Tommy Curry earned a Ph.D. in philosophy at Southern Illinois University in 2008, and currently serves as a philosophy professor at Texas A&M University. As reflected in his course titled “Radical Black Philosophies,” one of Curry’s primary research interests is in Critical Race Theory, where, according to his faculty biography, he “looks at the work …
Tommy Curry earned a Ph.D. in philosophy at Southern Illinois University in 2008, and currently serves as a philosophy professor at Texas A&M University. As reflected in his course titled “Radical Black Philosophies,” one of Curry’s primary research interests is in Critical Race Theory, where, according to his faculty biography, he “looks at the work of Derrick Bell and his theory of racial realism as an antidote to the proliferating discourses of racial idealism that continue to uncritically embrace liberalism through the appropriation of European thinkers as the basis of racial reconciliation in the United States.” Curry’s additional research interests include Africana Philosophy (focusing on the the intellectual history of African American thought since 1800), Anti-Colonial Economic Thought, Colonial Sexuality Studies, and Civil Rights Jurisprudence. In addition to his academic duties, Curry also serves as the executive director of Philosophy Born of Struggle, an initiative that emphasizes the historical victimization of black people in America and around the world.
In 2012 Curry gave an interview to a blogcast titled “The Context Of White Supremacy,” a program whose slogan was “White People Are The Problem.” He opened the discussion by saying, “Today I want to talk about killing white people in context.” The fact that “[Martin Luther] King and peaceful white progressives have become the hallmarks of the black civil rights struggle,” the professor explained, served to “pu[t] a public relations face on the history of enslavement,” and to egregiously understate “the suffering of Africa-descended people.” Curry further stated that because black and white liberals alike tend to discourage blacks from pursuing social justice by means of violence: (a) “you can never have a political conversation about the killing of white people”; and (b) such a conversation “in itself is [deemed to be] evil,… not productive, [and something] that only evil black nationalists do.” Asserting also that “the black community … needs to protect itself from violent anti-black forces that are still killing our children [and] still attacking our communities,” Curry praised past instances of violent black “self defense” that had occurred during an era when “white vigilantism, murder, [and] state violence were all deemed normal.” Throughout much of American history, Curry added, whites saw anti-black violence as the vehicle by which “you preserved American democracy.” “You lynched black people because they were a economic threat to whites,” he said, “… [and] to show black people that they can never be equal, so they will never challenge you.”
In the same 2012 interview, Curry stated: “When we have this conversation about violence or killing white people it has to be looked at in the context of a historical turn, and the fact that we’ve had no one address, like, how relevant and how solidified this kind of tradition is for black people saying, ‘look, in order to be equal, in order to be liberated, some white people may have to die,’ I’ve just been immensely disappointed, because what we look at week after week is national catastrophe after catastrophe where black people, black children, are still dying…” Curry also claimed that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution historically had been misused to advance racist agendas – e.g., “to arm white people to put down slave revolts and revolts from indigenous natives.”
On another occasion, Curry declared that “white people and whiteness” were “responsible for the genocide” against Native Americans in times past, and for the “slavetocracy [sic] against African descended people” more recently.
In a December 2013 interview, Curry described America as “a society that is organized based on racial superiority,” a place where blacks are commonly defined as “non-human,” and a nation where whites “have clear advantages over people who are not white.” He also criticized “liberal white people” who “benefit from utilizing the strategic rhetoric of racial sensitivity,” which allows them to portray themselves as allies of blacks while they promote a watered-down, “integrationist” model of race relations. That model, Curry charges, “doesn’t address [the] structural oppression” that black people routinely face, and it falsely “assumes that you can educate oppressors out of their racist disposition.” Ultimately, Curry believes that white people as a whole are unable and unwilling to even acknowledge the many “privileges” they enjoy as a result of their skin color: “White people don’t want to question their own physical life and certainly not their own racial existence. Because that means they have to accept that death could come for them at any moment, the same way non-white people have to accept that. And they don’t want to question their existence, they’re not willing to give up their existence. They’ll hold on to their white life just as much as a [unclear] will hold on to a crack pipe. They are fundamentally addicted to the purity of what they see whiteness to be.”
In 2017, Temple University Press published Curry’s book The Man-Not, wherein the author claims that “America makes corpses of black males,” who “are still being lynched” on a regular basis; that “an innocent black man can be deprived of decades from his life and convicted of rape because his face came to a woman in a dream as her rapist”; that “racist accounts of black males depict them as lesser males who are lazy, unintelligent, aggressive, and violent toward women and children and who abandon their families physically and cannot provide for them economically”; that “racism against black men often results in their emasculation, criminalization, and death”; and that “[t]he Black male – the Ni**er – was constructed as the white race’s antipodal monstrosity, a sexual threat to the very foundation of white civilization if its savagery was not repressed.”
Further Reading: “Tommy Curry” (Philosophy.tamu.ed); “Furor Over Philosopher’s Comments on Violence Against White People” (Inside Higher Ed, 5-11-2017); “When Is It OK To Kill Whites?” (Rod Dreher, 5-8-2017); “Killing White People, Part II” (Rod Dreher, 5-11-2017).