Thursday, May 10, 2012

CHE Higher Education Blogger, Naomi Schaefer Riley, Fired

Justice has been served! When I first noticed Riley's blog postings arguing for the elimination of Black Studies programs several days ago, I was angry and in disbelief. How can someone publish some ideological-based opinions without substantiated evidence and still call herself a professional journalist? I am delighted that many readers complained and requested the removal of the racists posts on the Chronicle of Higher Education. As a former Black Studies major at Northwestern University, her hateful remarks offended me deeply because she believes the black doctoral students should only focus on contemporary social problems in the black community. Her assertions also imply the black community is culturally deviant, thereby denigrating African-American achievements and experiences for the past 300 years. The Chronicle is the leading higher education newsletter read by many faculty, students and administrators. Black Studies is a legitimate academic field, and scholars should focus on all aspects (cultural, social, economic, political) of African-American history and life.
Naomi Schaefer Riley, a lecturer and author who wrote for the Chronicle's blog, Brainstorm, was let go after readers pushed back on an essay she published last week titled "The Most Persuasive Case For Eliminating Black Studies? Just Read the Dissertations." Riley's essay responded to a sidebar of a story in the Chronicle which profiled several up-and-coming black studies scholars in the process of writing dissertations. Riley looked at the titles of the dissertations -- on subjects like the role of race in housing policy and the history of black midwifery in the United States -- and called them "left-wing victimization claptrap."

Nearly 6,500 people signed a petition calling for her dismissal from the blog. Yesterday, Liz McMillen, the site's editor, wrote a note apologizing for Riley's post, and said that the publication had decided to part ways with the author, who is also an affiliate scholar of the Institute of American Values, a conservative think tank based in New York.

UPDATE [05/11/12]: The three black doctoral students at Northwestern University respond to Riley's post about African-American Studies.

No comments: