PHOENIX (USA Today) — An Arizona State University course called “U.S. Race Theory & the Problem of Whiteness” has gained national attention and landed the university and the course’s professor in the middle of a debate about race, political correctness and academic freedom.
In the space of two months, the course has been singled out by Fox News commentators, been targeted online by white-supremacist groups and spurred small protests and counterprotests in Tempe.
According to university records recently obtained by The Arizona Republic, assistant professor Lee Bebout has received dozens of hostile and hate-filled e-mails about the class, and Tempe police say the instructor suffered harassment when fliers were distributed on campus and in Bebout’s neighborhood with “Anti-White” printed over a photo of Bebout, who is white.
Bebout’s colleagues in higher education say the backlash is unfortunate but comes with the territory when anyone takes a critical approach to race and racism.