Friday, May 09, 2008

When The Inmates Run The Asylum


A RACIAL-HARASSMENT NIGHTMARE: "In November, I was found guilty of 'racial harassment' for reading a public-library book on a university campus." The book was an anti-Klan book, but the $106,000-a-year affirmative-action officer didn't want to hear the truth from the janitor who was reading it. Race and class on the modern university campus . . . . Excerpt:

A friend reacted to the finding with, "That's impossible!" He's right. You can't commit racial harassment by reading an anti-Klan history.

For months, I felt isolated and dejected. Yet I knew that most of the faculty, staff and students at Indiana University were good people. The campus is a growing, thriving part of Indy, where people of all colors and religions come to study.

But the $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."

Shame on the affirmative-action people and my union for displaying their ignorance and incompetence. Their pusillanimous actions, in trying to ban Tucker's anti-Klan history book, played into the hands of the hateful KKK.

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.

F.I.R.E. does good work. And congrats to the ACLU and the press here, too.

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