Many of the statements attributed to me in press accounts and emails are hateful. Although I strongly believe in academic freedom, I do not seek to cloak my statements in this protection. Had I made the hateful comments wrongly attributed to me, I would repudiate them without hesitation. I did not make them. As both a matter of personal inclination and my professional training as a clinical psychologist, I try my best to bring human empathy to bear in my vocation as at teacher. However, this experience and the compounded misunderstandings that have resulted from it reinforce my recognition of the limits of language, as well as law, to bridge certain gulfs. I have come to a new awareness of how the statements I did make could be misunderstood and of the pain that this experience has caused. I acknowledge that pain and regret the part that my own limitations played in contributing to it.I hope students can engage with this account and reconcile with Professor Kaplan, and that we can come together as a scholarly community again. I think the key mistake was to hear statements that presented sociological information about groups of people as if they were stereotypes to be applied to all the members of the group. It needs to be possible to talk about demographic information in the real world, especially if we are to continue to be a school that teaches what we like to call "law in action." It would be a terrible thing if the fear of misunderstandings chilled discussion of sociological information, and if law professors were to retreat into the discussion of law in a more abstract or doctrinal way.
Let me repeat what I wrote in the New York Times column:
It’s so much easier to skip the subject [of race] altogether, to embrace a theory of colorblindness or to scoop out gobs of politically correct pabulum. It’s only when you challenge the students and confront them with something that can be experienced as ugly — even if you’re only trying to highlight your law firm’s illustrious fight against racism — that you create the risk that someone may take offense.It's desperately important to come back to a place where we can talk about race in the classroom. I understand that people are sensitive and that there is so much potential for hurt feelings, but think of the alternative! The grotesque prejudgment and pillorying of Professor Kaplan is something that everyone who cares about teaching about race and teaching law and society must look upon with horror.