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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

DarkStar's "Race Hustling" Response

DarkStar has responded to my comments about the letters in the Washington Post by four presidents of historically-black colleges and universities and by Project 21's Mychal Massie, and the Wall Street Journal op-ed by Abigail Thernstrom and Stephan Thernstrom.

You can read what DarkStar said here.

My response:

1) There does not appear to be a consensus on the definition of the term "race hustling." Based on comments I'm getting, some folks think "exploiting racial divisions" is enough to qualify the term; others think the person doing it must do so with a profit motive of some sort. Possibly, the term simply needs to evolve until a consensus forms. With luck, by the time it does, the word "archiac" will apply.

2) If I read him correctly, DarkStar still believes the Thernstroms were attacking historically-black colleges and universities (HBCUs) because they began their Wall Street Journal op-ed with questions including: "Half a century after Brown v. Board of Education, should we still support an institution of higher education that is less than 1% white?" and "If all educational doors are so wide open to black students and professors, should we really hope that schools such as Fisk survive?" I still contend that asking those questions, but resolving by the end of their op-ed that HBCUs are valuable, means the Thernstroms' piece was not an attack on HCBUs. People can decide for themselves here.

3) DarkStar wishes Mychal Massie had addressed more issues in his letter to the Post. For what it is worth, the letter the Post published from the four HCBU presidents was 579 words as published. The Post told Mychal his letter in response would have to be 200 words or less to be considered.

4) DarkStar finds "revolting" my reference to all-male universities historically being the first examples of institutions of higher learning to practice inequity. Of this, he said:
I find the total lack of taking history into account to be revolting. Why must Black history be destroyed at the expense of integration? Especially since this part of "Black History" is actually American history? Let's keep the HBCUs around and remove the HWCUs.
I had in mind the 1636 founding of Harvard and its early successors when I wrote that; these schools not only were all-male, but had other restrictions. I don't believe referring to this "destroys black history"; more provocatively (though it does not seem to be hard to provoke DarkStar), I don't think the admission of females destroyed male history, or that closing HCBUs (not that I've seen anyone quoted in any of these posts and articles call for that) would "destroy black history."

Finally, DarkStar seems (to me) to be offended by expressions of support for the integration of HBCUs. I remind him that integration has for some generations now been taught in our schools and throughout our society as a positive value at the very center of our civil moral code. As such, no one should be surprised to find members of the integration generations puzzled at continued support for institutions that appear on the surface to reject this value. It would be more surprising if it were not so.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:24 AM

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