Academic who was sacked after calling right-wing commentator a ‘house n***o’ sues for discrimination saying using such language is a protected right akin to religious beliefs
- Academic sacked after calling conservative ‘house n***o’ is suing university
- Aysha Khanom lost advisory role with Leeds Beckett University amid race row
- Her organisation The Race Trust called Calvin Robinson a ‘house n***o’
- Mr Robinson had described abuse he received for being black and Right-wing
- Ms Khanom is claiming LBU discriminated against her political beliefs
An academic who was sacked after calling a Right-wing commentator a ‘house n***o’ is suing the university which cut ties with her for discrimination against her belief in critical race theory and black radicalism.
Aysha Khanom lost her advisory role with Leeds Beckett University after her organisation The Race Trust, a charity offering ‘racial literacy’ training to schools, made an incendiary tweet about Calvin Robinson.
She is now suing the university, claiming that her dismissal discriminated against her political beliefs. The case could see black radicalism – an academic movement which argues race is a social construct used to oppress minorities – made into a protected belief system, like religious belief.
Ms Khanom is being supported by Professor Kehinde Andrews, who branded Churchill a ‘white supremacist’, arguing the term ‘house n***o’ is not a ‘racial slur’ but a ‘concept that come out of struggles for racial justice’.
In February this year, the Race Trust account posted a tweet directed at Mr Robinson, who is of Afro-Caribbean descent, which said: ‘Don’t you feel ashamed that most people see you as a house n***o?’
Aysha Khanom lost her advisory role with Leeds Beckett University after her organisation The Race Trust, a charity offering ‘racial literacy’ training to schools, made a racist tweet about Calvin Robinson
An academic who was sacked after calling a Right-wing commentator a ‘house n***o’ is suing the university which cut ties with her for discrimination against her belief in critical race theory and black radicalism
Mr Robinson, who has written as a commentator for the Daily Mail, had described on an episode of the BBC’s The Big Question that evening the abuse that he had received for being both black and Right-wing.
He had said: ‘For example I have been called Bounty, Uncle Tom, house n***o for not having the right opinion.’ The Race Trust account then responded to a critic of its remarks on Twitter, calling them a ‘coconut’.
The term ‘house n***o’ is used to describe a person of colour who shirks their own cultural identity in order to assimilate into a white society, while ‘coconut’ describes someone who is black but aligns themselves with white people and culture.
Ms Khanom worked for Leeds Beckett University on an advisory basis through its ‘Centre for Race, Education and Decoloniality’ but it cut ties with her and condemned ‘the use of racist language’.
Mr Robinson explained how he personally had seen a rise in vile racist attacks from some people who considered his Black identity to be incompatible with Conservative views
(left to right) Calvin Robinson with Michael Gove, Nicky Morgan and Justine Greening
On an online fundraising page created to raise £5,000 to cover her legal costs, Ms Khanom claimed she was the victim of a ‘network of alt-Right activists’.
She wrote: ‘LBU’s conduct towards me suggests that academics should be looking over their shoulder before they make statements about Israel and Palestine, or about critical race theory. That is why this case and LBU’s role in it is not just about me and my reputation as an anti-racist.
‘Fundamentally, this is an important issue of freedom of speech.’
Ms Khanom said the tweets were not sent by her, adding: ‘No academic should find their contract terminated so publicly in the absence of a fair and thorough investigation.’
Emilie Cole, a co-founding partner of Cole Khan solicitors, which is representing Ms Khanom, told the Guardian: ‘Immediately publishing her termination on Twitter and publicly condemning her as racist was a gross abuse of power and sets a dangerous precedent.
‘ Ms Khanom’s case is of significant importance for everyone who stands for academic freedom, freedom of speech and equality.’
A spokesperson for the university told the paper: ‘We are unable to comment on ongoing legal proceedings although we can confirm that we will be presenting a detailed response against this claim.’