Academia, Black Studies, Chronicle of Higher Education, Naomi Schaefer Riley, Political Correctness, Racial Politics, The Left
On April 30th, Naomi Schaefer Riley, in a Chronicle of Higher Education blog posting, cursorily described three recent dissertation theses produced by students in Northwestern’s Black Studies department, featured in a recent Chronicle (subscribers-only) posting, and offered her own opinion that the dismal list of thesis topics listed in a sidebar constituted proof of the unscholarly futility of Black Studies as a field as currently conducted.
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 theyâ€™re so irrelevant no one will ever look at them.
Everyone with two brain cells to rub together, of course, knows perfectly well that Black Studies is, and has always been, a post-1960s academical kind of N-word-geld, a blackmail payment on the part of university administrations conceded to the radical left’s demonstrations and demands for “representation” of designated victim groups within their faculties and curriculums.
Black Studies, and its allied fields Women’s Studies and Queer Studies, exist simply in order to redistribute and share the prestige and salaried positions of elite educational institutions with activist representatives of victim groups while allowing the former to disseminate agitprop pretending to be scholarship.
No one, however, is allowed to say such things, especially not from a Chronicle of Higher Education blog.
Naomi Schaefer Riley’s posting provoked one of those major temper tantrums on the part of the left which have in the past brought presidents of Harvard to book.
Initially apparently, the Chronicle defended its own policy of diversity of opinion and offered space to the authors of the dissertations Riley criticized to respond and more space to Riley to reply. They even published an indignant rejoinder by Riley to criticisms that she was racist, that it was mean of her to pick on poor little graduate students, that not having a doctorate herself she was unqualified to opine on dissertation topics, and that she had not bothered to read the dissertations she dissed in their entirety.
But the left turned up the heat, the African American Studies department at Northwestern played the race card, left-wing bloggers denounced Riley’s posting as “cruel” and “offensive,” and a hurricane of tweets went out on Twitter.
The Chronicle is really representative of the American academic community so, of course, the Chronicle, faced with left-wing pressure, caved, and editor Liz McMillen grovelled.
Weâ€™ve heard you, and we have taken to heart what you said.
We now agree that Ms. Rileyâ€™s blog posting did not meet The Chronicleâ€™s basic editorial standards for reporting and fairness in opinion articles. As a result, we have asked Ms. Riley to leave the Brainstorm blog.
Since Brainstorm was created five years ago, we have sought out bloggers representing a range of intellectual and political views, and we have allowed them broad freedom in topics and approach. As part of that freedom, Brainstorm writers were able to post independently; Ms. Rileyâ€™s post was not reviewed until after it was posted.
I realize we have made mistakes. We will thoroughly review our editorial practices on Brainstorm and other blogs and strengthen our guidelines for bloggers.
John S. Rosenberg, at Minding the Campus, calls the Chronicle’s firing of Ms. Riley “a disgraceful capitulation to the mob,” tells us that the petition demanding Riley be fired had received around 6500 signatures. He also informs us that the allegedly racist Ms. Riley is married to an African-American who is the father of her two children.