Who is Hannah Berliner Fischthal?
Hannah Berliner Fischthal is a New York City’s St John’s University senior professor who was reportedly fired for reading a passage containing the N-word from Mark Twain’s anti-slavery novel ‘Pudd’nhead Wilson’ in her ‘Literature of Satire’ class, according to news outlets.
Hannah used the N-word once during a remote class on February 10, 2021, after she first explained to students the context of the word and said she hoped it would not offend anyone. “Mark Twain was one of the first American writers to use actual dialect,” Fischthal said.
“His use of the ‘N-word’ is used only in dialogues as it could have actually been spoken in the south before the civil war when the story takes place.”
Hannah Berliner Fischthal Professor
According to her Linkedin bio, Fischthal has completed her Masters in Education from the University of Columbia and her Ph.D. in English from New York University. She has also been working as a Yiddish translator with Craft Translation, Eriksen Translations Inc.
Hannah Berliner Fischthal has been a supplement professor at the Catholic college in Queens for 20 years.
How old is Hannah Berliner Fischthal?
Hannah Berliner Fischthal is believed to be in her 50s.
Hannah Berliner Fischthal Fired
On February 11, 2021, one day after the class, Hannah received an email from one of her students, who said she had to “abruptly” leave the call because of Fischthal’s use of an “inappropriate slur”. “It was unnecessary and very painful to hear,” the student wrote in the email. After the first complaint came to light, six other students also responded, including the initial complainant. Two defended Fischthal while the rest said the N-word should not have been used.
She also invited the students to discuss the controversy during the next class but she said the N-word was not used by anyone during that discussion.
Later Fischthal apologized to the student in an email and also set up a private discussion online about the issue that she titled “Insensitive Language”. “I apologize if I made anyone uncomfortable in the class by using a slur when quoting from and discussing the text,” Fischthal wrote.
“Please do share your thoughts.”
The novel that sparked the controversy, ‘Pudd’nhead Wilson’, was published in 1894. It is one of Twain’s lesser-known novels and focuses on the absurdity and tragedy of racism and slavery. The plot revolves around a light-skinned slave named Roxy who decides to switch her light-skinned baby boy with her master’s baby boy shortly after birth in order to save her child from being “sold down the river” and to ensure him a life of wealth and White privilege.
Hannah Berliner Fischthal Twitter
Fischthal stated that she was not aware of how racial politics have exploded at universities around the country.
On March 3, 2021, Fischthal was called into a meeting with HR about her use of the N-word in class, the subsequent discussion of it and a comment she allegedly made about a Black student’s hair. Fischthal said she only made a remark about a student’s head being wrapped up during class and it had nothing to do with her hair. On March 5 she was suspended pending an investigation she had violated the university’s policy against bias. On April 29 she was fired.