Edward Ball, author of Life of a Klansman, was poised to host a talk at Tulane University about his experiences as the descendent of a white supremacist, but the university cancelled it at the last moment after woke activists — both students and employees — complained that the event was “violent.”
Reason reports that Ball, who also wrote the award-winning 1998 book Slaves in the Family, was poised to speak about his new book on Thursday night. The book tells the story of his racist ancestor who participated in the Ku Klux Klan terroristic movement. It has been described by The New York Times as “a haunting tapestry of interwoven stories that inform us not just about our past but about the resentment-bred demons that are all too present in our society today.”
One would think that being exposed to the lived experience of someone who grew up under the shadow of racism would be well-received at the college, but members of the Tulane student community thought otherwise.
The event came under fire from students, who through an outpouring of anger, claimed that the event was “not only inappropriate but violent towards the experience of Black people in the Tulane community and our country.” Those who demanded its cancellation described both the book and the event as “harmful and offensive,” reports Reason. Others demanded an apology from the university for agreeing to host it in the first place.
Reason writer Robby Soave verified that the comments came from Tulane students, graduates, and even university employees.
Tulane’s student government penned a letter to the administration demanding an apology, which they claim would be the “first step in undoing the harm you have caused many members of our community, but is in no way the last. In our current political atmosphere, it is imperative that we are all actively anti-racist, and endorsing speakers like these is antithetical to the anti-racist work being done by students, faculty, and staff on our campus.”
A selection of the comments, posted on Tulane’s Instagram page, as highlighted by Reason, included some of the following claims:
"The last thing we need to do is allow someone who is even reflecting on the hatred of their ancestors to speak about white supremacy, even if their efforts come from a place of accountability.”
"There is nothing that a book on white supremacy written by the descendant of a Klansman can do to promote or influence an anti-racism atmosphere.”
Following the complaints, the event has been cancelled — or indefinitely “postponed.”
When some students voiced their concerns about the cancellation, an associate director of the university’s admissions office informed them to “go cry about it.”