Avowed white nationalist leader Richard Spencer—who rose to prominence in November after leading the Nazi salute in celebration of Donald Trump’s electoral win—is vying for an appearance at Drexel University after a political science professor at the school sent a satirical tweet mocking the term “white genocide,” Vocativ reports.
Anyone at Drexel able to bring me to speak to the student body?
— Richard 🐸 Spencer (@RichardBSpencer) December 26, 2016
Spencer’s tweet is likely in reference to Drexel University professor George Ciccariello-Maher who sent a tweet Sunday that read, “All I Want for Christmas is White Genocide.” The professor has since clarified his statement, telling the Drexel University student newspaper Monday that the concept of white genocide is a “figment of the racist imagination,” and “an imaginary concept” worthy of mockery.
“For those who haven’t bothered to do their research, ‘white genocide’ is an idea invented by white supremacists and used to denounce everything from interracial relationships to multicultural policies,” Ciccariello-Maher said in a statement. “It is a figment of the racist imagination, it should be mocked, and I’m glad to have mocked it.”
Ciccariello-Maher also called the university’s response to his tweet “worrying,” noting, while the university upheld his right to freedom of expression, the school’s “statement refers to my (satirical) tweets as ‘utterly reprehensible.’”
“What is most unfortunate is that this statement amounts to caving to the truly reprehensible movements and organizations that I was critiquing,” Ciccariello-Maher added.
For white supremacists like Spencer and Daily Stormer publisher Andre Anglin, the university’s response to Ciccariello-Maher’s tweet proves the nationalist movement is “winning.”
“We are a bloc now with power,” Anglin wrote on his site Tuesday. “Institutions respond to us. A year ago, this same university wouldn’t have blinked before responding to complaints with a generic ‘we support the free expression of our teachers’ blurb. And not a statement on their own site. It would just be a statement to media.”
“This is what winning looks like, people,” he continued. “You’d better get used to it.”
It’s no secret that the white supremacist movement feels emboldened by the recent election of Trump. Earlier this month, Spencer delivered a speech at Texas A&M as part of a push to recruit “academic racists.” Speaking to a room of around 400 people, mostly protestors. Spencer declared, “at the end of the day, America belongs to white men.”
And last week, Anglin—who recently formed somewhat of an alliance with Spencer—announced an armed protest of neo-Nazis in Spencer’s hometown of Whitefish, Montana. “This will be an absolutely massive victory for our cause,” Anglin wrote. “We have never done this before.”
In his statement criticizing Drexel’s tepid protection of his right to free speech, Ciccariello-Maher, who received a deluge of death threats following his tweet, warned that institutions like universities “need to choose” which side they’re on.
“White supremacy is on the rise, and we must fight it by any means,” Ciccariello-Maher wrote in his statement. “In that fight, universities will need to choose whether they are on the side of free expression and academic debate, or on the side of the racist mob.”