MATTHEWS: On the resignation of Harvard’s president and the ‘race’ card 

Harvard President Claudine Gay, left, speaks as University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill listens during a hearing of the House Committee on Education on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023 in Washington. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

On Jan. 2, Harvard University president Claudine Gay resigned roughly a month after first being hit with allegations of plagiarism, resulting in what The Harvard Crimson described in their write-up as “the shortest [tenure] in Harvard’s history.” 

 Gay came under fire in December 2023 not just due to the plagiarism claims but also because of her shocking testimony before a Congressional committee in which she told them “context” would be needed before she could determine as to whether or not anti-Israel Harvard students who called for the genocide of Jews were violating Harvard’s rules on hate speech. 

Throughout the uproar over her statement as well as the ensuing debate over the plagiarism allegations, the race card was thrown with wild abandon by Gay’s defenders in academia and beyond, with some pointing to the fact she was a Black woman as the supposed “real” reason behind the criticisms. 

“Black women have always faced a double standard and my heart goes out to Claudine Gay because I know how it feels to become part of a right-wing propaganda campaign,” Nikole Hannah-Jones, creator of the discredited New York Times‘ “1619 Project” — which incorrectly claimed among other things that the Revolutionary War was fought to protect slavery — declared on X. 

“President Gay’s resignation is about more than a person or a single incident,” notorious race hustler Al Sharpton, a longtime MSNBC host, proclaimed. “This is an attack on every Black woman in this country who’s put a crack in the glass ceiling.” 

Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), went even further. 

“This isn’t about plagiarism or anti-Semitism. This is about racism and intimidation,” Bowman declared. 

“This makes no one safer,” Bowman, who is part of a group of admitted Democratic Socialists in Congress who frequently lean on the race card, went on to say. “The only winners are fascists who bullied a brilliant and historic Black woman into resignation. 2024 will be a battle for truth, democracy, and our shared humanity.” 

Left out of these rants was the fact that one of the people whom Gay was alleged to have lifted passages from was Dr. Carol Swain, a political scientist and former professor who happens to be a conservative Black woman. 

Swain was among the first to call for Gay to step down or be fired not long after news broke of the plagiarism allegations. 

“Fire Claudine Gay posthaste. She can be relieved of duties until the terms are negotiated,” she wrote at the time, while also calling on Harvard to “Stop listening to the racist mob of whites and Blacks who cry racism while being among the worst offenders.” 

The trotting out of the race card by woke leftists and their media allies without evidence every time a person of color faces criticism over their actions or ideas is the very antithesis of what their predecessors fought for, which was to be treated as equals at the table. 

Do these people really believe that had Gay been white she would have been given a pass? 

Just ask Liz Magill, who up until mid-December had been expected to be the president of the University of Pennsylvania for the foreseeable future.

Magill had been sitting next to Gay during that Congressional hearing and gave similar testimony about “context.” In part because of the backlash, which came from Democrats including the Biden White House, Magill resigned. 

Magill is white. 

Professor Marc Tessier-Lavigne, who was Stanford University’s president for seven years, resigned over the summer over “multiple problems” found in his research “after an independent review… found significant flaws in studies he supervised going back decades,” according to the New York Times. 

Tessier-Lavigne is white. 

Sometimes, oftentimes in these instances, it’s not about race.  Hopefully, one of these days Democrats come to realize that. Until then… 

North Carolina native Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a media analyst and regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.