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How the Academic Establishment has Silenced a Major Critic of the Field of "Black Studies"

In other words, an expression of opinion -- that cited chapter and verse to back up her argument -- led the editors of the Chronicle to fire Riley from her post as one of a group of distinguished bloggers on academic issues.

Earlier, McMillen had asked readers to submit their views about Riley’s position. It was, she then had said, “informed opinion.” Now, having been trounced upon by the mob of politically correct leftists and the civil rights establishment, McMillen has backed down, apologized to the mob, and unceremoniously fired Riley. She has, in effect, allowed the organized mob of leftist academics to dictate to The Chronicle of Higher Education’s editors what is to be allowed on its pages, and what is to be forbidden.

If anything, her action validates Riley’s own observation that the academy, and black studies in particular, is filled with “left-wing victimization claptrap.” Those thin-skinned academics can’t stand being called out by a shrewd observer who has managed to zero in on their own failures and to expose them to readers of the newspaper. So rather than fear more of the same from Riley, they did what they always do: demand the suppression of opinion they do not agree with.  On their terms the only side that deserves to see print is the one they take, which is to them the given truth.

Evidently the editors of a once distinguished publication cannot stand up to the charge of racism coming from the civil rights establishment, and hence, they backed down and gave in without a moment’s thought.

One would think that the editors would realize that rather than bring them praise for wise judgment, their actions would embarrass them and make people no longer take anything they say seriously. But this is par for the course. In the academy these days, the only acceptable opinion is that of the political Left.

Naomi Schaefer Riley dared to tell the truth. For that sin she has been silenced. I only wish I still subscribed to the publication so I could cancel in protest. If you are among those who still do, please consider taking such action. Money talks, and the only protest the editors will notice is the kind that loses them readers. They don’t take ideas or freedom of expression seriously. We have learned that already. At least consider writing them a letter of your own expressing your feelings about how a journal that supposedly represents institutions of higher learning has failed the basic test of academic freedom -- allowing different ideas to be expressed and for those considering them to reach their own decisions.

We have learned one good lesson from the firing of Riley. It is that we no longer have any reason to take anything the editors of The Chronicle of Higher Education say seriously.


In today's Wall Street Journal, Riley herself discusses the issues in her dismissal. You can read it here.  Riley wrote the following:

If you want to know why almost all of the responses to my original post consist of personal attacks on me, along with irrelevant mentions of Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and George Zimmerman, it is because black studies is a cause, not a course of study. By doubting the academic worthiness of black studies, my critics conclude, I am opposed to racial justice—and therefore a racist.

She has written herself the best account of the issues, and the best defense of her own blog posts at The Chronicle. Any other publication would be wise to immediately hire Riley so readers can continue to read her accounts of the follies of academia.