Guns, Race and America’s Collective Psychosis l Ishmael Reed

WEEKEND EDITION DECEMBER 21-23, 2012

It’s Not the Deer, It’s the Brothers

Guns, Race and America’s Collective Psychosis

by ISHMAEL REED

When I appeared on a panel with Chris Hedges during the Miami International Book Fair, I told him and the audience that I appear in a book called My Ideal Bookshelf by Jane Mount and Thessaly La Force in which a stack of the favorite books of writers were painted by Ms. Mount. White authors wrote about a third of my favorites.

But I mentioned that though I read white male authors avidly, it’s difficult to gather the points of view of others when both left and right opinions in the media industry are dominated by white men. To present those points of view that are left out might add new dimensions to the discussion of important issues in the news, for though the media mocks Gov. Romney’s alienation from changing demographics, they suffer from the same problem.

For example, the Bank of America is in constant trouble with the law. I witnessed the president and CEO of the Bank of America, Brian Moynihan, make his case about foreclosures before an audience assembled by the Brookings Institution. The audience was reverential to Moynihan who carried on like BOA was Mother Teresa. And while the moderator, Karen Dynan, Vice President of Brookings, did everything but wash his feet and kept “completely” agreeing with him, even though millions of her sisters have been harmed by the bank’s policies, it took a Hispanic representative from the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals to ask him why black and Hispanic borrowers were steered into subprime loans by BOA when the majority were eligible for conventional loans.

An all white panel followed the presentation by the CEO even though BOA’s policies have disproportionately affected blacks and Hispanics. No matter how brightest and best, and no matter the degrees from Harvard, Yale, etc., when it comes to analyzing events from the perspective of blacks and browns, most members of the segregated media, have a blind spot; but fortunately, many don’t. Thom Hartman, Randy Rhoads and Jay Marvin get it, which is why you rarely see them on the tube. Apparently the corporations that ambush our eyeballs screen them out too. So do sites like Salon and the Daily Beast.

The late Alexander Cockburn was even censored by a neoliberal site, The Nation, which is run by a feminist, who slashed his popular column from two pages down to one and from two a month to once a month; yet, like the New York Times Book Review, the majority of books reviewed in The Nation are written by white men. And the media, according to Rick Sanchez, cater to “Angry White Men.” Therefore you can’t bring up subjects that might alienate them. This is why Howard Kurtz, who did a tribute to confessed rapist Strauss Kahn (who made a settlement of six million dollars with his accuser, with little coverage from the media), and a black female reporter can rake Chris Brown but, as a result of a non-aggression pact between General Electric and Rupert Murdoch, can’t touch Murdoch, who approved of a cartoon showing the president as a murdered chimp and fired Sandra Guzman when she objected. Reuters reported:

“In November 2009, Guzman, who is black and Puerto Rican, sued the Post, its editor Col Allan and its parent News Corp for alleged discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, gender and national origin, saying she had been fired in retaliation for complaints over inappropriate conduct.”

Who has done more damage to women? Chris Brown or Murdoch’s Tea Party that wants to end food stamps, Medicaid and Social Security?

On Melissa Harris-Perry’s MSNBC show, moderated by the very gifted, intellectually, Mrs. Perry, the brothers get roughed up every week, even to the extent of dragging in Isiah Thomas’s sexual harassment suit (the accuser received a eleven million dollar settlement) into a discussion about misogyny in the armed forces, when Thomas is not a soldier, general or admiral. He was a basketball coach. Yet, when having a discussion of violence against Native American women, 34% of whom get raped during their lifetimes, feminists who were panel members on Melissa Harris Perry’s show, and the host herself, sought to shield white men from shame. They got tongue-tied. The perpetrators were described as “non-Indian” males. It took Jonathan Capehart of  the Washington Post, to identify the “non-Indians” as white men.

These are the kind of feminists who get all worked up about Chris Brown and O.J. and the Central Park Five, but when it comes to white men, their employers’ group, acting crazy, they get a pass. They’re referred to as non-Indians. Euphemisms are invoked.

