Naomi Schaefer Riley, often found on the op-ed pages of the Wall Street Journal, has committed a mortal sin: she has told us that so-called black studies doctorates are not worth the effort.
In a controversial post (understatement; see below), she wrote a blog entry in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Among other things, she wrote
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.
Well, sadly, there’s a whole host of “disciplines” in which toilers in the vineyards of academia may be awarded degrees where the theses are “irrelevant.” In fact, while we used to joke about “basket-weaving 101,” today one may apparently get actual degrees in gender studies, black history (as opposed to actual history), puppetry, and a whole host of totally useless subjects swept under meaningless rubrics such as “American studies.”
What makes black studies so offensive is that it maintains a state of academic apartheid, in which blacks are treated as separate and apart from the larger society in which they live.
Look, we all understand about slavery and racism. Fine; study their effects and how to eliminate them. But black studies have now become untouchable and must not be criticized. As Riley found out when she was fired from her paying blog gig.
Riley, who happens to be married to a black man (Jason Riley, A WSJ editor who may often be seen as part of the the Journal Editorial Report on Fox), was the subject of a bile blitz from academics. She had dared to suggest a lack of academic rigor on the part of black studies.
She was accused of being a stone cold racist. Yes, there is racism here. It works full-tilt boogie against anyone, regardless of skin color (hey, it’s color blind!) who has the temerity to question anything done in the name of blacks. This racism works primarily against blacks deemed to have left the reservation such as Thomas Sowell or Alan West, but is clearly just as harshly applied to whites such as Riley who write about academia.