A white professor at an elite university has been nicknamed ‘Professor Karen’ after getting into a battle with a black professor who was against her plans to modify a math curriculum.
Stanford University education professor Jo Boaler, 58, drew opposition from UC Berkeley computer science professor Jelani Nelson for supporting a new math program for schools in California.
The California Math Framework would involve making the curriculum less rigorous in order to boost ‘equity’. Critics say it would ‘question the concept of student giftedness’, according to the .
Nelson claimed that Boaler was charging $5,000 per hour to push the framework theories and that black academics like himself were being ignored. The UC Berkeley professor retweeted a filing indicating that Boaler collected $40,000 total working with a school district in Oxnard.
Nelson also retweeted a user who made Boaler’s address public, though the person later deleted it. Boaler grew upset.
On Tuesday, Nelson shared a screenshot of an email Boaler sent him from the prior week.
The message from Boaler to Nelson stated: ‘As a courtesy to a fellow faculty member I wanted to let you know that the sharing of private details about me on social media yesterday is now being taken up by police and lawyers.
‘I was shocked to see that you are taking part in spreading misinformation and harassing me online.’
Nelson also said that Boaler ‘threatened me with police’ and likened the situation to white women calling cops on black people
‘After BBQ Becky, Permit Patty, Golfcart Gail, and all the memes, we now have Retweet Rachel,’ Nelson said.
‘Public advisory: don’t call the cops on black people for no reason. Black people disagreeing with you on Twitter is not a crime.’
Boaler countered that she mentioned cops ‘as a courtesy, because I thought it better that he did not engage with’ the person behind the original tweet.
Meanwhile, Nelson told the media: ‘The accusations came immediately after a sentence invoking police and lawyers, a sequence that could only be read in context as a threat against me specifically.’
The conservative Stanford Review then started calling Boaler ‘Professor Karen’.
Boaler has claimed that Nelson was lying about her making $5,000 hourly and continued to deny Nelson’s accusations.
‘I would never even think of threatening a Black man with the police, I know how serious that is in our society and there could be nothing further from my intent,’ she told SFGATE on Thursday.
‘It goes against all of my life work which has been to support and elevate the needs of marginalized students. I have publicly stated that I am sorry for the way it read – that I did not intend it to be threatening.’
Boaler later apologized to Nelson, while noting that his posts lead to her getting ‘threatening, hateful and misogynistic emails and texts’ and death threats to her daughters.
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