Chronicle of Higher Education Fires Blogger For Challenging Seriousness of Black Studies Depts.


Over at the Chronicle of Higher Education's lively and horribly-named "Brainstorm" blog, contributor Naomi Schaefer Riley has been fired for a post questioning the intellectual seriousness and validity of black studies departments.

After "several thousand" readers of the five-year-old group blog complained, explains editor Liz McMillen, the Chron decided to act:

…we have taken to heart what you said.

We now agree that Ms. Riley's blog posting did not meet The Chronicle's basic editorial standards for reporting and fairness in opinion articles. As a result, we have asked Ms. Riley to leave the Brainstorm blog….

I sincerely apologize for the distress these incidents have caused our readers and appreciate that so many of you have made your sentiments known to us.

One theme many of you have sounded is that you felt betrayed by what we published; that you welcome healthy informed debate, but that in this case, we did not live up to the expectations of the community of readers we serve.

You told us we can do better, and we agree.

Whole note here.

What did Schaefer Riley, the author of two books about higher education, do to warrant getting canned? Her primary offense was writing a post titled, "The Most Persuasive Case for Eliminating Black Studies? Just Read the Dissertations." Keying off a recent Chronicle story touting Ph.D. candidates in black studies, Schaefer Riley notes in part:

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….

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?

After a major and largely negative response to that post, Schaefer Riley followed up with a second post that reads in part:

The comments regarding my post seem to boil down to the following:

I am picking on people because they are black (and I am a racist).
I am picking on people even though I don't have a Ph.D.
I am picking on people who are too young and inexperienced to defend themselves.
I am picking on people even though I haven't read their entire dissertations….

Such is the state of academic research these days. The disciplines multiply. The publication topics become more and more irrelevant and partisan. No one reads them. And the people whom we expect to offer undergraduates a broad liberal-arts education (in return for billions of dollars from parents and taxpayers) never get trained to do so. Instead the ivory tower pushes them further and further into obscurity.

As it happens, I agree with Schaefer Riley's large point that academic disciplines are multiplying and that many, if not most, academics (at least in the humanities and social sciences) are becoming more and more partisan and obscurantist.

I disagree with her implication that some of the topics mentioned in her posts are useless because they speak to small audiences, that universities are fundamentally about the education of undergraduates, or even that a highly politicized professoriate is necessarily a problem. And I'm wary of any approach that replaces serious consideration of a subject based on cursory glances at paper or dissertation topics (to get a sense of why, check out my coverage of the 2005 Modern Language Association convention for the late, lamented Tech Central Station). I should add that I have effectively no knowledge of black studies departments and can't offer an opinion as to whether or not they are any more or less legitimate (however defined) than, say, American Studies departments or often intellectually-vapid vocational programs such as engineering and architecture.

But I do find the Chronicle's response absolutely breath-taking and craven in its censoriousness. If the questions raised by Schaefer Riley's posts are outside the bounds of discussion at a blog about higher education, then why bother having even the semblance of a discussion? And it strikes me as disingenuous to sack someone for a single blog post that did not meet the Chronicle's "basic editorial standards for reporting and fairness in opinion articles." There's no question of ethics or professionalism raised by Schaefer Riley's posts than those that are raised by an ongoing series of articles about what a waste of time and money and resources it is to get a degree in English, or art history, or sociology, or whatever.

This is plainly a politically correct response to a thug's veto and should be owned up to as such. Schaefer Riley contributed huge numbers of posts on a wide variety of topics at Brainstorm and she was clearly game to debate what she wrote. If her opinion is too much to bear—and it plainly is—academic discourse is in far worse shape than even the most anti-intellectual yahoo might think. Her Brainstorm colleagues felt free to take shots at her opinions, writing dissents and even poems about what they considered her faulty logic. Which is just how it should be, at a university-type setting of all places: Argue about stuff, don't just shut down viewpoints you disagree with!

Another Brainstorm blogger, Emory English professor, Dumbest Generation author, and occasional Reason contributor Mark Bauerlein, is exactly right when he wrote this post before Schaefer Riley was let go:

The most significant element in the controversy surrounding Naomi Riley's blog posting is the disproportionate nature of the responses….

The reason why, I think, lies in the nature of black studies itself.  If black studies were only another academic discipline, then a call to end it would excite a stern defense on grounds of substance, not charges such as "a stain on any respectful discourse" (comments section).

But black studies is more than an academic field, and the original story and the responses say so explicitly. [Chronicle reporter Stacey] Patton writes [in the story Schaefer Riley responded to], "Like their predecessors who worked to establish black studies as a respected academic discipline, today's Ph.D. students are also attracted to the social mission of the field."  If a discipline has a "social mission," of course, then it includes in its disciplinary norms certain social aims—in other words, extra-academic criteria….[A]ny academic discipline that assumes a social mission for itself is always going to have a legitimacy issue.

More here.

Ironically, the post at Brainstorm (possibly the worst name for a blog since The New Republic introduced "The Plank" and "The Spine") directly below the one announcing Schaefer Riley's firing is titled "Is Freedom of Assembly a Dead Letter?"

Yeah, I think so, at least at the Chronicle of Higher Education.

NEXT: Putin Press Secretary: "Protesters who hurt riot police should have their livers smeared on the asphalt"

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  1. John would fuck her.

    1. I would too. She’s smart and looks to be friendly. She also has good skin and clear eyes.

      1. And it sounds like she might need some income support until she finds another group blog.

    2. I’d hit that.

    3. Such is the life of a heterosexual.

      1. *clap*

        Best possible response. I’ll be using this one.

      2. Such is the life of a heterosexual without any standards.


        1. Sure you are straight sarcasmic. You just can’t find any women who meet your high standards. Got it.

          1. I found one and married her. Took a long time to find her, but it was worth the wait.

            1. It wouldn’t have taken so long if you hadn’t been looking inside men’s asses, dude.

        1. No Comprende!

      1. She against tenure. That’s the sign of someone who knows what they are talking about in academia. Tenure is the rot at the center of universities.

        1. I put it up because the picture is, well, meh.

          1. My point remains.

            1. True.

          2. I don’t always agree with what women you deem unattractive but this chick is definitely unfuckable.

            1. John would fuck her. He’s like Mikey with respect to women.

              1. She seems like a nice enough women and manages to have a husband. I am thinking she probably wouldn’t fuck you. So I doubt she is too upset about not making your imaginary list of five women in the world deemed worthy.

                1. What does “nice” have anything to do with a good romp?

                  Things like “nice” and “intelligent” matter in a relationship.

                  Combine that with actually being attractive, and you’ve got a winner!

                  She, alas, is not a winner.

                  1. Of course she would never fuck you on a $1000 dare. So I would count her as a winner for that alone.

                    1. Nanny nanny boo boo!

                    2. I don’t know, she’s gonna be pretty hard up for cash after losing her job.

                    3. Okay so maybe a $1500 dare RBS.

              2. He’s like Mikey with respect to women.

                I haven’t seen the commercial since I was a kid, but I think that’s a simile fail. “He won’t eat it; he hates everything.” I think that’s the opposite of what you’re suggesting.

            2. Do you have some limit on how many times you can have sex?

              1. Do you have some limit on how many times you can have sex?

                You see, Sexbots have a preset sex limit. Knowing their weakness, I sent wave after wave of my own men at them, until they reached their limit and shutdown. Kif, show them the medal I won.

            3. She’s a former WSJ-editrix. I’d fuck her for that alone. She might have a slightly-expired 3/4 full Vicodin ‘script in the medicine cabinet too. Hell, it’s probably fresher than the half-full 6 pack of New castle or Blue Moon she keeps in the fridge for when she gets “lucky”.

      2. She just needs a little makeup and a good hair stylist.

        1. And a job.

        2. My only issue with her are those beaver teeth. Kind of a thing with me. Other than that she looks fine to me.

    4. Smart girls are sexy.

    5. And this is why libertarianism is absolutely state-of-the-art as a lady-repellent.

      Great job, douche.

      1. Cancel my subscription!

        1. If only Postrel could settle the thick vs. thin debate once and for all.

          1. The Pizza Wars will never be over, nicole. All the drone strikes in the world won’t stop them.

            Read all about in my forthcoming dissertation: “Fatal Dualities: Socio-political implications of pizza composition in mid-early-early-21st century blog pseudoculture.”

            1. Pizza? I thought she was talking about chicks.

              1. See my forthforthcoming dissertation “Fataller Duo-alties: Psychosexual Praxis In Pizzawomankind.”

              2. Haha, totally works for both.

            2. I thought she meant thick versus thin skinned.

          2. Last video I saw of her she was looking a little thick herself. I’d still do it though.

      2. Agreed. I personally know two women who have pretty much stopped reading reason because of stuff like this. And I’m not saying comments should be censored or anything like that, but the next time you wonder why more people don’t identify as libertarian when surveys show lots of people are receptive to fiscal conservatism and social liberalism, remember that comments like this probably don’t help the cause…

        1. This is why nobody takes libertarians seriously.
          For a magazine called “Reason”…

          1. Keep them coming. I’m having a few after work so I’ll check back to see how many I owe.

        2. Pretty thin skinned. They know they don’t have to read the comment section right? They don’t even load automatically for christ’s sake.

          1. for christ’s sake.

            And now you’re blaspheming my God!
            Cancel my subscription.

          2. It actually goes beyond the comments. And look, I’m not here to fight their battles; I still read regularly and don’t always have problems with what my friends have problems with. But I can for a fact tell you they’re not thin-skinned by any means. One can find something tiresome without finding it offensive.

            1. Did they mention specifics?

            2. This is what happens when Ken Shultz isn’t around to keep us in line.

              1. I propose adding “This would never have happened if Ken Shultz were still commenting” to the game.

                1. I thought we were calling him Special K now?

                  1. Up yours!

                    1. Aw, I keed. I actually had serious disagreements with the Special K thread–someone made a totally inapt comparison to bran flakes, IMO.

        3. I personally know like five people with no sense of humor who stopped reading because of stuff like this. You guys need to look at your lives and politics and start taking it more seriously.

          And get off my lawn!

      3. Is that really how they go about evaluating libertarianism?

        Well…okay. That doesn’t strike me as a very intelligent way to go about it, but I suppose it’s none of my business. I hope they’re at least being consistent about it.

        How do they feel about the patronizing glop shoveled out by the “major” parties? I would think that any self-respecting person would find being patronized to be pretty offensive.

  2. I will go out on a limb and say that any ethnic studies department is less legitimate than the “often intellectually-vapid vocational programs such as engineering and architecture” which do the untrendy thing of training people to actually make useful things.

    1. yea i wasnt sure about that either. but by then, nick was on a roll…

    2. Right. There’s no rigorous thinking required in engineering. You just plug shit in to formulas. Any idiot can do it. Surviving two physical chemistry classes earned me the right to sneer at anyone who wants to complain about the lack of intellectual rigor.

      1. He’s just trolling you.

        1. Nick was trolling a lot of us. But only a few bit.

          1. Oh. See I was with him on the architecture. And civil engineering. Definitely industrial engineering.

      2. The thinking that is required to engineer something is not taught in universities. It is not the same thinking that is used to compute by using formulas. One is intelligence, and one is knowledge. Many who do well in science and math still can not conceive practical, simple designs for something as basic as a parking lot.

        1. One is intelligence, and one is knowledge.

          Reminds me of this.

          Put it here

          1. One of the versions I heard of that story involved Edison, I think. Which means it didn’t happen.

      3. Why does Nick keep Othering alt-texts?

    3. The problem with vocational curriculum in “liberal” study universities, is the trendy academic shit fucks up the whole program anyway.

  3. Women’s Studies should be eliminated first. I’ve had the misfortune to actually read a few theses and a dissertation.

    1. If we’re going to go by the uselessness of a thesis topic, I’m pretty sure that phenomenon is not unique to women’s studies, black studies, or any other kind of ethnography-type subject. Of course, that’s not exactly grounds for firing the blogger.

      1. I think its fair to say that PhDs can produce absolutely meaningless, unreadable, senseless bullshit dissertations in ANY subject. It is the style they are taught leading up to their PhD.

  4. “If the questions raised by Schaefer Riley’s posts are outside the bounds of discussion at a blog about higher education…”
    this is why editors are paid

    1. so editors of blogs involving higher education should censor any critics of higher education? I don’t think that your vision of editors is what editors really are.

      1. “outside the bounds” = editor

  5. “As it happens, I agree with Schaefer Riley’s large point that academic disciplines are multiplying and that many, if not most, academics (at least in the humanities and social sciences) are becoming more and more partisan and obscurantist.”

    I say we start a write-in campaign to reason to get Gillespie’s ass fired for this racist post.

    1. I’ve already reported him to Cavanaugh for thoughtcrime.

      1. Cognitively recognizing a thought crime is also a thought crime, so I hope you reported yourself.

        1. Of course. And you as well, but that was just because I felt like it.

          1. Dude, lawyers are the ruling elite. We’re immune. That’s why only we can write laws, pass laws, sign laws, interpret laws, distort laws, and do various other things to laws. We are the law.

            1. Wow, I didn’t think it would be that easy to goad you into revealing your true self. You know you’re not supposed to do that, right?

              1. What are you going to do, rebel? That’s illegal. In fact, you’re illegal. I just banned you.

                1. You can’t ban me! You’re out of order! This whole thread is out of order!

                  1. I’ll accept your Pacino semi-quote as homage. You may live another day.

                    1. Mentally flip flop Pacino in Dog Day Afternoon with And Justice For All. You end up with his court room rant in drag.

  6. Worst name for a blog? This takes the cake.

    1. That can’t be real.

      1. Oh yes. Yes, it can.

      2. Also, back during the Bush II administration, Karen Hughes had an internal blog-like thing called “Echo Chamber”. I do not think that means what she think that means.

    2. Especially since “Diplonote” is much clearer.

        1. Diplocracy

          1. Dip & Run.

            Diplomania is best, given the tie-in to dipsomania, which is actually a related field.

            1. Dip and Run? Teabagger!

    3. My sister used to be roommates with the guy who runs that blog!

  7. ____ Studies is a waste of time and money.

    1. I have a degree in International Studies (American University’s name for International Relations). It would have paid handsomely if I was any good as pushing papers and kissing asses and fucking disgusting old men.

      1. I think that is why God never let me live my dream of being a tenured prof. It would not have done good things to my marriage or my soul.

    2. Hey! My degree in Erotic Media Studies was earned, buddy. Did you think I wanted to get student loans to watch porn 14 hours a day for 4 years?

      1. I just read that Shaq got a PhD. A real one, not an honorary one.

        1. Ed.D.

          Widely noted to be the most retarded terminal degree. (Not counting Black Studies, Womens Studies, Chicano Studies, Film, etc)

          Seriously, it’s a degree that exists (mostly) so that people can get cushy jobs as Superintendents in urban districts.

          1. Not the most retarded. In some places you can get a PhD in journalism. True story.

          2. Fluffy, but still less fluffy than an honorary degree.

        2. —I just read that Shaq got a PhD. A real one, not an honorary one.—

          I saw him on TV a couple of weeks ago. It was in something like Organizational Management.

        3. Pro Libertate|5.8.12 @ 3:11PM|#
          I just read that Shaq got a PhD. A real one

          I seem to recall him not finishing his undergraduate degree @ LSU in the first place…? or am I thinking of some *other* Shaq?

          1. That’s right, but he finished it afterwards.

            That happens occasionally. Brad Culpepper got a law degree while playing for the Bucs, and I think Steve Young did the same while with the 49ers.

            1. Jordon also went back to complete his degree as well.

            2. Huh? No shit. Well, now I have 10% more respect for Shaquille O’Neil. Which means I have about 10% respect for Shaq. (I am kind of a broad-based Laker-hater… nothing personal…just can’t bring myself to stop wanting them all to die)

            3. Steve Young did obtain his JD. Also for a while his center was Jim Burt, who also had a law degree. I’m sure the huddle involved a few Latin phrases…

              1. Jim Burt WAS a 49ers center, but it was Bart Oates who earned the law degree. My bad.

  8. This post is an outrage. I call upon Reason to fire Mr. Gillespie.

    1. Join my letter writing campaign, Tim.

      1. Let the name of Nick be stricken from every book and tablet. Stricken from every pylon and obelisk of Egypt. Let the name of Nick be unheard and unspoken, erased from the memory of man, for all time.

