The controversy involving Debbie Almontaser was about a word that was written on the t-shirts of the group Arab Women Active in the Arts and Media (AWAAM), where she worked at. She was forced to resign because in the interview with the New York Post she talked about the t-shirts which the board of education told her not to. This entire situation I think shows how since the 9/11 situation Arabs and Muslims were looked upon differently. Debbie Almontaser had a history of working in a lot of organizations where she had helped people of different religion come together. Everyone seemed to have turned on her even though it was clear how innocent she was. I was surprised that Mayor Bloomberg had asked her to resign even though he knew her and awarded her for a lot of things. Her son was a national guardsman and reporters asked if she didn’t believe 9/11 happened.
This situation is kind of similar to the Ward Churchill controversy because it relates to how after 9/11 people had to be more mindful of what they were saying. Both of them didn’t deserve what happened to them. The price they had to pay was to resign from their jobs. I think that both were put in a situation where they were helpless because 9/11 is fresh in peoples mind and they wanted to project their hate somewhere. In the end Debbie Almontaser filed a law suit for being forced to resign and she ended up winning up to $300,000, which I think is fair.
I believe that it was wrong of the University of Colorado to fire Ward Churchill. The way the University charged Churchill on charges that doesn’t relate to what Churchill wrote about on the 9/11 attack. It proves the violation of his freedom of speech. Churchill wrote in his essay of how it was America’s fault that the 9/11 attack happened. When the right-wing Republicans found out about it they didn’t want Churchill to teach stuff like that to the students. I think that his view of the 9/11 attack shouldn’t be the reason why he should be fired from teaching since he is the professor of ethnic studies. He mentioned in the documentary of America’s bloody history like in the Contra War, No Gun Ri, Indochina, and Wounded Knee Massacre, so I understand why he thinks that because of America’s bad history with foreign countries why he blames America for the 9/11 attack.
I agree with Churchill that this controversy is like McCarthyism because during that time a lot of people were accused of being a communist when they spoke out against the government. Like the McCarthyism era the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) made a list called “How Many Ward Churchills?” where they charged professors who taught the similar stuff that Churchill taught which was over 60,000 professors. This shows how the people are putting this situation out of proportion. Near the end of the video when Churchill was being dismissed for academic misconduct there were students who were booing, this shows how the students also believed that it was wrong to fired Churchill.
Even though I think that Churchill shouldn’t have been fired but I do think that he shouldn’t have said in his lectures that the people who worked in the World Trade Center deserved what happened to them. Because of that reason he probably caused everyone to make this a big deal. Especially since it was after a few years from the 9/11 attack, where more Americans thought that the first amendment is not restricted enough. We as the citizens of the United States have the right to express our beliefs even if those beliefs don’t always please everyone.