Friday, September 14, 2007

On Comments; AAS Letter

To date, this blog has had around 90,000 comments. When I started the blog, I didn’t think much about the comments policy; it seemed to me that, in general, the blogosphere allows for unfettered debate. Accordingly, I allowed people to comment anonymously, or by pseudonym, or by registering with blogger. It seemed to me that it wasn’t my responsibility to restrict commentary in any substantial way.

Most people, based on SiteMeter records, read the blog posts and an occasional comment; a minority of readers goes through all the comments; and a smaller group actively comments.

Comments have enhanced the blog in several ways. First, commenters have frequently picked up minor editing problems—a stray comma, or a misspelled word, or an unclear sentence. Critics speak frequently of the blogosphere’s lack of editing as a drawback, but DIW commenters have served as de facto editors, benefiting both me and other readers.

Second, commenters have sometimes provided tips (occasionally significant ones) and often provided important insights about the current culture on Duke’s campus. Excellent comments in recent posts from several self-identified Duke professors prove the point.

Finally, some comments have—simply—enhanced the overall quality of the blog. Recent posts looking at unanswered questions and additional questions for the Blue Committee provide a glimpse of the many interesting comments that have appeared at DIW.

All that said, the comment function has had some downsides as well (as, I suppose, could be expected in a blog with 90,000 comments). First, and most serious, one commenter abused the anonymity of the internet and impersonated the subject of a post, which prompted me to institute comment moderation and ban him from the blog.

Second, there have been occasional vile or racist comments, often far down in threads after nearly everyone has stopped reading the threads. I’ve had a longstanding policy of asking people to e-mail me if they see vile comments, which I remove promptly. Nonetheless, a few defenders of the academic status quo have argued that the blog should be judged not by my 1000+ posts but by any and all stray comments, since I, presumably, must agree with any and every comment that the blog produced. This tactic paralleled one offered by a figure that the Group of 88 would otherwise despise, Bill O’Reilly, who used it to attack the blog Daily Kos. In this clip from the Colbert Report, Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos dismissed the absurdity of this argument.

Finally, the comment section has occasionally featured disinformation—as in recent comments that the North Carolina Board of Nursing found SANE nurse Tara Levicy “not guilty” after an investigation (in fact, when pressed, the commenter admitted that he/she had not evidence an inquiry even occurred, much less it exonerated Levicy); or in another comment that nine Group of 88 members attended my Duke talk, and one even asked a question (in fact, no Group member asked a question; and if nine Group members attended the talk, they did so in disguise).

On such matters, I generally have relied on the marketplace of ideas, assuming that while people can offer intellectually unsustainable or even factually incorrect items, other commenters will produce evidence to rebut them. That generally has happened.

Looking back on the blog, I wish I could have come up with a way to ensure that no racist comments appeared among the 90,000, but it seems to me—particularly in a one-person blog with daily posts—that severely restricting comments to have prevented the occasional vile offering would have caused far more harm than good, by diminishing the many positives that commenters brought to the blog.
---------

On another matter, a few people asked me whether the book has received any negative reviews—beyond the (expected) negative reaction of Cash Michaels. To date, there was only one negative review, from a freelance writer named Thom Weidlich. It wasn’t exactly a detailed critique. (Weidlich has worked with people I’ve tangled with at CUNY; I would have been stunned if he had reviewed the book positively.)

Finally, a few people had asked me about the full text of the “open letter” to Peter Lange penned by 15 prominent professors from African-American Studies and related field. I mentioned the letter in a recent post; below is the full text.

AN OPEN LETTER ON DUKE’S “TEACHABLE MOMENT”

Dear Provost Lange:

We wish to register our concern over the recent debacle at Duke. Your public letter to Professor Houston Baker adds unfortunate weight to that concern. You seem not to understand that the tone of that letter assumes a lofty and condescending position of White authority over the insufficiencies of minority reason, thereby exemplifying one of the problems at Duke. The offense that Professor Baker might justifiably take to this display of paternalistic rhetoric is shared by those of us who search for racial harmony in our society.

Whatever the outcome of the criminal investigation of the rape of a Black woman college student by members of Duke’s lacrosse team, the leadership of your university is faced with a greater, underlying dilemma. Elite, higher education continues to operate behind a shield, sometimes of silence, sometimes of evasion, concealing its contributions to a social order defined by inequities and racial preferences.

We all know and might easily document the histories of exploitation, divestment, enslavement, disenfranchisement, and gentrification that undergird the endowments and privileges of our prestigious institutions of higher learning. Further, the topography of institutions like Duke, Columbia, the University of Chicago, Yale, the University of Southern California, the University of Pennsylvania, in close proximity to less advantaged Black and minority communities, underscores the quasi-colonial nature of their relationship to the under-privileged.

Yet the “crisis” at Duke involving the lacrosse team might have erupted at many other university locations. Faced with such a “crisis,” not unique, to be sure, one can imagine, yes, white administrators asking in frustration “Why me, and why here?” But the fundamental social dissonance is not only a matter of geographical distance; it is present in suburban and college towns across America as well.

What we have not heard in your response to Professor Baker is an acknowledgment of the complex demands of this situation, with an eye towards deep structural amelioration. The challenge before you and before Duke is to address the underlying dilemma with something more than lip service or a few philanthropic gestures—the well-meaning program in the storefront in the ghetto--playing for time to dull the sense of urgency. Duke, like other institutions, has a need to get beyond its reflex responses to the “teachable moment” by first recognizing that the academics and departments that work assiduously to impart the best ethical and intellectual wisdom of their disciplines, which are always race, class, and gender inflected, are the most marginalized and under-appreciated among high administrative personnel and traditional disciplines across all academic domains.

In the past, Duke has tried to shield its place in the national history of white privilege by hiring stellar professors of color such as Professor Baker. But now Duke has the task of setting a new example of social leadership within asymmetrical social coordinates and in a nation that needs its universities to teach it how to mature its civilization. The necessary response extends beyond liberalized college admissions, etc. The adequate scope for this leadership would be in the coordination of major universities and colleges in a campaign of active, enlightened strategies to reduce the huge structural, material and social inequities in our society. The first step might be the formation of a commission of colleges and universities to decide how best to achieve progress in this area. While our professorate is capable of monitoring greenhouse emissions, or the shrinking polar caps as threats to our civilization, it should also be able to prescribe the reduction of material inequalities by measurable degrees as a contribution to the health of our civilization.

Such obligation behind this current emergency cannot be avoided. We hope you reach out to get all the help you need in this undertaking. This can become Duke’s and your finest hour. We, along with history, are watching.

Dr. Manthia Diawara, New York University

Dr. Barbara Lewis, UMass, Boston

Professor Clyde Taylor, New York University

Carole Boyce Davies, Florida International University

Dwight A. McBride, Northwestern University
 
Thadious Davis, University of Pennsylvania
 
Susan K. Harris, University of Kansas
 
Michelle Materre, New School University
 
Herman Gray, University of California, Santa Cruz
 
Professor Judith Rollins, Wellesley College
 
Robin D. G. Kelley, Columbia University
Dana Nelson, Vanderbilt
 
Manning Marable, Columbia University
 
Maryemma Graham, University of Kansas
 
Farah J. Griffin, Columbia University

82 comments:

miramar said...

The group of 15 states that, "[T]he academics and departments that work assiduously to impart the best ethical and intellectual wisdom of their disciplines, which are always race, class, and gender inflected, are the most marginalized and under-appreciated among high administrative personnel and traditional disciplines across all academic domains."

First, I doubt any of the 15 or the 88 truly "impart the best ethical and intellectual wisdom of their disciplines" (if there is wisdom here, it must be hidden among the turgid prose). Second, if these individuals and departments are "the most marginalized and under-appreciated among high administrative personnel," why was Brodhead so willing to go along with them? I would say that they cleverly use their supposedly marginalized status to further their own personal agendas and career goals.

I'm not sure where they got the idea that "This can become Duke’s and your finest hour." Lange handled himself pretty well, but Duke...

Anonymous said...

The "open" letter confirms much of what has been written here about the G88 and also how about how widespread these very serious problems are.

The letter is ipso facto profoundly hypocritical and uses language to cloak some very ugly assertions and demands. This makes it more palatable, if less clear, and is plainly an attempt to seize the intellectual high ground, when the emotions that motivate it are very base (and, in largest part, baseless) and the scholarship that is proffered in support of these positions is, all to often, the worst sort of self-serving and clique-based fraud.

The capacity for selective and directed outrage is staggering and it is impossible to escape the conclusion that there were many who sought to exploit something that didn't "happen" to further bankrupt and broken agendas.

Anonymous said...

Hard to believe that a letter so totally lacking in substance didn't have Cornel West's signature on it.

Anonymous said...

What a frightening thought, Houston Baker a Stellar professor of color". Let's not forget, his thoughtful e-mail. This is a great role model for the students of any university. Vanderbilt must be so proud!

LIES! You are just a provacateur on a happy New Years Eve trying to get
credit for a scummy bunch of white males! You know you are in search of
sympaathy for young white guys who beat up a gay man in Georgetown, get
drunk in Durham, and lived like "a bunch of farm animals" near campus.

I really hope whoever sent this stupid farce of an email rots in ....
umhappy new year to you ... and forgive me if your really are, quite
sadly, mother of a "farm animal."

Anonymous said...

KC - I wrote that the board has no discipline action against this nurse or took her license. That NH gave her a new license, which they would not have done if there was a cloud on her NC license. That says "not quilty" to me.

Anonymous said...

Cornell makes me laugh - love that old time oratory. He makes the Harvard trained lawyers in the family crazy. Houston is plain mean. His New Years letter looks like an after drinking spree letter to me,

Anonymous said...

JLS says....,

What a great letter, the Durham rape hoax and the even more transparent global warming hoax all in one. And these fools wonder why people doubt their intellectual abilities.

Debrah said...

We have all joked about Houston Baker and the other members of the Gang of 88 on many occasions.

And there has been so much to joke about.

However, that e-mail sent by Baker to a parent.....and more significantly.....that brazen and racist shout-fest of a letter that he wrote....

.....are really quite depressing.

They reveal vividly the kind of dialogue that goes on among people like Baker, Lubiano, Karla Holloway, and others....and how they feel about people of other races.

It also reveals how intellectually dull these people are.

I am perplexed how anyone could call a person like Houston Baker "brilliant".

There is no brilliance in holding the position of responsibility that he held at Duke, and then abusing that responsibility in such an horrific and clownish way.

Really quite depressing.

Anonymous said...

I got a good chuckle out of the line about "the topography of institutions like Duke, Columbia, the University of Chicago, Yale, the University of Southern California, the University of Pennsylvania, in close proximity to less advantaged Black and minority communities." I have had kids at two of these schools, and have had other relatives at the rest, and am fairly confident that the main relationship between students at these schools and the "less advantaged" residents of the surrounding communities is that the former are typically victims of crimes committed by the latter. It wasn't always the case. Many of these neighborhoods used to be quite good, and to believe that the responsibility for their deterioration lies with the nearby universities is to ignore most of the social history of the second half of the twentieth century. That the universities have stayed in these communities, while other businesses have fled to the suburbs, may be testimony to the incompetence of university administrators, but it certainly isn't the result of racist colonialism. And these professors all know better than to say it is.

Debrah said...

And the ridiculous letter posted above defending Baker is stunning proof that this deluded and dense mentality--always fully expecting largesse in all matters--is rampant in the academy which allows such unqualified people inside its doors.

Anonymous said...

About the comments on your blog, I would like to add what I have found to be another benefit. The freewheeling nature often results in some very funny stuff.

At least for me, humor helps me deal with difficult situations and keeps me from over-reacting when people say infuriating things. Please somebody say something funny about this letter.

Anonymous said...

Lange's letter was a thoughtful, carefully-worded reply to a semiliterate screed. It was not written from "a lofty and condescending position of White authority over the insufficiencies of minority reason;" rather, it gave a rational response to the specific insufficiencies of Houston Baker's letter. If racial harmony means accepting ignorance and hatred as coequal with reason, racial harmony will be a long time coming. Let's hope this is not the case.

rrhamilton said...

KC says...

"Second, there have been occasional vile or racist comments".


Please God, let this refer to me. Given that to point out the lies that black people tell about whites -- like the (LOL) "lust" that whites have for sexual contact with black -- is "racist"; given that even to notice that tens of thousands of whites are murdered or raped by blacks every year in America (not to even count Europe) is now called "racist", I hope to God that no one has been more "racist" than I.

As I've said before: For the diversity-racists to call me "racist" is a badge of honor for me.

Debrah said...

"If racial harmony means accepting ignorance and hatred as coequal with reason, racial harmony will be a long time coming. Let's hope this is not the case."

This capsulizes the problem perfectly.

This is, indeed, the dilemma.

Anonymous said...

miramar has it nailed to the chapel door. That letter can only be interpreted as power-grabbers flaming Provost Lange for failure to genuflect.

KC:

That said, did I miss out on how YOU got the text? One wonders, is it really "AN OPEN LETTER..." as titled? If they just signed it and sent it to Lange, it is NOT an "open letter." Just calling it one doesn't make it so. When one publishes an open letter (e. g., all these comments, including those of faceless people like me, are open letters) one does two things:

(1) (S)he gains the moral force derived from willingness to express opinions an public, but otoh,

(2) (S)he also invites criticism and debate from society at large.

One not publishing out of unwillingness to accept (2) cannot claim the benefits of (1) by mere titling. Phooey.

Now then, was that letter ever published by its authors, or not? I could not locate a source. Nor, apparently, could "a few [other] people."

-- no, not that Glenn

Anonymous said...

if 15 white only professors wrote this, the black anti whites would label them as rascists...the truth is the mirror points back to them...sadly the opportunity given these parasites has denied more capable americans from employment

such happens when some think they are entitled to positions on the basis of race as opposed to brains

Anonymous said...

JLS says...,

re: anon 12:46

I too wondered exactly how many African slaves were taken to Chicago and LA? If our conjecture is correct, it would seem to me that the Colonials in at least those cases are African-Americans coming in an taking over formerly European-American cities.

I also found the following part of the letter:

"...by those of us who search for racial harmony in our society."

very amusing. I am sure they meant themselves as searching for racial harmony. But of course the truth is racial harmony would put them out of jobs and thus they seek to stir up racial disharmony.

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

The 'open letter' to Provost Lange appeared, after wading through its sheer posturing verbosity, to be making some kind of demand for yet more concessions of power, money or position to its authors.

Were I Lange, I'd have knuckled under immediately, and counter-offered free Duke scholarships to any high school graduate 'of color' (or of any of the other ajectiv-ed subcults of society that G88 desires to have preference in society).

The only requirement they'd have to meet would be to take what was once known as a 'college preparatory' course of high school studies: English, history, math, physics, chemistry, civics, foreign language, social studies, PE etc, and to emerge with over a 3.2 average in four years.

Nothing at all racist, sexist or 'other-ist' about that, and it would benefit us all.

Anonymous said...

KC - I read Weidlich's review, and, while he clearly has an axe to grind, he at least puts you in the company of Allan Bloom, high praise indeed, whether he meant it that way or not.

He also states that he couldn't tell whether you tried to interview Crystal Mangum for the book. Could he possibly believe that, if interviewed one more time, Mangum would decide to tell the truth?

Anonymous said...

KC - You've done an extraordinarly outstanding job of managing this blog.

Please don't let your critics put you on the defensive. Their only hope of evading the bright light of critical evaluation is... to attack. And so attack they will. It is all they know.

Florida Gator said...

Jeffrey Rosen, George Washington University law professor, reviews
Until Proven Innocent,” for the New York Times!

mac said...

"While our professoriate is capable of monitoring greenhouse gas emissions..."

Oh, really? Oh. Same way they monitor bovine flatulence, which - (according to some) - contributes mightily to the problem.

Which brings us to the "stellar" Houston Baker - (AKA known as "Farm Animal" as a result of his email to a Mom of one of the Duke students, kindly reprinted by 12:21) - and his demands that all of the lacrosse players be kicked out of Duke, and his presumption of guilt.

It might be well-spent time for scientists who study global warming vis-a-vis bovine flatulence to begin measuring other sources of greenhouse gas, as evidenced by this "open letter."

There's nothing there in the open letter but hot air. I say to these signatories, and to Houston Baker: construct a wagon wheel with fifteen spaces, and proceed as is suggested in Chaucer's "Summoner's Tale." There it is that you will find the justice that you seek.

mac said...

Someone very close to me said this:

"People who insist upon one-sided racial reconciliation are remniscent of the school teacher who forces an unpopular student upon the rest of the students who are involved in a kickball game; Johnny doesn't get picked, and the teacher insists that Johnny be put into the game anyway.

The students protest, but the teacher prevails.

Meanwhile, when it is Johnny's turn to kick, he stands there, unwilling to move his leg to strike the ball.
"See, teacher? That's why we don't pay with Johnny! He just stands there and doesn't try!"


Really, the point the person close to me is saying is this: if you want to be put into the game, stop whining and play. And stop making excuses for why Johnny won't kick the ball when it comes his way.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone ever determine if CGM attended NCCU or just attended to the males at NCCU?

The adequate scope for this leadership would be in the coordination of major universities and colleges in a campaign of active, enlightened strategies to reduce the huge structural, material and social inequities in our society. The first step might be the formation of a commission of colleges and universities to decide how best to achieve progress in this area. While our professorate is capable of monitoring greenhouse emissions, or the shrinking polar caps as threats to our civilization, it should also be able to prescribe the reduction of material inequalities by measurable degrees as a contribution to the health of our civilization.
Here we go again with the Robbing Hood mentality. "We" are not willing to put our money where our mouths are and help the historically black institutions but "we" expect whitey to do that for us too. How the tides have turned over the past 60 years or so. John Kennedy fought communism vigorously as President. I can only imagine that his plot at Arlington rumbles daily as he spins in his grave imagining the radical shift toward Communism /Socialism his party is touting today. Does he ever regret choosing LBJ as his running mate! The best thing to come from LBJ's presidency was Lady Bird!! Many people blame the national debt on Bush or Carter. Not so. The booming national debt began with the "Great Society" the beginning of the American Socialist Society. This group of 15 espouses that mentality.
What ever happened to the American ideal? You get what you earn--if you work hard. Does this guarantee you the big bucks? No. There is no constitutional guaranty to wealth. Similarly, there is no constitutional guarantee that nutcases won't be employed as professors at supposedly elite universities. The decision to attend is a personal one. I don't know of any qualified student who was denied admission to a university. It may not be the university of choice but we can't all get what we want.

bill anderson said...

On the letter: I read it wide-mouthed,realizing that they actually believed Houston Baker's letter was "well-reasoned" and noted the "complex nature" of the situation. Right.

Baker's letter -- especially coming from someone of his checkered background -- was a rant, pure and simple, and dishonest rant at that. So, the AAS letter speaks for itself; by their words, the authors and signers identify themselves as bigots and people who WANT to believe the lie.

As for Weidlich's review, I must say that the far-reaching nature of Political Correctness is a STAPLE of college life, not an aberration. It infects everything, and if this guy really wants us to believe that PC had nothing to do with this really must be smoking something illegal.

And his slam on you for not interviewing Crystal is one of those "head-shaking" sentences. What a jerk.

AF said...

What we have not heard in your response to Professor Baker is an acknowledgment of the complex demands of this situation, with an eye towards deep structural amelioration. The challenge before you and before Duke is to address the underlying dilemma with something more than lip service or a few philanthropic gestures—the well-meaning program in the storefront in the ghetto--playing for time to dull the sense of urgency. Duke, like other institutions, has a need to get beyond its reflex responses to the “teachable moment” by first recognizing that the academics and departments that work assiduously to impart the best ethical and intellectual wisdom of their disciplines, which are always race, class, and gender inflected, are the most marginalized and under-appreciated among high administrative personnel and traditional disciplines across all academic domains.

Is that race, class, and gender inflected or race, class, and gender inflicted? I suspect the latter. To call an English professor who does not have a serious grasp of the English language "stellar" really brings into question the logic of your argument. Baker was hired as an English professor but seemed to be much more adept at professing the AAAS agenda than to teach in his area. Did I detect an admission that he was an affirmative-action hire in the teachable moment statement? Is the implication that the AAAS and Women's Studies programs were begun to be the programs in the storefronts of the ghettos? Is there some reason why we need to be concerned with phallic dreams or perverted penises?
Many are bent out of shape over waterboarding at Gitmo. We need to demonstrate the same anger and questioning of the academic "waterboarding" that is taking place on many campuses today. If these fifteen are joining the Klan 88, that makes at lease 103 nutcases capable of brainwashing our young people. Agendas have NO place in academia. The purpose of an education is to teach students to think--not to force them to think what radical professors want them to think.

Anonymous said...

"...their disciplines, which are always race, class, and gender inflected, are the most marginalized and under-appreciated among high administrative personnel and traditional disciplines across all academic domains"

Under-appreciated, are they? The facts seem otherwise. Baker hurls arrogant abuse, then swans off to the eager embrace of Vanderbilt; Farred makes outrageous claims and finds himself promoted to full professor at Cornell (where they praise him to the skies); Nartey makes an ominous threat then receives a student award; Duke AAS utterly disgraces itself and is elevated to departmental status; CGM makes repellent, provably false accusations and is instantly translated from dollar whore to victimized 'A' student...

Not only is it difficult to see how any individual black or black group has suffered even a little as a result of this travesty, it's "crystal" clear that most of them have, in fact, prospered.

Race, class and gender - but particularly race - inflection does not lead to marginalization: rather, it offer its purveyors a handy club, and a cloak of near-invulnerabilty.

Shouting Thomas said...

Well, it certainly was a teachable moment.

I wonder if the race hustling professors learned anything? Anybody care to bet?

AF said...

It would appear that there needs to be an investigation into prosecutorial misconduct by Reed Walters in the trial of the Jena 6. Not to rush to judgment, it does appear that his motive might have been to do Nifong these six black students. Bet the Feds get into this one quicker than they get into the Duke Rape Hoax. The clock is now on.....

Anonymous said...

The more I read the writings of the race/gender/class Nazis, I wonder if they really, REALLY, think they're brilliant. Of course, Whore Mangum apparently really, REALLY believes she was suspended in space and raped, so it's not a stretch to conclude that Baker, et. al. are so self-deluded that they actually believe they are speaking the truth and that their turgid prose is crystal (no pun intended) clear. The more they expose their ignorance and racism, the more reasonable people conclude the emperor is decidedly uncovered. God help higher education.

Lonetown said...

Some of us learned something from the work of this blog as wee.

That is that the careful, calm, deliberate consideration of facts will in the long run trump the demogogues.

Steven Horwitz said...

While our professorate is capable of monitoring greenhouse emissions, or the shrinking polar caps as threats to our civilization, it should also be able to prescribe the reduction of material inequalities by measurable degrees as a contribution to the health of our civilization.

Sigh. And academics (regardless of race) wonder why people see them as elitist and paternalistic.

This sentence encapsulates what Hayek called "The Fatal Conceit" (or Sowell's "unconstrained vision") just perfectly: we who claim to possess reason should and can shape the world in any way wish to solve the supposed problems we have identified. Treating the social world as an engineering problem for intellectuals to solve is what caused a whole lot of millions of innocents to die in the 20th century. It's even more amusing when the same people would laugh off the idea of an Intelligent Designer of nature (and rightly so) but imagine themselves to be the equivalent in the social world. (I wrote a short essay on this "Of Social Snowflakes" awhile back.) When oh when are we going to recognize that intellectual hubris is at the root of it all?

Academia needs to find its way back to David Hume's idea that the best use of reason was to "whittle down the claims of Reason."

mac said...

I noticed the authors capitalized the word "White" along with "Black" at first, but then reverted to the racist "white administrators" and "white privilege."

Next thing you know, the signatories'll be saying "you people" and "your people." And they won't even know that they're doing it, just like Ross Perot didn't know how offensive he was, as if he was talking to a tribal chieftain somewhere in a remote region.

Sensitivity goes a long way, but it needs to travel in more than one direction.

Bloody raists.

Anonymous said...

There have been a few racist comments on this blog. The most memorable were those from members of the Durham community reacting to the 30M possible lawsuit and quotes from NCCU students.

Oh yes, now that I think about it, comments from the 88-ers and distinguished black educators have reeked of racism. And Cash Michael has always a good source of racist palaver.

Upon reflection there have been lots of racist comments. I wonder if there will be any apologies.

Anonymous said...

"Whatever the outcome of the criminal investigation of the rape of a Black woman college student by members of Duke’s lacrosse team, the leadership of your university is faced with a greater, underlying dilemma. Elite, higher education continues to operate behind a shield, sometimes of silence, sometimes of evasion, concealing its contributions to a social order defined by inequities and racial preferences."

I think this second paragraph of the letter quoted above says it all for me. Even as late as June when the letter was written they still mention that a rape occurred.

And IMO, the last sentence in this paragraph actually states how the AAS facutly all from excellent places of higher learning project themselves as having all those negatives themselves, including racial preferences. It amazes me that these "educators" who should feel so proud and confident about being someone, have to defend so strongly that they do not have the confidence to be someone to be proud about.

Anonymous said...

Less off-topic than yesterday:

Article at firstamendmentcenter.org about Chemerinsky-Drake-UC Irvine contretemps.

Yesterday at Minding The Campus Drake said he had no outside negativity prompting his decision, but, now, this article says Drake says there was pressure.

Anonymous said...

Since the letter purports to present a teachable moment, we can consider the comment that the efforts in these disciplines "are always race, class, and gender inflected." In other words, we look at everything through the prism of these three concerns. Since the race, class, and gender metanarrative represented an obvious distortion of the facts in this case, I hope these esteemed intellectuals will realize that this unholy trinity often does not work. Or to put it another way: Can Baker, et. al, do anything else, or are they essentially three-trick ponies? If it helps them realize their own limits, then this tragedy would truly represent a teachable moment, but I'm not holding my breath.

Anonymous said...

More off-topic: Possibly amusing weirdness.


Drake, 9/14/07, Minding the Campus:
The decision was mine and mine alone. It was not based on pressure from donors, politicians or the University of California Board of Regents.

From article on firstamendmentcenter.org, 9/15/07:
Loftus (psych prof committee member) said that Drake told the committee during a Sept. 12 emergency meeting that he was forced to make the decision by outside forces whom he did not name.

Also from article on firstamendmentcenter.org, 9/15/07:
Drake told Chemerinsky that the appointment would prompt "a bloody fight" within the UC Board of Regents and that "if we won, it would damage the law school,"

------
Oh, goody.

Anonymous said...

"Less off-topic than yesterday:

Article at firstamendmentcenter.org about Chemerinsky-Drake-UC Irvine contretemps."

There is another article at

http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org//news.aspx?id=18469&SearchString=duke_lacrosse

that offers a NCCU student's perspective of what actions need to be taken in the wake of the LAX players being declared "innocent."

I wonder if the writer's thought processes are representative of many at NCCU and Durham at large?

Anonymous said...

why are you so wound up about racism? can't you see that all of this is just a zero sum game. the idea of deep structural reform is about taking from whites and giving to blacks. that's why the facts didn't matter in this case. that's why none of these people will apologize. the goal is to redistribute by any means necessary. the goal is not "social harmony".

please, please, please wake up, kc.

WINDBAG

Anonymous said...

"Condescending" and "paternalistic" are used as code-words, meaning: White people are not allowed to criticize black people, no matter what.

JWM said...

Dear KC,

As a blogger who monitors somewhere between 50 and 70 comments in a typical week, I'm in awe of your ability to find the time and spend the concentrated attention you must spend to monitor the 1000+ comments you get in a typical week.

There's something your critics should remember about commenters: we usually can't be sure a commenter is who h/she claims to be or believes what h/she says.

So I could tell you and the other folks reading this thread: Dear KC, I was Phi Beta Kappa at 11. For the past 28 I've served anonymously as the principal advisor to Federal Reserve chairmen. Next Friday the Fed will .....

And then there are the commenters who comment only with the purpose of casting a blogger in a bad light. Think trolls and people made angry be your truth-telling.

Finally, give some thought to this: The next time one of your critics says you've allowed racist comments to be made at DiW say: "Now that you mention it, maybe I shouldn't have published so much of Houston Baker's letter and other things some Group of 88 members and their supporters said and wrote.

But I was only trying to present their views. Don’t conclude from that that I find racist remarks anything other than odious."

Keep up the great work.

John in Carolina

JeffM said...

@ Steven Horwitz

You and I frequently disagree about details, but you are certainly right on this large issue.

When academics (or intellectuals) say or even imply that they are ethically superior to the rest of the adult population, it is difficult to decide whether guffaws or tears are the better response. Kim Curtis is to teach us about ethics or decency? Houston Baker is to teach us about civility and reason? 99% of the non-academic population is far superior to that scummy duo in ethics, decency, civility, and rationality.

What academics have is tooled and highly specialized knowledge, nothing more, nothing less. It is obvious that 87 academics at Duke, though doubtless erudite, have about the same level of ethics as a guard at Auschwitz.

haskell said...

AAS Letter: "You seem not to understand that the tone of that letter assumes a lofty and condescending position of White authority over the insufficiencies of minority reason, thereby exemplifying one of the problems at Duke. The offense that Professor Baker might justifiably take to this display of paternalistic rhetoric is shared by those of us who search for racial harmony in our society."

Once again, a personal attack instead of a reasoned response to what was said. What makes these people so confrontational? For those of you who took my advice and read, or re-read, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintainance, it is the gumption trap of value rigidity. These folks are a generation behind, when in fact they had to fight, tooth and nail, for their positions. Now that they hold Distinguished Titles at Prestigious Universities, a more statesman-like and diplomatic approach would seem appropriate. Baker made an ass of himself, pure and simple. His letter and subsequent e-mails are clearly out of line. If his supporters fail to acknowledge that, and righteously declare "my race, right or wrong", they are in fact deserving of condescending disrespect. They certainly have mine.

Anonymous said...

Just started UPI and am already in tears (pretty sure sign of an excellent book) with the players, the parents and Ekstrand's confusion about who Wes Carrington represented and the sense of looming disaster, Sgt. Gottlieb already behaving so arrogantly and sadistically, and Nurse Levicy indulging in her unprofessional, ideology driven assessment of the "rape." Even though I have followed this case intensely, the story still has the gravitas and agon to shock me, as it obviously has most of the reviewers thus far.

Observer

jamil hussein said...

instapundit reports ANOTHER dumb McCarthyish political decision at the University of California. "After a group of UC Davis women faculty began circulating a petition, UC regents rescinded an invitation to Larry Summers, the controversial former president of Harvard University, to speak at a board dinner Wednesday.



I'm afraid that Gang88 is winning this war. Defeat is not an option for them, you know. I think homeschooling or education abroad is the only way to go unless you want to turn your kid to the mercy of gang88 approved "educators". Schools and universities today are basically re-education camps (south park episode and communist China in 1970s).

another.anon said...

So the 88ers think that KC agrees with every comment on the site.

Commenters frequently disagree with each other.

Apparently, the 88ers believe that KC agrees with both sides of every disagreement.

OK...

Joe T. said...

Yup. UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT really SHOULD be required reading at Duke, in Durham and so many other places, for so so so many reasons.

Anonymous said...

"KC - You've done an extraordinarly outstanding job of managing this blog.

Please don't let your critics put you on the defensive. Their only hope of evading the bright light of critical evaluation is... to attack. And so attack they will. It is all they know."

Agree. I also agree that a majority of the posters here have "enhanced the overall quality of the blog" - and a high quality blog it is.

I liken some of the more racist comments in this blog to the cacophony of an orchestra tuning its instruments before the concert starts; one will be rewarded with a symphony if one is willing to patiently ignore the noise. So, we wade through the nonsense of some commentators - very few when compare to majority of those who post - to engage in the unfettered debate allowed by the blogsphre.

Thank you for this outstanding blog and your outstanding work in monitoring it all!

Anonymous said...

Good effort KC, especially the deep into the thread' stuff. However, your "comment moderation enabled" --and "all comments must be approved by the blog author" means you are, in fact, making an intentional and unambiguous decision to publish this racist and defamatory garbage as a part of your blog. Are you now wondering where this responsibility leaves you? Some of us already know.

Michael said...

re: 10:22

What about a licensee who has been disciplined by a Board of Nursing?

A licensee is only eligible for a multi-state license if the person’s license is in “good-standing” If a nurse has been disciplined and is working under a settle agreement with stipulations, the nurse is only eligible for a single-state license.

Nurse NH Board of Nursing Nurse Licensure Compact

Someone would have had to file a complaint against her for there to be any disciplinary action. NC Board of Nursing Complaint Process

If you have evidence that someone filed a complaint and that she was cleared, then we would welcome that information. Absent that, I don't think that you can draw the conclusion that you did.

Anonymous said...

To the 11:33: It's Wes Covington, not "Carrington". Covington, who was recommended to the players by the Duke administration, was just censured (again) by the NC State Bar for ethics violations. Only at Duke!

Debrah said...

TO John @ 11:00 AM--

A simply priceless offering.

One that tells the true tale.....and says it all.

KC Johnson said...

To the 12.38:

I'd ask that you identify the "racist and defamatory garbage" that I have cleared since instituting comment moderation.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the 15 signatories of the open letter I stand in awe looking at them as the ignorant savage I am...

"O brave new world That has such people in't!" - A Huxley (Bill S)

...now I'll just take my Soma and think happy thoughts knowing that our finest academic institutions are in such capable hands. Indeed, a Brave New World... or maybe, given the rhetoric, its 1984? Ah well, a utopia none the less, rats and all..

Debrah said...

TO the (anonymous 12:38 PM)--

Don't go there, buddy.

Don't use that old worn-out tactic, and don't try to put every comment on KC or anyone else.

We live in America and with freedom of speech comes people like Houston Baker, Karla Holloway, Grant Farred, Wahneema Lubiano, Mike Nifong, and a whole array of dirty racist players in our society.

It's part of the tapestry that KC has been reporting.

If you continue on this road, then the Wonderland crew will just have to spend the rest of the day teaching you the dynamics of a blog and the rights granted by free speech.

You need an education.

Anonymous said...

KC, publish my comment first. Remember that when JIC started removing comments from his blog, how it lost credibility. If you don't publish it here, it will appear elsewhere with the comment that you are applying an interesting standard of selectivity.
12.38

Anonymous said...

Michael What you wrote about elegibility for a nursing license is just not true. No one state, etc. Read the rules and regulations at their web sites. You will also read that those nurses disciplined, suspended or lose of license are named on the site. ie Wes Covington's name for discipline action is on the NC Bar site = THe Board of Nursing does the same,

Anonymous said...

A question for Professor Horwitz and all skeptics.

If reason is inherently flawed (as alleged by Hayek, who picked it up from Kant), then how is that faculty able to "whittle down the claims of Reason"?

The philosophic lesson to learn from the G88 and their ilk is *not*: "When oh when are we going to recognize that intellectual hubris is at the root of it all?" (This is another self-refuting statement, to wit: Intellectual pride and confidence are wrong and destructive, except when I confidently and proudly proclaim that intellectual pride is wrong.)

The actual lesson here is that PC professors promote a destructive view of how to shape the culture. The lesson is not to reject cultural ideals, as such.

Further, the deeper lesson is that such professors have no right to claim that they are defenders of reasoned argument -- not when they use racial animosity to trump the principles of logic. However, one should not condemn reason, as such, just because some use it fallaciously.

Duke Prof

Anonymous said...

KC KNOWS (or his lawyers do) that he has some lega expsosure for some of the things that have appeared on this blog. It didn't surprise me to see his attempt to apologize, explain, and or distance himself from some of the things that his klan have posted on HIS moderated site.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:22 wrote:
"KC - I wrote that the board has no discipline action against this nurse or took her license. That NH gave her a new license, which they would not have done if there was a cloud on her NC license. That says 'not quilty' to me."

===========

No offense intended, but....how ignorant can you possibly be?

Do you think that, when every professional board issues a routine renewal of a license, it means that the board has specifically determined that individual to be "not guilty"?

Do you also think that, as of, say, December 10, 2006, the North Carolina Bar had found Mike "Disgraced Ex-Prosecutor, (Now-)Disbarred Lawyer and Ex-Con" Nifong to be "Not Guilty"? After all, he still had his license!

Of course not. Grow up. The routine renewal of a license does not equate to any actual inquiry with a "not guilty" finding . Please don't come here and deliberately lie to people about the facts.

Debrah said...

TO 1:18 PM--

I sympathize with your emotional frenzy.

Truth bites.

You and others like you who have grazed unbothered inside the well-subsidized and well-tended pastures of mind-boggling political correctness for so long.....

....and have relied on it to cover and excuse all episodes of ineptitude and bigotry (OK'ed by the PC followers if it's aimed toward some groups)...

....must, quite simply, find a new gig.

KC Johnson said...

To the 1.18:

About my "lega [sic] exposure":

I've had a standing policy--since the start of the blog, and repeatedly posted--asking people to e-mail me if they notice any vile or factually inaccurate comments. My e-mail address is posted on the blog, in the profile section; anyone who wants to contact me with such a request can do so. I have, in fact, never refused a request to remove an item that any reader considered inappropriate.

As for the origins of this post: it had nothing to do with "lega [sic] exposure," real or imagined, but with a request from a longtime reader (AMac) who suggested it would be a good topic as the blog winds down.

It's unclear whether you are also the 12.38, but I noted that there was no supplying of any specific comments since I enabled comment moderation.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:18

"KC KNOWS (or his lawyers do) that he has some lega expsosure for some of the things that have appeared on this blog. It didn't surprise me to see his attempt to apologize, explain, and or distance himself from some of the things that his klan have posted on HIS moderated site."

-----------

Please set forth the lawful basis for such alleged "lega expsosure".

Meanwhile, we are all waiting for an answer to KC's challenge: Please cite exactly what posts constituted racist bilge or, in your word, "klan" language, after the KC's institution of comment moderation.

Either you cannot cite any example, or you must take the position that anyone who disagrees with the horse-shit spewed by Houston Baker must be a "racist".

Either way, you are an idiot.

Debrah said...

Thank you KC for printing the quite informative letter to Provost Lange.

This illuminates for readers just what an avalanche of outrageous and illogical force reasonable minds inside the academy must endure.

Anonymous said...

The economy of Angry Studies appears to call for a quid-pro-quo whenever the issue of race is brought up. In the Duke Hoax, a hearsay-based false accusation was worth a complete review of campus systems and relationships to 88 professors.

The economy of Angry Studies also appears to have called for "deep structural amelioration" when an African-American professor was criticized for failing to consider due process (Baker's obvious racism was not attacked).

I can now see how Universities have been infiltrated and rendered sterile. A group of people with finely-tuned racial seismographs scamper around campus to issue DEMANDS whenever race can be brought up in any attenuated way.

Michael said...

re: 1:04 PM

[Michael What you wrote about elegibility for a nursing license is just not true. No one state, etc. Read the rules and regulations at their web sites.]

What "I wrote" was a direct quote off of the NH Board of Nursing's website.

AMac said...

KC wrote at 1:26pm that I'd suggested "comments" as a topic; that's correct.

I'm also one of the readers who has spotlighted various comments via email for deletion--as KC had requested at a number of junctures. Those notices have never been ignored.

There are many standing comments tinged with "racism" or "racialism" that remain standing, in my opinion. I, for one, didn't complain about them, because they included at least an effort at an accompanying argument.

I'm not a fragile Victorian-era violet, swooning every time an offensive or dopey sentiment appears in DiW's comments.

Nor am I so knuckleheaded as to beleive that Johnson agrees with all or most of the commentariat's diverse views. These points were ably made by dKos' blogmaster.

It's not such a stretch to suppose that most of my fellow readers are similarly literate.

JeffM said...

@ Duke Prof

Though I have seen some rather peculiar assertions in the comments here, I have not seen anyone disparage reason. An example or two would be nice. Nor do I think it is fair to ascribe agreement by X with every assertion made by Y because X agrees with some assertions of Y. For example, I believe Marx said at least one brilliant thing, but that belief does not make me a Marxist. (In short, some is not equivalent to all.)

In fact, I would argue that economists generally and most "Austrian" economists specifically grossly overstate the "rationality" of human beings; v. Mises went so far as to say that even the actions of a psychotic are rational by definition. So I am truly bemused by your assertion, given without evidence, that Horwitz is an anti-rationalist.

The limits on rational thought arise from the the fact that apodictically certain premises are a bit rare (assuming any exist at all.) Recognizing that valid reasoning from incorrect premises may lead to incorrect conclusions hardly amounts to anti-rationalism or anti-intellectualism.

Anonymous said...

3:01: I don't understand much of what you said, but I sure do feel smarter for having read it:)

Steven Horwitz said...

Indeed. I simply was arguing that Reason has limits and a more reasonable concept of reason is one that recognizes them.

To believe that Reason is all-powerful is to be anti-reason by, in essence, being superstitious about the power of reason.

Anonymous said...

Re the suggestion to point out examples of defamatory language, that would be, it seems, something appropriate for a law clerk to research.

mac said...

1:18
You're right, of course, when you refer to 1:18 - who is also likely to be 12:22 am, who is also most likely to be the troll known as Begas. I wouldn't worry about that one: they show up from time-to-time to show us how NOT to spell - (and so do I, as I spelled racists "raists.") They also show up to try to scare KC into making nice to little Nurse Ratched (though it never works.) It's also why they got the nickname "T-Bird," for whatever it is that they're apparently drinking. (Either that, or it's the dreaded P, pretending to be Thunderbird, and doing a mighty fine job in the imitation.)

inman said...

Anon @ 12:38 laid down the gauntlet:

"... your "comment moderation enabled" --and "all comments must be approved by the blog author" means you are, in fact, making an intentional and unambiguous decision to publish this racist and defamatory garbage as a part of your blog. Are you now wondering where this responsibility leaves you? Some of us already know."

First, let's assume a priori that even one comment published on this blog contained a racist statement. That in no way indicates that KC Johnson either agrees or disagrees with the contents of that comment, nor does it mean that KC Johnson is espousing racism. Someone could publish racist comments for the sole purpose of displaying the nature of racism. And since racism is surely central to the HOAX, then an understanding of racism is surely a worthy thing to promote.

What this anonymous person of limited ability (12:38) does not seem to understand is that publishing material does not necessarily imply belief in the message of the material published. And one does not even need to go to the First Amendment protections to assert a right to say what one wants.

You see, to assert a tort in this regard, one must assert a damage. And there is not one single instance of so-called damage. Jeez...Houston Baker scallywagged himself off to Vanderbilt; Grant Farad did the same to Columbia; Levicy levitated off the NH, etc. etc.

Frankly, one could argue that a black, or even white, racist agenda and openly declared arguments of the vocal African American Negro (as opposed to African American Caucasian) are currency used to buy societal promotion or, at a minimum, silence of critics.

Why, otherwise, would the notion of a "race card" even exist?

I for one am getting very tired, tired indeed of self-serving racially-motivated rhetoric, rhetoric which gores the non-racist ox.

You know, there is commonality between Al Qaeda and many black and white racist evangelists. Their mission is so important to them that they are willing to devote decades, if not generations, to their pursuit.

Only when the silent victims of their respective agendas recognize this fact will some harmony be achievable.

Amen.

Anonymous said...

"Further, the topography of institutions like Duke, Columbia, the University of Chicago, Yale, the University of Southern California, the University of Pennsylvania, in close proximity to less advantaged Black and minority communities, underscores the quasi-colonial nature of their relationship to the under-privileged."
::::::
According to Joseph Epstein (the Weekly Standard),many years ago "Ralph Ellison rejected the Moynihan Report, arguing that Daniel Patrick Moynihan "looked at a fatherless family, and interpreted it not in the context of Negro cultural patterns, but in a white cultural pattern." His case against social science generally was that it treated people "as abstractions and ignored the complexity of actual experience."
::::
These professors are the new Brotherhood. Being an optimist, I have to believe there are a few "invisible" narrators at Duke.

cp

mac said...

Inman,
Amen.

And this: I remember when a Black City councilman in my city made a comment to Black high-schoolers that they couldn't achieve anything "unless 'THEY' let you." We all knew who "they" were. Except that it was a lie, a total lie: his comment was discouraging, and was meant to be discouraging. It was meant to keep Black youth under his power and influence. He wanted to be a power-broker. He discouraged many young people. He was a pathetic character, and more like him have sprung up since he retired into an enfeebled state.

When people are encouraged to find examples of racism, sexism etc, it's amazing how hard they'll look, even to the point of finding examples of "secret racism," as expressed by Grant "Prowess Envy" Farred. (Too much weed can also make one just as paranoid and just as ignorant.)

It would be more profitable to look for the things that are better. And they are better. For those who want to work. (Anyone on this blog know any unemployed welders?) Except for people who want scapegoats in order to avoid work, there is opportunity.

It's something I see in my neighborhood, something I hear: White kids who won't work hard use Blacks as a scapegoat; Black kids who won't work hard use Whites as a scapegoat. Seems past time to send the damned goat out into the wilderness. Shoot the m'f'cker.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I did not realize that, when attending U of Chicago, I was part of a "quasi colonial" power. Seems to me that U of C moved into Hyde Park around the time of the Columbian Exposition in the 1890's. As far as I know, the neighborhood at that time was not a minority area ripe for colonization.

Anonymous said...

To 12:39,

Thank you for pointing out the the Covington/Carrington error--a strange slip on my part. I definitely do not want to confuse the names of the honorable Carrington boys with the questionable Covington. Good grief.

Observer

Anonymous said...

it should be demanded by the students that every group 88 professors class need to be recorded ...if these slime want a fight ...then let some light come upon them...

when parents learn what the students are being taught, the real movement will begin to get duke back to education from anarchy

Anonymous said...

"Further, the deeper lesson is that such professors have no right to claim that they are defenders of reasoned argument -- not when they use racial animosity to trump the principles of logic. However, one should not condemn reason, as such, just because some use it fallaciously."

Thank you Duke prof.

The problem with the letter to the Provost is not the prose, of course, but the logic. Logic is logic, whether from the majority or the minority, and when it fails, it fails. Mr. Baker's diatribe could not be called "logical" or an exercise in reasoned argument by anyone with a passing familiarity with the discipline of Logic.

Even though the prose did not bother me generally, the use of "topography" did. Along the way I must have missed this odd and rare use of the term. Don't they really mean socio-economic demographics?

Observer

Anonymous said...

KC,

Stay strong. You sound slightly defensive. There were very few racist remarks in the comments. Your critics are just jealous, they will attack you on everything. Do not apologize for anything.

DIW is/was a wonderful blog. Thank you.

Ralph Phelan said...

mac said...
"(Anyone on this blog know any unemployed welders?)"

If you do, and they've done TIG welding and live in Southern NH or northern MA - EMAIL ME!!!!!!
ralphph@aol.com