Free Speech

"How Racist Are Universities, Really? Hyperbolic Accusations Do More Harm Than Good"

An excellent piece by Harvard law professor Randall Kennedy, one of the nation's leading scholars of race, law, and society.


It's in the Chronicle of Higher Education; an excerpt:

But being on the side of anti-racism is no inoculation against error. An allegation of systemic racism leveled against a university is a serious charge. If the allegation is substantiated, it ought to occasion protest and rectification commensurate with the wrong. If an allegation is flimsy or baseless, however, it ought to be recognized as such. Engaging in the urgent work of anti-racist activism should entail avoidance of mistaken charges that cause wrongful injury, exacerbate confusion, and sow distrust that ultimately weakens the struggle.

One might wonder about the need to voice such an obvious observation. The fact is that this moment of laudable protest has been shadowed by a rise in complacency and opportunism. Some charges of racism are simply untenable. Some complainants are careless about fact-finding and analysis. And some propose coercive policies that would disastrously inhibit academic freedom.

An exemplification of both of these disturbing tendencies is found in the ultimatum delivered in July 2020 to the president of Princeton University, Christopher Eisgruber, in a letter that was signed by about 350 professors, lecturers, and graduate students (on a campus with a faculty numbering around 1,280). The signatories included a number of Princeton luminaries ….

And one more:

The most egregious demand … is for a faculty committee to "oversee the investigation and discipline of racist behaviors, incidents, research, and publication on the part of faculty." If adopted, this proposal would throw a pall over intellectual life at the university. An investigatory and disciplinary apparatus for a vice as vague and contested as "racist behaviors" would quickly lead to a level of fear and resentment, inhibition and threat that would poison the community to an extent that is difficult to exaggerate….

Andrew Cole, a professor of English, for instance, explicitly defended [this]: "In a country so embarrassingly incapable of acknowledging its history of racism and anti-Black terrorism," he wrote, "it strikes many of us as a curious indirection to talk about academic freedom when we speak of anti-racism." Starting with the proposition that "racism" is unethical, and that the university prohibits unethical research, Cole concludes that the university has an obligation to root out racist research, racist publication, and racist teaching.

Cole's argument is specious. The university's prohibition on "unethical" research applies to research based on fraudulence — for example, a researcher claiming to have tested 10 animals when she only tested five — or to violations of protocols guiding research on humans. Determining whether research is "racist," by contrast, takes one into a realm of ideological contestation in which, at a secular, modern research university, there should be no imposition of orthodoxy of the sort that the ultimatum threatens….

A professor at Princeton University need not worry about being investigated or disciplined for writing a book propounding the idea that the world would have been better off had England squashed the American uprising in 1776, or that it is preferable to say that "women" get pregnant as opposed to saying that "people" get pregnant, or that abortion is a moral abomination, or that restricting abortion rights is a moral abomination, or that racial affirmative action has been a failure, or that racial affirmative action has been a success, or that it is perfectly appropriate to enunciate the word "nigger" in full for pedagogical purposes, or that the N-word should never be voiced under any circumstances. The existing horizon of intellectual freedom at the university is gloriously wide open — as it should be.

How would the anti-racism committee demanded by the letter decide whether to investigate a complaint? Having investigated and found an infraction, what kind of discipline would it levy? Would a professor be engaging in censurable "racist" conduct if she argued on behalf of broad rights to abortion? Some claim that such a position is "anti-Black." What about a professor arguing in favor of decreasing the size of police forces? Some argue that that position is "anti-Black," too, since it could lead to greater vulnerability of Black people to violent criminality.

What about a professor arguing in favor of freely permitting inter-racial adoptions? Some insist that such a regime facilitates anti-Black cultural genocide. And what about a professor who expresses admiration for the Honorable Elijah Muhammad? After all, the leader of the Nation of Islam taught that whites were, quite literally, "devils." To open the door even a crack to the possibility of "investigations" into such matters under the aegis of the university is antithetical to the freedom essential to intellectuals and artists in institutions of higher learning.

For those unfamiliar with Randy Kennedy's work, he's a traditional liberal, and a prominent supporter of race-based affirmative action.

NEXT: Speaking Schedule for This Semester

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  1. Racism takes many forms, including the deliberate lack of reporting of racist events.

    Take the recent tragic shooting of 5 year old African American Cannon Hinnant in North Carolina. In this story, white Darius Sessoms deliberately took a gun, ran across the lawn to a neighbor's house where poor Cannon was riding his bike with his two older sisters, put the gun to Cannon's head, and pulled the trigger.

    This is clearly a hate crime, and should have been pronounced by the national news. But it wasn't. Is this racist behavior?

    1. For those not up on the past few days, people began posting on various sites a horrible incident where a black guy shot a white little kid, then wondered loudly where was any national outrage over that. Then others countered with a very similar incident but swapping the races, mentioned above.

      So that's about the sum of the rhetoric battles going on.

      1. You are seeing various cogs in each side's memeplex defense mechanism rush to be the first to shove their side out there, which presumably why it was posted here with a thin veneer in an attempt to link it to the topic. It has nothing to do with the subject, but is racing like wildfire online.

      2. It's not a "Rhetoric battle," it's a question of "what is racism?"

        It's being presented as only and always just a certain direction. In the parlance of certain people "It's impossible for a black person to be racist against a white person." However, this interpretation is wrong.

        Make no mistake about it. A 25 year old, going across the yard to put a gun against the head of a 5 year old, then pulling the trigger is a horrible crime.

        But the complete...lack...of any real media attention to this crime is a major problem.

        1. Crazy evil man kills child. Unfortunately, this is a "dog bites man" situation. Happens all the time. There's nothing to talk about.

          1. "Crazy evil man kills child. Unfortunately, this is a “dog bites man” situation. Happens all the time. There’s nothing to talk about."
            Are you kidding? An adult executes a five-year-old child in front of that child's two sisters while he is riding his bike is something that "[h]appens all the time"? In what demented universe do you live?

          2. Umm... No, it doesn't "happen all the time". The number of assassination-style killings of 5 year really minimal. This is the only one I can think of.

