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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Professor demands day of remembrance for racial injustice on 9/11

A Stony Brook professor garnered social media attention after she issued a series of tweets on Sept. 11 calling for a day of remembrance to honor the black and indigenous people who faced racism in the United States.

“Where is the reverence for the enslaved?” Crystal Fleming, an associate professor of sociology and Africana studies, tweeted. “For the victims of racial terror perpetrated by the state? Where is the call to ‘never forget’?”

Fleming stood by her tweets, stating that she gives social commentary similar to this on a daily basis. “If it is true that some people feel that racism should only be talked about on certain days, I would find that to be a very sad and unfortunate perspective,” Fleming wrote in an email. “The notion that there are certain days, or weeks or months of the year when we should not discuss race strikes me as very odd and potentially dangerous.” The chain of tweets consisted of about 30 posts with the most popular garnering over 350 retweets and 280 favorites. “Why doesn’t the United States have a national day of memory for the millions of black and indigenous people lost to slavery and genocide?” the tweet read.

Fleming continued: “No national recognition. No national acceptance of responsibility. No national acknowledgment of the on-going terror.”

The College Fix, a higher education news website, picked up the story highlighting Fleming’s remarks on the 14th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. “9/11 — and other public days of commemoration and mourning — gives us an opportunity to make connections between different forms of violence and terror, both external and internal, in order to build awareness and compassion for the different kinds of suffering that affect diverse communities of people in our country and outside of it,” Fleming said. “I try to do this work on a daily basis throughout the year.” Through her account, Fleming also accused 2016 democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton of participating in white supremacy. Fleming commented, “The only break we want you to take is a break from white supremacy. Can you do that Hillary? Can you do that?” in a retweet of Clinton’s.

“It is very important that students and everyday citizens alike understand the difference between opposing white supremacy — a form of racial oppression — and being “anti-white’,” Fleming said in defense of the comments.

Fleming tweeted these opinions from her personal Twitter account, which she attempts to keep separate from her professional account. Her syllabus includes the statement:

“I try to maintain fairly strict boundaries between my public writing and social media presence and the classroom. I’m not your teacher on my personal social media accounts, so please do not engage with me on Facebook or Twitter while you are an undergraduate student at Stony Brook University.”

Fleming was on leave from Stony Brook as a Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement fellow for the 2014-2015 academic year, according to her website. She is back for the Fall 2015 semester teaching “Ethics and Race Relations.”

One of Fleming’s areas of academic interest is the collective memory and slavery. She wrote a book entitled “Resurrecting Slavery” and plans to release another called “Colored Knowledge.”

“I often try to make links between how these difficult and painful issues are handled in various nations,” Fleming said. “Drawing connections between the history and on-going practice of racism and white supremacy in Europe, the United States and elsewhere.”

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