Dr. Tommy J. Curry, an African American author and professor of philosophy, holds a personal chair in Africana philosophy and Black male studies at the University of Edinburgh.
Curry, 39, is arguably one of the U.S.’s most prolific race philosophers whose research focuses on the Black male experience.
Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 68: Jamarlin Martin
Jamarlin talks about the recent backlash against LeBron James for not speaking up for Joshua Wong and the violent Hong Kong protestors.
Here are 10 things to know about Dr. Tommy J. Curry.
After some comments on racial violence, Curry received death threats. He got the threats after the comments he made in 2012 were misquoted on a conservative website. “Being attacked online by white supremacists stains you in a certain way,” he said.
After the threats to his life, Tommy decided to move from the U.S. to the U.K. where he teaches at the University of Edinburgh as a professor of Africana Philosophy and Black male studies.
In 2012, Tommy appeared on a satellite radio show and delivered a five-minute talk on how uneasy white people are with the idea of Black people owning guns and using them to combat racist forces.
In the 1980s and 90s, Curry and his family lived in a mostly Black neighborhood in Lake Charles, Louisiana. They lived on the east side of the city and most of the white people lived on the other side of the highway.
Curry’s mother, a social worker, had told him to arm himself with an education, and that led to him joining the debate team in his high school. He learned how to arrange information into arguments and recite them at breakneck speed.
Curry is the author of “The Man-Not: Race, Class, Genre, and the Dilemmas of Black Manhood“, among other books. Much of his work is based on combining social science research with philosophy and theory. He claims that many of the theories used to explain the lives of Black Americans are not only incorrect but rely on outdated racist models of thinking.
In addition to the American Book Award, Curry has received several academic awards and honors for his research. In 2017, he was awarded the “Alain Locke Award” by the society of American philosophy. His publications and national profile earned him recognition as one of the top 15 emerging scholars of color in the U.S. by Diverse Magazine in 2018.
Fact-checking website Snopes and other news sources have vindicated Curry, noting that his words and research have been deliberately taken out of context. Curry’s name appeared in national publications as a symbol of academic freedom garnering support and drawing attention to the risks Black professors take on in their discussion of race and racism in American universities.
Curry said he went on teaching job interviews in the U.S., but the controversy often came up. However, in Scotland, the controversy didn’t seem relevant in trying to assess whether Curry was a good philosopher, said Nick Treanor, head of the philosophy department at Edinburgh University. Treanor said he and his colleagues are excited by Curry’s work, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.
“When I say I write to give voice to the Black males coerced into silence, I am speaking of the multiple kinds of violence — be it rape, intimate partner violence, or homicide and suicide — that remain unacknowledged,” Curry said in an interview in Inside Higher Ed.
#1 Macroeconomic Newsletter For Black America