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Elspeth
05-04-2012, 05:37 PM
Naomi Schaefer-Riley writes a regular blog for the Chronicle of Higher Education, the trade paper for higher ed. Schaefer-Riley is the author of God on the Quad (http://www.amazon.com/God-Quad-Religious-Missionary-Generation/dp/1566636981/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1336164750&sr=8-1), a book about religious colleges and their growing influence. If that isn't enough to make academics hate her, she is a consistent voice for conservative opinions on the Chronicle, and often she's a lone voice among the rabble.

On April 12, the Chronicle published an article on some graduate students in Black Studies and their dissertation topics:

A New Generation of Black-Studies Ph.D.'s (http://chronicle.com/article/A-New-Generation-of/131532/)

Since you have to have a subscription to read this particular article, I'll repost some of the dissertation titles here:


Dissertation title: "Catalysts for Change: A Comparative Study of Shirley Chisholm and Barbara Jordan"

Dissertation title: "'So I Could Be Easeful': Black Women's Authoritative Knowledge on Childbirth"

Dissertation title: "Strange Bedfellows: The Rise of the New (Black) Right in Post Civil Rights America"

Dissertation title: "Stop and Frisk Police Policy on Trial: Testimonies of Racial Profiling in New York City's Local Courts"

Dissertation title: "Race for Profit: Black Housing and the Urban Crisis of the 1970s"


Naomi Schaefer-Riley saw this article and wrote a scathing opinion piece (which you can access in its entirety) called: The Most Persuasive Case for Eliminating Black Studies? Just Read the Dissertations. (http://chronicle.com/blogs/brainstorm/the-most-persuasive-case-for-eliminating-black-studies-just-read-the-dissertations/46346)


The Most Persuasive Case for Eliminating Black Studies? Just Read the Dissertations.

April 30, 2012, 10:24 pm

By Naomi Schaefer Riley

You’ll have to forgive the lateness but I just got around to reading The Chronicle’s recent piece on the young guns of black studies. If ever there were a case for eliminating the discipline, the sidebar explaining some of the dissertations being offered by the best and the brightest of black-studies graduate students has made it. What a collection of left-wing victimization claptrap. The best that can be said of these topics is that they’re so irrelevant no one will ever look at them...

....But topping the list in terms of sheer political partisanship and liberal hackery is La TaSha B. Levy. According to the Chronicle, “Ms. Levy is interested in examining the long tradition of black Republicanism, especially the rightward ideological shift it took in the 1980s after the election of Ronald Reagan. Ms. Levy’s dissertation argues that conservatives like Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas, John McWhorter, and others have ‘played one of the most-significant roles in the assault on the civil-rights legacy that benefited them.’” The assault on civil rights? Because they don’t favor affirmative action they are assaulting civil rights? Because they believe there are some fundamental problems in black culture that cannot be blamed on white people they are assaulting civil rights?

Seriously, folks, there are legitimate debates about the problems that plague the black community from high incarceration rates to low graduation rates to high out-of-wedlock birth rates. But it’s clear that they’re not happening in black-studies departments. If these young scholars are the future of the discipline, I think they can just as well leave their calendars at 1963 and let some legitimate scholars find solutions to the problems of blacks in America. Solutions that don’t begin and end with blame the white man.


Predictably, Schaefer-Riley is being called a "racist" and worse.

Grad Students Respond to Riley Post on African-American Studies (http://chronicle.com/blogs/brainstorm/grad-students-respond-to-riley-post-on-african-american-studies/46421)


...So imagine our surprise when almost two weeks after The Chronicle’s original article appeared, The Chronicle’s Web site published a lazy and vitriolic hit piece by blogger Naomi Schaefer Riley that summarily dismisses our academic work while debasing us as something less than “legitimate scholars.” Riley then holds up our research as the reason African American Studies as a discipline should be “eliminated.”...

