November 27, 2015

One of the black Harvard lawprofs whose photos were covered with black tape writes a thoughtful op-ed in the NYT.

There's a lot of detail to this, by Randall Kennedy, so read the whole thing. I'll just excerpt his reaction to the tape:
The identity and motives of the person or people behind the taping have not been determined. Perhaps the defacer is part of the law school community. But maybe not. Perhaps the defacer is white. But maybe not. Perhaps the taping is meant to convey anti-black contempt or hatred for the African-American professors. But maybe it was meant to protest the perceived marginalization of black professors, or was a hoax meant to look like a racial insult in order to provoke a crisis, or was a rebuke to those who have recently been taping over the law school’s seal, which memorializes a family of slaveholders from colonial times. Some observers, bristling with certainty, insist that the message conveyed by the taping of the photographs is obvious. To me it is puzzling.

Assuming that it was a racist gesture, there is a need to calibrate carefully its significance....
And one more sentence from the last paragraph: "In the long run, though, reformers harm themselves by nurturing an inflated sense of victimization."

69 comments:

Achilles said...

He sounds like a decent man. It almost sounds as if he doesn't want to be a part of a ponzi scheme that enriches old rich professors/administrators at the expense of massive loads of debt for younger generations to work off. Almost.

Of course Brown and Princeton are fighting injustice by spending hundreds of millions on more racial grievance departments. That will fix everything of course.

The university system is fallen. MIT has OCW. I am going through Stanford's online coursework materials tomorrow. You can pay for a certificate from them. Khan Academy covers a lot of basics. Public education will no longer be around as it currently exists in less than a generation. A hundred million spent on an effective online education system with a fee based tutor network could educate the entire country better than the Billions we spend on public "education."

Anonymous said...

I don't think we will see an end to inflated senses of victimization until our institutions stop rewarding people for being victims. The higher the rewards are, the more incentive there is to portray oneself as a victim. It's a kind of moral hazard, if you think about it.

Char Char Binks said...

I really don't care who did it, or what the motive for microaggressing thus was, I'm all blacked out.

MikeR said...

Sounds like a fair man.

David Begley said...

Hoax. 90% certain.

SteveR said...

"In the long run, though, reformers harm themselves by nurturing an inflated sense of victimization."

This

Anonymous said...

Wow, a real educator.

Nice to see.

Bay Area Guy said...

"An inflated sense of victimization" - heh, a nice sentiment, politely conveyed.

More accurate - " a false sense of victimization to mask individual weakness, used as a social weapon to make otherwise sensible people feel guilty and provide free stuff"

These college pukes rarely talk about (a) getting a good education, (b) to get a better paying job, (c) to attract a nice spouse and (d) to provide for a nice family.

That's not to be dismissed as a "Leave it Beaver" fantasy - that's how the real world works, not the
make-believe world of college faux activism.

Happy Black Friday! (One of the few flawed byproducts of an otherwise beautiful capitalist system!)

grimson said...

Randall Kennedy: "I have asked dissidents to tell me with as much particularity as possible the circumstances that led them to say that they feel burdened, alienated, disrespected, oppressed."

If they are burdened, maybe they are in over their head.

If they are alienated, they have spent too much time in their own little world beforehand.

If they are disrepected, maybe that is because they are not earning the respect of others; it is not owed to them automatically.

If they feel oppressed on a college campus, they have a flair for the melodramatic.

None of this has anything to do with their race.

n.n said...

He sounds human with a twist of integrity.

Sebastian said...

"The question is whether those episodes are characteristic or outliers . . . One involves exaggerating the scope of the racism that the activists oppose and fear."

Well. Prof. Kennedy should know better. Of course racism is pervasive. Of course "incidents" show its tremendous "scope." He doesn't want to be tagged as racism denier, now, does he?

"The other involves minimizing their own strength and the victories that they and their forebears have already achieved . . . Disturbing, too, is a related tendency to indulge in self-diminishment by displaying an excessive vulnerability to perceived and actual slights and insults"

Well. Disturbing why? It works. It pays. Who exactly is "diminished" by power and money and recognition? Who cares if the craven concessions extracted for alleged "trauma" reflect the crude bigotry of low expectations? This racism denier seems very old school.

[By the way, /sarc, google "royall asses" to get the anonymous low-down on the likelihood of a hoax.]

Mike Sylwester said...

Here's a blog that is dedicated to arguing that the incident was a hoax.

https://royallasses.wordpress.com/2015/11/24/0-relax/

rhhardin said...

It has the tone of thoughtfulness around a core of moronic thought.

There are exceedingly few, if any, major institutions in America that can be presumed to be racism free.

Racism is coming back owing to a recently demonstrated tendency of blacks to behave idiotically.

The social justice problem is for the other blacks, namely how to dissassociate themselves from these.

If you're studying the subtle effects of racism, there isn't racism.

Mike Sylwester said...

Here's a website that lists hate-crime hoaxes.

http://www.fakehatecrimes.org/

paminwi said...

At some point someone will call him an Uncle Tom, correct? Because folks like BLM or other SJW can not tolerate a black man with morals, character, whatever you want to call it.

Michael K said...

"Brown and Princeton are fighting injustice by spending hundreds of millions on more racial grievance departments. "

Where do you expect these graduates to find jobs ? Come on now ! They have to take care of graduates with degrees useless in any other setting.

Birkel said...

It is, perhaps, easier to see these points once somebody becomes the focus of the animosity of these modern-day Jacobins. Nothing clarifies quite so clearly as the hangman's noises as it were.

These things and more will be visited on Liberals by the Progressives.

Like Kissinger said about the Iranians vs. the Iraqis...

jr565 said...

THank you, sir.

tola'at sfarim said...

Has anyone reported on whether there are cameras? Seems like it would be pretty easy to check

jr565 said...

Its the same with the shit swastika. FIrst off, is there a shit swastika at all?
If there is a shit swastika, who made it? Was it a white person out to vilify black people or a black person out to suggest there is a problem with racism on campus. Since swastikas are generally symbols of jew hatred, are the blacks in fact appropriating the intended racism for their own. Maybe its really about hatred of Jews. Yet, when the students kicked the people out of the public square on campus they tweeted about how the "white" media was trying to invade a black space. a public square is a "black space". Why couldn't a Jew say "Wait a second, I find a swastika offensive, why isn't this about me? Maybe don't try to take the racism directed at me and appropriate it for your ends. And then say I can't even be part of the public space beucase its a black space. Even though its a smear against ME! Why can't I also play the victim card?" Not aware of two many jews that surrounded the school presidents car screaming about Jew power.


Another interpretation - it wasn't about jews or blacks at all. Maybe it was an indictment of a swastika Drawing a swastika in feces doesnt' really suggest you hold a swastika in high regard.
If, for example, someone drew a picture of Jesus with feces, would you assume that they were spreading the gospel?
It could be there for any number of reasons. Yet, these dilletantes are certain that it's there because of racism against blacks only.

campy said...

Wow, a real educator.

Nice to see.

Don't worry, I'm sure the VP of Diversity will call him in for a little chat soon and raise his consciousness.

Owen said...

This guy gets it right in the ten-ring. If only he were not almost alone in offering a sane (dare I say wise?) perspective.

How long before the enraged loudmouths begin to mutter "Uncle Tom" when this op-ed is cited?

rcocean said...

Maybe they should find out who did it, and whether it was a hoax, before writing "thoughtful" essays about racism.

Zach said...

A nice essay about an ambiguous incident. What is electrical tape across a portrait even supposed to mean?

It would be nice if this discussion could become more concrete and focused. I think there is a lot more racial goodwill out there than many protesters acknowledge, which means that less conflict and more focus is more likely to lead to progress.

In addition to his point about excessive victimization, I would say that making concessions to angry, irrational people is something that often works out badly. You can't solve centuries of bad behavior by overpunishing people for minor transgressions. You just ratchet up conflict with people who have some reserves of goodwill, but are aware that they occasionally commit minor transgressions, too.

Steve M. Galbraith said...

"In the long run, though, reformers harm themselves by nurturing an inflated sense of victimization."

Yes, but only if they're told no, when they over reach. When is that going to happen? And from whom? Every time it appears that they've gone too far the administrators cave again.

We're going on (roughly) 30+ years of this - if not longer. It's gotten worse over time. It ebbs and flows but each flow encroaches more and more on the land.

jimbino said...

"In the long run, though, reformers harm themselves by nurturing an inflated sense of victimization."

I disagree. Though we live in a racist country, no minority is more disenfranchised and abused than atheists. How am I victimized by having to endure "god" popping up on all currency and in public prayers, pledges, anthems, oaths and Ten Commandments monuments? I am victimized whenever religious bigots are given a pass in promoting their special brand of venom, just as Jews were already victimized in the 1924 Mein Kampf that blazed the way for their later persecution and murder. It would have served the world well if such bigotry had been recognized and condemned when it first reared its ugly head, instead of waiting for Kristallnacht and Dachau. Amerikans need to recognize that:

1. Atheists are regularly persecuted and even executed in Muslim countries, including Saudi Arabia and other "allies" of Amerika.

2. There are no atheists (or even Protestants) on our Roman Catholic/Jewish Supreme Court.

3. Atheists are barred from serving as judges, attorneys, jurors and in other positions of public trust in the text of numerous Amerikan state constitutions.

4. Atheists and other non-believers are generally deprived of the services of atheist and humanist chaplains in Amerikan military services, hospitals and universities, though non-believers far outnumber the Jews and Buddhists, who do have chaplains of their own faiths.

5. In her Texas trials, Dr. Madalyn Murray O'Hair was effectively required to face judges and jurors, and even to employ attorneys, who had admitted to acknowledging the existence of a Supreme Being.

Zach said...

Second thought: it's not obvious that the protesters and the professors are on the same "side". The professors are older, have a longer term commitment to the school, have professional reputations that extend beyond the school, and have more "soft power" ways to change things without conflict. The protesters are younger, have more of their reputation tied up in being admitted to Harvard Law, have a bigger opportunity to gain prominence, and won't be around to deal with backlash.

Michael K said...

Poor jimbino. Surrounded by nice people. What's an atheist to do ?

Zach said...

Third thought: the people who put black electrical tape over the Law School seal are probably also the people who put black electrical tape over the professors' portraits at the same time in the same place.

smitty said...

I read jimbino's screed until he started taking about "Amerikans" then I stopped.

Hagar said...

It is getting hard to tell these days, but I think jimbino's "screed" is meant to be satirical.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

jimbino,

There are no atheists (or even Protestants) on our Roman Catholic/Jewish Supreme Court.

Gotta admire the implicit concession that, if you can't find an atheist, a Protestant is the next best thing :-)

Except maybe a Unitarian Universalist. To me, "Unitarian" means "not Trinitarian" (i.e., Jesus Christ was in no sense God or part of God), and "Universalist" means "Everyone shall be saved." In practice, though, every U-U I've ever met basically denied the existence of God and of Heaven, which renders the whole name kind of moot.

MadisonMan said...

Could a White Law Professors have written a similar article about this incident without being hounded?

Big Mike said...

And one more sentence from the last paragraph: "In the long run, though, reformers harm themselves by nurturing an inflated sense of victimization."

"Even in the short run, though, reformers harm themselves by nurturing an inflated sense of victimization."

There, Althouse, fixed it for both of you.

Big Mike said...

@jimbino, please knock it off. You make me ashamed to be an atheist.

campy said...

"I read jimbino's screed until he started taking about "Amerikans" then I stopped."

At least he didn't use three Ks.

jr565 said...

jimbino, Don't you think Obama might in fact be an atheist?
Any allegiance to Christianity is skin deep at best. I wouldn't accuse him of being a muslim. I would accuse him of being a secularist atheist. The trappings of religion were only for show.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

As an atheist I feel compelled to point out that Jimbino does not speak for me. I am in no way oppressed, and public displays of religion ( even government speech ) do me no harm.

And in case I don't get a chance to say it later, Merry Christmas!

David said...

"Some observers, bristling with certainty, insist that the message conveyed by the taping of the photographs is obvious. To me it is puzzling."

That has been obvious from the beginning of this, but no one seemed capable of saying it.

David said...

I think the best moments in the article are at the end:

Disturbing, too, is a related tendency to indulge in self-diminishment by displaying an excessive vulnerability to perceived and actual slights and insults. Some activists seem to have learned that invoking the rhetoric of trauma is an effective way of hooking into the consciences of solicitous authorities. Perhaps it is useful for purposes of eliciting certain short-term gains.

In the long run, though, reformers harm themselves by nurturing an inflated sense of victimization. A colleague of mine whose portrait was taped over exhibited the right spirit when he jauntily declared that it would take far more than tape to slow him down.


They are not weak, and their greatest potential strengths do not flow from embracing the notion that they are inevitable victims.

jimbino said...

I assume that Obama is a non-believer, though maybe "spiritual," but any good sense he exhibits is belied by his politics. "The trappings of religion were only for show" would apply equally to most any president I can think of, Carter excepted. Thank god, we have been spared the religious nuts like Palin, Bachman, Santorum, Paul Ryan, Scott Walker, Rick Perry and William Jennings Bryan and been served primarily by non-believing presidents masquerading as believers like the Roosevelts, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bushes, Clinton and Obama. It's just too bad we're not a free country like Brazil, where non-believer candidates can skip the masquerade.

Jupiter said...

I have been reading about the young, pregnant white woman in Indianapolis who was robbed, raped and killed in her home by three young black men. Her baby died too, of course. Her husband came home from the gym and found her bloody corpse on the floor of their bedroom.

So, back to Harvard Law School. What's the problem again? You say electrical tape?

jimbino said...

@Big Mike "jimbino, please knock it off. You make me ashamed to be an atheist."

And you'd no doubt be ashamed to associate with atheist Franz Kafka, who wrote the book "Amerika."

Michael K said...

"And in case I don't get a chance to say it later, Merry Christmas!"

Exactly. Being agnostic (I'm not arrogant enough to say I absolutely know) I find no problem with recognizing the religious urges and sentiments around me. I have relatives who are devout. I spent a long time in college studying whether Jesus was real.

Atheism, like global warming, is another religion with heretics and an Inquisition that would make Savonarola proud.

Michael said...

Jimbino

Amerika is German for America. You German? Was Kafka?

Humperdink said...

jimbino, thanKs for chucKle.

jr565 said...

jimbino wrote:
I disagree. Though we live in a racist country, no minority is more disenfranchised and abused than atheists. How am I victimized by having to endure "god" popping up on all currency and in public prayers, pledges, anthems, oaths and Ten Commandments monuments?

Boo hoo! You poor baby!

AReasonableMan said...

Hard not to feel sorry for Drudge. He did his best to stir up racial hatred today but events conspired against him. He started the day with a picture of two black people struggling over a TV but the the picture was a year old and taken in fucking Britain. The real story of the day was white people engaging is some spectacular fights at multiple locations across the US. He then tried to get some hate going on black lives matter in Chicago but the big story was now a white domestic terrorist attacking a clinic in Colorado.

Sometimes a racist can't get a break.

Fernandinande said...

Michael K said...
Being agnostic (I'm not arrogant enough to say I absolutely know)


Awww, that's cute, bragging about modesty.

Blogger jimbino said...
1. Atheists are regularly persecuted and even executed in Muslim countries, including Saudi Arabia and other "allies" of Amerika.


Those countries suck because they're populated by bad-crazy people.

2. There are no atheists (or even Protestants) on our Roman Catholic/Jewish Supreme Court.

Nor midgets or Mongolians. Plenty of atheists in professions which require more brain power and fewer popularity contests.

3. Atheists are barred from serving as judges, attorneys, jurors and in other positions of public trust in the text of numerous Amerikan state constitutions.

Eight of 'em:
Arkansas
Article 19, Section 1 (Denial of Office, Denial as Witness):
No person who denies the being of a God shall hold any office in the civil departments of this State, nor be competent to testify as a witness in any Court.

Maryland
Article 36 (Denial as Witness):
...nor shall any person, otherwise competent, be deemed incompetent as a witness, or juror, on account of his religious belief; provided, he believes in the existence of God, and that under His dispensation such person will be held morally accountable for his acts, and be rewarded or punished therefor either in this world or in the world to come.

Article 37 (Denial of Office):
That no religious test ought ever to be required as a qualification for any office of profit or trust in this State, other than a declaration of belief in the existence of God; nor shall the Legislature prescribe any other oath of office than the oath prescribed by this Constitution.

Mississippi
Article 14, Section 265 (Denial of Office):
No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office in this state.

North Carolina
Article 6, Section 8 (Denial of Office):
The following persons shall be disqualified for office:
First, any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God.

Pennsylvania
Article 1, Section 4 (Denial of Office):
No person who acknowledges the being of a God and a future state of rewards and punishments shall, on account of his religious sentiments, be disqualified to hold any office or place of trust or profit under this Commonwealth.
(This section specifies that someone who acknowledges God cannot be denied office; conversely, anyone who does deny God can be, rather than shall be, denied office. The restriction is not as concrete as other denials of office.)

South Carolina
Article 6, Section 2 (Denial of Office):
No person who denies the existence of the Supreme Being shall hold any office under this Constitution.

Tennessee
Article 9, Section 2 (Denial of Office):
No person who denies the being of God, or a future state of rewards and punishments, shall hold any office in the civil department of this state.
(Note that Article 9, Section 1 denies office to any "minister of the Gospel, or priest of any denomination.")

Texas
Article 1, Section 4 (Denial of Office):
No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, in this State; nor shall any one be excluded from holding office on account of his religious sentiments, provided he acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being.

jr565 said...

aReasonableMan then supplied his own racism by suggesting that all the fights were with white people:

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/black-friday-2015-brutal-fights-6909924

Its hard to tell in a few cases, but you can see at least a few blacks in there. Why then are you describing it as "white people fighting"

And the shooting at the planned parenthood may have been a target of opportunity. As in, he ws in the the parking lot and was cornered by cops so ran into the building. As opposed to entering the building because it was a planned parenthood.

Which was immediately described as a "right wing shooting". OF course, when its a potential shooting that may involve someone who might be pro life, there is no doubt amongst lefties as to his motivations.
But if its an ISIS shooting, you can't even admit that ISIS is Islamic.



Humperdink said...

Pennsylvania
Article 1, Section 4 (Denial of Office):

(This section specifies that someone who acknowledges God cannot be denied office; conversely, anyone who does deny God can be, rather than shall be, denied office. The restriction is not as concrete as other denials of office.)

You are worthy of a Supreme Court appointment - because it doesn't say what you are implying.

Bob Ellison said...

Fernandinandelollapalooza, get a better atheist site for copying. That one sucks like a Hoover. The North Carolina thing has been non-functional since 1961. The rest of your paste is weird atheist victimology shit.

Humperdink said...

Additionally, the prior section, Section 3 says the following:

§ 3. Religious freedom.
All men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship
Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences;
no man can of right be compelled to attend, erect or support any
place of worship, or to maintain any ministry against his
consent; no human authority can, in any case whatever, control
or interfere with the rights of conscience, and no preference
shall ever be given by law to any religious establishments or
modes of worship.

It does not bolster your argument regarding Section 4, in fact it weakens it.

Big Mike said...

@jimbino, there are a lot of reasons for not wanting to associate with Franz Kafka, such as his compulsive patronization of brothels, but his atheism is not one of them. I'm an atheist myself -- are you accusing me of self-hatred? Won't work.

OTOH, I wouldn't associate with Richard Dawkins, even though we pretty much see eye to eye on why the universe makes no sense if there's a God who intervenes at a personal level, but that's because he is insufferably pedantic.

Fernandinande said...

Humperdink said...
You are worthy of a Supreme Court appointment - because it doesn't say what you are implying.


"You" being the author(s) @usconstitution.net

hoyden said...

"thoughtful op-ed"...well, there's your problem. This will never fly with Leftists.

AReasonableMan said...

jr565 - De Nile ain't just a river in Egypt. Yesterday was not a good day for white supremacists like Drudge.

Rick said...

Ignorance is Bliss said...
As an atheist I feel compelled to point out that Jimbino does not speak for me. I am in no way oppressed, and public displays of religion ( even government speech ) do me no harm.


His screed was so pathetic I took it for satire mocking those at Harvard outraged by the black tape event.

jr565 said...

Areasonableman
You haven't produced anything that would suggest he is in fact a white supremacist. He may well be, though if I had to base the case on your provided evidence I'd vote "not guilty". And you seem to have some inherent biases of your own. You see fights with different races and say "a bunch of white people" what are you trying to suggest?

Fernandinande said...

Bob Ellison said...
Fernandinandelollapalooza, get a better atheist site for copying. That one sucks like a Hoover. The North Carolina thing has been non-functional since 1961.


North Carolina would beg to differ.

The rest of your paste is weird atheist victimology shit.

Your post is just shit.

AReasonableMan said...

jr565 said...
You haven't produced anything that would suggest he is in fact a white supremacist.


This is deeply delusional. Drudge was so committed to the blacks as thugs narrative that he had a picture of two black people tussling, not fighting, over a television, an event that occurred in Britain a fucking year ago, rather than show white people beating the crap out of each other in the US on that actual day. Total fucking racist.

Then he had a picture of black people exercising their 1st amendment rights in a peaceful manner with a series of hysterical headlines rather than show a white nut shooting up the place. Total fucking racist.

But worse than any of this is that he did it on the one holiday where we vaguely celebrate racial harmony. He is a disgusting piece of shit.

Gahrie said...

Yesterday was not a good day for white supremacists like Drudge.

Just for the record...do you condemn Black or Hispanic supremacists too?

Can I expect to see a condemnation of the Nation of Islam and Mecha anytime soon?

Gahrie said...

I want to know why I never get an invite to a White Supremacist rally/organization?

I want to talk about how Whites were the greatest creation of God, and about Brown skinned brown eyed devils.

I want to chant with my White brothers "Inside the race everything, outside the race nothing!" as we hold regular meetings on college, high school and even middle school campuses.

I want to have White student unions, and be able to major in being White.

I can't wait for all the advantages I will get over other races when it comes to government jobs and benefits or admission to college.

Well that's all for now...I have to run out to the White Lives Matter protest we're holding.

Gahrie said...

But worse than any of this is that he did it on the one holiday where we vaguely celebrate racial harmony

Really? Where? All I ever see anymore are attacks on White people.

AReasonableMan said...



Drudge is a mainstream media presence regularly quoted here on Althouse, to her great disgrace. Nation of Islam is a fringe organization, even within the black community. Apples and oranges.

Not sure what Mecha is.

Bob Ellison said...

OK, Fernandiloonie, let's you and me shack up together in NC and run for dog-catcher. I'll say I'm a big-time theist; you can say you're an atheist. Whoever gets elected first wins.

Hmm. That seems like a lot of work, and you and I are not sure how each other smells. Better to just ask a lawyer who knows federal law. I wonder where we could find one.

Rick said...

Why do you all support the troll converting every thread into a discussion on which right leaning figures are racist?

Gahrie said...

Nation of Islam is a fringe organization, even within the black community.

Really? Ever hear of Malcolm X? The Million Man March?



Not sure what Mecha is.

Seriously? I find that hard to believe. Of course, if I had to try and defend them, i might say I don't know who they are too.

I'll give you a hint...think Chicano students, "Atzlan", historical ignorance and racial grievances.

Gahrie said...

By the way, i notice you didn't take the opportunity to condemn the Nation of Islam....