Academic Elites and Ignoble Duchesses
The truth does not matter to academic elites — they are not committed to the facts, only their visions.
Occasionally, I receive email notices that the Upperman African American Center at UNC—Wilmington is sponsoring a “forum” on a hot topic of academic interest. Whenever, I receive such notices I am reminded that their definition of a “forum” is not the same one most people employ.
Most people consider a forum to be a place conducive to the open exchange of ideas. But a “forum” at one of our state-sponsored “diversity” centers is meant do one thing and thing only: To reinforce a false narrative of victimhood and oppression that helps advance the so-called progressive political agenda.
One such example was the “forum” that was held at UNCW in the wake of the Ferguson riots in the fall semester of 2014. I actually went to Ferguson and interviewed protesters during the height of the tensions. Given my firsthand knowledge of the protests, it would have made sense to invite me to participate in the “forum.” But no such invitation was forthcoming. Instead, two leftist professors from my department (Sociology and Criminology) were extended invitations.
Although one participant was a part-time instructor without tenure, her inclusion in the forum made sense. She is a lawyer and she is black. Therefore, she probably had some unique insights to offer. But the other professor’s inclusion was more difficult for me to comprehend. She is a middle-aged white women from Maine — a state that was approximately 98.4% white when the professor graduated from college. Given her lack of experience living among black folks, why was she invited? The answer is simple: Ideology.
On the Scene at Ferguson
In stark contrast to their input, I could have contributed to the event by offering actual evidence from interviews I conducted on the scene at Ferguson during the week of the riots. For example, one young black man I interviewed had been living in Ferguson for 27 years. He claimed that young black men were being secretly murdered and buried by the police on a regular basis in Missouri. He also claimed that the harassment of blacks was routine in Ferguson. When I specifically asked how he had been harassed he claimed he was once pulled over for speeding without probable cause. He was let go without a ticket.
A middle-aged black woman I interviewed had also grown up in Ferguson. She could not recount a single instance of mistreatment at the hands of the police. When I asked her why she was there protesting she said she just “wanted to be a part of history … just like Martin Luther King.” When pressed, she could not identify any specific change in the law that would help lead her people to the Promised Land. She just stood by the CNN bus holding a sign saying, “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” — words we now know Michael Brown never uttered.
The Myths Behind Black Lives Matter
After UNCW presented students with such an unbalanced discussion (and called it a forum) I had hoped we were done with the topic of alleged white cop on black citizen violence. But, alas, the desired closure was not to be. Last week, UNCW’s Upperman African American Center announced that it was bringing in diversity expert Duchess Harris all the way from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn. In case you have not heard of her, Harris is the author of numerous academic masterpieces such as Your Feminism Ain’t Like Ours, Because We Are Raising Quvenzhane. When I heard she was coming to UNCW, I wrote Professor Harris the following short note:
Dear Professor Harris (firstname.lastname@example.org):
I recently received a notice that you will be traveling to UNC—Wilmington to give a speech on the Black Lives Matter movement on October 17th at 11 a.m. Because the speech will occur at a time that conflicts with my office hours I will be unable to attend. As a professor of criminology, I am curious as to whether you intend to address any of the following questions, which I think are crucial to assessing the legitimacy of the Black Lives Matter movement:
1. What percent of violent crime in America is actually committed by blacks?
2. As a percentage, how many victims of police shootings are black?
3. Finally, when race of offender is known, what percentage of cop killers are black?
I think that addressing these questions is crucial to assessing both the motives and legitimacy of the Blacks Lives Matter movement. Accordingly, I am curious as to whether you would be willing to answer these questions now or whether you will address them in your upcoming talk.
Predictably, Harris did not respond. Had she possessed both the knowledge and the intellectual honesty required to answer, here is what Harris would have been forced to admit:
- Blacks consistently commit over 40% of the violent crimes in America. In the case of homicide, they actually commit more than one-half, despite constituting only 12% of the general population.
- About 25% of the victims of police shootings are black.
- When race of killer is known, over 40% of cop killers are black.
In other words, given their disproportionate involvement in crime, blacks are actually under-represented as victims of police shootings. But there is no reciprocity as blacks are also disproportionately responsible for the murders of police officers.
In other words, the Black Lives Matter movement is built upon a lie. It is based on a narrative that simply does not comport with the data. Of course, the truth does not matter to academic elites. They are not committed to the facts. They are only committed to their visions.
Duchess Harris recently co-wrote a book aimed at 12- 17-year-olds teaching them about the history of the Black Lives Matter movement. This book will be used as a tool to indoctrinate school children even before they go off to college. When they get there, the offices of Diversity and Inclusion will be ready to give a voice to people like Harris who will reinforce that false historical narrative.
In the end, there are two sets of victims of this kind of indoctrination. There are the taxpayers who must pay for it in the short term. There are also the young people who will buy into the false narrative and devote their lives to protesting causes they really don’t understand.