...When Rick Santorum took his failed campaign for the Republican nomination for President to Iowa, he invoked blacks on welfare as a campaign issue—in a state where African-Americans make up only two percent of the population. He said, “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money. I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money and provide for themselves and their families.”

When Newt Gingrich had trouble drumming up interest in his failed political campaign, he began referring to President Barack Obama as the “food stamp president” and then told the NAACP that he wanted to address their convention to counsel, “why the African-American community should demand paychecks and not be satisfied with food stamps.”

One can only assume that in a bid to not be “out-n.iggered” by her right-wing cohort, Riley found some black women graduate students to beat up on. Despite her attempts to silence us personally, and indeed the discipline as a whole, her exhortations confirm the need for the vigorous study and investigation of black life in the United States and beyond....


Faculty Respond to Riley Post on African-American Studies (http://chronicle.com/blogs/brainstorm/faculty-respond-to-riley-post-on-african-american-studies/46436)


....To write such disparaging comments about young scholars and their expressions of intellectual curiosity is cowardly, uninformed, irresponsible, repugnant, and contrary to the mission of higher education. We are barely one generation removed from when African-American students were completely denied entry into many colleges and universities in this country. This kind of distasteful attack on the current generation of black students represents the unfortunate and unacceptable manifestation of contemporary forms of exclusion. We strongly and righteously condemn such regressive tactics to stifle young people’s educational pursuits.

We are dismayed that The Chronicle of Higher Education would risk its journalistic reputation by publishing such an ad hominem attack on the work in progress of graduate students....

Is Brainstorm Racist? (http://chronicle.com/blogs/brainstorm/is-brainstorm-racist/46458)


...The Chronicle is legitimizing open season on black scholars for doing black studies. That’s racist racism.


Schaefer-Riley has been trying to defend herself (http://chronicle.com/blogs/brainstorm/black-studies-part-2-a-response-to-critics/46401) but to no avail. She even points out her credentials:


...My qualifications to post on this blog consist of the fact that I have been a journalist writing about higher education for close to 15 years now. My work has been published in every major newspaper in the country and I have written two books on the subject as well. The editors at those papers and those publishers and at The Chronicle have all been aware that I hold no advanced degree. Black studies is now an academic discipline at most universities, which means I get to comment on that too. If the dissertations in question were written by white people, I’d call them irrelevant and partisan as well. Moreover, I have called other disciplines (having nothing to do with race) irrelevant and partisan...

She also states her general opinion on current academic research:


...Such is the state of academic research these days. The disciplines multiply. The publication topics become more and more irrelevant and partisan. No one reads them. And the people whom we expect to offer undergraduates a broad liberal-arts education (in return for billions of dollars from parents and taxpayers) never get trained to do so. Instead the ivory tower pushes them further and further into obscurity.

The editor of the Chronicle has even come out to defend Shaefer-Riley:

Editor's Note (http://chronicle.com/blogs/brainstorm/editors-note/46423)


...Many of you have asked The Chronicle to take down Naomi Schaefer Riley’s recent posting, “The Most Persuasive Case for Eliminating Black Studies? Just Read the Dissertations.” I urge readers instead to view this posting as an opportunity—to debate Riley’s views, challenge her, set things straight as you see fit. Take a moment to read The Chronicle’s front-page story about the future of black studies, written by Chronicle reporter Stacey Patton and weigh in.

Please join the debate....

But the comments are VILE. Unbelievably vile. It reminds me of the vitriol against George Zimmerman. And Naomi Schaefer-Riley hasn't even killed anyone!

There is now a petition for her dismissal (http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/challenge-the-chronicle-of-higher-education-to/) from the Chronicle of Higher Education. It has over 4000 signatures.

I think it's important to preserve the one consistent conservative voice on this site. I have written a brief email to Philip Semas, President and Editor in Chief of the Chronicle of Higher Education. His email is philsemas@chronicle. I also sent one to editor@chronicle.com.