Also on a MSNBC progressive show last weekend, there appeared another sign of how clueless white progressives are about black feelings, a cluelessness that black progressives have complained about since the 1920s. Liberals and progressives appearing on “Up w/Chris Hayes” praised Mayor Bloomberg for his gun-control policies. Nothing about his stop and frisk Gestapo policy, which led 640,000 black and Hispanic men and women to being stopped in 2011 and often roughed up by the notorious NYPD, a degenerate outfit that even Richard Price’s latest effort to pretty it up, failed. His “Wire” offshoot, “NYC22,” was cancelled. The Times reviewer said that showing Harlem blacks engaging in stupid low level crimes was an “exhausted genre.” When I said the same thing about “ The Wire,” David Simon, who has become the chief money-making translator of black to white America, said that I was against him because he was “a white man” writing about blacks. If I spent my time and energy writing about white men writing about blacks, screen writers, authors of hoodie books, television script writers, bloggers, columnists, sociologists that’s all I’d be doing. One of the salespersons for “Precious “said that it would provide a “gold mine” of opportunity. Opportunity for some whites. Cecil Brown said that a white Berkeley professor asked him about issues in the black community. Brown mentioned asthma. Next thing Brown knew, the professor had received a large grant to study asthma in the black community.

When I was in East Jerusalem in September, Palestinian kids, having gotten all of the information about blacks from Hollywood and CNN, asked me why all black Americans were drug addicts. I told them that it’s because our enemies tell our stories. Is this something new? W.E.B. DuBois criticized DuBose Heyward’s book for “Porgy and Bess” and said that if whites were depicted in the same way there would have been no ticket sales. These ticket buyers are crazy about their Catfish Rows, and their “Precious.” “The Wire” and films by Quentin Taratino.In a Times article it was written that in the new revised “Porgy” the character Crown becomes a rapist instead of a seducer

in order to enhance ticket sales. Who is the bigger molester or harasser of black and Hispanic women, Crown, Isiah Thomas or men under Mayor Bloomberg’s command?

Black women have complained that they have been sexually molested during Bloomberg’s stop and frisks, but hey, maybe one of these clowns will rescue them from fire like in the movie, “Crash” where the star of the movie, a cop, not only manages to cop some free feels at the expense of the black woman, but becomes a sort of CNN hero as well.

I watched in amazement as the feminists on the MSNBC panel including the brilliant Esther Armah, radio host at WBAI, sat in silence as New York Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson tossed kudos to Bloomberg, a pious pompous hypocrite, who criticizes the president, while his police department under the leadership of his Commissioner Raymond Kelly terrorizes black and Hispanic citizens, even children. Their harassment of children even outraged Bob Herbert. Hewing to the feminist line, the enormously talented Ms. Armah believes that only males commit violence. I suppose that she didn’t get my email, which suggested that things might be more complicated. In it I cited Natalie J. Sokoloff, and Christina Pratt’s 2005 book, Family & Relationships –where the authors wrote: “Black women are also more likely than their White counterparts to inflict lethal violence against their husbands.” Amy Goodman should read this book. Ms. Armah should also take a look at the gun collection of Nancy Lanza, whose son Adam murdered 20 children in Newtown. Do you suppose those guns were for hunting deer?

As O.J. Simpson said, they drag him into discussions that don’t have anything to do with him.  Last week when discussing that not all murders are done with guns, someone noted that O.J. used a knife. Put aside the fact that the police planted evidence in the O.J. case, and that a serial killer, who used to party with Nicole Simpson, has confessed to the murders and that O.J. was acquitted, during the same time 22 Chinese kids were stabbed by a mentally disturbed person and only one kid died. By equating a knifing with the massacre of the Newtown children, Steve Kornacki, who is presented on MSNBC as a neo-liberal, was providing cover for the NRA.

This holds true of all blacks, apparently. It’s amazing how even when the perp of a massacre of children is white, media were able to include black perps or personalities in the story. On MSNBC , Dec.15, Jesse Jackson Jr.’s bi-polar condition was cited when discussing Lanza’s “mental illness.” Other black cases that were brought up were the mentally disturbed black suspect who pushed a man into an oncoming train, and the black perp of the Long Island Railroad murders. So even when the perpetrator of a enormous crime is white, the profit center’s directive that angry white males be entertained with images of blacks fucking up is not far from the producers’ minds, even on progressive MSNBC where Michael Steele of the Republican Party migrates from show to show all day not to mention Morning Joe’s three hour Republican caucus each morning.

