Charlotte Hays profiles Carol Swain (RTWT):
While the petition was circulated in November, the controversy grew from a column Swain authored in January of that year for the daily newspaper, the Tennessean. It was in response to the deadly terrorist attack on staff of the Charlie Hebdo satire magazine in Paris. In it, Swain voiced strong opinions on Islam that most academics would not dream of holding, and certainly not saying in public.
“What would it take to make us admit we were wrong about Islam? What horrendous attack would finally convince us that Islam is not like other religions in the United States, that it poses an absolute danger to us and our children unless it is monitored better than it has been under the Obama administration?” Swain wrote.
Swain’s column triggered protests, and the chancellor issued a statement expressing solicitude for students who were offended by Swain’s ideas. A campus-wide email informed students too delicate for Carol Swain’s dangerous ideas that counseling was available. The protests died down, but skirmishes continued. (…)
Carol Miller Swain was second of twelve children born to poverty in a dysfunctional family in Bedford, Virginia. There was no indoor plumbing or hot water for baths (…) A particularly sad memory: the children clinging to the legs of their stepfather as he chased Swain’s mother with an axe. Carol married at sixteen “just to get away from home.”
Three children were born but the marriage did not last long. Life was difficult. Carol worked on a garment assembly line, as a nurse’s aide, and selling door to door. She laughingly says that her Wikipedia biography overestimates her people skills at the time when it says she worked at a McDonald’s–she did but only half a day. “The reason is that I was too shy to call the orders out on the microphone,” she remembers, “and I was too nervous to hear what people were ordering. So I pretty much gave them what I thought they should eat. But I didn’t get fired. At the end of the day, I turned in my uniform before they could fire me.”
Carol had not grown up around people who had gone to college, and the possibility of doing so had never crossed her mind. But two people planted the idea…