Right now, it's a coordinated witch hunt. There are a ton of comments at every single one of these links calling her racist, stupid, and worthless. The petition is growing and Riley might lose her position with the Chronicle.

Starbuck
05-04-2012, 07:03 PM
.....Because they believe there are some fundamental problems in black culture that cannot be blamed on white people they are assaulting civil rights?.......
Yeah. You say anything other than "some of the finest people....black....." and you will be called a racist. And a bigot.

Point out that there is a fundamental problem within the black culture which renders a great many black people dangerous, and the R word and the B word come out.

Point out that 45% of our prison population comes from the negro race, which makes up 12% of the population, and it will be dismissed as anecdotal. And you are a R.... and a B....

Try it.:love_heart:

Novaheart
05-04-2012, 07:25 PM
I am delighted to see disagreement on a college campus. Aren't you?

By the way, I don't think that there shouldn't be courses in Black Studies, Womens Studies, Gender Studies, Gay Studies, etc... I just don't think that there should be degrees, much less graduate degrees in these things. Neither should one be able to get a "Doctor" of Divinity degree; the idea that you can get a Phd. not simply in the study of mythology, but in the nuts and bolts of a living religion is absurd. It's like giving a degree in poltergeist, witchcraft, and Big Foot. All of these things are interesting and I have no problem with there being college courses for pursuing those interests. College isn't simply about learning how to remove a spleen or build a bridge; some of it is learning for learning sake.

I have a real objection to degree programs which don't really qualify you to do anything other than to teach that program to the next batch of people who have no intention of ever leaving the campus alive.

Gina
05-04-2012, 08:14 PM
This particularly caught my eye:

...When Rick Santorum took his failed campaign for the Republican nomination for President to Iowa, he invoked blacks on welfare as a campaign issue—in a state where African-Americans make up only two percent of the population. He said, “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money. I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money and provide for themselves and their families.”

I might be a R and a B but logically Iowans (being then 98% white and not a poor state) pay taxes. It concerns taxpayers (or should) that growing entitlements means raising taxes. Santorum was all about self-determination, and in Iowa noted that welfare isn't the best way to live your life. OMG he said "black". narf

Zeus
05-04-2012, 08:19 PM
This particularly caught my eye:


I might be a R and a B but logically Iowans (being then 98% white and not a poor state) pay taxes. It concerns taxpayers (or should) that growing entitlements means raising taxes. Santorum was all about self-determination, and in Iowa noted that welfare isn't the best way to live your life. OMG he said "black". narf

Rick and newt insinuated a job would be a better way. That's a big no no in liberal elite circles.

Starbuck
05-04-2012, 09:30 PM
..............Neither should one be able to get a "Doctor" of Divinity degree; the idea that you can get a Phd. not simply in the study of mythology, but in the nuts and bolts of a living religion is absurd. It's like giving a degree in poltergeist, witchcraft, and Big Foot..................

:biggrin-new: Never let it be said throughout the land that Novaheart has no balls.
Tell it like you feel it, Friend! You will sleep better.:adoration:

MrsSmith
05-05-2012, 05:17 PM
I am delighted to see disagreement on a college campus. Aren't you?

By the way, I don't think that there shouldn't be courses in Black Studies, Womens Studies, Gender Studies, Gay Studies, etc... I just don't think that there should be degrees, much less graduate degrees in these things. Neither should one be able to get a "Doctor" of Divinity degree; the idea that you can get a Phd. not simply in the study of mythology, but in the nuts and bolts of a living religion is absurd. It's like giving a degree in poltergeist, witchcraft, and Big Foot. All of these things are interesting and I have no problem with there being college courses for pursuing those interests. College isn't simply about learning how to remove a spleen or build a bridge; some of it is learning for learning sake.

I have a real objection to degree programs which don't really qualify you to do anything other than to teach that program to the next batch of people who have no intention of ever leaving the campus alive.