Not only were blacks cited during a discussion of a crime committed by a white man, Africa was also cited. Somalia came up. S.E. Cupp, a conservative member of a panel on “The Cycle,” said on Dec.18 that when she thinks of a violent country she thinks of Somalia. On the same date, Joy Reid of “The Grio,”partially owned by NBC, chose Mogadishu. Aren’t these women who have access to millions of viewers obligated to mention how the weapons got to Africa? The World Policy Institute issued a report that concluded “Finding 1 – Due to the continuing legacies of its Cold War policies toward Africa, the U.S. bears some responsibility for the cycles of violence and economic problems plaguing the continent. Throughout the Cold War (1950-1989), the U.S. delivered over $1.5 billion worth of weaponry to Africa. Many of the top U.S. arms clients – Liberia, Somalia, the Sudan, and Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo or DRC) – have turned out to be the top basket cases of the 1990s in terms of violence, instability, and economic collapse.” In the 1950s, I remember conservatism being represented by heavyweights like Hugh Kenner, but Ms. Cupp? Sarah Palin?

Also, given the chance to vote, I suspect that those citizen of countries where millions of women and children died as a result of invasions by American armed forces might think of the U.S. as a place to think of when thinking about violence, and as much as we might lament the terrible slaughter of the innocents in Newtown, I was wondering as I watched the president whether he weeps when he hears about the deaths of thousands of children in countries occupied by forces under his command or the Palestinian kids who get massacred on a regular basis. At least the Newtown murder has begun a more serious discussion of the National Rifle Association and its ownership of Congress, but omitted from the discussion are the racist and anti-Semitic remarks that have been made by NRA board members. When David Sirota got blasted for suggesting that white men be subjected to racial profiling since the typical mass shooting perpetrator is a white man, you can imagine what would happen were some of the black media faces to suggest such a thing. They’d be accused of reverse racism or playing the race card.For a profile of the NRA’s board members, you have to go to http://www.meetthenra.org/issues?field_issue_value_many_to_one=Race.

Once in awhile, the truth sneaks through despite the efforts of Chuck, Chris, Chris, David, and Dan, Luke and Joe to obfuscate. Michael Moore told Piers Morgan that the nation is armed because whites with guns want to use them on black people. Morgan interrupted him. Morgan must have read the memo from CNN executives, one of whom told Rick Sanchez that “Race sells.” These armed whites have a fantasy that was portrayed in Robert Crumb’s brilliant though offensive cartoon “When The Niggers Take Over America.”

There’s another source that reveals what is on the minds of those who have rushed to the gun stores when President Obama was elected and when he was re-elected. Do you think that these millions armed themselves because volunteers were requested to diminish the over population of deer? Maybe I’m not surprised that the media haven’t paid more attention to The Turner Diaries, the novel manifesto that inspired Timothy McVeigh who blew up the Alfred E.Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19,1995;a shoot-out between the FBI and a Neo-Nazi that took place outside of Pullman, Washington. Buford O. Furrow, who shot kids at the North Valley Jewish Community Center in 1999; Richard Poplawski, who murdered three Pittsburgh policemen in 2009. None of these killers suffered from Asperger’s. In William Pierce’s book, the Jews get “The Cohen Act” passed. They take away the guns and the “Negro police” enforce the act. As a result blacks assault whites. They even commit cannibalism. The big obsession of the book is race-mixing.

Senator Diane Feinstein has promised to introduce legislation that will ban assault weapons and if it passes, black Attorney General Eric Holder will enforce the legislation. It is because of the paranoid fantasy, this collective psychosis, one that the media are scared to mention, that the nation will never get rid of assault weapons and more Newtowns will happen, and even deadlier ones than the Newtown massacre.

Ishmael Reed’s latest book is “Going Too Far.” He is the publisher of Konch at http://ishmaelreed.net/. Konch goes monthly in January.

Reposted from CounterPunch

I Was a Warehouse Wage Slave l Mother Jones

 

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I Was a Warehouse Wage Slave

My brief, backbreaking, rage-inducing, low-paying, dildo-packing time inside the online-shipping machine.

—By 

Illustration by Mark MatchoIllustration by Mark Matcho

“DON’T TAKE ANYTHING that happens to you there personally,” the woman at the local chamber of commerce says when I tell her that tomorrow I start working at Amalgamated Product Giant Shipping Worldwide Inc. She winks at me. I stare at her for a second.

What?” I ask. “Why, is somebody going to be mean to me or something?”

She smiles. “Oh, yeah.” This town somewhere west of the Mississippi is not big; everyone knows someone or is someone who’s worked for Amalgamated. “But look at it from their perspective. They need you to work as fast as possible to push out as much as they can as fast as they can. So they’re gonna give you goals, and then you know what? If you make those goals, they’re gonna increase the goals. But they’ll be yelling at you all the time. It’s like the military. They have to break you down so they can turn you into what they want you to be. So they’re going to tell you, ‘You’re not good enough, you’re not good enough, you’re not good enough,’ to make you work harder. Don’t say, ‘This is the best I can do.’ Say, ‘I’ll try,’ even if you know you can’t do it. Because if you say, ‘This is the best I can do,’ they’ll let you go. They hire and fire constantly, every day. You’ll see people dropping all around you. But don’t take it personally and break down or start crying when they yell at you.”

Several months prior, I’d reported on an Ohio warehouse where workers shipped products for online retailers under conditions that were surprisingly demoralizing and dehumanizing, even to someone who’s spent a lot of time working in warehouses, which I have. And then my editors sat me down. “We want you to go work for Amalgamated Product Giant Shipping Worldwide Inc.,” they said. I’d have to give my real name and job history when I applied, and I couldn’t lie if asked for any specifics. (I wasn’t.) But I’d smudge identifying details of people and the company itself. Anyway, to do otherwise might give people the impression that these conditions apply only to one warehouse or one company. Which they don’t.

So I fretted about whether I’d have to abort the application process, like if someone asked me why I wanted the job. But no one did. And though I was kind of excited to trot out my warehouse experience, mainly all I needed to get hired was to confirm 20 or 30 times that I had not been to prison.

The application process took place at a staffing office in a run-down city, the kind where there are boarded-up businesses and broken windows downtown and billboards advertising things like “Foreclosure Fridays!” at a local law firm. Six or seven other people apply for jobs along with me. We answer questions at computers grouped in several stations. Have I ever been to prison? the system asks. No? Well, but have I ever been to prison for assault? Burglary? A felony? A misdemeanor? Raping someone? Murdering anybody? Am I sure? There’s no point in lying, the computer warns me, because criminal-background checks are run on employees. Additionally, I have to confirm at the next computer station that I can read, by taking a multiple-choice test in which I’m given pictures of several album covers, including Michael Jackson’s Thriller, and asked what the name of the Michael Jackson album is. At yet another set of computers I’m asked about my work history and character. How do I feel about dangerous activities? Would I say I’m not really into them? Or really into them?

Macduff Everton/CorbisMacduff Everton/CorbisIn the center of the room, a video plays loudly and continuously on a big screen. Even more than you are hurting the company, a voice-over intones as animated people do things like accidentally oversleep, you are hurting yourself when you are late because you will be penalized on a point system, and when you get too many points, you’re fired—unless you’re late at any point during your first week, in which case you are instantly fired. Also because when you’re late or sick you miss the opportunity to maximize your overtime pay. And working more than eight hours is mandatory. Stretching is also mandatory, since you will either be standing still at a conveyor line for most of your minimum 10-hour shift or walking on concrete or metal stairs. And be careful, because you could seriously hurt yourself. And watch out, because some of your coworkers will be the kind of monsters who will file false workers’ comp claims. If you know of someone doing this and you tell on him and he gets convicted, you will be rewarded with $500.

 

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Pardon Attorney Misrepresented Facts to White House in Clarence Aaron Case – ProPublica

Presidential Pardons

Shades of Mercy

Pardon Attorney Misrepresented Facts to White House in Clarence Aaron CaseInsert an Image

by Dafna Linzer

ProPublica, Dec. 18, 2012, 11:59 a.m.

Clarence Aaron (Courtesy of PBS Frontline)

The U.S. Pardon Attorney failed to accurately share key information with the White House regarding a federal inmate seeking a commutation, the Justice Department’s Inspector-General concluded today in a detailed 20-page report. The findings determined that in overseeing the case of Clarence Aaron, the pardons attorney, Ronald L. Rodgers, engaged in “conduct that fell substantially short of the high standards expected of Department of Justice employees and the duty he owed the President of the United States.”

The inspector-general’s office said it was referring its findings regarding Rodger’s conduct “to the Office of the Deputy Attorney General for a determination as to whether administrative action is appropriate.”

The report also recommended that Rodger’s office begin reviewing files to locate “other instances” similar to the Aaron’s case “to ensure that the information provided to the White House,” in clemency decisions accurately reflects the facts.

via Pardon Attorney Misrepresented Facts to White House in Clarence Aaron Case – ProPublica.

