Johnny Eric Williams, race hustler

Yesterday we met Johnny Eric Williams, a sociology professor at Trinity College in Hartford who in June posted some virulently anti-white comments online.

Johnny Eric Williams

Who is Johnny Eric Williams? His bio has been scrubbed from the Trinity College website, but according to a bio at the Springfield Institute, where he is a member of the board of directors, he received an B.A. from Ouachita Baptist University in 1984, an M.A. from the University of Arkansas in 1986, and another M.A. (1990) and a Ph.D. (in 1995) from Brandeis. Williams’s book African-American Religion and the Civil Rights Movement in Arkansas was published by the University Press of Mississippi in 2003, and he’s written for “media outlets such as Black Agenda Report, Racism Review, CounterPunch, Ctnewsjunkie.com and The Mark News (Toronto, Canada).”

Trinity College, Hartford

Let’s just say that that’s a pretty unimpressive CV. Eleven years from B.A. to a Ph.D. in sociology? One book, published by a decidedly minor university press? A handful of articles posted at radical websites? Not a single publication in a serious scholarly journal?

Briefly put, Williams doesn’t seem to have left much of a mark on the world prior to the current controversy. We did manage to track down an account of a previous controversy in which he figured. In 2008, an anonymous blogger wrote about being a guest lecturer at Trinity “some years” earlier. During the time the blogger was at Trinity, a controversy erupted there over a racist remark that appeared on a campus-related website. The blogger recalled that Williams, an “oh-so-PC prof,” took the lead in organizing a protest. Williams claimed, according to the blogger,

Williams’s book

that because he is black “I’m uncomfortable all the the time on this goddamned campus.” To prove how uncomfortable he feels he referred to a handful of minor incidents over a 13 year period. There was some racist graffiti left on a tennis court, rude messages written outside some dorm rooms and students in Halloween costume which Williams found offensive. None of this comes close to a real violation of rights. But apparently it is enough for Prof. Williams to feel uncomfortable “all the time.”

The blogger noted that Williams, at the time, was teaching a course entitled “Race, Racism & Democracy,” which examined “ethnicity and race as reactionary and revolutionary ideologies,” and another course, “Race and Ethnicity,” in which he discussed “persistent and perpetual forms of racial oppression” and illuminated how “the structure and process of politics govern…the everyday lives of oppressed racial groups in capitalist democracies.”

What emerged from the blogger’s recollections of Williams was a portrait of a classic race hustler. (Incidentally, the blogger noted that the online racist comment that had triggered the campus controversy turned out – as is so often the case in such situations – to have been the work of a black student – who claimed that she had posted the comment in order “to ‘test’ the real racial feelings on campus.”)

We’ve found out a bit more about Williams. We’ll get to that tomorrow.

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