        1. Who?

        2. Go after Nick all you want, but do not anger The Jacket.

          1. Well, duh…

  9. Perhaps it’s just as well that I’ve never gotten a degree, if this so-called higher education turns people into such whiny bitches.

    If Schaefer Riley’s column is really so lame and racist then it should be easy to rebut, no?

    And I was under the impression that “higher education” was supposed to prepare young minds for the adult world…you know, that world where you can’t silence disagreement with your POV by throwing a hissy fit.

    1. Apparently, you CAN silence disagreement with a hissy fit. See, Victimology degrees have a real use!

      1. In the ivory tower, doubtless. But out amongst us barbarians? Not so much.

      2. Aren’t black studies and victimology the same thing?

        1. It’s a subset of victimology, along with womyns studies.

        2. No, one is a subset of the other.

  10. so what is the Chronicle’s stance re: academic freedom and open inquiry?

    1. Is “barely choked-back laughter” a stance?

      1. apparently only when followed immediately by pearl clutching, fake sputtering outrage, and the occasional swoon.

    2. Is falling onto a fainting couch a ‘stance’?

    3. And what is their stance re: tenure?

      If they are pro-tenure, then they should grant tenure themselves and thereby force themselves to retain Ms. Riley.

      OTOH, Ms. Riley is against tenure. See what can happen when an institution do not grant tenure?

      Personally, I think Ms. Riley is correct on the academic and practical merits of victimology and on tenure. The Chronicle is within its rights to dismiss her, but it’s pretty clear that they do place politically correct constraints on academic freedom and open inquiry.

    4. Shut the fuck up, that’s what.

  11. The Emperor and his useful idiots hate no one more than that little boy who speaks up about the fact he’s not wearing any clothes.

    1. If I were a public intellectual I would never say anything about race. NEVER.
      In six months she’s gonna be out turning tricks to feed her heroin habit.

  12. These programs are a menace. They are wasting the time of thousands of otherwise bright and capable minority students. I ask you what chance does someone with a black studies degree have? If they are not part of the one percent who get tenured faculty positions, just where do these students end up? And God only knows the kind of debt they have.

    I don’t think even the worst racist could think up something as cruel and cynical as these programs. Lets take all of the black students and heard them into useless degree programs where they write about “black things” so they can stay out of whitey’s hair and not compete for any real jobs. That is a great idea.

    1. just where do these students end up?

      (cue trumpet fanfare) — Occupy!!!

    2. John, the bright and capable students of all sorts know to avoid these programs. Think one step deeper – the victimology industry creates its own victims, who then provide ongoing reinforcement for the central narrative that society is against (whatever) group because nobody will hire them.

      1. To some degree. But I refuse to believe everyone in these programs is stupid and couldn’t be more productive doing something else. It seems to be a honey pot designed to attract minority students and ensure that they are totally incapable of doing anything but be victims or victim advocates.

        1. That’s exactly what Tonio said, John. You guys are saying the same thing.

          1. I’m guessing there are State and Federal jobs that are much easier to get when one has a degree. Any degree.

        2. Sort of.

          The primary mission of the academy long ago changed from educating people to making socio-political citizens. Their job is to create graduates who will vote a particular way, and use their status as educated to sway others to do so as well.

          They are graduating advocates, and aren’t at all concerned with how these people will put food on the table.

    3. just where do these students end up?

      Civil service and community organizing.

      1. 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

      2. Or as a talking head tellin’ bow-tyin’ white boys where there place is.

    4. “what chance does someone with a black studies degree have?”

      Community organizer … and eventually President.

  13. All identity studies are lame. The interest in these things would drop hard after public funding for all higher education was stopped.

  14. If her opinion too much to bear – and it plainly is – academic discourse is in far worse shape than even the most anti-intellectual yahoo might think.

    Most leftists do not like debate. This is why, when in power, they try to marginalize, shut down or take over avenues of dissent. Say what you will about rightwingers, the right loves to argue.

    The lesson here? Do not fuck with identity politics. You cannot win.

    1. J’accuse! J’ACCUSE! [Points finger and screeches, ? la Donald Sutherland.]

      1. I don’t get the reference. I never saw Six Degrees of Separation.

        1. Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the first remake, as if you didn’t already know that.

        2. He’s lying, FoE. He was referencing Enterprise and should be rightfully scorned for it.

          1. Donald Sutherland was on Enterprise?

            1. I have no idea. You’re the Enterprise watcher.

              1. I’ve seen the show, yes. I don’t think I’m the watcher, though. Surely someone else watched it, too.

                1. “Surely someone else watched it, too.”


                  1. I like Star Trek.

                    1. Who watches the watcher, anyway?

    2. Say what you will about rightwingers, the right loves to argue.

      They got nothin’ on us, FistE.

  15. What an obnoxious circlejerk. I’d post some of the more hilarious comments, but complaining in under 900 characters is beyond the whiners there.

    1. I like this one

      Maybe “back home” you don’t have Black people. At least not the Black people that we have in this country, who’ve been the “beneficiaries” of 400-and some years of racism. So, yeah, you may be off the mark.

