Unwilling to overlook years of grotesquely offensive statements and maternal coddling of a war criminal, one Muslim-American California professor celebrated the death of Barbara Bush late Tuesday, with a series of jubilant messages that called the former first lady a “witch” and an “amazing racist.”
In tweets that have since been set to “private,” Fresno State English professor Randa Jarrar mocked the broad bipartisan praise for Bush (President Barack Obama called her “an example of the humility and decency that reflects the very best of the American spirit”), declaring:
Barbara Bush was a generous and smart and amazing racist who, along with her husband, raised a war criminal. Fuck outta here with your nice words.
She later wrote:
I’m happy the witch is dead. can’t wait for the rest of her family to fall to their demise the way 1.5 million iraqis have. byyyeeeeeee.
Faced with criticism of her comments, Jarrar tweeted that she would “never be fired” thanks to her tenure at the university.
“If you’d like to know what it’s like to be an Arab American Muslim American woman with some clout online expressing an opinion, look at the racists going crazy in my mentions right now,” Jarrar explained at one point. She later replied to one of her Twitter trolls claiming that “What I love about being an American professor is my right to free speech.
“What I love about Fresno State is that I always feel protected and at home here,” she added.
Officials at the university, however, are not so eager to embrace Jarrar’s message. Shortly after her first tweets, Fresno State President Joseph Castro released a short statement distancing himself and the university from the professor:
On behalf of Fresno State, I extend my deepest condolences to the Bush family on the loss of our former First Lady, Barbara Bush.
We share the deep concerns expressed by others over the personal comments made today by Professor Randa Jarrar, a professor in the English Department at Fresno State. Her statements were made as a private citizen, not as a representative of Fresno State.
Professor Jarrar’s expressed personal views and commentary are obviously contrary to the core values of our University, which include respect and empathy for individuals with divergent points of view, and a sincere commitment to mutual understanding and progress.
Castro later told ABC30 that while Jararr does have tenure, all other disciplinary options are on the table.
On her website, Jarrar says she was named one of 2010's “most gifted writers of Arab origin under the age of 40” by the Beirut39 collaborative literary project. Her Fresno State bio claims she “grew up in Kuwait and Egypt, and she moved to the U.S. after the Gulf War.” The university has confirmed to the Fresno Bee that Jarrar has been on leave for the spring semester.
Jarrar’s Twitter bio now reads, “This is my private account and represents my opinions.”
It also links to this Beyonce clip: