Liberty University has deep racial problems. This would come as no surprise to those who monitor the school. What finally created backlash against Jerry Falwell Jr was a series of racial tweets that exploded in his face. As a result of the schools’ culture and Falwell’s behavior African-American athletes in Liberty University’s sports programs are leaving. They have reached their tipping point.
“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless
midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and
brotherhood can never become a reality…. I believe that unarmed truth
and unconditional love will have the final word.”
Martin Luther King
The very essence of your words is truth; all your just regulations will stand forever.
Psalm 119:160 NLT
Jerry Falwell Jr.
This post is going to be based off a recent piece in Slate by Joel Anderson. I have seen indicators on Twitter of people in the athletic programs walk away from Liberty University.
Recalling Jerry Falwell Jr’s Racist Behavior
When the COVID-19 pandemic was ongoing Jerry Falwell Jr created a mask that was implicitly racist. It was a picture of the Virginia governor wearing blackface and also had a KKK figure on the mask. It caused outrage and led to an African-American online professor to resign from Liberty. You can read about that in, “Jerry Falwell Jr’s Racial Blackface Joke with a COVID-19 Mask Results in an African-American Liberty Professor Resigning in Protest.” As the situation dragged on an Underground railroad was set up to help African-American Liberty University staff leave Liberty and transition into other jobs. You can read about this in, “The Underground Railroad is Active Again in the Old Dominion. This Time Its Saving African-Americans Trapped at Jerry Falwell Jr’s Liberty University. You can read about this in, “The Underground Railroad is Active Again in the Old Dominion. This Time Its Saving African-Americans Trapped at Jerry Falwell Jr’s Liberty University.” Then a group of African-American alumni drafted a letter that called out Jerry Falwell Jr’s racism in a petition. You can read that in, “McLean Bible’s Eric Saunders and Gavin Davis Call Out Jerry Fallwell Jr’s Racism in a Petition.” But there has been an ongoing development that has also been happening at Liberty University as well. And its a by-product of the culture that Jerry Falwell Jr helped create.
African-American Athletes Walk Away From Liberty
A number of African-American athletes in different sports programs at Liberty have committed to transferring and are walking away from the school. One of the most prized programs at Liberty is the athletics programs. Tayvion Land was on the Liberty’s football team. He was heavily recruited by Auburn, Boston College, Clemson, FAU, Maryland, Tennessee and Virginia Tech. Many of those programs are power houses in college football. Yet Liberty University was his choice. He was a defensive back at Liberty and while there he ran into racial issues. What triggered him leaving was when a Liberty professor made a comment about using a whip on Tayvion because he was African-American. According to Slate this happened in his summer math class. He and several other African-Americans walked out of class. He had enough and decided to transfer and leave. You can see his tweet below announcing his decision.
Tayvion was accepted by Norfolk State University which is in Norfolk and part of the Hampton Roads area. In addition to Land several of his African-American teammates such as Kei’Trei Clark have also left Liberty.
Other African-Americans also followed and decided to leave. Asia Todd from the Liberty’s female basketball program also decided to leave. Jerry Falwell’s Jr’s racist tweet became her tipping point. According to Slate Liberty is a hostile culture to African-Americans. Here is how she described it to Slate. “There wasn’t much diversity on campus. In class, I was always one of the few Black people. That makes you feel as if you don’t really fit in.” Asia Todd recorded her decision while wearing a Black Lives Matter t-shirt and her video has been making the rounds on Twitter.
According to Slate thee are a number of other African-American athletes who want to transfer. This blog would encourage you to read the Slate article about Liberty University in full. You can read it in, “Liberty University Poured Millions Into Sports. Now Its Black Athletes Are Leaving.”
Analysis and Why People Need to Walk Away
The racial problems of Liberty really comes as no surprise. They have long existed in evangelicalism. And they go back to the genesis of the evangelical culture wars. Why did evangelicals get involved in politics? It wasn’t due to the legalization of abortion in 1973. Instead it was when fundamentalists at schools had their funding threatened by the Carter Administration in the late 1970’s because they were still committed to practicing segregation. That is what triggered everything in regards to the engagement of evangelicals into politics. You can read more about that in Politico’s “The Real Origins of the Religious Right.” People need to leave Liberty as obviously the school is not a safe environment for African-Americans. Liberty is ultimately a modern day plantation that enslaves people and traps them at the fundamentalist way of life. Honestly, how many people in Human Resources in companies privately snicker and laugh when they get a resume that says “Liberty University” on it? Probably more than would be acknowledged. In order to close Liberty people need to walk away and let their feet speak volumes. For those African-Americans who leave this blog is grateful that they have left this toxic enshrinement. Now we need to get the others out of Liberty. This blog wishes those leaving Liberty well and is hoping more people continue to leave.