Sometimes you can see these things coming. Who really thought that the monologue entitled “Mohammed Gets a Boner” would really ever open? The piece took on the subject of when it is appropriate to offend religious groups. Greenwich Village artsies can sit home with their DVD’s of “Monty Python’s Life of Brian,” which is something completely different.
Also in the news, a Duke Professor said something controversial about race and then was put on leave. Other than being inelegant, I can’t find anything that bad in what he said. He’s a white guy talking about race, and he mentions his workplace, so yes. He should have known he was on very thin ice. Note to self: Never use the phrase “the blacks.”
Not mentioned in that article was a part of the comment which noted that Asian-Americans have very American sounding names. (His term, not mine.) He contrasts this with African-American students who have more exotic names. He figures the Asians are more willing to assimilate. I’m not saying he’s right, but it’s worthy of debate. The relative success rates among racial groups are important, but apparently the subject can be career ending. Again, the guy should be able to speak up without immediately being put on leave. Duke has already taken an official stance against the professor.
From the News and Observer:
In an email, Hough said he was a disciple of Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1950s and voted for President Barack Obama. He pointed out that the first book he assigned to students in 1961 was “Black Like Me.” He further stated that one of the best students he ever taught was African American, and he had encouraged her to apply for a Rhodes Scholarship, but she pursued a career in athletics.
He said he’s working on a book on the 1960s social revolutions and that “I am very disappointed in the lack of progress” for African Americans.
“The point I was raising was why the Asians who were oppressed did so well and are integrating so well, and the blacks are not doing as well,” his email said. “The comments have convinced me to write a book which will add the Asians to all the research I did on blacks.”