“We are asking you to act on this statement and prohibit Carlin Romano from teaching at Penn this fall or ever again.”
If there is one thing we have learned in recent months, it is that certain subjects are simply not open to debate. In this case, UPenn Professor Carlin Romano did not even object to the spirit of an an anti-racism statement, he simply questioned the language of it.
Now he is facing calls for his removal.
Professor Jonathan Turley writes at his blog:
Penn Professor Faces Calls For His Removal After Questioning An Anti-Racism Statement [UPDATED]
We have been discussing efforts to fire professors who voice dissenting views of the basis or demands of recent protests including an effort to oust a leading economist from the University of Chicago as well as a leading linguistics professor at Harvard. It is part of a wave of intolerance sweeping over our colleges and our newsrooms. Now, an effort has been launched to fire University of Pennsylvania Professor Carlin Romano and to kick him off a prestigious literary group because Romano questioned the language of a proposed statement on racism in the publishing industry and even spotted an embarrassing typo…
Professor Romano is an attorney who teaches at Penn’s Annenberg School for Communication. He became the latest target in academia when he questioned the language of a proposed anti-racism statement. Romano has publicly declared support for the movement and has written in the past of the need to diversify the publishing industry. However, he wrote to object to statements that he felt failed to acknowledge the past efforts by people like him and to paint the entire industry as racist. There was a time when such criticism would have been welcomed on boards and faculties. This is not “those times.”…
The line that is being most cited in other coverage is Romano stating that the statement failed to acknowledge how white editors fought to be more inclusive and “[m]any of the writers cited in the letter‘s own list would never have been published if not for ecumenical, good-willed white editors and publishers who fought for the publication of black writers.” He also noted the difficulty in past efforts to diversify because “[w]e professors especially know that accomplished black undergraduates rarely want to go into book publishing because it pays so badly.”
Here’s the wording of the Change.org petition against Romano:
Fire Carlin Romano from UPenn
Dear Faculty & Deans of the Annenberg School for Communication,
I write to express my outrage and disappointment over the recent behavior of Carlin Romano, specifically in relation to racist remarks he made and a sustained campaign of targeting black people and women on the board of the National Book Critics Circle.
Romano is currently scheduled to teach COMM 378, Journalism & Public Service this fall at Penn. His views on race and responsibility are severely damaging to the young people he might encounter, particularly black students and other students of color.
The Annenberg Center for Communication put out a statement in June 2020 that “Black Lives Matter” and that you are horrified by institutional racism and police violence. We are asking you to act on this statement and prohibit Carlin Romano from teaching at Penn this fall or ever again.
As noted by Brianna Kraemer of The College Fix, Romano simply defended the publishing industry:
University of Pennsylvania professor says publishing industry isn’t racist. Critics are trying to get him fired.
Romano, a former NBCC president and its current vice president of grants, also said he bore no “culpability” for the supposed “erasure of BIPOC [black, indigenous and people of color] voices” in publishing, as the statement described the industry.
“I myself have probably written more articles and reviews about Philadelphia’s black literature and traditions in my 25 years at the [Philadelphia] Inquirer than anyone living, black or white,” he wrote in the email to fellow board members that is now being used against him.
He also objected to the media’s portrayal of his comments in the private email, telling The Daily Pennsylvanian: “I am pro-Black Lives Matter. I am in favor of greater diversity in the book publishing business. I am not racist, not by a long shot.”
Cancel culture is real.
The period we are living through will be studied someday.
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