Black Information Network
An 84-year-old historian allegedly refused to apologize after claiming her life would be easier if she was Black while speaking at a conference last month.
According to the New York Post, Lois Banner, a USC professor emerita of history, made the alleged remark at the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians, which she co-founded in the 1970s.
Ph.D. candidate Stephanie Narrow, who attended the event, took to Twitter to detail how the incident unfolded.
“Well, the Berks plenary just took a turn. A white senior scholar at the 50th-anniversary plenary VERY publicly, and unapologetically, said that she wished she was Black so her professional life would be easier,” Narrow tweeted earlier this week, per the Post.
Narrow said the 84-year-old historian declined to apologize for her comment despite receiving swift backlash.
“She was immediately called out for her blatantly racist remarks and refused to apologize, let alone listen to the reason why her remarks were [horrifyingly] wrong: ‘You won’t change my mind. I’m 84 years old,’” the attendee wrote on Twitter.
A second attendee, Deirdre Cooper Owens, echoed Narrow’s sentiments.
“The Berks Conference was a beautiful one until it was soiled by Lois Banner’s hatefully racist comments. Yes, I did speak out forcefully against her vitriol because she needed to keep Black women’s [names] out of her mouth,” Owens tweeted.
The Berkshire Conference of Women Historians committee addressed the incident in a statement on Twitter.
“The Berks officers do not condone or support the inappropriate remarks made by one of the speakers tonight. A formal statement from the presidents will be made after the break,” the statement reads.
Officials also reportedly held a meeting to discuss a plan of action in light of the incident.
Join our email list to stay connected.