A Princeton professor is catching heat after students in his classroom walked out because he repeatedly used the word “ni–er” during his lecture.
The incident happened on Tuesday when Professor Lawrence Rosen, who teaches a class titled Cultural Freedoms: Hate Speech, Blasphemy and Pornography, asked students what would be worse, a white man punching a black man or a white man calling a black man “ni–er”.
The Daily Princetonian reports the professor used the racial slur twice before students interrupted him.
“All the black students were looking at each other, as if asking whether he actually said that,” student Destiny Salter told The Daily Princetonian.
Malachi Byrd, a black, third-year student (pictured left), asked Rosen if he was going to keep using the n-word during class.
“Yes, if I think it’s necessary,” Rosen replied, according to the Princetonian.
At that point, Bryd stood up and walked out of class. He was followed by several other black students.
Senior Devyn Holliday told the university paper that Rosen defended his use of the word after the students walked out.
“It’s supposed to deliver a gut punch, so that’s why I used it,” Rosen reportedly said.
Byrd and the other students eventually returned to class, and Byrd pressed Rosen for an apology,
“I don’t think I need to apologize; I did not oppress anyone,” said Rosen.
The students filed a complaint with the university’s director of studies for Rockefeller College at Princeton, and director Justine Levine told the Princetonian in an email that she will work with students to resolve the issue.
In response to the controversy online, social media users note that black people give tacit approval to others to use the n-word when they allow white rappers such as Tekashi69 and Lil Pump to utter the word without repercussions.