Princeton University students walked out of an anthropology class after a professor repeatedly said n*gger several times during a Tuesday lecture.
It all started when anthropology professor Lawrence Rosen—who is a MacArthur Fellowship and Guggenheim Fellowship recipient— asked students in his cultural freedoms course: “What is worse, a white man punching a black man, or a white man calling a black man a n****r?”
In an attempt to spur a conversation about free speech, Rosen alienated the black students in the class. The Daily Princetonian reported that the discussion was based on the topic of oppressive symbolism. Recordings of the racial incident were provided to the student news outlet that reportedly confirmed the professor's statements.
“He was describing what is acceptable as free speech and what is not,” student Devyn Holliday told The Daily Princetonian.
Holiday said that there were only six black students in the lecture hall, and all were shocked by Rosen's usage of the word.
“All the black students were looking at each other as if asking whether he actually said that,” said Destiny Salter ’20.
A white student identified as E Jeremijenko-Conley ’20 said that he was not comfortable with a white professor saying the slur. Then, another student asked Rosen if he was going to continue using the word despite the outrage and that he was making his class uncomfortable. “Yes, if I think it’s necessary,” Rosen allegedly responded.
So, the student that asked the question, Malachi Byrd ’19, walked out. Then three more students walked out.
“Every single time he used the N-word, he used the word in its entirety,” said Salter. “He said ‘you need to suspend your disbelief for the sake of this class.’”
The students still in the class demanded that Rosen apologize, but he was steadfast in his belief in using the word several more times.
According to Salter, Rosen allegedly said, “I don’t think I need to apologize; I did not oppress anyone.”
The Daily Princetonian reports that students Jeremijenko-Conley and Salter have filed a report to Justine Levine, director of studies for Rockefeller College. She has since replied to them stating that she will work with students to resolve the issue.