:biggrin-new::biggrin-new: Those learning Divinity most definitely don't stay put and teach the next batch of people. In fact, they can actually get real, paying jobs in their field of study...something far more difficult for the other "disciplines" mentioned. :smile-new:

FlaGator
05-05-2012, 05:30 PM
A little something for our democratic friends to think about.

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b26/flagator/BlackRepublicans.jpg

FlaGator
05-05-2012, 05:40 PM
I am delighted to see disagreement on a college campus. Aren't you?

By the way, I don't think that there shouldn't be courses in Black Studies, Womens Studies, Gender Studies, Gay Studies, etc... I just don't think that there should be degrees, much less graduate degrees in these things. Neither should one be able to get a "Doctor" of Divinity degree; the idea that you can get a Phd. not simply in the study of mythology, but in the nuts and bolts of a living religion is absurd. It's like giving a degree in poltergeist, witchcraft, and Big Foot. All of these things are interesting and I have no problem with there being college courses for pursuing those interests. College isn't simply about learning how to remove a spleen or build a bridge; some of it is learning for learning sake.

I have a real objection to degree programs which don't really qualify you to do anything other than to teach that program to the next batch of people who have no intention of ever leaving the campus alive.

You place as much faith in your atheism as I do my Christian... actually more.

Odysseus
05-06-2012, 01:41 AM
I am delighted to see disagreement on a college campus. Aren't you?

By the way, I don't think that there shouldn't be courses in Black Studies, Womens Studies, Gender Studies, Gay Studies, etc... I just don't think that there should be degrees, much less graduate degrees in these things.

These are just BAs in BS. Unless a Women's Studies program is producing OB-GYNs, it's a sham.


Neither should one be able to get a "Doctor" of Divinity degree; the idea that you can get a Phd. not simply in the study of mythology, but in the nuts and bolts of a living religion is absurd. It's like giving a degree in poltergeist, witchcraft, and Big Foot. All of these things are interesting and I have no problem with there being college courses for pursuing those interests. College isn't simply about learning how to remove a spleen or build a bridge; some of it is learning for learning sake.

I have a real objection to degree programs which don't really qualify you to do anything other than to teach that program to the next batch of people who have no intention of ever leaving the campus alive.

Look, we get that you don't believe in religion, really. It doesn't have to come up every time that you post. If you'd stopped where I inserted my comment, you'd have gotten considerable agreement here, but you just had to dig at the believers, didn't you? Do you understand that by doing that, you make no friends, and really piss off people who might otherwise have some common ground with you in other areas?

Retread
05-06-2012, 05:56 PM
................... Do you understand that by doing that, you make no friends, and really piss off people who might otherwise have some common ground with you in other areas?

Novatwit doesn't do common ground - just aggravation and attempted, though unsuccessful, oneupmanship.

txradioguy
05-07-2012, 02:22 AM
Look, we get that you don't believe in religion, really. It doesn't have to come up every time that you post. If you'd stopped where I inserted my comment, you'd have gotten considerable agreement here, but you just had to dig at the believers, didn't you? Do you understand that by doing that, you make no friends, and really piss off people who might otherwise have some common ground with you in other areas?

He just can't help himself.

Novaheart
05-07-2012, 08:52 AM
These are just BAs in BS. Unless a Women's Studies program is producing OB-GYNs, it's a sham.



Look, we get that you don't believe in religion, really. It doesn't have to come up every time that you post. If you'd stopped where I inserted my comment, you'd have gotten considerable agreement here, but you just had to dig at the believers, didn't you? Do you understand that by doing that, you make no friends, and really piss off people who might otherwise have some common ground with you in other areas?

It would not, however, address the hypocrisy in criticizing schools for offering degrees in similarly scientifically bankrupt disciplines.

Odysseus
05-07-2012, 11:56 AM
It would not, however, address the hypocrisy in criticizing schools for offering degrees in similarly scientifically bankrupt disciplines.

It is only hypocritical if you accept your opinion on religion as fact, and all other contrary opinions as, not just falsehoods, but falsehoods to those who pretend to hold them. The vast majority of those who major in divinity go out into the world as ministers or priests, and do not simply end up teaching the next generation of perpetual scholars.

Elspeth
05-07-2012, 07:43 PM
They fired her!

http://chronicle.com/blogs/brainstorm/a-note-to-readers/46608



A Note to Readers

May 7, 2012, 7:21 pm

By Liz McMillen

When we published Naomi Schaefer Riley’s blog posting on Brainstorm last week (“The Most Persuasive Case for Eliminating Black Studies? Just Read the Dissertations”), several thousand of you spoke out in outrage and disappointment that The Chronicle had published an article that did not conform to the journalistic standards and civil tone that you expect from us.

We’ve heard you, and we have taken to heart what you said.

We now agree that Ms. Riley’s blog posting did not meet The Chronicle’s basic editorial standards for reporting and fairness in opinion articles. As a result, we have asked Ms. Riley to leave the Brainstorm blog.

Since Brainstorm was created five years ago, we have sought out bloggers representing a range of intellectual and political views, and we have allowed them broad freedom in topics and approach. As part of that freedom, Brainstorm writers were able to post independently; Ms. Riley’s post was not reviewed until after it was posted.

I realize we have made mistakes. We will thoroughly review our editorial practices on Brainstorm and other blogs and strengthen our guidelines for bloggers.

In addition, my Editor’s Note last week inviting you to debate the posting also seemed to elevate it to the level of informed opinion, which it was not. I also realize that, as the controversy unfolded last week, our response on Twitter did not accurately convey The Chronicle’s message.

I sincerely apologize for the distress these incidents have caused our readers and appreciate that so many of you have made your sentiments known to us.

One theme many of you have sounded is that you felt betrayed by what we published; that you welcome healthy informed debate, but that in this case, we did not live up to the expectations of the community of readers we serve.

You told us we can do better, and we agree.

—Liz McMillen, Editor

Starbuck
05-07-2012, 11:19 PM
They fired her!................
Now, you didn't really think the "Party of Tolerance and Inclusion" was going to stand by and let someone disagree, did you?:love_heart:

Elspeth
05-08-2012, 02:05 AM
Now, you didn't really think the "Party of Tolerance and Inclusion" was going to stand by and let someone disagree, did you?:love_heart:

I guess not.

Here's the NY Post article about it:

http://www.nypost.com/p/blogs/capitol/academics_response_to_criticism_hQdzEqGvH8a0QRFxQc NgMI


Academics' response to criticism? Fire that racist!


9:55 AM, May 7, 2012 ι Abby W. Schachter
As a blogger for the Chronicle of Higher Education Naomi Schaefer Riley is paid to write about what is going on in academia from her perspective. She was doing her job when Riley wrote about the failure of black studies at American universities, citing PhD dissertations as evidence of the weakness of the discipline .

The response to her post can be summed up as follows: She's a racist and she should be fired.

"If ever there were a case for eliminating [black studies] .... some of the dissertations being offered by the best and the brightest of black-studies graduate students has made it. What a collection of left-wing victimization claptrap. The best that can be said of these topics is that they’re so irrelevant no one will ever look at them," Riley wrote on April 30.

Riley proceeded to describe a few recent dissertations on topics like black midwifery and alleged racism in the housing market as exemplifying her point about how empty and useless the discipline of black studies must be if this is the best research it can produce.

She has now been subjected to what she calls the "absurdity" of the ivory tower, as a petition has been started demanding she be fired from her job and multiple responses on the Chronicle of Higher Education have called her a bigoted racist for deigning to "beat up on" a bunch of "poor" graduate students.

As Riley noted in her response to this unfair onslaught, "I was never a big fan of the feminist mantra that the “personal is political.” But the corollary–that any political remark must be taken personally–seems in many ways even worse. My last blog post has earned me even more opprobrium than usual among the [blog's] commenters, and it seems that they have decided to take as a personal attack something that is clearly not."

But personal attacks and false accusations of prejudice are the only things academics can offer in the face of legitimate criticism, it seems. Perhaps Riley should take it as a compliment that not a single one of her critics has managed to defend black studies or the dissertations the field produces on their own merits. That 6,000 lost souls (who've signed the online petition) should support the effort to separate her from her job and on the basis of a racism charge with no foundation in reality, is nothing short of a tragedy.



Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/blogs/capitol/academics_response_to_criticism_hQdzEqGvH8a0QRFxQc NgMI#ixzz1uFu3fsdG

Elspeth
05-08-2012, 02:52 PM
Good comment from AmarWright on Chronicle:


AmarWright 2 hours ago

There are at least three possibilities: NSR was terribly wrong, NSR was right, NSR was right but didn't do her homework. Many of the comments focus on #1. Some simply assume - yes assume - that her position is "racist". Many complain that she hadn't read these dissertations. Fair enough.

Then let's consider this. What if someone does read these dissertations - please decide on a number or percentage that would be adequate - and then concludes many of them are garbage? Would critics of NSR then say, "Oh gosh I need to take that seriously then, because you actually read them"? I rather doubt it.

What if an African or African-American produced a dissertation that challenges whatever ideology is dominant in black studies programs and dissertations? Would critics of NSR then say, "Well, shucks, I can't call it garbage because that would be racist"? I rather doubt it.

And how many critics of NSR have read these dissertations? Such that they can say any criticism thereof must be "racist"? And yet we're so sure of that.

NSR may indeed have messed up. But I don't think this is really about that. It's that she challenged the status quo ( = dominant ideology of academia). And people will use any reason, no matter how ad hoc or unfounded or arguably sound, to condemn, dismiss, and silence her.


And here's the response. Notice how it deflects from the real issues.





Joejoe1 1 hour ago in reply to AmarWright

Amar.

I'm not really sure why Naomi was fired. The only thing that usually works with businesses like CHE is threats to the bottom line, so I assume the rumors about threats to ad revenue or loss of subscriptions have some truth to them.

My beef with Naomi was the fact that she hadn't read the dissertations she criticized and then wrote a hit piece calling for the abolishment of African American studies based on the titles of these dissertations alone. Naomi's piece was clearly a reaction to an earlier CHE article on the African American studies program at Northwestern. The original article contained a sidebar where 5 graduate students and their dissertation topics were showcased. The dissertations were unfinished and the descriptions in the sidebar were sketchy.

Therefore, it was obvious that Naomi had not read the dissertations: they were not finished yet. However, in her title, she implies that she has read them: "The Most Persuasive Case for Eliminating Black Studies? Just Read the Dissertations." People outside CHE might indeed assume Naomi had read these dissertations (as her title suggests) and take her more seriously than she should be taken. Remember, the blog content (where Naomi's posts appeared) is free, but the serious articles (like the one on Northwestern's program) are by subscription only. Therefore, outside readers without subscriptions had no way to reference the original article in its entirety and know that Naomi was being misleading in her title. That is an ethics issue here that bothered a lot of us.

Since none of the content for Naomi's blog post came from the dissertations, it could only have come from the sketchy information from the original article and from Naomi's own preconceived notions or prejudices. Therefore, her attack on African American Studies was easy to debunk. I wrote a comment at the time debunking her shoddy work and showing her how the three dissertation topics connected to other published research in academia and by HUD. Other commenters highlighted other shortcomings of the piece. It was an easy thing to do. The article had no intellectual weight to it, and was, quite frankly, an embarrassment. Then again, Naomi was known for writing lightweight blog posts seemingly from the hip. She was always easy to debunk as a result and many of us did not take her seriously.

However, with this post, Naomi pushed a lot of buttons:

1. Since her opposition to African American studies was clearly uninformed by fact, many decided that this opinion could only have come from her intrinsic dislike (actually disdain) for African American Studies. Many perceive this kind of disdain as stemming from racism.

2. Naomi's message to African American studies scholars that their entire field is worthless and that they shouldn't be a field at all was experienced by many as the desire to silence the Black voice in academics, which already has a limited place. Most of our academic disciplines are centered on the white experience as the default, with the Black experience (if mentioned at all) being a special case. Essentially, many CHE readers felt that Naomi was in essence telling Blacks academics to "shut up."

3. Naomi clearly did not understand the kind of research being done in African American Studies departments in general. At the end of her diatribe, Naomi demands that Black scholars should focus more on "high incarceration rates, low graduation rates, and high out-of-wedlock birth rates" and claims, "But it’s clear that they’re not happening in black-studies departments." Of course, this is absolutely factually wrong. Many comments addressed this specific issue and gave references to such work. Once again, a lack of research leads to unsubstantiated claims, or as some might call it, "lies."

4. Naomi's arrogance in the article is palpable. She feels free not only to dismiss African American Studies but tell Black scholars what they should and should not be researching. The fact that such a wildly uninformed blogger should feel entitled to give orders to an entire academic field smacked of arrogance and privilege, and to many "White privilege" specifically. I can't speak to whether this is Naomi's "whiteness" at work or simply her extremely nasty personality, but this arrogance was one of the major elements of her piece that led to firing. In a follow up post, Naomi arrogantly and proudly admits to having not read the dissertations and not having to read them in order to writing an article. She further claims that she is allowed "as a journalist" to avoid such research. Nonsense, of course, but her arrogance is such that you couldn't even tell her otherwise.

5. Naomi's argument centered around the titles of graduate student dissertations. For many people here, that was below the belt. Graduate students are just starting out, have no professional networks or long term support built up in a field. Now, Naomi was taking their names and holding these scholars up for contempt and ridicule online. Many expressed fears that Google searches on the names of these scholars would bring up Naomi's article and her horrific "reviews" of their work:

http://chronicle.com/blogs/bra...

"The best that can be said of these topics is that they’re so irrelevant no one will ever look at them. That’s what I would say about Ruth Hayes’ dissertation, “‘So I Could
Be Easeful’: Black Women’s Authoritative Knowledge on Childbirth.” It
began because she “noticed that nonwhite women’s experiences were
largely absent from natural-birth literature, which led me to look into
historical black midwifery.” How could we overlook the nonwhite
experience in “natural birth literature,” whatever the heck that is?
It’s scandalous and clearly a sign that racism is alive and well in
America, not to mention academia."

"Then there is Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, author of “Race for Profit: Black
Housing and the Urban Crisis of the 1970s.” Ms. Taylor believes there
was apparently some kind of conspiracy in the federal government’s
promotion of single family homes in black neighborhoods after the unrest
of the 1960s. Single family homes! The audacity!"

Naomi Implies that the work of these graduate students is irrelevant, silly, and irrational conspiracy theory. A graduate student (and his/her dissertation committee) might rightly fear a Google search. And here again, a future employer searching on Google might read Naomi's title and assume that she had read these dissertations. Future employers might not understand that Naomi's nasty swipes were based on a precious few sentences in a sidebar of another article plus a lot of preconceived notions.

For many on CHE, this targeting of graduate students and potentially ruining their careers before they even got their degrees in hand was the worst thing Naomi did.

At any rate, this gives you an idea of why people got so angry. This isn't just about an honest debate on African American Studies. It was about shoddy workmanship, implications that are misleading (lies), preconceived notions about Blacks and African American Studies, unmitigated arrogance and a sense of entitlement, and, finally, an attack on the vulnerable to score political points.

Naomi's leaving is not the end of it. I am hoping that the graduate students are exploring their legal and media options for the time when Naomi's article hits Fox News. (It's already hit some mainstream conservative papers). Being called a conspiracy theorist, for example, needs to be countered directly.

Amar, this post is long, but I want you to see how many different facets this issue has. This was not a simple case of a disagreement over ideas