It may sound very far-fetched, but unfortunately it is not as far-fetched as you might assume.
Today the Chronicle of Higher Education ran a story on Noel Ignatiev, a faculty member at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Ignatiev is the author of How the Irish Became White, and he publishes the journal Race Traitor, which focuses on the damage done by “the social construct known as the White race.”
Simply knowing that much, one might expect that Ignatiev has been the target of the sort of attacks that Saida Grundy has recently received. But in Ignatiev’s case, the primary impetus for the attacks is very surprising.
In 2013, Diversity Chronicle, which on its masthead warns that the “original content on this website is largely satirical,” published a piece purporting to describe Ignatiev’s inflammatory exit into retirement from his current faculty position.
He was not, of course, retiring, and the statements attributed to him in the article were very exaggerated versions of the already provocative statements that he had made on race, largely in the journal Race Traitor.
Ignatiev became aware of the article when the Far Right media went ballistic over the story, reporting and editorializing on its details because they had simply accepted it as factual—as journalism, rather than as satire.
It took a good while, but eventually the fact that the source story was satire—that is, fabricated for satiric effect–gained some traction and the furor died down. Ignatiev, a former steelworker with what seems to be an incredibly thick skin, came out of the experience with his sense of humor largely intact—though it is worth noting that the administration of his institution, at least initially, reacted to the furor over the satiric story as if it, too, unquestioningly accepted it as true.
Well, the new and topically related furor over Saida Grundy’s tweets has caused the Ignatiev story to be resurrected—and not just as a curiosity but as news. Several Far Right websites and media outlets have reiterated it as a backstory to the current controversy, without apparently noticing or without wishing to acknowledge that the source story was satire—that is, invented and not factual.
The article in the Chronicle is titled “A Professor Tries to Beat Back a News Spoof That Won’t Go Away.” It was written by Stacey Patton, and it includes an interview with Ignatiev that is in itself very much worth reading. The article is available at: https://chroniclevitae.com/news/1014-a-professor-tries-to-beat-back-a-news-spoof-that-won-t-go-away