      We separate communities all the time. Rich, poor, Appalachian. There’s an entire field dedicated to the world of Wall Street. It’s called the MBA. In anthropology, there are individuals who have dedicated their entire careers to people who live on one small island, or within an area of a few hundred square miles. How come we can’t do the same with African Americans?

      And yes, if you’re a Black woman considering delivering with a mid-wife, yeah, you might want to know about this stuff.

      1. Nice, but what does the mid-wife thing have to do with anything?

      2. If you are a Black woman interested in giving birth with a mid-wife, your ultimate source of knowledge for making that decision is an obscure PhD dissertation discussing historical literature references to Black midwifery? Really?


        1. Well yeah. It is not like science and stuff isn’t racist.

        2. How cute, you’re actually trying to apply logic to her statement. You’ll get tired soon, and then we’ll put you down for a nap. You want a juice box, big feller?

          1. Oh, look… like Hugh, instead of coming up with something original to say, you just say what I said to you yesterday. You’re basically an enormous parrot.

            Squawk! Episiarch wanna a cracker!

            1. Enormous?!?

              1. Compared to a regular parrot.

                1. Regular?!?

                  1. How about ‘poorly endowed parrot’?

      3. In anthropology, there are individuals who have dedicated their entire careers to people who live on one small island, or within an area of a few hundred square miles. How come we can’t do the same with African Americans?

        I think this halfwit is asking why we can’t do anthropological studies on black communities in the US.

        Of course, that has nothing to do with why we have separate degree programs in black studies.

        1. Yeah, if that is what she wants to do then just get into the anthropology major and do it.

        2. I thought it asked why we can’t put African Americans on one small island.

          1. IF, you should post a reply to that comment and report back with your results.

  16. But you see, black people experienced racism in the past, so they, unlike the myriad of white ethnic groups that also faced discrimination like the Irish, Poles, Jews, Greeks, and Italians, are super special and are totally are entitled to have their own identity politics because it would be racist to expect them to behave as individuals rather than as a perpetually victimized group.

    1. The Micks deserved everything they got.

      1. Alright, we’ll give some land to the niggers and the chinks. But we don’t want the Irish!

        1. Reverend!

          1. “They’re all bloody wops at the brickworks.” – Mrs. Rodgers

            A shiny slip of gold-pressed latinum for anyone who can figure out where THAT came from.

      2. Fuck you, and the couch you rode in on. I can’t support Saint Patrick driving the “snakes” *cough pagans cough* out of Ireland, or the institutional child rape organization known as the catholic church.

        But I can support killing the English. Erin Go Bragh!

        1. Hey, maybe you could go get drunk and beat your wife while wearing a green shirt and singing “Danny Boy”?

          1. We’re the last ethnic group on earth that anyone can make fun of. We can take it.

          2. Isn’t that called ‘Saturday night’?

            1. I thought it was every night.

            2. More like Wednesday night. Saturday is for fistfights with your father-in-law and your wife’s no good brothers.

          3. You beat a red headed irish woman, you better not go to sleep.

            1. That’s right. We have long memories.

    2. WOP’s up? How’s your dago?

      1. There is no racial bigotry here. I do not look down on niggers, kikes, wops, or greasers. Here you are all equally worthless! And my orders are to weed out all non-hackers who don’t pack the gears to serve in my beloved Corps!

        1. This morning my sprinkler was saying “spick spick spick spick spick spick *chink* nigga nigga nigga nigga nigga nigga nigga”

    3. Sowell argues in Black Rednecks & White Liberals that the lack of acceptance of blacks in America is due at least in part to the fact that the culture associated with them is similar to that attributed to Southern rednecks (lack of industriousness; pride; propensity for violence; ignorance, etc). This culture was absorbed from being in the south and has, unfortunately, become a de facto “black” way of acting. Jews, meanwhile, ended up as a middleman minority and emphasized saving to better themselves.

      The conclusion seems to be (not finished with the book yet) that blacks should reject the counterproductive (and borrowed) “ghetto” attitude as a cultural identity because it’s frozen them into the lower social classes with little chance for betterment.

      1. Yes, I think that during the 60s/70s and the height of the black power movement many blacks reached this conclusion that they should stop trying to “act white” by playing the game of advancement through hard work and capitalism and instead focus on embracing their own separate identity, which is permeated by anger and resentment over the injustice of slavery and Jim Crow.

        While it is somewhat understandable to be angry at past discrimination, the fact is that this type of attitude is counterproductive and that if by now they had continued to focus on education and economic advancement through capitalism we wouldn’t have all these problems. I think Asian business owners have shown how a marginalized and impoverished minority group can succeed in this country through hard work despite racism.

        1. What is this, some fucking black studies thesis? Must be bullshit.

          1. To liberals, Sowell = Uncle Tom.

            Fuck that shit. The man is a brilliant thinker.

    4. We worked Chinese railroad workers to death and put Japanese-Americans in internment camps and yet, their ancestors seemed to turn out okay.

      1. Are you suggesting what I hope you’re suggesting?

    5. I use to hate the Scots but then I discovered excellent beer and ale made by them, so that is now past. I use to hate the Californians, but then I discovered 21st Amendment Brewery and the quality of my life increases ten fold with every sip. So, Cali, we cool.

      I will never drink a brew from Washington DC.

  17. Meh…existence of these programs means less competition for my kids in the real world.

    1. Very true. And also why they are so evil.

  18. I would think any competent HR person would see “Black Studies” (or womyn studies, or whatever) as a red flag, with sparkles on it.

