Be careful what you read

When I last traveled, I bought Larry Elders’ superb book Stupid Black Men: How to Play the Race Card–and Lose. I promptly took the cover off, worried that I would be subject to harassment as a white woman reading a book entitled “Stupid Black Men” — never mind that the book was written by a black man, nor that it was a trenchant analysis of a political and social system that victimizes blacks — and that, sadly, blacks have bought into.

I thought that maybe I was being a little bit silly and paranoid, but I clearly wasn’t, if this story is anything to go by:

IN November, I was found guilty of “racial harassment” for reading a public-library book on a university campus.

The book was Todd Tucker’s “Notre Dame vs. the Klan: How the Fighting Irish Defeated the Ku Klux Klan”; I was reading it on break from my campus job as a janitor. The same book is in the university library.


But that didn’t stop the Affirmative Action Office of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis from branding me as a detestable Klansman.

They didn’t want to hear the truth. The office ruled that my “repeatedly reading the book . . . constitutes racial harassment in that you demonstrated disdain and insensitivity to your co-workers.”


[T]he $106,000-a-year affirmative-action officer who declared me guilty of “racial harassment” never spoke to me or examined the book. My own union – the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees – sent an obtuse shop steward to stifle my freedom to read. He told me, “You could be fired,” that reading the book was “like bringing pornography to work.”


After months of stonewalling, the university withdrew the charge, thanks to pressure from the press, the American Civil Liberties Union and a group called the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE.

At American Thinker, where I first saw the story, Selwyn Duke adds a little more:

What Sampson fails to point out is that the affirmative-action officer is a black woman named Lillian Charleston. Oh, that’s not relevant? Sorry, but this is all about race. Mr. Sampson would never have been charged with racial harassment for reading a history book relating to the Klan were he not white; in fact, it’s hard to imagine such a charge being leveled against a black person for any reason, given the double standards in the academy’s politically correct environment.In case you’re considering a career in the vital and growing field of affirmative action and are wondering what credentials one must possess to become one of its storm troopers, here is Charleston’s bio:

Lillian Charleston is nationally recognized for her expertise and knowledge of Affirmative Action and related issues. In addition to serving as the Affirmative Action Officer for IUPUI for the past 16 years, she previously worked as a desegregation specialist for the Indianapolis Public Schools. She has been an officer and board member of the American Association for Affirmative Action and the Indiana Industry Liaison Group. She also supports her community through active board service with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Development Commission, the Indianapolis Urban League, the Indianapolis Chapter of Big Sisters, and the Association for Loan Free Education. She earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Indiana University in Urban Studies, Counseling and College Student Personnel.

In other words, she specializes in grievance, social engineering, victimology and in what Rush Limbaugh has labeled get-even-with-’em-ism. To gain a little more insight into the mindset of this woman, read the letter she sent to Sampson about the charge:

Upon review of this matter, we conclude that your conduct constitutes racial harassment in that you demonstrated disdain and insensitivity to your co-workers who repeatedly requested that you refrain from reading the book which has such an inflammatory and offensive topic in their presence. You contend that you weren’t aware of the offensive nature of the topic and were reading the book about the KKK to better understand discrimination. However you used extremely poor judgment by insisting on openly reading the book related to a historically and racially abhorrent subject in the presence of your Black co-workers. Furthermore, employing the legal “reasonable person standard,” a majority of adults are aware of and understand how repugnant the KKK is to African Americans, their reactions to the Klan, and the reasonableness of the request that you not read the book in their presence.

During your meeting with Marguerite Watkins, Assistant Affirmative Action Officer [sic] you were instructed to stop reading the book in the immediate presence of your co-workers and when reading the book to sit apart from the immediate proximity of these co-workers. Please be advised, any future substantiated conduct of a similar nature could result in serious disciplinary action.

The thought police are out there, and they are educating your kids.  More than that, while you and I would have the maturity and savvy to counter this bullying insanity, our kids don’t.  They’re young, malleable and they want their degrees.  They are intellectual hostages to these thought tyrants and it’s utterly shameful.

The letter reveals something else that should be obvious, which is that the individual filing the complaint against Sampson was also black. And this is another example of the relativistic standard that is applied in these matters. In other words, in judging the case, the affirmative-action office didn’t analyze the action under the light of objective truth, but based on the feelings of a politically-favored individual, in this case an irrational one. That Sampson’s black co-worker felt aggrieved was justification enough to send out a lynching party.