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Tulane Cancels Talk By Author After Students Misunderstand And Protest Book

Tulane Cancels Talk By Author After Students Misunderstand And Protest Book

“Life of a Klansman: A Family History of White Supremacy” by Edward Ball has been widely hailed as anti-racist, but the title triggered students who didn’t understand the book.

Edward Ball is the author of a new book called ‘Life of a Klansman: A Family History in White Supremacy’ which explores ugly, racist aspects of his own family’s past. You would think this is a book which would appeal to progressive college students.

At Tulane, a talk by Ball has been canceled for now, because student critics were outraged by the very idea of this event.

Robby Soave writes at Reason:

Tulane Canceled a Talk by the Author of an Acclaimed Anti-Racism Book After Students Said the Event Was ‘Violent’

Life of a Klansman: A Family History of White Supremacy is the latest book by Edward Ball, whose award-winning 1998 book Slaves in the Family traces the histories of people enslaved by Ball’s own ancestors. In Klansman, Ball tells the story of a racist great-grandfather who joined the Ku Klux Klan.

The New York Times hailed it as “a haunting tapestry of interwoven stories that inform us not just about our past but about the resentment-bred demons that are all too present in our society today,” and the anti-racism scholar Ibram X. Kendi participated in a virtual discussion about it with Ball. Tulane University was slated to host another such event, featuring Ball and Lydia Pelot-Hobbs, an assistant professor of geography and African American studies.

That event was supposed to take place tonight, but the university opted to postpone it following blinkered outrage from students who insisted that the event was “not only inappropriate but violent towards the experience of Black people in the Tulane community and our country.” Other members of the Tulane community called it “harmful and offensive,” and demanded its cancellation. Still others said the university should apologize and take action against whoever approved the event.

Do these students even understand the point of the book? Soave outlines some the specific objections:

“The last thing we need to do is allow someone who is even reflecting on the hatred of their ancestors to speak about white supremacy, even if their efforts come from a place of accountability,” one student wrote on Instagram.

“There is nothing that a book on white supremacy written by the descendant of a Klansman can do to promote or influence an anti-racism atmosphere,” wrote another.

Members of Tulane’s student government posted the following message on Instagram:

Last night, members of the USG Executive Board and the School of Liberal Arts Government were made aware of the Life of a Klansman event planned for Thursday, August 6th. This event is not only inappropriate but violent towards the experience and work of Black people in the Tulane community and our country.

After hearing about the event, we sent SLA leadership the following email to which they have not responded. This is an outright disregard of Black identities on campus. It is imperative that as a student body we hold our administrators accountable. As students, we need to uphold and support the demands of @thetbsu and hold our administrators to a higher standard.

Tulane University promoted the event on the school website. The page has since been taken down, but we found the Google cache:

National Book Award Winner Edward Ball exposes uncomfortable truths in new book

“Anyone who thinks that to have a Klansman among relatives is a strange or deviant thing may be surprised by the reality,” wrote National Book Award Winner and former Gulf South Writer in the Woods Edward Ball in his new book, Life of a Klansman: A Family History in White Supremacy.

In this work, Ball recounts the story of his great great-grandfather Polycarp Constant Lecorgne, a working-class white French New Orleans Creole who terrorized and threatened African-descended people through his participation in the Ku Klux Klan and the White League.

Ball’s Slaves in the Family, first published in 1998, describes the writer’s search for African American descendants whose ancestors his family enslaved. Life of a Klansman presents an intimate window into the life of one ordinary man and his journey towards white supremacist violence and terror in 19th century Louisiana. According to Ball, “Klansman is a personal story and a family tale, but it is also an origin story about white supremacy. Where was it born? How did it grow up? Through the life of one man, I try to tell a story about the upbringing of whiteness.”

This is a perfect example of the mindlessness of the cancel culture mob. They simply see the word ‘klan’ and then react with outrage.

Featured image via YouTube.


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notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | August 7, 2020 at 1:05 pm



He looks like Lyle Lovett!

casualobserver | August 7, 2020 at 1:40 pm

Daily entry in my “they can’t find it so they invent it” file……

legacyrepublican | August 7, 2020 at 1:42 pm

Makes sense. A sure sign that you have stopped being a white supremacist and have left living that way is becoming a Republican.

2smartforlibs | August 7, 2020 at 1:42 pm

Past time for an IQ test to vote.

We learn lessons from history. Denying the past is the pinnacle of ignorance. All of the “teachers” that these students had have done a grave disservice. Ostriches all.

Hmm, why do I think this guy is a Lefty? Probably because he’s throwing his ancestors under the Lefty bus.

    henrybowman in reply to Edward. | August 8, 2020 at 3:03 am

    And it ran over him instead. His karma ran over his dogma.
    The way things are going, he may get a sequel out of how all his sons joined the Klan,

Zero intellectual curiosity and judging a book by it’s cover. Future democrat leaders of our country.

To be fair to Tulane, “student government” is an oxymoron, and they attract “activists” like a magnet. One of the best things universities could do is abolish them.

It seems more likely to me, however, that the “student governments” will abolish the universities. In many ways, they already have.

The protests against this event are not based on misunderstanding. They don’t care if it’s really racist. They only care that they can be against it.

Leftism is about power, not ideas. The pretense of having ideas is only intended to give them talking points, while they pursue the power to decide who is allowed to talk, write, think, live – and who is not.

This what makes the Left’s infantile, histrionic and idiotic totalitarianism so dangerous. It doesn’t allow for forgiveness, for introspection, for discourse, for an acknowledgement of progress made. It is all about perpetually stewing and marinating in a toxic miasma of retrospective grievance, victimhood and embittered rage.

