Tuesday, May 15, 2012

"What a collection of left-wing victimization claptrap..."

Great post in the Chronicle of Higher Education by Naomi Schaefer Riley on the scandal of Black Studies departments and other race and gender based academic niches. It's so good I'm reproducing it in full:

The Most Persuasive Case for Eliminating Black Studies? Just Read the Dissertations. 

April 30, 2012, 10:24 pm 
By Naomi Schaefer Riley

You’ll have to forgive the lateness but I just got around to reading The Chronicle’s recent piece on the young guns of black studies. If ever there were a case for eliminating the discipline, the sidebar explaining some of the dissertations being offered by the best and the brightest of black-studies graduate students has made it. What a collection of left-wing victimization claptrap. The best that can be said of these topics is that they’re so irrelevant no one will ever look at them. 
That’s what I would say about Ruth Hayes’ dissertation, “‘So I Could Be Easeful’: Black Women’s Authoritative Knowledge on Childbirth.” It began because she “noticed that nonwhite women’s experiences were largely absent from natural-birth literature, which led me to look into historical black midwifery.” How could we overlook the nonwhite experience in “natural birth literature,” whatever the heck that is? It’s scandalous and clearly a sign that racism is alive and well in America, not to mention academia. 
Then there is Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, author of “Race for Profit: Black Housing and the Urban Crisis of the 1970s.” Ms. Taylor believes there was apparently some kind of conspiracy in the federal government’s promotion of single family homes in black neighborhoods after the unrest of the 1960s. Single family homes! The audacity! But Ms. Taylor sees that her issue is still relevant today. (Not much of a surprise since the entirety of black studies today seems to rest on the premise that nothing much has changed in this country in the past half century when it comes to race. Shhhh. Don’t tell them about the black president!) She explains that “The subprime lending crisis, if it did nothing else, highlighted the profitability of racism in the housing market.” The subprime lending crisis was about the profitability of racism? Those millions of white people who went into foreclosure were just collateral damage, I guess. 
But topping the list in terms of sheer political partisanship and liberal hackery is La TaSha B. Levy. According to the Chronicle, “Ms. Levy is interested in examining the long tradition of black Republicanism, especially the rightward ideological shift it took in the 1980s after the election of Ronald Reagan. Ms. Levy’s dissertation argues that conservatives like Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas, John McWhorter, and others have ‘played one of the most-significant roles in the assault on the civil-rights legacy that benefited them.’” The assault on civil rights? Because they don’t favor affirmative action they are assaulting civil rights? Because they believe there are some fundamental problems in black culture that cannot be blamed on white people they are assaulting civil rights? 
Seriously, folks, there are legitimate debates about the problems that plague the black community from high incarceration rates to low graduation rates to high out-of-wedlock birth rates. But it’s clear that they’re not happening in black-studies departments. If these young scholars are the future of the discipline, I think they can just as well leave their calendars at 1963 and let some legitimate scholars find solutions to the problems of blacks in America. Solutions that don’t begin and end with blame the white man.
She's exactly right, of course. Black Studies is really "Far left Black Victimology". The same goes for Women's Studies and LGBT Studies, etc. It's just whack-a-loon lefty politics in academic blackface/drag. There are many important aspects of black life in America-- the disintegration of the black nuclear family, the educational collapse of inner city schools, the horrendous violent crime-- that are critical topics for research. Honest research on these matters would obviously lead to questions about liberal government programs/policies that foster government dependency and replace the husband/father in poor black families, and with Democrat-licking teachers' unions concerned more with teacher sinecure than student success, and with "crime prevention" fantasies (midnight basketball!) that serve only to employ bureaucrats who dream up crime-prevention fantasies and that have turned our inner cities into war zones with violent death rates for young black men that exceed the death rates of American soldiers in Fallujah.

What are the chances of seeing honest research-- research that might upset the pretensions of the liberal academic elites-- done in Black Studies departments? About the same chance as seeing a delegate at the Democratic National Convention who's not receiving some kind of government check.


So, you ask, how was Ms. Riley's perceptive essay received in the Chronicle of Higher Education?

She was fired. She was fired specifically for writing the post.

Read all about it. 


  1. "It's so good I am shamelessly violating the author's (or journal's) copyright. LOL I am breaking the law but it doesn't matter because I am a brain surgeon!"

  2. "That’s what I would say about Ruth Hayes’ dissertation, “‘So I Could Be Easeful’: Black Women’s Authoritative Knowledge on Childbirth.” It began because she “noticed that nonwhite women’s experiences were largely absent from natural-birth literature, which led me to look into historical black midwifery.”"

    While one might argue that this is a fairly limited topic, I'm trying to figure out exactly what part of this is "left-wing victimization claptrap". If this is what passes for journalism in Mrs. Riley's mind, no wonder she was fired.

  3. What racist crap, from Riley’s assertion that the “legitimate” subjects for black-studies are the black community’s high incarceration rates, low graduation rates, and high out-of-wedlock birth rates, to Egnor’s assertion that ALL black studies research is dishonest.


  4. My two cents:
    Race based studies are racialist by default.
    Simple really, but none the less true.
    Black people need no more or less education than any other group. Treating them like special needs people is condescending, arrogant, racist and quite simply looking for trouble. Sooner or later that community will realize it is being HAD.
    The studies of history should include ALL the contributions of the various communities to the history of that nation. Each region is obviously going to vary in that aspect, and should teach accordingly. Slavery is an issue that should be addressed by all students. Modern slavery too.
    The simple fact is that parents should be teaching their children culture, not some state organ. University students, on the other hand, should be learning about the culture they live in or one they intend to further study to an end of some sort (ie a practical career choice).
    Then there is above mentioned the practical side of this. What exactly does a major in 'black studies' do for a living? Teach MORE 'black studies'? How many professors and curators are needed for such a role?
    Sounds like the invention of guilty white racists to me. Jim Crow anyone?

  5. Keep repeating, "I am not a racist", silly cwusader, and you'll be fine. Works for Egnor, too!

  6. Anon,
    Did I claim to be pure and without sin? No.
    Did I claim to have no racist inclinations, prejudices, or bias? No, I did not.
    I control these prejudices, as I know they exist in ALL of us. I DEPLORE my own racism as sinful.
    Do you? Do you even admit to having it?
    The way I see it we are all racist - ALL of us - if even only a little bit, even if well hidden and suppressed.
    Such prejudices may only be addressed when they are recognized.
    You keep on pretending you, and people like you, can 'end racism' by fiat and indoctrination.
    People like myself will continue to reach out and build bridges. We will continue to evaluate our own position and those of our opposite numbers, in order to curb and control that sinful instinct to classify, stereotype, discriminate, and shun based on observed material differences.
    We will use FREEDOM to open the eyes of all concerned.
    We will continue to reach for knowledge of the soul of men, and not base our opinions of them on their genotype.
    I am a repentant racist (sinner), while you pretend to be free of that sin - and deny the existence of ALL sin.
    Your 'scientific' approach is inept.
    Yet another example of the fallacy of your monism (positivism/scientism).