            1. The fact that you need to make it such a specific category should tell you something.

              That exact situation may be rare, but horrific stuff like it happens enough that just because it sickens you me is not enough to make it into national news.

              Maybe now it will be; it's a national partisan story now.

              1. Sadly, Sarcastr0 is right in that 5-year-olds being murdered (often by mother's boyfriend de'jour) is not unheard of, but it's always blunt force trauma -- i.e. punching, kicking, and/or throwing the 30-40 lb child.

                Small children do get killed by stray rounds but I've never heard of one being deliberately targeted before, and I have family in the child protective field. I've never heard of it.

                1. Sadly, child deaths occur. Assassination style killings like this? I've never heard of it.

                2. "Sadly, Sarcastr0 is right in that 5-year-olds being murdered (often by mother’s boyfriend de’jour) is not unheard of, but it’s always blunt force trauma — i.e. punching, kicking, and/or throwing the 30-40 lb child."

                  As I pointed out elsewhere, this is simply not true. A child under the age of twelve gets murdered (intentionally) by a handgun something like every 2-3 days on average, and five year olds specifically about once a month. For five year old victims specifically, murder by firearm is about one third of the total murders.

                  1. Can you provide evidence for your claim about 5 year olds?

                    1. Yes, just check out the cause of death data from the CDC:


              2. "The fact that you need to make it such a specific category should tell you something."
                And your game is to generalize the story so it has no distinguishing features. Your next step will be to say that people die every day so what's the big deal. Of course the specifics matter. That's exactly what makes it exceedingly rare, exceedingly horrific, and exceedingly newsworthy. And I notice you didn't respond to the assertion that if the races had been reversed this would have been covered extensively by the mainstream media regardless of the motive underlying the murder.

    2. Gun-based murders are, alas, not uncommon in this nation. Murders where the murderer was caught and is going to trial are local news.

      You're trying to jump this up into a racial thing. with no evidence.

      1. You’re trying to jump this up into a racial thing. with no evidence.

        Pure projection. The actual point went over your head. The question raised was "Is the murder of Hinnant racist ?" A quite reasonable answer and the one I suspect the original poster would actually give is, "No, tragic but not racist". Then again, that's the probably the same answer that would be given for the killing of George Floyd. The point in comparing Hinnant with Floyd is that there is just as much evidence of racism in both cases. The motivated thinking of the progressives pronounces one as systematic racism determined by gospel and the other as local news that should be buried to prevent damage to their narrative.

        1. From the first sentence of the OP: Racism takes many forms, including the deliberate lack of reporting of racist events.

          1. ... and his prime point was "What is racist ?" with this being an example. Heck, the poster is here. We can use actual inquiry instead of your usual sophism and directly ask him the question: "Was the killing of Hinnant racist ?"

            1. The racial distinctions he's making change nothing about the case. Unless he thinks there's an epidemic of blacks targeting whites for murder.

              If he is, he should head over to Stormfront.

              If he isn't, why is he making that distinction?

              1. You are spinning so fast I can't believe you are not dizzy. In your usual fashion you are creating a straw man argument instead of the one he actually offered so you can avoid the question.

                How is the killing of George Floyd racist and the killing of Cannon Hinnant not ? You are adamant that the killing of George Floyd is systematic racism and the killing of Cannon Hinnant is just unfortunate local news. Why is that ?

                1. Police, Artifex.

                  The involvement of police.

                  1. As noted below: The involvement of the police makes something racist ? I must say your logic is not terrible convincing to nonbelievers.

                    1. It makes it more newsworthy.

                    2. It makes it more newsworthy.

                      Of course it does, but this is entirely unresponsive the question you are trying to avoid. Again, what makes one racist and not the other ? Really it's just the narrative you are trying to push.

                    3. The issue in the OP Is about how newspapers' choice of coverage is racially motivated.

                      I don't believe that.

                      If you concur that Floyd's murder was newsworthy, then the only question is whether the murder in the OP wasn't.

                      And why AL choice to bring up everyone's race.

                      I do see you asked me about my personal opinion about Floyd's murder. That's neither here nor there, but I think it was racially motivated, albeit perhaps not consciously so.

                      Overpolicing of black neighborhoods plus over use of force plus underenforcement when it comes to whites creates a pattern that would cause anyone to begin to generalize.
                      But the police question is largely about police use of force generally, so it's neither here nor there.

                      There is no system evident in the shocking and seemingly random crime in the OP.

                    4. Sarcastro,

                      Are you aware that African Americans kill Caucasians at a disproportionate rate compared to the opposite? Especially among strangers? And that this is an example of that?

                      Wouldn't you consider that a "system" if you're using the same logic you apply to Floyd?

                    5. Now we're getting to it.

                      Police policies are a system.

                      If you think poverty leading to crime rates is a system, you're right. But the blacks are the victims of the system.

                      If you just want to intimate that blacks are more criminalish and whites are regularly their targets...well, again, that's Stomrfront nonsense.

                  2. Actually the difference seems to be if it furthers the narrative publicize it, if it detracts from the narrative ignore it.

                    Now of course that is often the instinct of both sides of any question, but the media isn't an institution that is adequately represented by both sides.

                    And also the two sides are:
                    - America is profoundly and uniquely racist and it pervades all society.

                    - America has flaws but for the most part it provides equal opportunity to all of its citizens and legal residents illustrated by the point that Nigerian Americans have a higher per capita income than White Americans.

                    1. I would argue the following. America is very NON-racist, and today's society is one of the least racist in history.

                      But a certain group has a vested interest in emphasizing the APPEARANCE of racism.

              2. Sarcast0, more Whites are murdered by Blacks than the other way around. Body counts matter.

                1. That's a crap statistic, and you know it.

                  Go take your lack of controlling for poverty and the like to Stormfront.

                  1. That's not crap. That's accurate. Even controlling for poverty, the statistics are pretty overwhelming.

                    1. Show me, then.

                  2. Sarcastro, you could have googled this yourself but, apparently researching your Talking Points is beneath you. FBI Stats:

                    1. Read to the second line of my post.

          2. Perhaps you missed the point Sarcastro...

            If major media deliberately did not report a certain class of crimes, for example, white men shooting black children... Just, the media thought it wasn't important.

