The death of former first lady Barbara Bush on Tuesday, April 17, prompted warm words of remembrance for the woman America came to know as “everybody’s grandmother.” Yet not everyone has had pleasant words to offer since the passing of the sometimes controversial matriarch.
An English professor at the University of California, in Fresno has come under fire for her profanity-laden Twitter rant celebrating Bush’s death only an hour after it was announced. Bush, who was also the mother to a president George W. Bush, died surrounded by family after suffering heart and respiratory issues. She was 92 years old.
“Barbara Bush was a generous and smart and amazing racist who, along with her husband, raised a war criminal,” professor Randa Jarrar tweeted. ” … F–k outta here with your nice words.”
Jarrar, a tenured instructor earning a $100K a year, was clearly untouched by the former first lady and remained unapologetic in her refusal to mourn her passing with the rest of America.
“PSA: either you are against these pieces of s–t and their genocidal ways or you’re part of the problem,” she said in another tweet. “That’s actually how simple this is. 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.”
The college professor went on to boast about her six-figure salary and said all the hate she received for her comments was almost enough to make her forget “… how happy I am that George W. Bush is probably really sad right now.” Her remarks drew thousands of negative reactions from critics condemning her heartless tweets.
Some folks even demanded she be fired from the university.
I hope you find peace and one day walk away from this profound hatred. https://t.co/slEg1M6iIS
— Chad Felix Greene (@chadfelixg) April 18, 2018
This is how Randa Jarrar, a tenured professor at Fresno State, reacted to the passing of Barbara Bush. These are the same kind of people indoctrinating our youth on college campuses. pic.twitter.com/srz7rq9uMA
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) April 18, 2018
Absolutely disgusting behavior, and we trust these kinds of people to teach our young people? You should not only be ashamed @randajarrar (Randa Jarrar) you should be fired. pic.twitter.com/1jNYokWMGz
— William D. Belcourt (@Will12Bell) April 19, 2018
There were also those who didn’t take issue with Jarrar’s statements. Some critics pointed to controversial remarks made by Bush in the past, including one instance where she said Black victims of Hurricane Katrina who were being housed at the Houston Astrodome were “underprivileged anyways, so this is working very well for them.”
Here is actual audio of Barbara Bush saying that Black Hurricane Katrina victims who were being housed in the Houston Astrodome were "underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them." This audio has been scrubbed from the internet for years pic.twitter.com/o7E3eL17Dw
— Tariq Nasheed (@tariqnasheed) April 18, 2018
Hey remember when Barbara Bush said on the radio that the people displaced by Hurricane Katrina were already “underprivileged anyway” so the evacuation camp in the Astrodome was “working very well for them”? I do. Power to @randajarrar for accurately describing Bush as a racist.
— Jean Chen Ho (@jeanho) April 19, 2018
In calling Barbara Bush "a racist," @randajarrar said bluntly what newspaper obituaries disguised when they wrote that Mrs. Bush was "never shy about expressing her views," or that, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, her "candor got her into trouble."
— Laila Lalami (@LailaLalami) April 19, 2018
I'm sorry, but in a world where unarmed black kids can be gunned down & then described as "no angel"
I'll be damned if I'm going 2 remember a powerful white woman who said Katrina was "working very well" for refugees & got to die in comfort at a nice old age as any sort of icon
— Ijeoma Oluo (@IjeomaOluo) April 19, 2018
In a few weeks when you're trying to convince marginalized women that you got our backs & speak truth to power, Imma tape this bullshit tweet to your collective white feminist foreheads. https://t.co/vsigpjwdVS
— Ijeoma Oluo (@IjeomaOluo) April 18, 2018
Facing tough criticism, Jarrar has since deactivated her Twitter account. Frenso State officials said she has also been placed on leave while the university considers taking disciplinary action.
Fresno State President Joseph Castro issued a statement Wednesday distancing the school from the professor’s comments but noted her statements were made as a “private citizen.” There’s still confusion, however, over whether Jarrar’s tenure protects her from being fired for her remarks.
“On behalf of Fresno State, I extend my deepest condolences to the Bush family on the loss of our former First Lady, Barbara Bush,” Castro said in the statement. “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.”
“A professor with tenure does not have blanket protection to say and do what they wish,” he continued. “We are all held accountable for our actions.”
For now, Jarrar is still employed by the university.