Let’s Play Another Game of "Spot the Connection," Shall We?

First, allow me to present the two news items under consideration:

  1. Are Educators Showing a ‘Positive Bias’ to Minority Students? “A major study, led by Rutgers-Newark psychology professor Kent D. Harber, indicates that public school teachers under-challenge minority students by providing them more positive feedback than they give to white students, for work of equal merit. The study, which is currently available online in the Journal of Educational Psychology (JEP), involved 113 white middle school and high school teachers in two public school districts located in the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut tri-state area, one middle class and white, and the other more working class and racially mixed.” (Emphasis mine.)
  2. Chronicle of Higher Education Fires Blogger for Challenging Seriousness of Black Studies Departments.”Over at the Chronicle of Higher Education’s lively and horribly-named “Brainstorm” blog, contributor Naomi Schaefer Riley has been fired for a post questioning the intellectual seriousness and validity of black studies departments (…) What did Schaefer Riley, the author of two books about higher education, do to warrant getting canned? Her primary offense was writing a post titled, “The Most Persuasive Case for Eliminating Black Studies? Just Read the Dissertations.” Keying off a recent Chronicle story touting Ph.D. candidates in black studies, Schaefer Riley notes in part: ‘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…’ “

The first case features a group of white teachers from the very blue New York City metro area who apparently feel uncomfortable raising the bar for their minority students. The second case involves a group of professors from the very blue world of academia — who apparently feel uncomfortable raising the bar for their minority students. Talk about the soft bigotry of low expectations!

I haven’t read the dissertations that were the focus of the blog post mentioned in the second story, so I can’t pass judgment on their quality or utility. However, I think the response to said blog post is quite telling. If these rising stars in the field of Black Studies were in fact genuine scholars – and not coddled thugs – then they would’ve launched a spirited, intellectual defense of their work instead of demanding in loud, hyper-emotional voices that their critic be silenced.

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