Whatever you may think of the Bush family – and whatever you thought, in particular, of Barbara Bush, who died last week at the age of 91 – you have to find it absolutely disgusting for an adult in a position of responsibility to respond to the former First Lady’s death with public expressions of glee and hate. Meet Randa Jarrar, a tenured Associate Professor of English at California State University, Fresno, who sent out the following tweets on April 18:
Barbara Bush was a generous and smart and amazing racist who, along with her husband, raised a war criminal. Fuck outta here with your nice words.
PSA: either you are against these pieces of shit and their genocidal ways or you’re part of the problem. that’s actually how simple this is. I’m happy the witch is dead. can’t wait for the rest of her family to fall to their demise the way 1.5 million iraqis have. byyyeeeeeeee.
Within a few hours, these tweets had been re-tweeted by countless outraged members of the Twitterverse. The widespread anger over them led Jarrar to post yet another one:
All the hate I’m getting ALMOST made me forget how happy I am that George W Bush is probably really sad right now
She also boasted about her tenured status, her income, her presumed invulnerability from punishment:
sweetie i work as a tenured professor. I make 100K a year doing that. i will never be fired. i will always have people wanting to hear what i have to say. even you are one of them! <3
So certain did she feel about her job security that she told her critics where they could go to lodge complaints:
LOL! Let me help you. You should tag my president @JosephICastro. What I love about being an American professor is my right to free speech, and what I love about Fresno State is that I always feel protected and at home here. GO BULLDOGS! ️
Yes, she has freedom of speech, because she lives in a country whose Constitution contains a First Amendment guaranteeing her that freedom. But the fact that she has an absolute right to say what she wants doesn’t mean that her employer shouldn’t have the right to dismiss her.
The First Amendment doesn’t guarantee you your job: it only guarantees that you won’t be arrested for speaking your mind.
This situation raises a variety of issues. One of them is that university teaching jobs are hard to come by. There’s a ridiculous amount of competition for them. Across the U.S., there are a great many gifted people working as adjuncts: they teach a course here, a course there, they work hard, they earn a pittance for it, they have no job security, and they’re treated like peons. Why is Jarrar, of all people, in a tenured position? In these few tweets alone, she demonstrated several traits that, one would think, should turn off an academic hiring committee. The inhumanity, the arrogance, the self-importance, the braggadocio – these are very undesirable attributes in a faculty member.
But there’s more that needs to be said about Randa Jarrar. Back on Thursday.