Georgetown University law professor Paul Butler had some choice words on a NPR radio program for a caller who said her ancestors, who fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War, deserved honor.
Butler was a guest on "The Diane Rehm Show" on Monday when the call came in, reports Business Insider (video below).
"I'm not somebody who thinks the battle flag should stay there, but I certainly honor my ancestors," the caller stated.
I have no respect for your ancestors. As far as your ancestors are concerned, I shouldn't be a law professor at Georgetown, I should be a slave. That's why they fought that war. I don't understand what it means to be proud of a legacy of terrorism and violence.
Last week at this time, I was in Israel. The idea that a German would say, "You know, that thing we did called the Holocaust, that was wrong, but I respect the courage of my Nazi ancestors." That wouldn't happen.
The reason people can say what you said in the United States is because, again, black life just doesn't matter to a lot of people.
During an appearance on MSNBC's "All In With Chris Hayes" tonight (video below), Butler spoke about the call:
You know some people agree with me on the merit, but they said it was rude to say that I don't respect that woman's ancestors. So let me get this right, a white person says to a black person, "I honor the people who wanted your ancestors to be slaves," that's fine.
A black person says, "I don't honor those people," that's rude. That's white privilege all over again. And it goes to a larger issue, that when black people talk to white people about white supremacy, we're supposed to be loving and forgiving.
The problem is love and forgiveness are not productive in American politics. That's not how social change is achieved.