- Cindy Ord/ Getty
- At Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Cuban-American author Jennine Capo Crucet gave a speech about diversity and white privilege.
- One student asked if she had “the authority to address issues of race and white privilege on campus,” which prompted an angry exchange amongst students in the auditorium.
- Crucet later learned that students were filming themselves burning her book on campus.
- The author decided to cancel her second speaking engagement at the university.
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Jennine Capo Crucet, a Cuban-American author, canceled her second speaking event at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro after her first talk was interrupted by an angry exchange among students. The author later learned that students were burning her book on campus.
Crucet was on campus Wednesday to talk about diversity and to read from her book “Make Your Home Among Strangers,” which was assigned as mandatory reading for all freshmen students. The book follows a Cuban-American student as she acclimates to an elite college environment.
At her talk on Wednesday, a white student stood up and asked if Crucet had “the authority to address issues of race and white privilege on campus,” according to a statement the author released.
“I noticed that you made a lot of generalizations about the majority of white people being privileged,” the student asked, according to the school newspaper, The George-Anne. “What makes you believe that it’s okay 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. I don’t understand what the purpose of this was.”
The questions prompted students to yell at each other from across the auditorium.
“I came here because I was invited and I talked about white privilege because it’s a real thing that you are actually benefiting from right now in even asking this question,” Crucet responded over students’ shouts.
After the event, Crucet learned that students were burning her book on campus. Another student tweeted at the author, writing, “Are you usually that racist or are you putting on a front to promote your pointless and shitty book at my college? Work on your ignorance and racism toward white people.”
so after our FYE book’s author came to my school to talk about it… these people decide to burn her book because “it’s bad and that race is bad to talk about”. white people need to realize that they are the problem and that their privilege is toxic. author is a woman of color. pic.twitter.com/HiX4lGT7Ci
— elaina⭐️ (@elainaaan) October 10, 2019
Georgia Southern spokeswoman Jennifer Wise told the Daily Mail that the students will not be disciplined, as they were exercising their first amendment rights.
In response, Crucet canceled the second speech she was expected to give.
“This book began as an act of love and an attempt at a deeper understanding,” Crucet said in her statement. “I hope that GSU can act from the same place and work to affirm the humanity of those students who might understandably feel unsafe in the aftermath of the event and the book burning and that the campus continues the difficult and necessary conversation that began in that auditorium.”