Black Scholars in the News
On the responsibilities of being a pioneer in academic administration:
I remember being terrified and really wanting to find a way to say no. I was going to be on a stage and everyone would see my failure, and if I failed, when would the next African-American be appointed to that kind of position?
– Ruth Simmons, President of Brown University, at a meeting of all the female presidents in the Ivy League, on being offered the presidency at Smith College (from The Boston Globe).
On presidential candidate Barack Obama:
There’s no one else who could say what he said about black people and their responsibility to the larger community.
– Charles Ogletree, Harvard’s Jesse Climenko Professor of Law, on Barack Obama’s recent critiques of the African American community (from The Charleston Daily Mail)
On Black colleges’ uneven response to demands for divestment from Sudan:
“You can’t ask Fisk University to join the divestment movement when the state of their economic situation is so bad. Those movements are reserved for universities that have the money, that have the valid alternatives. Most of them can afford to follow a social investment strategy.”
– Ron Walters, Professor of Political Science at the University of Maryland, College Park (from The Baltimore Sun)
On UK efforts to mark the 200th anniversary of the end of the British slave trade:
Like many of you I’m sure, I really wanted to support the commemoration. But I found it hard to join in the official version of it.
For me it felt too much like a “business as usual” operation.
It was missing the elephant in the room – capitalism – and what the history of slavery tells us about the transition of capitalism from its mercantile to its industrial forms, and what these commemorations tell us about the condition of contemporary capitalism in our country.
– Paul Gilroy, Anthony Giddens Professor of Social Theory, London School of Economics (from The Socialist Worker Online)
On the Don Imus controversy:
The bitter reality of the pill Mr. Imus is forcing us to swallow is that each one of us has played a role in creating this climate. Many people in this country have a vested interest in perpetuating the stereotypes of the black community. Additionally, there is a segment of our nation that is most comfortable when receiving negative images of the black community…
The real tragedy of Don Imus isn’t what he said. The true tragedy of Don Imus is that it took so long for people to become outraged. I don’t begrudge Mr. Imus for being a racist. I begrudge us for making him a rich one.
– Michael J. Sorrell, President of Paul Quinn College (from The Dallas Morning News)
Posted by Ajuan Mance