On her deathbed, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II has again – unwittingly – caused a stir in America. As news spread that the royal family had moved to Balmoral to be with the dying queen, American professor Uju Anya tweeted: “I hear the king in chief of a thieving, raping, genocidal empire is finally dying. May her pain be unbearable.
Twitter deleted the tweet, but by then a digital mob was already embroiled in an online war of words about racism, history, civilization and free speech. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos tweeted: “And this is someone who has to work for a better world? I don’t think so.” Anya replied: “Otoro gba gbue gi” — as in “Kolere get” in Igbo, the Nigerian language she grew up with: “May you and everyone who has been wronged by your merciless greed remember you fondly as I remember my settlers.”
Those who registered online for Anya refer to Nigeria’s civil war in the 1960s, when the Nigerian government, backed by Britain, waged a brutal war against separatists in Biafra province. The siege of the province led to a famine that killed nearly half a million people in Biafra, mostly the Igbo people. “The global Biafran community applauds your strength and unparalleled courage to air the deep discontent of Biafrans,” he tweeted. A self-proclaimed freedom fighter.
Anya’s words fall into a plowed field of American cultural and political debate, where legal action is being taken in some states against teachers who “mistreat” the nation’s history. That’s how it is Draft bill in the state of Ohio Prohibits schools and educators from teaching that “slavery and racism are deviations from and betrayals of the true principles on which America was founded, including liberty and equality.” The Republican Party, spurred on by Donald Trump, has long campaigned against an educational theory… Critical Race Theory is called This suggests that race and inequality should weigh heavily in any scientific research.
Uju Anya is an Associate Professor of Second Language Acquisition at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania. According to his own website, “He teaches and researches in critical applied linguistics, critical sociology, new language learning, and critical ethnography and discourse science.”
The university distanced itself in a statement From Anya’s tweet. “We do not accept insulting and objectionable messages on Uju Anya’s personal Twitter account. Freedom of expression is the purpose of higher education. But the views he shared do not entirely represent the company’s values or the standard of discussion we uphold.
A version of this article appeared in the September 12, 2022 issue of the newspaper
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