On the two-year anniversary of George Floyd’s death on Wednesday, an associate professor at Boston University claimed that property is racist and the Black Lives Matter protests and riots following Floyd’s death are acceptable forms of expression.
In a Twitter thread posted to BU’s account, Saida Grundy, an associate professor in the university’s Department of Sociology & Program in African American Studies, said, “If we’re going to talk about George Floyd and really understand it, then we need to understand community reactions to it.”
“And we often hear politicians, we hear civic leaders from inside Black communities and from outside of them as well … we hear President Biden say, ‘Y’know I understand your frustration, but don’t destroy property,’ ” Grundy continues in the video. “Well, when you say that to Black people, who historically have been property, one of our greatest weapons was the looting of ourselves as property from the system of slavery. And what we see in communities is they are reacting to the very racism of what we call property.”
Floyd was killed while in police custody in May 2020 by former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin when the officer kneeled on his neck for almost nine minutes.
According to the Washington Examiner, an autopsy showed that he died from “subdural restraint” and “neck compression” that resulted in heart and lung failure. Floyd’s heart disease and drug use were also contributing factors to his death.
His death triggered riots, looting and protests around the country and Chauvin was later convicted of murder and sentenced to 22 years in prison.
The up to $2 billion in property damage caused by the riots could be excusable, according to Grundy, depending on “what these communities need.”
“I think it’s really important for people who see reactions of communities to not judge and to not make assumptions about what is good and not good reactions and not actually re-victimize communities by saying there’s an acceptable and a not acceptable way to react,” Grundy says in the video. “Listen to them, and then we can say what these communities need.”
According to the Boston Globe, Grundy has courted controversy online before for comments she made about white people.
In 2015, she reportedly tweeted, “why is white america so reluctant to identify white college males as a problem population?” and “every MLK week i commit myself to not spending a dime in white-owned businesses. and every year i find it nearly impossible.”
The Twitterverse was quick to take sides in the debate over Grundy’s comments, CNN reported at the time, with her critics reacting with fury and her supporters tweeting under the hashtag #SaidaGrundy.
Boston University’s then-President Robert Brown defended Grundy’s right to free speech, but also expressed “concern and disappointment” about what she said.
“At Boston University, we acknowledge Dr. Grundy’s right to hold and express her opinions,” Brown said, according to CNN. “Our community is composed of faculty, staff, and students who represent widely varying points of view on many sensitive issues.”
“At the same time, we fully appreciate why many have reacted so strongly to her statements,” he continued. “Boston University does not condone racism or bigotry in any form, and we are committed to maintaining an educational environment that is free from bias, fully inclusive, and open to wide-ranging discussions.”
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