Free speech comes at a high price. An email by a Harvard 3L has raised firestorms across the blogosphere, implicating racism, the ability to question sacred beliefs and where the lines are drawn. But this post isn’t about the email, which can be found pretty much everywhere else and won’t even be linked here. Rather, this post is about the attack after the attack, the insanity that follows.
Eugene Volokh has discussed, with some sensitivity and sensibility regardless of where one stands on the subject, the email in question. Does the expression of the openness to discuss a sensitive racial subject render one inherently racist? Elie Mystal thinks that white people don’t get it. He may be right for all I know. I think we’re all racist to some greater or lesser extent, and none of us are nearly as good at understanding what it’s like to be another race as we think we are.
Then comes SUNY Buffalo mathematician Jonathan David Farley , Ph.D. (with some major credentials besides) , who posts at HuffPo that the email was racist, plain and simple, and goes further in noting that “free-thinking” blacks aren’t helping matters.
Should the Harvard law student be expelled for her stupid, offensive, and easily refuted views? Certainly. But more harmful than the email is the contemporary African-American community’s customary cowardice―the Harvard Black Law Students Association “has not taken an official stance” on the email that implies blacks are Untermenschen*―and its propensity to elevate monsters and call them heroes. That’s simply “precious.”
He’s got a point. Whether he’s right, I couldn’t say, but it’s certainly something worth considering. The comments to Farley’s post, however, are where things devolve quickly, as naturally people challenge or support the position taken in the post. At one point, some knave raises Eugene’s post comparing his experience as a child on a bus in Kiev, and asks if Farley really calls for the 3L’s expulsion from Harvard. Oh boy.
Yes, I am calling for her expulsion. And people like this “Volokh” should never, ever have been allowed into the United States to spew their race hate against Americans (masquerading, the way the white South Africans sometimes did it, as anti-Communism).
Say what? This “Volokh”? Spewing race hate against Americans? I mean, sure, Eugene’s not the snappiest dresser and all, but I always thought that was his real name.
A comment followed giving Farley a second bite:
Professor Volokh is a principled man who believes in academic freedom and most certainly not racist. He did nothing to deserve your vicious ad hominem attacks and misrepresentations (he stated that he was against certain politically correct taboos, and no more) save advocate a different response, and certainly nothing excuses your attack on him.
Feel free to criticize him views. Don’t launch ad hominem attacks.
I suspect you wrote the reply quickly after dealing with right wing nutters and didn’t think about Volokh’s argument before you replied to what you thought was another ill-informed troll. Just think about what he has to say, OK?
Farley wasn’t having any of it.
I responded to Volokh’s views. His view is racist. If it were in my power, I would limit the number of additional racists coming into the United States to attack Americans. Volokh owes African-Americans an apology.
I used to believe that the Volokh Conspiracy, by far the most prominent legal blog around, mattered. Now, my ‘sphere view is shattered. Not only is it worthless in the scheme of blogospheric influence, but I don’t even know if Eugene’s last name is really Volokh. I mean, who would make up a name like that, but still, it’s now in issue.
So, Comrade, is your name really “Volokh”? And dear Dr. Farley, you’re proof that even mathematicians with interesting geo-political racial points to make can be functionally insane. Have you considered a moving from Buffalo to Arizona? The weather is much better. Much.
* “Untermenschen” is German for subhuman.