A law professor at Georgetown University has reportedly apologized after using a racist slur in front of his entire class.
The video that surfaced has since gone viral with more than hundreds of thousands of views on social media where Georgetown Law Professor Franz Werro is seen sitting at his desk during a lecture on international contracts and sales law on Feb. 10.
The video caused a major uproar on social media, primarily Twitter.
Several users had stepped in with plenty to say regarding the carelessness of the professor.
“I am not often left speechless but this has left me speechless,” one Twitter user posted.
“‘Chinaman’ is a racial slur. It’s not funny. @GeorgetownLaw what are you going to do about this,” another user commented.
According to the Georgetown Law faculty information site, Werro specializes in Private Law. Bearing three stints as Georgetown Law’s academic co-director and taught at numerous colleges both in the US and Europe.
On Feb. 11, Georgetown law’s dean, Bill Treanor, released a statement regarding the professor’s drastic mistake, “I was made aware of an incident yesterday involving a professor using a derogatory term in the classroom that is demeaning and hurtful. This term is a slur with a centuries-long history of harm to Asian people. As a community of students, staff, and faculty we must take a serious look at our culture, structure, systems, and processes to ensure that we are a community that fosters respect, equity, and justice. We have significant work ahead of us to create a community in which students can learn in an environment that is free from bias, where they are able to foster positive connections with others, and where everyone feels supported and appreciated for their contributions”
He further tied his words on his commitment to work with Asian-based organizations at the law school, and that he along with other faculty members would participate in cultural and diversity conversations and workshops.
He also explained that Werro apologized for his mistake by sending a letter to the Georgetown law school community.
“I apologize that I used an offensive term in class yesterday. The statement I made was just after the break in the class, during which I had enthusiastically noted the great diversity of languages spoken by members of the class. As a non-native English speaker myself, I did not appreciate that it was a derogatory term, as I now understand it is. I am very sorry I used it. I am committed to educating myself because I want all students to feel welcome in my classroom.” said by Werro.
The Asian Pacific American Law Students Association organization at the university explained that the derogatory term “Chinaman” is a slur sed to specifically label people of Chinese ancestry as “subhuman” during the 19th century.
“This term originates from a time where Chinese laborers were paid low wages (if at all), taxed heavily, denied entry to the U.S., denied the right to citizenship…portrayed in caricatures as criminal ‘destroyer of women and children.’…That anti-Asian sentiment has never fully gone away, and it set the cultural, societal, and legal foundation on which the U.S. enacted the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882,” said by the organization in a letter sent to the Georgetown University officials.
Students in the organization said they appreciated Werro’s apology but still felt it lacked empathy. They further emphasized that the use of the slur would subconsciously keep students of Asian descent from feeling as if they have an equal chance in class.
Their demands were that staff members participate in a mandatory that an implicit bias class.