    You’d have to be a complete fool to hire a walking lawsuit like that.

    The poor saps who actually get those degrees would probably be better off without them, not even counting the time and money spent on them.

    1. You’d have to be a complete fool to hire a walking lawsuit like that.

      I see you haven’t dealt with HR much. Complete fool seems to be a prereq.

      1. Psychology degrees seem to be common among those wise contributors of ideas.

      2. Yeah, probably more of an issue to a small business with no HR department and no lawyers on retainer to fight discrimination lawsuits. I worked for a guy once who was definately more picky about his women and minority hires than his white men hires because he figured the white guys were easy enough to get rid of they don’t work out. He did hire women and minorities and wasn’t a racist or sexist as far as I could tell, he just considered it a monetary risk. I personally think he was being over paranoid about the whole thing but just shows how somethimes protections can backfire.

        1. I personally think he was being over paranoid about the whole thing

          I don’t. As between two functionally equivalent candidates, why would you hire the one who can cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars just by filing a complaint?

          1. Because outside of the public sector I don’t see those suits as being all that common nor to I see people being rewarded for them. Public sector is a different animal because it’s our money they’re settling with.

            1. A complaint alone is expensive, and they are nearly always settled before they get to court.

              The point, though, is: why take the risk? You have two equal candidates. One has the potential to cost you a lot of money, the other doesn’t.

              Hmm. Which to hire?

              1. The intent was pure, so the results must be as well.

      3. “I see you haven’t dealt with HR much. Complete fool seems to be a prereq.”

        Those who can, do. Those who can’t get HR jobs.

  19. How would they react if a blogger questioned the value proposition of a $50k a year liberal arts college?

  20. Ah, political correctness in academia… so reminds me of the ’90s.

    I think the greater crime than ‘racism’ here was acknowledging that meaninless bullshit drivel accounts for the majority of liberal arts academia… not just ‘black studies’.

    1. See the curious case of Mary Lefkowitz. Lefkowitz was a classicist who made the mistake of pointing out that all of the “afro centric” history being taught in colleges was complete bunk and totally devoid of any support in the historical record. And man did they hate her for doing so.

      1. That’s so pathetic, like patting minorities on the head and saying how quaint. No one with any real, well, education accepts such notions. To act like you do is about as racist or discriminatory as it gets.

        1. It is pathetic and just bizarre. It is as if white people wake up every day and feel better about themselves because Plato and Newton were one of them.

      2. John|5.8.12 @ 3:48PM|#
        See the curious case of Mary Lefkowitz…

        I’m shocked she kept her job…and @ *Wellesley College*, no less. That’s almost incomprehensible.

        But then again, “Proving Socrates Wasn’t Black” is maybe not the academically-challenging thing to do, really. Fish, barrel.

        1. It may not be challenging but it was apparently necessary. And that tells you all you need to know about the current state of American universities.

        2. For stuff like that, what’s the point? Enough is known to say that historical figures like that self-identified with the culture we think of them being in, so what difference would it make, anyway?

          1. Ask Leonard Jeffries. The core point is, “If anything important happened in history? A black man did it, and then the white man took credit”.

            1. Seriously. I get in so many arguments with people who tell me Cleopatra & the other Ptolemies were Egyptian. & that’s why Africans are amazing.

              No, they were Greek. Read a fucking history book sometime, thanks.

    2. I recently wrote a paper on college campus speech codes and used as a source one paper written by two multi-culturalist professors from I think Harvard and Princeton (it was written during the early 90s).

      What outraged me the most was their contention that because minorities are like precious little snowflakes, it is outrageous to expect them to have to listen to “hate” speech and be prepared to make a rebuttal with their own speech. I mean if someone says something ignorant shouldn’t it be easy to rebut with facts and reason? Or do the multi-culturalists not think that newly advanced groups are capable of defending themselves, which seems like a racist position itself.

      1. They are just the modern intellectual heirs of the old colonialists. The lower races cannot be held to the same standard as decent white people.

  21. Hah. Buggy whip makers discussing the design and material of their products.

    It’s been over a decade since I earned my marginally-valued liberal arts degree and I could smell the rot then. If I was one of those liberal arts profs, I’d start stealing office machinery to sell on the side and get a fat nest egg together. Becuase the boards and legislatures will soon be cutting anything that threatens their looting opportunities. First to go will be Queer-Hispanic studies department.

  22. I work in academia. At a recent faculty meeting, our college’s diversity director (incredibly left-wing English professor) decided that, in the name of diversity, we might try tracking grades given by white professors to minority students to see….something oppressive, I imagine. I asked him to define what he meant by “white”. He couldn’t, and yet some people take him seriously.

    1. And of course failure on the minority students’ part must be the result of racism by the professor. It could never be the result of minority students actually failing.

    2. Next time he brings it up, ask him why “diversity” doesn’t also require that we track grades given by female professors to male students, grades given by minority professors to white students, etc.

    3. You must be proud of your workplace.

      1. It’s not as bad as some colleges. There are actually several libertarians and conservatives among the faculty. The “diversity” business was pushed down from the state level and the progressives in the faculty flocked to it like flies to, well, you get the idea. And if the administration really decides to push this ‘diversity’ business, you can bet I’m going to ask that every possible sort of ‘diversity’ be tracked.

  23. One theme many of you have sounded is that you felt betrayed by what we published; that you welcome healthy informed debate, but that in this case,

    Did not read past.