            Would you consider the media organization racist? Implicitly or explicitly? If they had that as a policy? Don't report when black children are murdered by white men....

            1. No, I did not miss that. My point is that there are many murders that go unreported.

              You're trying to turn this into a 'class of crimes' so you can push some race-bating about the media protecting black criminals.
              This is just a murder. There is no sign that race matters or was the motive for it being unreported along with the many other murders that take place in America daily.

              It's race-baiting to try and keep the white victimization narrative going. That framing sucks, wherever you're getting that narrative from sucks, and you shouldn't have posted it.

              1. Yes, you did miss the point.

                "You’re trying to turn this into a ‘class of crimes’ so you can push some race-bating about the media protecting black criminals."

                No, this isn't about that.

                "This is just a murder"
                Really? "Just a murder?" A deliberate assassination style killing of a 5-year old? Seriously?

                "It's race baiting"
                -No. It's taking an honest look at the narrative of the media complex, and how critical stories are ignored if they don't fit a media narrative.

                1. Yeah, it is just a murder. Crazy awful deadly crap happens in our nation daily, sometimes to children. It no longer makes national headlines.

                  There is no media cover up of black criminality.

                  1. You're still missing the point. It's not a "cover-up of black criminality" that is the issue.

                    Would you like to try again for what the REAL point is?

                  2. There is no media cover up of black criminality.

                    Please deal with the question honestly as it was presented -- saves time instead of creating straw men.

                    1. Racism takes many forms, including the deliberate lack of reporting of racist events.

                      Is the murder being discussed a racist event, DWB?

                    2. Is the murder being discussed a racist event

                      Were Garner, Martin et al racist events?

                    3. They were newsworthy events.

                    4. "Is the murder being discussed a racist event, DWB?"

                      Why the perp wasn't in prison might be -- he's only 25 and has at least two felony convictions.

                    5. Why were they newsworthy Sarcastro, but the assassination style killing of a 5 year old boy wan't?

                      Isn't it "Just a murder"

                    6. As I've said many times, AL, there are screwed up murders all over America every day. Torture, stray bullets, mass shootings, children, etc. etc. Most don't make the national news.

                      You think it's obvious this one is different. I think your appeal to incredulity doesn't bear weight.

                      The right-wing media is working on a race-baiting story like the Knock Out Game was. And you're buying it.

                    7. Here's what I think Sarcastro,

                      You're assisting in playing a "narrative" about racism and police killings, one that doesn't actually exist.

                      Why you're doing it and what it's going on....well, I can get into that in a bit.

                    8. Accusing me for having a narrative due to not buying yours isn't how this works.

                      I mean, you abandoned the narrative in your OP for one about white cops, so you must have some sense I was right.

                  3. No media cover up of black criminality? Absurd. The media often deliberately choose not to report the race of the criminal when he is black. If you don't know that, you've been living in a cave.

                    1. Absurd.

                      Well, that's an argument.

                      You got some stats, or just some anecdotes and a story you want to tell?

          3. Surely you admit Sarc that if the races were reversed, this would be national headlines for a month, a with-out-a-doubt PROOF of American racism with rallies, televised funeral?

            1. No, that's wrong. Local crimes like that are not reported in the national media, regardless of the racial mix.

              1. Right.... (George Floyd....)....

                1. Where is the evidence that George Floyd's death was racially motivated? The videos show no racial component.
                  Standing by for fact based responses.

                  1. I was just told "local crimes like that are not reported"....

                2. *Police* killings of unarmed black people do make the news.

                  I leave it to you to work out why.

                  1. Comment awaiting moderation (links?) But Police kill unarmed white people all the time (numerically much more) — they get away with it too!

                    Nope, that's not it

                    1. Yep.

                    2. Because there's a thing going on about police and black people. Have you heard of it?

                    3. But Sarcastro, WHY is there a "thing" going on about police and black people?

                      When so many more white people are killed by the police every day, why is there a "thing" about black people and the police?

                      Isn't it "just a murder" in your parlance? Nothing that should possibly make national news? WHY does it make national news, when all these other things don't?

                    4. Because police keep getting caught on camera shooting unarmed black people.

                      There are many, many facts that distinguish such 'police involved shootings' from the murder discussed in your OP.

                      If you want to pivot to why police-based shootings of whites aren't covered, I humbly suggest we make a new thread down below to go into that since it's a different fact pattern than we've been dealing with up here.

                    5. This assumes that the white people being shot isn't caught on camera for some reason. Despite there being so many more white people shot by the police than black people...

                      That's a completely different question about racism. Perhaps white people being shot by the police are deliberately kept off camera? Wow... That's a major point you appear to be making Sarcastro...

                    6. If you're just going to put words in my mouth, AL, you can just go have a dialogue with yourself.

                    7. Sarcastro,

                      Just taking your statements to the next logical step...

                      "But Sarcastro, WHY is there a “thing” going on about police and black people? When so many more white people are killed by the police every day, why is there a “thing” about black people and the police?"

                      "Because police keep getting caught on camera shooting unarmed black people."

                      That implies White people aren't caught on camera...

                      Or are you saying that's not true?

                    8. Asking me questions and then answering them is a great game.
                      That's not my logic - I said nothing about police shooting whites. But you have your fun.

              2. Local crimes like that are not reported in the national media

                Local crimes like Martin, Brown, Garner et al?

                1. What was different about 2 of those 'local crimes' DWB? Something about the killer's profession.

                  And also something about the killer not being arrested for a long time.

                  Closest you got is Martin, which was special because 1) there was a phone call, 2) Zimmerman was not arrested until the story went national.

                  1. And yet, all the times white people get killed by the cops are just "local news"...right?

                    1. Wrong. Daniel Shaver comes immediately to mind.

                    2. Who?

                  2. What was different about 2 of those ‘local crimes’ DWB? Something about the killer’s profession.

                    So if you are black and you are killed by the police it is racism and the fact that it was the police that killed you makes it racist ?

                    Truly yours is a dizzying intellect.

                    So is the police killing an Indian racist ? How about a Chinese ? If you are white, I suppose they get a pass and it can't be racist.

