Mason Professor Tweets Racist Stereotype

Controversial tweet from Economics professor Robin Hanson is under review by university


Mason Associate Professor of Economics Robin Hanson received backlash Wednesday after tweeting a racist stereotype in relation to the upcoming Juneteenth holiday.

Juneteenth is the commemoration of when Union soldiers landed in Texas with news that the Civil War was over and all enslaved persons were now free — two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. 

In the tweet, Hanson said “So what food is appropriate to celebrate Juneteenth? We actually like fried chicken & watermelon a lot.” Hanson deleted the original tweet. 

“I intended no humor or disrespect,” Hanson wrote in an email to Fourth Estate. “I am very sorry and deeply apologize to those that it hurt and offended.”

Interim President Anne Holton, Interim Provost Mark Ginsberg, College of Humanities and Social Sciences Dean Ann Ardis and Department of Economics Chair Daniel Houser released a joint statement saying that the tweet is under review. 

As leaders of George Mason University, we express our profound reaction of repugnance about this posting,” they wrote in the statement. “The posting by Professor Hanson is offensive. It does not represent the views of our university and is inconsistent with our values. His words are hurtful.” 

Hanson tweeted this after Gov. Ralph Northam said he would support legislation to make Juneteenth a state holiday in Virginia.