  24. Agree with SOME of her points? That’s it? And we’re acting like this is a discussion? No. The whole thing is fucking nonsense. Black studies and all that other bullshit is fukcing nonsense. They don’t evemn exist. There’s history, that’s a subject. Focusing on black history would be a focus in the subject. But there is no black studies.

    Who the hell considers any of these valid other than people who work in colleges and want to protect their industry or the most hard-line ridiculous liberals?

    Ditto Sociology
    Women’s studies

    Anthropology is a real thing, the study of human evolution, society, etc. – but again it’s just a focus of other subjects, something that those sciences can focus on.

    What the hell is communcations? That’s not a thing. It’s the generic B.S./B.A. (or whatever it is) that’s only there for the sake of being a degree. As if “business” wasn’t generic enough, they had to create something completely generic.

    1. Do you get a degree in Ditto Sociology at Rush Limbaugh university?

  25. She didn’t get fired for being conservative.

    She got fired for dismissing black studies dissertations WITHOUT ACTUALLY READING THEM. This is not conjecture, SHE ADMITS IT.

    1. Do you have to read all of them to know that they are irrelevant and will do nothing to help their author’s careers? I don’t think so.

      1. If you’re writing for THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION, you do.

        Hit and run, you don’t.

        1. Derider FTW.

        2. Oh bullshit. It is a magazine. She was fired because she told the truth.

          1. She has posted plenty of unpopular, conservative pieces in The Chronicle’s blog without being fired. This indicates to me that telling (what you believe to be) the truth doesn’t get you fired.

            This is the first time she dismissed academic research without actually reading it, however.

            1. I can believe that given the commentary from dumbass lefties (presumably in academia) on that blog that she was out of place.

              She was criticizing the unseriousness of the entire field, as exemplified by the allegedly supporting dissertations cited in the article she was responding to. I dare say that if she had done a proper literature search she could’ve come up with even greater howlers.

              1. Had she, she would still have a job– presuming she read them.

                1. She got fired for Not Being Liberal In Certain Forbidden Areas, Derider.

                  Own up. You know this to be true.

    2. Please don’t feed the troll. America has a troll obesity crisis. Kentucky Dick told me so.

    3. And do you honestly believe that if she had read all of them and written the same thing the Chronically would not have fired her? In bizzaro world maybe.

      1. I honestly believe that, yes. The bulk of the criticism against the article was based on the fact that she didn’t read any of the dissertations.

        1. Then you are either lying or an idiot.

          1. I’m not lying, so I must be an idiot. But I’m still right, which is the important thing.

            1. She was published and the editors didn’t say a peep until the mob showed up. The mob would have showed up regardless of whether she read them. This was the mob getting someone fired.

              1. The editors make it clear that she posted it without anyone reading it beforehand, as is their policy with bloggers.

        2. I honestly believe that

          The delusional are sincere, if nothing else.

          1. But they aren’t supported by the weight of evidence, like I am.

            1. The more you assert your delusions the less believable they will be to you.

              1. Whereas the more I warrant my assertions, the less believable they are to you.

      2. No, John, if she had read all of them she would have realized what an important and intellectually respectable discipline black studies is. It’s obvious.

        1. I didn’t actually read your comment but I know it’s a bunch of bullshit because it was posted on Hit and Run.

          See– that’s not an argument, it’s a slur. Had she made an argument, she’d still have a job.

            1. I smell cunt.

              Must be Derider.

    4. She got fired for dismissing black studies dissertations WITHOUT ACTUALLY READING THEM.

      I can believe that, but it’s odd that the “note to readers” doesn’t say that.

      1. I agree. Here’s her response:

        …It’s not my job to read entire dissertations before I write a 500 word piece about them.

        1. She didn’t say she didn’t read them, but that she didn’t read entire dissertations. While subtle, there is a difference.

          I don’t need to read all of, well, anything to know whether it is shit or not.

          1. I don’t need to read past “The Derider” to know the post after those two words will be worthless liberal bullshit.

  26. I should add that I have effectively no knowledge of black studies departments and can’t offer an opinion as to whether or not they are any more or less legitimate (however defined) than, say, American Studies departments

    Unless you are an independently wealthy trust fund kid getting a degree solely because you’re expected to have one, do not pursue ANY major with the word “Studies” in its name.

    WTF is “American Studies,” by the way? American history, I recognize. American law. American economics. American sociology, even. Better you major in one of those than get a BS* degree in “American studies.”

    *Pun intended

    1. One of our more brilliant posters coined the term ‘hate studies’ for all the x_study programs. I’d like to see it become common usage.

    2. Isn’t there some joke about majors whose names end in “studies” don’t end in jobs?

      1. If not, then there should be one.

    3. I know a lot of people see those degrees as little more than political advocacy masquerading as scholarship; if they have some virtue of their own, why not fold them into some other department?

      Offer a Sociology degree with an emphasis in Women’s Studies. Offer a Political Science degree–if they want to do political advocacy.

      It doesn’t need to be practical, but if they want to achieve some level of credibility, they should be subsets of some other department with some more credibility.

      People question the practicality of studying Greek and Latin for a Classics degree, but not the scholarship behind it. There’s no reason why an African-American Studies degree should be any different from Classics. They should just make it about more than political advocacy–or place the degree under the auspices of Political Science.

      1. Thank you for not disparaging all of us hard-working Classics majors. =D

  27. Reminds me of the Larry Summers brouhaha, when he gave certain female profs the vapors by suggesting that there may be a genetic factor in what disciplines women choose to specialize in.