                    1. There is a problem with use of force and overpolicing black communities.

                      Maybe it's a false narrative, but it's an extremely public narrative.

                    2. "Maybe it's a false narrative"....

                      If it's a "false narrative", why is it being pushed so hard? Why is IT a narrative at all? Why isn't it "just a murder"?

                    3. Maybe it’s a false narrative, but it’s an extremely public narrative.

                      ... and finally we get to the point. The difference between the two cases is the narrative you are pushing and little else. yes, there is a serious problem with use of force. The over-policing of black communities or the attribution of systematic racism to this use of force are really more narrative than fact.

                    4. Not the narrative *I'm* pushing. That's what the public expects and wants to see in it's newspapers.

                      That's the only question here - is it newsworthy.
                      I've explained why it is, and why the outrageous story AL posted isn't.

                      I've also explained that the media coverup of certain racial crimes narrative AL is pushing is shameful nonsense.

                      If you want to argue with public opinion, that's a separate thing.

                    5. Oh, but Sarcastro, you ARE pushing the narrative. You're saying it's "newsworthy". That it's important. That it's "different", and should be published

                      Why are you pushing this narrative?

                      And why do you continue to push this strawman about the covering up of racial crimes?

                    6. That’s the only question here – is it newsworthy.

                      No, it most certainly is not. This is an attempt try to hijack and redirect. The point that Armchair Lawyer was making was that there is a narrative being driven about racism by a certain set of ideological hacks. After a bunch of dodging and weaving, we are at the point where you disavow and say not my viewpoint, this is a public viewpoint.

                      So your argument to the statement that this is really ideological narrative instead of demonstrated racism is that "Well the public believes" it ? How rational and utterly convincing ....

                    7. AL, you've now moved completely away from your original story, I see. Good; that was some race-baiting nonsense.

                      You argue that there is no issue with police use of force against blacks, and that the perception that there is one is caused by the media overcovering police use of force against blacks, yes?

                      Well, that's begging a helluva question, isn't it?

                    8. Despite your attempts to divert, you didn't answer the question Sarcastro...

                      Why are you pushing this narrative?

                    9. Not pushing a narrative, AL, just showing how yours is crap.

                    10. You kinda are pushing a narrative here Sarcastro. Pretty consistently.

          4. From the first sentence of the OP: Racism takes many forms, including the deliberate lack of reporting of racist events.

            The irony of someone who chose the moniker "Sarcastr0" squeezing their eyes shut and insisting on a literal reading of a crystal-clear instance of truly dripping sarcasm is palpable.

      2. "You’re trying to jump this up into a racial thing. with no evidence."
        You are missing the point. It may not have been racial. But if the races were reversed, do you doubt that the coverage would be wall-to-wall and that it would be deemed racial by every major liberal newspaper and columnist? Remember George Zimmerman, labeled the "white hispanic" by CNN?

        1. Yes, all y'all keep leaning on the counterfactual.

          You are making things up. You're wrong; you're taking a narrative you believe and boostrapping it into speculating yourself some evidence to back up this narrative.

          They call that airtight logic. It's not a compliment.

          1. Just a thought, instead if plying the "nothing to see here" bit why not go with facts such as the killer was a guest at the kids' home at least once and had a history of mental illness?

            1. Did not know that.

              I don't think I need it to make my broader case about America's background noise of horrible deaths, but it is a great example of the motivated racial narritivism I'm warning about.


        2. The analogy to Zimmerman is so stupid. The reason that case was controversial was because Zimmerman was not initially arrested and not charged with murder until long after the case gained national attention (and then was eventually convicted). If the police had interviewed Sessoms and let him go, there would certainly be a lot of coverage and national outcry.

          1. The only thing the Martin murder has in common with the Hinnant murder is that a gun was used.

            1. Note to self, Martin was not murdered (legally speaking, some certainly disagree).

          2. Typo on my part: Zimmerman was eventually acquitted not convicted, which is part of the controversy.

      3. Gun-based murders of 5-year-olds aren't.

        1. As I said above, that may be unique in circumstance but it's not unique in horror and outrage.

          We're a big country. Humanity has it's darkness. Too much darkness go give a national place every day.

          Saying the refusal to follow this story is proof of a racial coverup is letting your white victimization paranoia take the wheel.

        2. In 2018, there were 10 homicides by firearm specifically of 5 year olds, and 167 if we count all victims 12 and under. That's definitely not anywhere near rare enough to make it a national news story, and 2018 was by no means an outlier in terms of frequency (in 2016 there were 20 5-year-old gun homicide victims).

          1. That’s definitely not anywhere near rare enough to make it a national news story

            Ah, so the national news only reports exceedingly rare things? If my long-term memory serves, a number of cities got torched and/or pressured to change their entire approach to policing on the theory that George Floyd was not at all a rare occurrence.

            1. Ah, now we're into the "moving the goalposts" part of the conversation. Let's recap: Sarcastr0 asserted that gun homicides were sufficiently common that they are covered as local news; Dr. Ed then asserted that gun murders of 5 year olds were so rare that they should be national news; I provided the data showing that they're not. Now you're trying to say...something about George Floyd to change the subject I guess?

              FWIW, I think the fact that gun murders of small children happen several times per (average) week is indeed a story worthy of national news attention, but I fail to understand what that has to do with the supposed racism of news coverage in the US.

              1. Well, no, I was actually just responding to the words in your post, which seemed to (and still seem to) stand on their own:

                In 2018, there were 10 homicides by firearm specifically of 5 year olds, and 167 if we count all victims 12 and under. That’s definitely not anywhere near rare enough to make it a national news story

                If you're rethinking that crystal-clear statement and dialing it back, that's certainly your prerogative. But that's you moving your own goalposts.

                1. I guess we're doing the Reason comments section version of gotcha politics here? Sure, feel free to take my reply to a comment and ignore the thing that it was replying to. That may you, but probably isn't going to be persuasive to anyone reading along.

