Human Rights

Black Staffers and Athletes Leave Liberty University After Jerry Falwell Jr.’s Racist Tweet

Kudos to the Black staff members and student-athletes who are leaving Liberty University as a response to the university’s President Jerry Falwell Jr.’s offensive tweet that mocked Virginia governor Ralph Northam (D) with racist imagery from Northam’s medical school yearbook.

It takes guts to do what Kei Trel (Tre) Clark, Tayvion Land, Asia Todd, and others are doing — leaving the university behind like the bad memory it should be.

So far, four African-American staff members have left the school and an equal number of Black athletes say they intend to do the same in the wake of Falwell’s tweet, The Associated Press reports. Their response comes a few weeks after a group of Black graduates signed a letter condemning Falwell for the tweet and calling for him to apologize, The Hill reports.

In his tweet from late May, Falwell complained about the executive order requiring Virginia residents to wear face coverings in public and he used the opportunity to smack Northam, saying he would only wear a mask if it featured a photo from the governor’s medical school yearbook. That photo showed one man in a Ku Klux Klan robe and another man in blackface.

The photo caused a firestorm of media scrutiny when it surfaced last year and many people called for the governor’s resignation, including such notable figures as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). And quite frankly, resigning would have been the decent thing to do. It’s shameful that Northam did this.

But Falwell is equally shameful, especially for reusing the racist tweet to repudiate “Governor Blackface.”

“I was adamantly opposed to the mandate from @GovernorVa requiring citizens to wear face masks until I decided to design my own,” he wrote. “If I am ordered to wear a mask, I will reluctantly comply, but only if this picture of Governor Blackface himself is on it.”

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That repugnantly vile tweet has since been removed. But fortunately, Falwell faced plenty of backlash from many people online and from Black alumni for posting the tweet. He has since apologized, but the damage was done and he hurt a lot of innocent people for absolutely no good reason.

“After listening to African-American LU leaders and alumni over the past week and hearing their concerns, I understand that by tweeting an image to remind all of the governor’s racist past,” Falwell wrote in a tweet. “I actually refreshed the trauma that image has caused and offended some by using the image to make a political point. Based on our long relationships, they uniformly understood this was not my intent, but because it was the result.”

Some members of the school’s Board of Trustees have defended him, including Jerry Prevo, the board chairman claiming that the school’s officials “know him and know him not to be a racist.”

But Falwell’s apology is too little too late for at least some Black staff members and many athletes who are now looking to attend school elsewhere. Including football players Land and Clark, and basketball player Todd, the latest this week to announce their intentions to leave, citing the school’s “racial insensitivity” and saying the university is culturally “incompetent within in multiple levels of leadership.”

I’ve included their tweets below, and they are far more erudite than anything Falwell ever says. Really, the Trump-supporting fool is a walking encyclopedia of stupid.

meet the author

Megan has lived in California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida and she currently lives in Central America. Living in these places has informed her writing on politics, science, and history. She is currently owned by 15 cats and 3 dogs and regularly owns Trump supporters when she has the opportunity.

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