Students React to Writer's Talk by Burning Her Book

Jennine Capó Crucet was speaking out against white privilege
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 12, 2019 4:30 PM CDT

A visiting novelist at Georgia Southern University inspired such debate Wednesday that some students set her book on fire, BuzzFeed reports. Jennine Capó Crucet told a student audience about her novel, Make Your Home Among Strangers, which depicts a Cuban American girl trying to fit in with a privileged, mostly white group at an upscale New York college. But some students at the majority white public school took issue with her take on white people. "I noticed that you made a lot of generalizations about the majority of white people being privileged," said one student, per the student newspaper George-Anne. "What makes you believe that it's okay to come to a college campus, like this, when we are supposed to be promoting diversity on this campus, which is what we’re taught."

Crucet responded by saying white privilege is "a real thing that you are actually benefiting from right now in even asking this question." The conflict later played out on Twitter, and a few students got together on campus and burned her book in a grill. "I thought it was s'mores at first," says a student who walked closer and "saw the students yelling and laughing and throwing the books in the fire." For her part, Crucet tweeted that "some very amazing" students took her side in the exchange. "At the signing, we hugged & cried. I'm happy to know them and also legit worried for their safety." GSU President Kyle Marrero soon wrote faculty that "while it's within the students' First Amendment rights, book burning does not align with Georgia Southern's values." (Earlier this year, priests held a book burning.)

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