                  In any case, to what end? As I pointed out in the part of my response that you're not ignoring, even if we treat Connant's murder as representative of a broader trend and therefore deserving of coverage, what the heck is the story that you think the press is missing? That there's an epidemic of gun violence against children? Sure, maybe they should cover that more. It also has nothing to do with racism.

                  1. Wow, the usual word salad you'd expect from someone who got caught with their hand in the cookie jar. Party on.

          2. We have different definitions of the word rare. I seem to remember reading somewhere that most homicides of children are intra-family whereas this was not. And I could speculate that way fewer than 10 were as brazen as this example. But I'd prefer not to, would you be so kind as to provide a link to your source?

            1. Sure, it's the CDC data here:


              I did an age-based breakout where the ICD-10 113 cause of death was "Assault (homicide) by discharge of firearm".

    3. I agree that blacks can be just as racist as whites. That said, the cumulative effect of white racism does far more harm than the cumulative effect of black racism, in part because whites still have disproportionate power, influence and wealth. So it's not entirely irrational to say that one requires more attention than the other.

      That said, since I'm not familiar with the case, did it have an actual racial angle (other than that the shooter and the victim were of different races)? Was the child shot specifically because the child was white?

      1. "Cumulative effect of white racism?" What is the half-life of racism -- how is that firmly quantified? To Cannon Hinnant, the dose was deadly -- and permanent.

        NOTE: I have no proof that the murderer did so out of racial animus and make no claims. But then again, I also have no proof of racial animus in the Floyd, Garner, Martin cases either -- but NO proof was required that I remember.

        1. You are right that an individual who suffers from racism is an individual who suffers from racism, regardless of the race of the victim and perpetrator in that particular incident.

          But you are far more likely to, i.e., be pulled over for driving while black than you are for driving while white, and I don't see how you could claim to the contrary. I'm a middle aged white guy. If I get pulled over for speeding, I may be annoyed that I'm getting a ticket, but I have no realistic likelihood of getting shot. Or pulled out of my car and thrown to the ground.

          There's been a whole rash of relatively recent news stories about black people who were basically minding their own business and had the police called on them. I've not had that happen to me, or to any other white person that I know. Maybe it happens that white people who are just walking down the street, or walking their dogs in Central Park, or being in a public park, also have the police called on them; I've never heard of it though.

          So yeah, racism does exist on both sides. One of it produces more toxic results far more often than the other, though. And it takes a pretty massive sense of white entitlement not to see it.

          1. I have been stopped for "driving while white" in Baltimore very near where Freddy Gray was picked up, but yeah -- all things being equal all things are not equal. SO please, cut the "white entitlement" BS: it is toxic, racist and not helpful.

            That being said, how many people, thanks to the media narrative (and racism) believe false" facts" about police shootings? Most crimes are intra-racial, but black commit violent crimes against whites much more often. What do you think would happen if that narrative was pushed (like it was in the past?)

            I suggest the best way to get to equal is to treat people equally (as best we can.)

            1. But there is white entitlement, and the fact that you don't see it simply shows how entitled you feel.

              It reminds me of the line about class warfare: Why is it only considered class warfare when the poor decide to fight back? By the same token, why have whites only discovered that racism is a bad thing when blacks started fighting back?

              1. Whites only discovered that racism is a bad thing when blacks started fighting back?

                BS. This is the crap that I am talking about; your crappy talking points reeks of Marxist horseradish and is utter garbage. Racism is tribalism and has existed for as long as people have know other tribes existed. As if white people created racism and blacks are the only perpetual victims.

                1. Blacks are the primary victims at this place and time.

                  1. Blacks are the primary victims at this place and time.

                    Assumes facts not in evidence.

                    If we are just talking about say, violent crime where the folks involved are of different races, blacks are MUCH more often the aggressors. And, since the media assumes that white on black violence is racism, let's do the same.

                    And then we can talk bullying. And robbery ...

      2. Was Floyd killed specifically because he was black? Was there an actual "racial angle" in that case? Did you need for there to be one there?

        1. There is caselaw which says that if a particular bad result happens to minorities more than two standard deviations from what would be statistically expected given their numbers in the population, racism may be assumed and the burden then shifts to the other side to provide a non-racist explanation for the disparity. It doesn't prove racism, but it raises an inference of racism that the other side then has to refute. Which makes sense; at some point the numbers do speak for themselves.

          If you look at the numbers for police on black violence compared to police on white violence, it's more than two standard deviations from what would be expected given black numbers in the population. Does that mean that in Floyd's specific case, it was a racism that killed him? Not necessarily. But the inference has been shown.

          1. People are NOT statistics -- that is NOT proof and the caselaw needs to be thrown out. Floyd and the cops are individuals and have not a privilege but a RIGHT to be treated as such!

            Would that deviance explain the different treatment with whites and powered cocaine and blacks with crack cocaine?

            1. It's not conclusive proof, but it is evidence. At some point if the numbers are far enough out of whack, racism becomes the most likely explanation, even if there were other factors that were also involved.

              Suppose I'm a hiring manager and I have 100 people apply for two open positions, of which 2 are white and 98 are black. Suppose I hire the two whites. You have to admit that that looks really bad. And maybe I did have a good reason for not hiring any of the 98 blacks that isn't racist, but at that point I better have a good reason.

              It probably does explain at least in part the difference in the way crack and powdered cocaine are treated; the drug of choice for blacks was given heavier penalties than the drug of choice for whites. On one of his tapes, Nixon actually admitted the war on drugs was to make felons out of as many blacks as possible so they couldn't vote.

              1. Let's flip this around. You're a hiring manager. All sorts of people want to work for your business. You hire from the entire US general population.

                Your business consists of 74.4% African Americans, and 23.3% Caucasians. In these numbers, the African Americans are typically making the highest salaries at your business.

                Is this racist?

                1. It depends. Remember, the existence of two standard deviations is not conclusive proof of racism; it is evidence and creates an inference. But it's a rebuttable inference. If I got sued by a white applicant who wasn't hired, as the hiring manager, I would then need to show that there was a non-racist explanation for why those numbers are what they are. Maybe I could do that, maybe I couldn't.

          2. I don't know the numbers and am not a mathematician... but just for "fun"...

            Blacks commit violent crimes against whites more so than the inverse. Is the amount more than two standard deviations than what should be expected. If so, can we then infer for all future cases of black on white crime that racism was a factor and the black defendant now expected to refute that charge? At least until the numbers fall below two standard deviations?

            I don't know the actual numbers, this is just a hypothetical to test the real merit of the system you are, I assume, defending (the appropriateness of inferences of racism).

            1. If anyone, black or white, commits a crime, they can be prosecuted for the crime; nobody is arguing to the contrary. And since motivation is only rarely if ever an element of the crime, the subject normally would not come up. If I'm on trial for murder, the relevant question is whether I committed the murder, and not why I committed the murder.

              But the relevant question, in any case, would not be whether blacks commit violent crimes against whites more than the inverse. The relevant question would be whether blacks commit violent crimes against whites more often than they commit violent crimes against other blacks. The question is whether the defendant is a racist and not whether somebody else is a racist.

              1. You stated an obvious that no one contested (murderers are murders and should be tried as such).

                Then side stepped the question by essentially agreeing that racism, sans proof from the event and participants, should be dismissed. But that is not a standard you seemed to defend prior... that inferences of racism where appropriate.

                So again... IF blacks commit cross-racial violent crime more than what should be expected, is it appropriate to infer racism and force the defendant to refute it? Just as it is when a police officer interacts with a black suspect.

                1. Cross racial violent crime *against whom*? If you can show that black on white crime is more than two standard deviations compared to black on black crime, then yes. If your argument is simply that blacks are more violent than whites, then no.

                  1. You really can't address the specific, and I thought quite clearly limited, hypothetical without injecting some sort of "yes, but..." in an attempt to try and blunt having to say that yes, if (you know, like I stated in the hypothetical) blacks commit more violent crime against other races than should be expected that they then SHOULD be forced to provide a refutation to an inference of racism. Why is that?

          3. Two standard deviations you say?
            1. Can you provide the statistics you're using?
            2. Does this apply to sexism too?
            3. Are males a victim of sexist policies by the police, based on the police violence towards males versus police violence towards females?
            4. Have you ever looked at the interracial stranger homicide rate? Where African Americans are responsible for ~19-20% of murders with Caucasians as the victims, while Caucasians are responsible for ~5% of murders with African Americans as the victims? (The remaining % is intra-racial). Is THAT 2 standard deviations? What does that say about racism....

            1. More telling, race of perps shooting cops.

            2. 1. Not without spending some time on google, which I don't have time to do now but will try to later tonight.

              2. Yes.

              3. I don't know those numbers.

              4. I haven't argued that there's no black racism. Just that since whites have more power and influence than blacks do, white racism has the capacity to do more damage.

              But again, remember that statistics aren't conclusive proof; they create an inference that can be rebutted if there's a non-racist explanation. Assuming those numbers are accurate, it may mean that black criminals tend to be racist, or it may mean that they pick targets that are more likely to produce a bigger payday for them. It would require more research.

              1. Since you asked Point 3:

                -Men are arrested at roughly 3 times the rate as women.
                -In terms of police violence, in 2019, 961 men were shot to death by the police. 43 women were.
                -For the sake of argument, the gender breakdown in the US is approximately 50/50. The disparity in police violence between the genders is more than 20:1. Using your argument, that would appear to be sexism in action. In your parlance "the inference has been shown"
                -Ditto for
                4. " I haven’t argued that there’s no black racism. Just that since whites have more power and influence than blacks do, white racism has the capacity to do more damage."

                But what ACTUALLY does more damage? If we're looking at inter-racial murder rates, and assessing "racism" as an inferred value, then Black racism does quite a bit more damage. With much higher numbers of deaths.

          4. How about the numbers of blacks who commit crimes instead of the numbers of blacks in the population. Like it or not, the cops gravitate towards the criminals. And it is also my understanding that the numbers for police on black violence compared to police on white violence show that the police are less likely to use force on a black individual. Also, the case law, developed by liberal judges who don't have to live with the consequences of their rulings, is wrong.

            1. Places to where cops gravitate end up seeing more arrest.

              Your causality may be reversed.

              Victims were majority white (52%) but disproportionately black (32%) with a fatality rate 2.8 times higher among blacks than whites.
              This does not control for class, however.

              I don't know the caselaw being referred to, but you appear to be ignoring statistics as legitimate evidence of bias. What would be evidence of bias, to you?

    4. Armchair, go to the primary sources like the local TV News:

      The perp, who is Black, appears to have an extensive criminal history including 2 felonies, which means he ought not have had a gun in the first place.

      1. A century ago, the Klan would have lynched him on the spot.

        While that was wrong, very wrong, not all of those who were lynched were innocent. Everyone saw him do this....

    5. Do you have any data that "racist" events (and lets be clear - a white killing a black is not definitionally racist) are under reported vis a vis other killings?

      I have data showing that unarmed blacks shot by police receive 9x the coverage as unarmed whites killed by police. More generally there's proof of a huge jump in racialization of reporting.

  2. Perhaps none of this crap would have evolved without an absolutist first amendment. Hence those who dislike certain speech must squeak ever more loudly to justify shutting down others. Only mental and social and physical damage can dream of rising to the occasion. Bad feelings aren't sufficient. Not if your goal is to help government censorship escape the containment domains of schools and business.

    1. I think it would be even worse without the first amendment. Just taking a glance at countries that don't have one, they all seem to be much further down the line of throwing people into jail for wrong think than we are.

  3. When the notion of affirmative action was first introduced, it went like this: If two candidates have equal credentials, etc., choose the one with enhanced melanin. I could support that rather than going with alphabetical order or something similar.

    However, like a lot of good ideas, it got turned on it's head and instead of helping the benighted victims, AA looks only to superficial things like appearance, sexual deviance with the intention of forcing equality where none exists.

    We are all equal under the law. In all other things we are individuals who make their own way because of hard work and proven ability.

    1. Sexual devience is a pretty good give-away that you've got an agenda.

      But AA does not make admissions purely about race.

    2. If two candidates have equal credentials, it is racist to pick the one with the enhanced melanin. Flip a coin.

      1. Creating a diverse cohort is a legitimate concern.

        So is capacity building in underrepresented groups, so you have a stronger cohort to build from next time.

        Neither of those are based on racial prejudice.

        Plus, hard to argue whites are being oppressed when they still dominate the field.

  4. Pure hypocrisy:

    Yale discriminates based on race and national origin, violating federal civil-rights law, and that race was the “determinative factor” in hundreds of admissions decisions each year. It said for the majority of applicants, Asian-American and white students have one-tenth to one-fourth the likelihood of being admitted as African-American applicants with comparable academic credentials.

    “Yale rejects scores of Asian American and white applicants each year based on their race, whom it otherwise would admit,” the Justice Department said.

    1. Sounds like "systemic racism" to me.

      But it can't be. Because it's a university, and it's beyond reproach.

  5. “Andrew Cole, a professor of English, for instance, explicitly defended [this]: ‘In a country so embarrassingly incapable of acknowledging its history of racism and anti-Black terrorism...’”

    What is this fool talking about? There has hardly been a moment in my 62.5 years of life in which we have not spoken of our “history of racism and anti-Black terrorism.” Whether it be in the news media, non-fiction, PBS, NPR, works of fiction, movies, television, music, etc.

    Instead of investigating faculty for “racism,” faculty should be investigated for blatant falsities.

    1. They exaggerate racism in one direction, to justify practicing it in the other direction. That's the bottom line.

    2. We are incapable of admitting racism... at a time when nearly every major brand, label, influencer, celebrity, sports league, and (not quite to the degree but no small portion either) politician expressly wails and gnashes teeth and renders their garments in the name of admitting guilt by skin color (that whites have been, are, and will continue to be inherently the cause of all racism and a proximate cause for all hurdles in lives of others).

      A blind person should be able to see this level of hypocrisy. It amazes me the density of people today.


    Harvard professor reveals we do not live in a perfect world.

    Yes, there have been mistakes.
    Yes, there have been overzealous administrators.
    Yes, there have been people trying to take (undue) advantage.


    Correcting societal and institutional wrongs is not easy.

    1. That would be nice if that is what the Harvard professor actually wrote.

      What he instead wrote is that people are using racism to establish ministries of truth at universities. Which turns the concept of liberal universities on their head.

      Here is another example:

      University Of Pittsburgh Cardiologist Is Stripped From Fellowship Program After Criticizing Affirmative Action

      Notice that he was not expelled for using a racial slur, but rather for publishing an article, in a peer-reviewed journal, critical of affirmative action in medical education. Punishing him for that is rank anti-intellectualism (apart from a First Amendment violation).

      Let's call a spade a spade. A group of people are using disgust and guilt for America's racist history as a lever for power and control, including thought control. It is a deliberate and dishonest exercise. Calling it overzealous fails to capture what is occurring in reality.

      1. Racist - You used the s-word.

        BY the Way whats up with the new rely string at the bottom of each post?

  7. Sure is "easy" for Progressive Professors, who think two wrongs make a right.

  8. Jussie Smollett comes to mind as the most prominent, but false allegations are at least as harmful as hyperbolic allegations.

  9. History is replete with good causes that have been hijacked by opportunists bent on power.

  10. "How anti-speech Are Universities, Really? Hyperbolic Accusations Do More Harm Than Good"

  11. Racism has taken on such an expansive definition it is basically an encompassing of anything the left wants it to become. Just like global warming (I mean the coming ice age....err climate change....err green house effect...err whatever they call it now.) Racism is now a non-word because it has no real meaning.

  12. If I recall correctly, something like 25% of Harvard admissions are legacy, which means that in practice 25% of Harvard seats are reserved for whites. So if we're going to do away with affirmative action, perhaps we could start with affirmative action for whites and get rid of legacy admissions.

    1. That might have been true in the 80's and 90's as far as legacy seats go, but it is 2020. Legacies now are much more mixed, in part because universities spent the last few decades gerrymandering their classes based upon race. The old adage "legacy admissions are affirmative action for white people" is not true any longer.

      1. They still suck. Sinecures for the privileged.

        Athletes make money for the school to be spent on other stuff; I guess I an't fault that.
        Children of faculty are priced into the personnel expenses.

        Legacies are just the rich getting richer.

        1. I wonder sometimes if people who complain about rich people just have penis envy. Because this is what Sarc's comment sounds exactly like...

        2. First, athletes generally don't make money for the school to be spent on other stuff. Few athletic departments are profitable.

          Second, the theory behind legacies is that they make money for the school to be spent on other stuff. If you're going to write a six or seven or eight figure check to a school, you probably expect your kid to be admitted.

          1. I didn't know that about athletic programs. I thought the drive to make them so big was profits. Though I admit I do not recall where I got that idea.

            Your point about legacies is a more difficult one.
            1) I thought it was just kids of notable alumna, not donors. Shows what I know, I guess.
            2) If it does make the school's a more difficult question for me. On the one hand, this is still the rich get richer. On the other, I do like my top schools to have top facilities...

            I'll have to think more about it. What's the big idea with facts making issues nuanced!

    2. Affirmative action has been in place at Harvard for quite a bit more than the 25 years it usually takes to graduate, settle down and raise a family to eligibility for new admission. That means by now there are quite a few minority legacies. The bottom line - I don't think unilaterally eliminating legacies will have as much impact as you suppose.

      (Note that I would eliminate legacy admissions as contrary to merit regardless of racial implications.)

      1. Jimmy, and Rossami, assuming you are right on the facts, and legacies are now more mixed than they were, that's only one small piece of the larger picture. Whites benefit all across the board because of legacies that were established at a time when blacks were basically shut out of the economy.

        There was a time when no black person would have been seriously considered for admission to Harvard at all. During that time, whites who were admitted to Harvard were establishing themselves and their families in positions of influence in business, politics and law, and becoming wealthy. They were also seeing to it that their own children were first in line for future opportunities. So even though overt racial discrimination is not the poison it used to be, blacks who are first generation admittees to power and influence are competing with whites whose families have been entrenched for centuries. And you can't just say, "OK, we'll stop discriminating now" without at least recognizing that there are a lot of people who still suffer disadvantage because of past discrimination.

        Think of it this way: Suppose I routinely burglarize your house. I say that I will stop, but I get to keep the fruits of what I stole before. Would you be happy with that solution?

        Now, we can discuss what would be an adequate solution for what happened in the past, but just saying we're going to ignore it doesn't cut it.

        1. WEB DuBois graduated from Harvard in 1890.
          Admitted to Harvard Grad School in 1891, after a year went to study in Germany instead.

          1. Right, and WEB DuBois is representative of all black applicants during that period.

        2. Krychek_2,

          You "might" have a point. But...

          Have you looked at the recent incoming classes at Harvard, according to race?

          Did you know that in 2017, whites made up a MINORITY of the incoming Freshman class?

          If they benefit "across the board", why are they making up a minority of the incoming class at Harvard, despite being a majority of the country's population?

          1. I don't know without looking at the breakdown of the actual numbers. I do know that Harvard admits a lot of foreign students so that may be part of it. I hope you're right that times are changing but I'd like to see more data before I commit myself.

            1. Perhaps you should look at the actual numbers before making broad assumptions that are incorrect.

              There's a narrative "There's lots of racism" and then there are the actual statistics the opposite.

        3. This is one of the most obtuse, fanciful, not even based in reality statements I have ever heard be made.

        4. Your argument would support giving blacks affirmative action at the expense of multigenerational ivy league families. But during the period you describe my family was fishing pogroms and the Holocaust in eastern Europe.

          Mind explaining to me why my children should be penalized by affirmative action rather than benefiting from it?

  13. "Starting with the proposition that "racism" is unethical, and that the university prohibits unethical research, Cole concludes that the university has an obligation to root out racist research, racist publication, and racist teaching."

    It's worse than this -- they want to make certain people "nonpersons" -- kinda like the National Socialists did.

    1. Love an unsupported Goodwin from someone who has posted about gassing liberals.

      1. The use of tear gas to control riots is slightly different from Nazi Death Camps. Just slightly...

        1. Not tear gas, Ed.
          You were talking about argon, as I recall.

          No cleanup, you said.

          1. Why use argon? CO2 is much cheaper and just as effective/painless. Not commenting on Dr. Ed's off topic point, I have the same thought every time there's a discussion of lethal injection and why we need three drug cocktails.

            1. Not my area. It was a response to another poster mentioning Zyklon-B, so...

        1. Ty.

          Gotta be a bemusing life for the guy.

  14. Well if after Ed's revolution is done there are just a bunch of white privileged people left around who is going to want to clean up the mess? If you believe in critical theory that means they will have to construct a whole new social system to subjugate some people to do the dirty work.

  15. "For those unfamiliar with Randy Kennedy's work, he's a traditional liberal, and a prominent supporter of race-based affirmative action."

    So, a racist?

    1. And since universities are institutions, he supports institutional racism.

      1. And universities are just another example of systemic racism.

      2. If you're going to mock liberal ideas, you should make some effort to understand them.

        And none of them are 'being an institution means you engage in institutional racism.'

        1. I guess it isn't institutional racism as much because affirmative action is hardly subtle discrimination. It baldy states "we are not going to take you as a student because you are the wrong race." So to that point Sarc is right. It is just blatant overt racism practiced by an institution. Or as I put it systemic racism since it is practiced by a large section of the education industry.

        2. "If you’re going to mock liberal ideas"

          I should have made clear that I was not criticizing the prof for being a "traditional liberal" but for supporting "race-based affirmative action."

          1. You still got the definition of institutional racism wrong.

            1. No, I disagree with how you define racism - overinclusive and underinclusive at the same time.

              1. If you're mocking liberals but using your own definitions, maybe it's not liberals you are mocking?

                1. One definition I found in the dictionary is "racial prejudice *or* discrimination" -emphasis added, since it shows racial discrimination in and of itself is racist, no matter what happy thoughts you're thinking while you do the discriminating.


                  1. Cute semantic games. Just like the Pro Life set's argument, and about as effective.
                    Enjoy yourself focusing on the words not engaging with the ideas behind them.

                    1. But what ARE the ideas? If they are not expressed with words that others can, by use of definitions previously established and accepted, understand then how is anyone to be expected to know what the hell you are talking about? The one using vague, newly created, hardly used, accepted by nobody outside the vanguard words is the one playing semantic games. The one demanding that the conversation take place within the confines of previously established semantic limits (ie, general use definitions and understandings) is asking YOU to stop playing semantic games. Asking someone to stop playing such games is not the same as playing such games.

                    2. sparks, using some dictionary definition of racism and saying 'Affirmative action fits. BOOM I win' is not an argument. It's not about new words and meanings, it's about a crap appeal to authority.

                      But enough meta criticism, lets look at the 2 main ideas behind why affirmative action is good, actually:

                      1) the playing field is tilted in systematic ways that will take a while to fix. This means that the ways the meritocracy recognizes merit fits right in with white males but to at least some extent fails to recognize the merits of talented minorities and women.

                      If you want your workforce and developing workforce to be the best, you want to look at the best and not leave parts of the population on the table overlooked.

                      2) Groups with a diversity of background leads to better innovative outcomes. America's diversity is part of it's strength. But there are plenty of arenas that don't leverage that strength. And indeed resist it because they fear change.

                    3. "using some dictionary definition of racism"

                      In response to your claim that I was using my own definitions.

                      "BOOM I win"

                      Cute, but I was simply rebutting a specific claim of yours, not making global assertions.

                      But come to think of it, I'm not really interested in your situational attempts to narrow the definition of racism to exclude things which literally meet the dictionary definition. In what other context do you attempt to narrow the definition? Your usual recourse, as with "institutional racism" is to make the definition - your own *personal* definition - as broad as possible.

  16. It's a Hyperbolic Slime Chamber.

  17. If ones ideas are sound, they can withstand inquiry. If one is confident ones are sound, one does not fear the scrutiny of others.

    When people suppress scientific inquiry into the basis underlying their beliefs, the reason is often that they have no real confidence in their beliefs, and they suspect that if inquiry were conducted they would be found wrong.

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