Trade paper fires editorial-page writer for article
Naomi Schafer Riley on why she lost her job
- Duration 4:49
- Date May 9, 2012
Naomi Schafer Riley on why she lost her job
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Because if you -- today over the firing of an editorial page writer who says she was -- for doing their job.
Naomi Schaefer Riley vote for the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Until she penned a piece that criticized.
The value of black studies programs at US campuses across this country.
Some of the readers were outraged.
And despite the papers initial response that her piece was an invitation to debate.
In the end they axed her.
Now this is Schaefer Riley is here with us and we thank you very much for being here thanks for having so you know what's what's your -- complexities programs.
Well the blog that I wrote was in response to piece that appeared in the chronicle that talented some young black studies scholars and -- district Haitians.
And I looked at the topics that they were studying and they seem to -- less than academically rigorous.
In mostly they -- partisan in the sense that they blamed.
Anything that was wrong with the black community on whites and institutional racism.
But some of the we're just perfectly you know seemed -- probably irrelevant and obscure topics you know.
A history of black midwife Fareed I mean is that really something we need to be training people to get Ph.D.s -- is that gonna be -- of those people going to be able to give our.
Undergraduates -- -- liberal arts education some -- and there was one -- about Clarence Thomas with which you took issue yes record justice like there was an entire dissertation blaming black conservatives for and I quote an assault on civil rights you know that that you you can't -- you can't be a black conservative now you know -- -- -- could write an entire dissertation and get a degree from northwestern university -- Ph.D.
Just for saying you know Tom -- and Clarence Thomas RR -- civil rights because they don't believe in affirmative action.
So you took issue with this with this area.
Of studies say look it I got some questions about its legitimacy that and that was the post you wrote yes now they -- The readers.
Some were outraged and at first the Paper stood by you and said look this to First Amendment -- the point is to discuss this is what we do -- and then what happened.
Well -- -- -- you know there are hundreds of -- and a comet or connoisseurs who wrote in saying -- a racist.
You know this should be here there was a petition notes that with 7000 signatures of out of of academics online demanding that the chronicle -- me.
End up on Thursday the chronicle editor said well you know we think this a provocative piece but this is an invitation to debate.
So that was Thursday -- you know a long weekend goes by and by Monday night I was fired.
And so you know I can't tell you what happened that the chronicle in the -- from but it seemed like they caved too -- public pressure.
You know these these people who were calling me names and you know -- saying horrible things about me at the chronicle I guess just couldn't take the pressure and now you've.
Been tarred with this brush of racism that you are somehow -- racist because you took issue.
Did this particular area of study I you did not mention -- in your pieces in yard.
In your defense.
But I will tell our viewers that you were married to a black man.
And yet nonetheless you -- you stand here accused of being a racist against.
-- yes that's because you know racism you know in this case is employed as a charge for anybody who disagrees with the liberal orthodoxy on the issue of race.
And you know so race you know race studies and black studies on college campuses have become a political cause they're not an academic discipline -- you get to ask questions.
There are up caught us where we already know the answers on the answer is always you know if you criticize us your racist and it seems to mean that.
You know if you don't have a substantive response to what I'm saying and -- and mean I should make totally clear that I did not.
Engage in any kind of ad hominem attacks on these graduate students I did not call them names or anything of the sort of this -- an attack.
On an academic discipline and the -- this kind of response to meet.
Demonstrates that there could there there legitimacy here if this is if this is your response -- so weak.
You know why why should I then go and believe that this is a substantive area it made.
That there's few things worse than being called a racist.
I mean it big gets thrown around a lot today people are watering that -- down because that this summer using it's a frequently.
But you get tarred with that legal and now you're stuck with it and you think that that's a deterrent from others.
Who will follow later who -- and write something that's critical of something as charged as best.
I think you know basically what the idea is the -- the academics have now circled their wagons and it -- again these are the appropriate.
Things to say in the realm of academia and -- anything else you know we're going to just you know spew you out I mean it's like the the academic body is allergic to any kind of dissent on these issues and for anybody who.
Dares to think freely -- weigh in on these issues they have sent a very clear message.
I and we thank you for being here thank you all the best -- you.