A University of Georgia graduate student is catching heat after making racially charged comments in a Facebook post.
Irami Osei-Frimpong is a philosophy graduate student at the university, where he’s also employed as a teaching assistant.
Osei-Frimpong said he frequently discusses race and equality. However, critics believe he went a step too far when he made a Facebook post saying, “Some white people may have to die for Black communities to be made whole in this struggle to advance freedom.”
The teaching assistant said he’s also received backlash over a social media post that said “fighting white people is a skill.”
“I’m confused why that is so controversial,” he told the news station.
UGA officials have condemned Osei-Frimpong’s statements, saying, “racism has no place on our campus” and that it’s “vigorously” exploring all available legal options on how to handle the situation. In a statement, the university said it is also seeking advice from the attorney general’s office to ensure the possible legal action taken is still in accordance with the First Amendment.
A spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office confirmed the matter is currently under review, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, presumably referring to the state office.
In an interview with radio station WGAU on Tuesday, Osei-Frimpong insisted he never called for violence but believes it should definitely remain an option.
“It’s just a fact of history that racial justice often comes at the cost of white life,” he said. “I didn’t advocate for violence. I was just honest of racial progress.”
Later that day, Osei-Frimpong made a post clarifying his comments about white folks dying by mentioning counterprotester Heather Heyer, who was killed during the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va. in 2017. “She didn’t wake up that day to die … But she paid the price,” he wrote.
The graduate student also posted a 45-minute video to YouTube last Friday where he discussed using “nonviolent militancy” to fight white supremacy.
“Before white people will shoot you, they’ll try to take your job, they’ll try to take your house, they’ll threaten you, they’ll send you to prison,” he explained. “The amount of fear … in Black communities of white people is just horrifying.”
In the video, Osei-Frimpong repeatedly calls white people “crazy” but acknowledges that not all whites are that way and that some “allies are trying to do the right thing.”
His remarks have drawn mixed reactions from students and staff on campus.
“I would generally agree with it. I think Black people in this country have been marginalized,” student Andrew Davis told Channel 2 Action News. Meanwhile, some UGA alumni have threatened to withhold their donations after learning of Osei-Frimpong’s comments, according to the station.
When asked if he was afraid he might lose his position, the teaching assistant replied, “If they fire me, they’d be firing me for doing my job.”