Videos | Freedom of Expression

Dr. Erec Smith: Associate Professor of Rhetoric at York College of Pennsylvania and Co-Founder of Free Black Thought

May 5, 2023 by Erec Smith

On March 19, 2019, Erec Smith critiqued a keynote address delivered at a recent conference in his discipline. He argued that the talk was a kind of performative politics that wouldn’t effect real change and challenged the author’s claim that teaching standardized English to students of color is an act of white supremacy. While the response was swift and isolating, Erec did not back down. Instead, he refocused his efforts, writing a book that dissects the over-reliance of anti-racist initiatives on identity politics and victimization and offers instead an alternative based on empowerment theory. He continues to support free expression and intellectual diversity through his work and writing. He is also one of the founders of Free Black Thought, a website and journal dedicated to spotlighting viewpoint diversity among black intellectuals. ACTA honored him as a Hero of Intellectual Freedom in 2022.


Launched in 1995, we are the only organization that works with alumni, donors, trustees, and education leaders across the United States to support liberal arts education, uphold high academic standards, safeguard the free exchange of ideas on campus, and ensure that the next generation receives an intellectually rich, high-quality college education at an affordable price.

Discover More