US Congressman Praises Heckling ofWar Protesters, Sparking Outrage

A protest against the Gaza War at the University of Mississippi turned violent when a counter-protester made racist gestures and noises at a Black student. The incident was endorsed by Republican US Rep. Mike Collins, sparking outrage and calls for his apology or resignation.

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US Congressman Praises Heckling ofWar Protesters, Sparking Outrage

US Congressman Praises Heckling ofWar Protesters, Sparking Outrage

A protest against the Gaza War at the University of Mississippi turned ugly on Thursday when a counter-protester made monkey noises and gestures at a Black student. The incident was endorsed by Republican US Rep. Mike Collins from Georgia, who wrote on the social platform X, "Ole Miss taking care of business" with a link to the video showing the racist jeers.

Why this matters: This incident highlights the growing trend of intolerance and racism on university campuses, which can have a chilling effect on free speech and create a hostile environment for marginalized groups. It also raises concerns about the role of elected officials in condoning or promoting hateful behavior.

The protest, organized by a group called UMiss for Palestine, drew about 30 students who chanted "Free, free Palestine" and carried Palestinian flags and signs with slogans including "Stop the Genocide" and "US bombs take Palestine lives." They were vastly outnumbered by counter-protesters who heckled and taunted them.

Videos from the event showed a heated exchange between a Black woman protesting the war and several white hecklers. After the confrontation, one of the men jumped up and down, making monkey noises and hooting at the woman. James M. Thomas, a sociology professor at the University of Mississippi, criticized the racist jeers on social media, writing, "Students were calling for an end to genocide. They were met with racism."

The incident drew sharp condemnation from university officials and civil rights leaders. University of Mississippi Chancellor Glenn Boyce said the school is committed to people expressing their views, but emphasized that "people who say horrible things to people because of who they are will not find shelter or comfort on this campus." The Rev. Cornell William Brooks, a former president and CEO of the NAACP, described the incident as "protest as performative racism."

The University of Mississippi has opened a student conduct investigation and is working to determine if more cases are warranted. According to the university's website, about 76% of students were white and about 11% were Black in 2022-23. The incident is part of a larger trend of protests and counter-protests on university campuses across the US. Since April 17, more than 2,400 arrests have occurred on 46 US university or college campuses during demonstrations against the war.

The endorsement of the racist heckling by Rep. Mike Collins has sparked outrage, with many calling for him to apologize or resign. Collins' office did not respond to requests for comment. Republican Gov. Tate Reeves also faced criticism for reposting a video on X showing counter-protesters singing"The Star-Spangled Banner,"writing,"Warms my heart. I love Mississippi!"The incidents underscore the deep divisions and tensions surrounding the Gaza War, both in Mississippi and across thenation.

Key Takeaways

  • Protest against Gaza War at University of Mississippi turns ugly with racist jeers.
  • Republican Rep. Mike Collins endorses incident, sparking outrage and calls for apology.
  • University officials condemn incident, launch student conduct investigation.
  • Incident part of growing trend of intolerance and racism on university campuses.
  • Over 2,400 arrests on 46 US university campuses during Gaza War protests since April 17.