SOUTH BEND, Ind. — A White Catholic professor at the University of Notre Dame was cited in the 180-page White Supremacist manifesto posted by Payton S. Gendron before he murdered 10 African Americans on Saturday in a Buffalo grocery store.
A letter to the editor revealing the citation of Dr. John F. Gaski was sent on Tuesday to The Observer, a student newspaper covering Notre Dame and two other Catholic universities in South Bend, Indiana.
The letter criticizes the university’s response to the shooting rampage, which is under investigation by the FBI as a hate crime, and notes that Gendron's manifesto cited a 2013 article from Gaski entitled “A Discussion On Race, Crime And The Inconvenient Facts” (published in the Murdoch-owned Investor's Business Daily).
Written in the wake of the murder of Trayvon Martin, Gaski's piece includes a wide range of anti-Black claims, including allegations of a “racial victimhood industry”, “race baiters”, “anti-American slander”, and a preponderance of Black-on-White crime in the United States and elsewhere.
“Yes, isn't it great news that the true condition in the U.S. is epidemic black-on-white racial violence?” wrote Gaski.
“Not quite, but recognition of the truth can at least serve as a starting point for understanding.”
Of particular interest to Gendron was Gaski’s discussion of Black-on-White rape, which included the note that he “would rather not report what is known about U.S. interracial rape statistics because it could be taken as incendiary”.
Gendron specifically cited his claim that “because the number of white-on-black rapes is so low nationally in any given year, the ratio ranges from 100-to-1 to infinity”.
(i.e., in Gendron's own words, “Black men are over a hundred times more likely to rape a White woman.”)
Gaski, a two-time Notre Dame alum who at the time of the article’s publishing was an associate professor of marketing in the Mendoza College of Business, is currently listed on the school’s website as an “adjunct scholar”.
He joined the faculty in 1980, and in recent decades has advocated in his professional capacity for a number of conservative causes—including the retention of nuclear weapons, freezing of the minimum wage, repeal of Obamacare, as well as battling against the so-called War on Christmas and—in his words—“The Liberals’ New McCarthyism”.
This month’s manifesto from Gendron cited similar themes, alongside fears of “White Genocide” and a “Great Replacement”. He traveled roughly 200 miles to Buffalo so as to kill as many African Americans as possible, and is known to have become radicalized via Far-Right reading materials and communities he found on the internet.
Very few details from the pre-shooting screed have been revealed since it was removed from Google Docs over the weekend, and the revelations concerning Gaski are among the first to name a specific writer Gendron cited.
Gaski was honored at Notre Dame in 2008 with an endowed professorship in his family’s name, and was also awarded his department’s James Dincolo Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching in 2016, the same year he received the Faculty Senate Award from his wider university peers.
At the time of his agreement to fund the professorship, the university exclaimed that “[his] name will remain a part of the student experience for as long as there is a Notre Dame”.
"A chair has high visibility," he said.
"It is prominent within the University and within the profession. That's not too much for a guy to ask in eternity!"
Update (5/20): On Thursday afternoon, the university released the following statement:
Update (5/22): On Friday, Gaski released his own statement:
Dr. John Gaski's own statement on his writing's connection to the #BuffaloMassacre shooter was released on Friday, I've learned.https://t.co/0DrsesFwNC pic.twitter.com/5NOJaZqH0S— Nate Tinner-Williams 🇻🇦✊🏾🌹 (@natemup) May 22, 2022
Nate Tinner-Williams is co-founder and editor of Black Catholic Messenger, a seminarian with the Josephites, and a ThM student with the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA).