Tag Archives: racism


Riley’s Arrow

Last night I learned that Naomi Schaefer Riley has been fired by The Chronicle of Higher Education from her position as one of the contributors on the Brainstorm blog. It was a poor decision by The Chronicle‘s editors, one of whom, Liz McMillen, explains it in “A Note to Readers.” Ms. McMillen also apologizes “for the distress these incidents have caused our readers.” As it happens, I had just drafted for Innovations a short essay which among other things praised The Chronicle’s editors for not …


An Attack on Black Studies and Black Scholars

Yesterday, one of my former African-American Ph.D. students, Valerie Lundy Wagner, sent me an e-mail message asking if I had seen a post by Naomi Schaefer Riley, a blogger for The Chronicle of Higher Education. Valerie is now an assistant professor and faculty fellow at New York University and was a Ford Fellow while a doctoral student. Valerie does work related to racial and ethnic minorities and college achievement. She was deeply offended by Riley’s blog post, which ridiculed black scholars…


Racists in America

In Arizona, textbooks that are inclusive of all Americans’ experiences are being banned because racists are afraid that when Latino students learn positive things about their culture and history, these students will feel empowered. Don’t we want all of our students to be empowered? Don’t we want our students to have the confidence to do their very best in school and in life? Don’t we want all of our children to learn the positive attributes of their ancestors? I know that my 12-year-o…


A Little Too Comfortable Mocking Asians

Most of us have heard about the young woman at UCLA who posted a video on YouTube that mocked Asian students. Alexandra Wallace made fun of Asian accents and language, saying “ching chong ling long ting tong.” Even more hurtful, she made fun of Japanese students who were calling their relatives in Japan after the recent earthquake and tsunami.

Wallace was in the UCLA library and was upset that Asian students were making phone calls to their loved ones, disturbing her study time. Instead of being…


Erasing the N-Word in Huck Finn Erases History

In the past few days, the news and internet have been buzzing with talk of a new version of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Auburn University professor Alan Gribben’s new edition of the book replaces the N-word, which is used 219 times, with the word “slave.” According to Gribben, many readers cannot get past Twain’s use of the N-word to understand the commentary he is making about American racism. Gribben may have a point. However, Huck Finn was published in 1884, and with it T…


Racism at Wesleyan?

Last week, William Galston, professor of public affairs at the University of Maryland and President Clinton’s first Deputy Assistant for Domestic Policy, joined with David Frum, conservative pundit and former Special Assistant to President George W. Bush, to issue a call in the Washington Post for a “No Labels Solution to Washington Gridlock.” Their idea is that we can restore civil debate in the United States if we reward elected officials that “reach across the aisle” and “criticize tho…