announced that Jarrar is under investigation, but she told The Cut that she absolutely stands by her comments.

“I felt compelled to speak up because I want people to remember history. I want people to know that our country’s actions don’t just disappear; they have real, negative consequences. If we want a better future, we have to confront our past. The Bush family — including Barbara Bush — supported policies that harmed and destroyed the lives of millions.”