Law and Disorder – Key Convictions Overturned in Killing by New Orleans Police – ProPublica

Key Convictions Overturned in Killing by New Orleans Police

ProPublica

The burnt car in which the remains of Henry Glover were found.

A.C. Thompson, ProPublica

December 17, 2012 4:03 pm EST

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A federal appellate court has overturned the convictions of two former New Orleans police officers imprisoned in connection with the killing of Henry Glover after Hurricane Katrina, dealing a blow to federal prosecutors’ efforts to hold police accountable for misconduct before and after the storm.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals voided the conviction of ex-cop David Warren, who was found guilty of fatally shooting Glover, stating that Warren’s trial should have been severed from that of his co-defendants. A jury convicted Warren in late 2010, along with Greg McRae and Travis McCabe, who also were serving on the New Orleans police force at the time of Glover’s killing.

The appellate panel tossed out a key charge against McRae, who admitted to burning Glover’s body, finding there was “insufficient evidence to convict McRae of denying Glover’s descendants and survivors the right of access to court.” McCabe’s conviction for participating in covering up the crimes had already been overturned by Judge Lance Africk, who presided over the trial.

via Law and Disorder – Key Convictions Overturned in Killing by New Orleans Police – ProPublica.

Melissa Harris-Perry compares Tavis Smiley to Tuskegee syphilis study’s black nurse

Melissa Harris-Perry compares Tavis Smiley to Tuskegee syphilis study’s black nurse

Tuskegee : AL : USA | Dec 16, 2012 at 11:12 AM PST BY Herbert Dyer, Jr.

 

Melissa Harris-Perry erupts live on her show over guest “insensitive” remarks about poverty in America.  (Youtube video)

This morning on her MSNBC weekend gabfest, Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry compared radio and TV talk-show host Tavis Smiley to the black nurse who helped administer the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment (TSE) from 1932 to 1972.

Sponsored by the federal Public Health Service, the TSE remains America’s longest-running bio-medical research experiment. Researchers followed, but did not treat, the progression of syphilis in 600 black men from Alabama for its entire 40-year run. To attract men to the study, promises of free health care and burial insurance were offered. Neither the men nor their families were ever told they had syphilis. And, as stated, they were never treated for the disease despite the discovery of penicillin as an effective treatment and cure for syphilis in the late 1940s.

The TSE was conducted at the famed Tuskegee Institute founded by one of America’s premier black leaders, Booker T. Washington. One of the more instrumental implementers of the TSE was Eunice Rivers, a black nurse who was involved in and administered the program’s every aspect, from recruiting possible subjects to drawing their blood.

It is no secret that there has been some very “bad blood” flowing between, on one side, Dr. Harris-Perry, and on the other, Tavis Smiley and Princeton Professor Dr. Cornel West. Indeed, I have written about their ongoing feud in the past. The attention has mainly been focused on Drs. West and Harris-Perry. Today, however, Dr. Harris-Perry exponentially ratcheted up her critique of Smiley by directly comparing his role in the Wells Fargo bank’s now defunct “wealth building” program to nurse Rivers’ function during the TSE.

via Melissa Harris-Perry compares Tavis Smiley to Tuskegee syphilis study’s black nurse.

Deaths of children that don’t make news l OUR COMMON GROUND Voice, Dr. Vijay Prashad

Vijay Prashad: Deaths of children that don’t make news

By VIJAY PRASHAD

Monday, December 17, 2012
(Published in print: Tuesday, December 18, 2012

NORTHAMPTON — No community easily suffers the death of children. Accidents, violent crimes and illness: the cause is immaterial.

No death of a child is for a reason. All such deaths are senseless.

In his emotional address shortly after news came of the massacre in Newtown, Conn., President Obama pointed to the frequency of such mass crimes and nudged the country to widen our field of vision: “Whether it is an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago — these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children.”

The contrary nudge came in his last destination, the “street corner in Chicago.”

When a singular mass killing occurs in mainly affluent suburbs, it shocks the nation — and rightly so. But it might be a shock to some to know that this year alone 117 children died from handgun violence in Chicago. These deaths do not get discussed, let alone memorialized in the national conversation of tragedy.