  28. often intellectually-vapid vocational programs such as engineering and architecture

    If you don’t understand calculus, you’re kidding yourself about the depth of your intellectual prowess.

    1. Before we get off on the wrong foot (John;)) I’m only suggesting it is one aspect of a rounded education. Classical philosophy and history as well as modern are also necessary.

      However, you don’t need know a Goddamn thing about the Clash or the Sex Pistols to know what’s up and down.

      1. I agree with you. I took Calc. I think you should know it.

  29. This post is extremely disingenuous. Riley was fired because she wrote a dismissive column subtitled “Just Read the Dissertations” without having actually read the dissertations. And when challenged on the sloppiness of her method, made fun of the very idea of gaining some knowledge of what you are about to write about before publishing. All of this at an academic publication? Of course she was fired.

    1. Here are the dissertations she discussed. One is titled “‘So I Could Be Easeful’: Black Women’s Authoritative Knowledge on Childbirth.” Another is a denunciation of blacks who deviate from the leftist party line: “conservatives like Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas, John McWhorter, and others,” in the words of the Chronicle’s report. A third argues that “the subprime lending crisis, … highlighted the profitability of racism in the housing market.

      She was dead on. She was fired because she pointed out obvious and the politically incorrect.

      Take stupid elsewhere. We are all full up here.

      1. You are happy to let your ideology inform your opinion of those dissertations, as opposed to, you know, reading them. She was too. That’s not good enough for a publication about academia, read by academics. Don’t worry, I’m sure she’ll get a job at some Koch-funded outfit in no time.

        1. That’s not good enough for a publication about academia, read by academics.

          The Sokal affair indicates otherwise. As long as it’s the right ideology, of course.

          1. What the Sokal affair indicates is the need for peer-review, not that all academic journals are inherently flawed.

            1. Don’t worry, I’m sure she’ll get a job at some Koch-funded outfit in no time.

              You say stuff like that while criticizing someone else for seeing things through the lens of his own political biases?

              Maybe you should write a dissertation about how blog entries around here demonstrate the racist influence of the Koch Brothers.

              Actually, that’s my dissertation. I can knock that out over the weekend. Where’s my PhD?

              1. I don’t think the Koch brothers are racists.

                I do think the Koch brothers fund a bunch of pseudo-scientific outfits that don’t give a shit about the facts.

                See: The Heartland Institute.

                1. See: The Heartland Institute.

                  See: Peter Gleick.

                  1. See: The Derider.






                    and all other candyasses of similar stripe

    2. Yet Todd Gitlin is ’employed’ there, and when it comes to spewing stupid, ill-informed nonsense, Riley is nowhere near his league.

      1. Did he dismiss a bunch of academic research without actually reading it?

        That’s the issue here.

  30. I find that white people trivialize black people’s issues.

    I find that blacks exaggerate black people’s issues and assume that most white people are racist.

    White people today are pissed off not be cause they hate black people for the color of their skin or kinky hair, but because white people are presumed to be racist by black people.

    Believe it or not, it is getting better. We have a black president, a black attorney general. Uncle Tommy on the supreme court doesn’t really count. But there are many black people doing well everywhere.

    Now-a-days, when a black guy moves in next store in a lilly white community, there’s no cross on the driveway. Unless it’s a working or poverty class white neighborhood.

    Many white people today have no problem with black people moving in next store.

    It’s not like the cops treat black people nice.

    1. And I find that a lot of supposedly college-educated schmucks fail to use the word “racism” appropriately:

      a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race

      Source: Merriam-Websters, though apparently dictionaries aren’t considered reliable sources of word definition for Team Bluetards.

    2. Uncle Tommy on the supreme court doesn’t really count.

      My god, are you reprehensible.

  31. Watsoned!

  32. I was taught in middle school that ancient Egypt was a black African civilization thanks to Black studies… afrocentrism to be precise.

    Can’t belittle the intellect of some people though. Oh well.

    1. That’s true. Cleopatra was black and nowhere in our history studies was that ever mentioned. Shame on our educators and textbook publishers!

  33. I actually had a conversation about these sorts of departments with my (super liberal) adviser a couple weeks back when we started talking about merging the Classics department with Archaeology to save on money & effort.

    We both thought it’d be endlessly amusing to put American Indian, Black, Women’s & Latino studies in one big office & watch the ensuing shitstorm.

    1. You found a liberal who agreed with you? On that particular idea, no less?

      Wow, you re-discovered plutonium.

      1. There’s a reason I’ll be writing my honors thesis under him. He’s the best ever.

        1. You may have found the only truly cool liberal on the entire planet, kibby. Well done.

  34. OMG! OMG! She actually told the TRUTH and it OFFENDED someone??? OMG! OMG! Here’s a thought: Check the class schedule of ANY ten black students and see what they are studying! I’ll give you ONE guess.

  35. HEY AMERICA, let’s dehyphenate and pass Legislature that says that “ALL crimes are crimes of hate”! After all, if someone beats you, robs you or kills you, it is safe to assume that they HATE YOU! WORD!!!

  36. So….. can anyone give me the gist of the deleted first comment? It’s driving me nuts that I don’t know what it said. Maybe a repeat will go sort of unnoticed down here at the end…….

  37. Grazie molto per questo post grande! ho avuto un sacco di pensieri interessanti durante la lettura di tee shirt lacoste questo che potrei mettere in atto subito. grazie

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