Students burn book from Neb. novelist
Latina author’s talk on white privilege angers some Georgia residents
The white students gathered around the fire, speculating why parts of the book were not already engulfed in flames.
“It’s a hard cover!” shouts one male student in a video amid laughs as rippedout pages burn, torn from a novel written by a Hispanic author who had suggested white people are treated differently in society.
That angered some students at Georgia Southern University.
In response to Jennine Capó Crucet’s talk on the Statesboro, Georgia, campus last week, where she focused her discussion on white privilege, students gathered at a grill and torched her novel “Make Your Home Among Strangers” — about a first-generation Cuban American woman struggling to navigate a mostly white elite college.
The tension began at a question-andanswer session following the talk, the university’s student newspaper the George-Anne reported.
“What makes you believe that it’s OK to come to a college campus, like this, when we are supposed to be promoting diversity on this campus, which is what we’re taught,” one student said at the microphone, the paper reported. “I don’t understand what the purpose of this was.”
Capó responded that white privilege was evident within the question itself.
“What’s so heartbreaking for me and what is so difficult in this moment right now is to literally have read a talk about this exact moment happening and it’s happening again. That is why a different experience, the white experience, is centered in this talk,” she said.
Capó, an associate professor at the University of Nebraska, did not return a request for comment.
Following the event, Capó praised some of the “very amazing, brilliant students” she met. “At the signing, we hugged & cried,” she tweeted. “I’m happy to know them and also legit worried for their safety.”
Other students had a different reaction. Several burned copies of her novel, using photos and videos to troll her on Twitter. One student sent a photo of ripped pages to Capó over Twitter.
“Enjoy this picture of your book!” a tweet captured by the George-Anne said.
That tweet and others collected by the paper were later deleted.
“While it’s within the students’ First Amendment rights, book burning does not align with Georgia Southern’s values nor does it encourage the civil discourse and debate of ideas,” the university said in a statement.
Other students were dismayed over the book burning, a violent rejection of speech most notoriously associated with Nazi Germany.
“It makes me feel like we are being represented really badly,” Carlin Blalock, a freshman music education student, told the George-Anne.