Cornell University history professor Russell Rickford said that whites are "ready to perform treason to whiteness" and "commit race suicide" during a townhall event on Wednesday, addressing nationwide unrest over the Ferguson grand jury decision.
The event, titled "Ferguson: The Next Steps," was meant to address how minorities are treated by police, whom Rickford called "mercenaries for the corporations and the rich." At the root of this "authoritarian" system, Rickford claimed, was ‘white privilege.'
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"There’s still a slender minority of white folks, a very slender, but a slender minority of white folks, that are ready to commit race suicide," Rickford said near the end of his speech. "Which is to say, they are ready to reject corrupt skin privileges. They’re ready to perform treason to whiteness, as an expression of their loyalty to humanity."
Rickford said he supported the statement "fuck the police," calling it "one of the most astute, honest and meaningful responses to the events in Ferguson." He went on to call police "terrorists" and repeatedly said "we're charging genocide."
Cornell Review editor Casey Breznick said professors like Rickford were "operating within a totally different paradigm of thought."
"It's truly frightening, how they've co-opted the liberties and rights this country affords them to turn against that very country and those liberties and rights," Breznick said.