Get him out of here!
That’s what the administration at George Washington University said to human rights professor who led a passionate discussion about the N-word with students, saying the word should be banned from rap music.
Professor Michael Stoil, a 72-year-old white man, was fired after students complained about his alleged use of the word in a discussion with the school’s vice provost.
According to the Daily Mail, this telephone conversation is at the core of the controversy.
Stoil told the students about the call and said he used the word to show why it should not be used.
Students have since filed three racial bias reports against Stoil for comments he made about using the n-word in a September class.
While he insists he didn’t use it during class and believes it should not be used by anyone, he said that they should be offended even when it is used in Hip-Hop.
After the hoopla, Stoil accepted the school’s decision to dismiss him from teaching the human rights course but later resigned because he did not like that no one cleared the air that he did not use the word outside of a protest context.
“I do not plan to return to GW in the spring semester of 2023 because I disagree with the decisions of the officials who allowed misinformation to spread unchecked and did not defend their employee’s reputation,” he said.
He told the outlet, “My conversation with the Vice Provost addressed this,’ Stoil said, describing the conversation he had with a GW administrator which he told his class about. ‘My mother, who is white, was shocked when her best friend–an African-American woman from Detroit–referred to her as a ‘silly n…’ 45 years ago.”
“I was explaining my commitment, and that of my family, to opposition to ethnic slurs, even when in this case it was voiced as a colloquialism by an African-American woman,” Stoil continued.
“To my great shock, the Vice Provost said that she was physically affected by my use of the word to illustrate an example in an intellectual conversation that we were having over the telephone,” the teacher said.
“In response, I told her that I would never use the word again even in an intellectual conversation about the effects of hate speech, and I have kept that promise. That was the incident that I related in class.”
Stoil remarked, “I also suspect that my age and years of teaching in truly multiethnic institutions have made me too divorced from current cultural norms in the US to teach such a sensitive topic as human rights.”
One argument from the classroom about rap music also put a nail in his coffin.
“I used the n-word, and she was horrified,” Stoil said in his classroom. “She says ‘Oh my God, I felt that viscerally. It ran right through me, you used the n-word.’ I said ‘You don’t listen to Hip-Hop? You don’t listen to some of the street music? They use it all the time.”
“Yeah, but they’re Black people,” a student responded.
“Ok, I’m Eurasian,” Stoil said. “Where do I fit in? Can we use it too?”
“No,” students replied.
“You’re right, but the point is I didn’t imagine that she would feel pain from the use of the n-word simply because, by the way, she didn’t know what color I was,” Stoil said. “This was on the telephone. I guess I don’t sound Black.”
Then he asked, “Does Barack Obama sound Black?”
Needless to say, the conversation did not go well.