There are at least two reasons for this. First, these deaths do not happen in a spectacular fashion. They take place in ones and twos, often in the lonely hours of the night when bullets depart from their targets and settle in the soft tissue of children asleep in their homes, or in the afternoon as they play on the sidewalk.

Take the case of April 12. One-year-old Jayliah Allen was shot while she slept in her bed, the bullet entering the window. Seven-year-old Derrick Robeteau was shot in the leg while playing outside his grandfather’s home and a 7-year-old girl was shot as she stood outside her home. Three children hit by handguns in one day, but in an unspectacular form.

Second, old racist habits linger. These are African-American and Latino kids, whose neighborhoods are considered dangerous. Which is why when Jayliah and Derrick were killed no one called their neighborhoods bucolic or thought that this violence was senseless. There is a hardness that has entered our consciousness, allowing us to avoid the sealed fates of these kids.

No memorials exist as well for the 178 children killed by U.S. drone strikes in the borderlands of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Noor Aziz, 8, Talha, 8, Najibullah, 13, Adnan, 16, Hizbullah, 10, Wilayat Khan, 11, Asadullah, 9, Sohail, 7: these are some of the names of children killed by the drones. News reports frequently say “three militants killed,” and then a few days later, in the Pakistani press, one hears that amongst the dead were children with no association with the militants. Unlike the street shootings in Chicago, there have been mass killings by drones, which have received only minimal attention. On Oct. 30, 2006, a U.S. drone struck a school in Bajaur, Pakistan, killing 83 people. The New York Times story ran Nov. 10 with the headline, “American Strike in January Missed Al-Qaeda’s No. 2 By a Few Hours.”

Read Article Here

05-14-11 Prashad

Turmoil in Temple’s African-American Studies Program Taking Its Toll – Higher Education

“One could easily draw the impression that the dean is trying to get rid of the department,” says Dr. Molefi Kete Asante, who founded the doctoral program in 1988 and is one of the nation’s foremost scholars on Afrocentrism. “In fact, she arbitrarily split a line between the history department and the African-American studies department, which had never happened before. This was an African-American studies line that was split, and therefore, students and faculty could get the impression that we were losing positions and autonomy.”

After Norment retired in July, Soufas informed the department that it had two weeks to recommend an interim chair. Faculty members selected Dr. Kariamu Welsh, a well-respected professor in Temple’s Boyer College of Music and Dance, but her nomination was eventually rejected.

Soufas declined to comment on the reason why Welsh, an expert in African dance, who had already served as the chair of the dance department for many years, had not been appointed to the post. Welsh did not return email and phone calls seeking comment.

But Asante says that “the majority of the faculty recommended her and therefore the dean was morally obliged to honor their recommendation.” Because he was once married to Welsh and together they have a son, MK, a professor of creative writing at Morgan State University, Asante recused himself from participating in the department vote.

Soufas then gave the department another week, according to Asante, to recommend someone to the position. When a name was not provided, she placed the department in receivership and appointed her deputy as a caretaker administrator, angering many faculty and students.

“Although we have no issues or personal problems with Vice Dean Drake or her administrative capabilities, we do feel as though her appointment is an act of complete disrespect to our department,” the graduate students wrote in their open letter that was circulated to students and faculty across the country through various emails and listservs.

The letter continues, “We held a democratic selection process to find an interim chair position, yet our department was never given a specific reason for the denial of our request. In addition, Dean Drake is not theoretically based or epistemologically trained in the discipline of African American Studies. Therefore, we ask two questions: How can she hold the best interest of our department at heart when she is not knowledgeable of or trained in the theories and paradigms of our discipline? And why is it that we cannot have the freedom, liberty, and self-determination to choose who we, as a collective, feel is best suited to move our department forward to new horizons?”

Drake, a scholar of American literature, declined to comment on the controversy, but Soufas says that she stands by her decision to appoint her to the position, adding that the department needs to focus its energy on rebuilding, including adding and revising new course offerings.

“One of my responsibilities is to pick the right person to chair the department,” she says. “Dean Drake brings enormous administrative skills to the job and is the right person at this time. I would do it again.”

She adds that Drake’s role in the department is only temporary and that plans are already in place to hire a full-time chairperson during the 2013-2014 academic year. Due to budgetary concerns, the university had prohibited departments from hiring outside the assistant professor level, but a search will soon be initiated for the department to hire a senior scholar among their ranks.

via Turmoil in Temple’s African-American Studies Program Taking Its Toll – Higher Education.