A website entitled “Professor Watchlist” was created on Nov. 21 to identify college professors across the country that promote “leftist propaganda in the classroom.” The project was founded by a nonprofit called Turning Point USA, an organization that “educates students about the importance of fiscal responsibility, free markets, and limited government,” according to its website.
The site provided a list of professors deemed radically leftist. Among the list was Boston College history professor Heather Cox Richardson, a scholar in U.S. history and the history of the Republican Party in America. In 2014, Richardson authored To Make Men Free: A History of the Republican Party, in which she examines “how Republicans’ ideological vacillations have had terrible repercussions for minorities, the middle class, and America at large,” according to a description of the book.
Although it is unclear why Richardson was removed from the list on Nov. 23, her initial selection is a testament to the impact of her work. She is an influential professor who has sought to educate students on the importance of equal rights for all Americans.
“I teach that the American government only works when it is based on the principle that every single American is equal before the law,” Richardson wrote in a response to her placement on “Professor Watchlist.”
Richardson and professors alike that speak up for the marginalized in society are necessary forces for social progression. Following an election in which the law was used to deprive many Americans of their fundamental political rights, intellectuals such as Richardson represent the floodgates that shield against widespread oppression. Richardson should not be discouraged by labeling and criticism, but encouraged that many recognize her as an influential figure.
Richardson’s audacity and integrity in communicating her ideas and research for the good of the next generation of Americans is commendable. In an era of political polarization, rational voices such as Richardson’s are the stitches that can heal the country’s wounds.
“In fact, I do what I do—all the teaching, writing, speeches and media—because I love America,” Richardson wrote.
Without educators like Richardson, the current generation of American students would be less enlightened about the problems that plague American politics, and less able to guide the country in the right direction in the future.
Photo Courtesy of Heather Cox Richardson