Nothing positive comes from these corrosive and viciously spite-filled attitudes.

    DaveGinOly in reply to guyjones. | August 7, 2020 at 6:44 pm

    Not sure I agree, guy. See irv’s post above. He says it’s about power. I agree with that. So what kind of atonement does the Left want? For what apology are they willing to grant forgiveness? It wants whatever type of atonement they demand. It’s not about atonement, it’s about making others bend the knee, and provide to them what the Left demands, nothing more, nothing less.

      henrybowman in reply to DaveGinOly. | August 8, 2020 at 3:05 am

      And the stupidest thing about all this is that he ought to KNOW the left’s judgment today is all based on guilt by accusation and association, and any gotcha of any kind. But no, he wrote a book about how his forebears were racists. Today, that’s enough to get you cancelled forever — your forebears did something to somebody. And he still did it. MORON.

caseoftheblues | August 7, 2020 at 3:48 pm

Current college students possess zero common sense and even less ability to engage in critical thinking. Anything longer than a bumper sticker is beyond their intellectual abilities.

Lucifer Morningstar | August 7, 2020 at 4:15 pm

Whatever. Can’t really get worked up over the dipshit nonsense going on at colleges and universities. Rather hear that Pres. Trump has finally had it with the antifa and BLM terrorists and has invoked the Insurrection Act and is cleaning out the whole lot of criminal terrorists and their enablers in city and state government across the country.

Oh, I don’t think a lot of them misunderstood. Some of them clearly knew what he was doing, but exercised their power over him to make the point that only they get to determine who speaks, and that this speaker didn’t genuflect and grovel enough.

In this case, go ahead and attribute to malice. Not everything is because of ignorance or incompetence.

Want to prevent hiring one of these idiots?

Check this out:

Hire thinkers.
Not activists.

This reminds me of the periodic efforts to ban Huck Finn.

Non-readers are easily upset by books.

This is familiar: In 2008 a student & employee at Indiana University Purdue at Indianapolis was disciplined for publicly reading the book “Notre Dame vs. the Klan: How the Fighting Irish Defeated the Ku Klux Klan.” The student explained that the book was anti-Klan The union member who complained did not care that the book was anti-Klan but union member who objected did not care–nor did the union officials and school administrators who took the complaint. They rescinded the punishment when national publicity of their fascistic behavior became an embarrassment.

SeekingRationalThought | August 7, 2020 at 4:53 pm

So I gotta add Tulane to the list of schools whose graduates I will not hire? Ok. If they insist. They’re all a bunch of crackers anyway. 🙂

Students misunderstand… they are there to instruct, not learn. #Hilarious

This is the state of the insane left.

It doesn’t matter what you ACTUALLY say.

The only thing that matters is what they THINK you MIGHT have said, even if you have said literally the exact opposite.

    henrybowman in reply to Olinser. | August 8, 2020 at 3:09 am

    Or what your forebears did or said — you’re guilty of that, too.

    When I studied the constitution, I marveled at the “quaint” protections against things like the quartering of troops, and bills of attainder. Guess what? The left now issues social bills of attainder.

There are times I’m so glad I don’t have a college degree. As time advances, so does my thankfulness.

whose award-winning 1998 book Slaves in the Family traces the histories of people enslaved by Ball’s own ancestors. […] whose ancestors his family enslaved.

No. Ball’s family never enslaved anyone. The word is “owned”. We cannot allow them to remake the language to suit their ideology.

    DaveGinOly in reply to Milhouse. | August 7, 2020 at 7:19 pm

    You’re picking nits, Milhouse.
    If you own a slave, you hold that person in bondage. If you do not emancipate that person, he or she continues to be enslaved. The distinction between the first person to enslave another, and those who continue to hold him enslaved, is a distinction without a difference. (Also, persons born into slavery are first enslaved by the masters of their enslaved parents.)

      lichau in reply to DaveGinOly. | August 8, 2020 at 10:55 am

      Actually, Milhouse gave a cogent observation on usage. I understand that standard English has been deemed racist but I will do my best to use it in spite of such silliness.
      As an engineer, I accept that my literacy is borderline.

      Milhouse in reply to DaveGinOly. | August 11, 2020 at 11:42 am

      No, Dave. To enslave someone is to take a free person and turn him into a slave. Once that has been done the person is a slave. His enslavement is over. It happened in the past and is no longer happening.

      And no, people born into slavery are never enslaved. They have never been anything but slaves.

And another thing, while I’m on the topic: “Hate” is a verb, not a noun. The noun is “hatred”.

    alohahola in reply to Milhouse. | August 7, 2020 at 7:03 pm

    Yes! Yes! Yes!

    Not only that: One hates. One does not “hate on.”

    JusticeDelivered in reply to Milhouse. | August 7, 2020 at 7:15 pm

    Intelligence is a funny thing, and abilities are not distributed equally. I have a genius level IQ, but my abilities are science and math, I have always struggled with literary skills. I am blind to social skills, I simply do not pick up on cues, which other people do. I am probably Asperger, but I was never diagnosed, they did not bother when I was young to do those things.

    In my late thirties, I finally found a peer group, people scattered all over the country.

Tulane should have canceled their un-educatable students instead.

““Life of a Klansman: A Family History of White Supremacy” by Edward Ball has been widely hailed as anti-racist, but the title triggered students who didn’t BOTHER TO READ the book.”


Tulane = TooLame