Politics

Princeton Professor Slams Trump In Commencement Speech

| by Michael Howard

A Princeton University professor described President Donald Trump as a "racist, sexist megalomaniac" during a commencement speech at Hampshire College in Massachusetts.

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, an assistant professor in African-American studies at Princeton and the author of "From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation," made the remarks to a graduating class of 300 students on May 20.

"The president of the United States, the most powerful politician in the world, is a racist, sexist megalomaniac," she said, according to the Daily Mail. "It's not a benign observation, but has meant tragic consequences for many people in our country -- from terror-inducing raids in the communities of undocumented immigrants to his disparaging of refugees in search of freedom and respite."

Taylor stressed the need for political activism to combat "injustice," suggesting that Trump's travel ban was blocked by federal courts because the American people refused to accept it.

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"When Trump's first illegal Muslim travel ban was attempted, thousands of ordinary people flooded the airports around this country," she said. "And because of those protests, and the defiance they represented, that ban was stopped -- not once, but twice."

"It is not enough just to be outraged," she added. "Injustice has to actually be defied."

On May 25, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's decision to block Trump's second attempt at a travel ban, reports CNN. The Trump administration now intends to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Taylor also criticized Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who she said "embraces and promulgates policies that have already proven to have had a devastating impact on black families and communities."

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She also called for a change to the country's "political and economic status quo."

"For millions of people, the status quo is increasingly intolerable," she said. "It gnaws away at the tiny threads that millions of people are hanging on to in their daily struggles to make ends meet."

"Now is the time for defiance," she added. "Perhaps most importantly, we need hope."

Hampshire College President Jonathan Lash also addressed the graduates, encouraging them to take the initiative and shape their own futures.

"Fearless inventors and doers, the world needs you now more than ever," Lash stated. "You can learn anything, invent what you need, build what you can imagine. You are the change."

Lash sparked controversy in November 2016 when he decided to take down the school's American flag to "enable discussion," according to the Boston Globe. The flag had been anonymously set on fire after students lowered it to half-staff in response to Trump's electoral victory.

Following a spate of angry phone calls and emails, Lash saw that the flag's removal was not having the desired effect and decided to restore it "as a symbol of our hopes for justice, fairness and freedom."

"I hope this is not the end of the dialogue about these issues," he said at the time. "The underlying issues are very important for the country."

Sources: Daily Mail, CNN, Boston Globe / Photo credit: COD Newsroom/Flickr

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