May 23rd, 2015
The Internet rejects almost nothing posted on it. It is a repository of misrepresentations, lies, fabrications, and hoaxes — some of which inevitably target college professors. Just ask the historian Noel Ignatiev.
Ignatiev, a one-time steel worker and Marxist activist best known for his book How the Irish Became White, is currently on sabbatical from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. But according to certain corners of the Internet, he announced his retirement at the end of the semester back in 2013. And that’s just the start of an even taller tale: As a swan song for his career, the story goes, a letter to the school’s paper was not sufficient. Instead, he gave an explosive final lecture in which he called for the destruction of all white people and urged white men to commit suicide.
“If you are a white male, you don’t deserve to live,” he purportedly told students. “You are a cancer, you’re a disease. White males have never contributed anything positive to the world. They only murder, exploit and oppress non-whites.” He then moved on to even more inflammatory territory: “At least a white woman can have sex with a black man and make a brown baby, but what can a white male do? He’s good for nothing.”