Saturday, July 30, 2005
Looks like Lawrence Summers is doing for African Americans what he did so effectively for women earlier this year. Adding another notch in the belt that already included driving away Afro-American scholars Cornell West and Anthony Appiah, he can now add the name of Conrad K. Harper, the only African-American member of Harvard's top governing board, who resigned saying he can "no longer support" Summers. Harper won't comment except to say he explained it all in a resignation letter which Summers is refusing to release.
When Larry arrived at Harvard, he made a point of saying publicly (as in, to the press) that the Afro-American studies department could expect "less of an open checkbook from my administration than the previous one," and was then apparently mystified when anyone took offense. Oh those touchy negroes.
He also endeared himself to Native Americans everywhere when he brushed off their historical suffering as a "coincidence" of assimilation and said it was "nobody's plan." Part Cherokee myself, I know I often enjoy thinking about the 4,000 who died along the Trail of Tears as akin to some favorite piece of crockery inevitably broken by well-meaning but clumsy moving men.
His supporters laughingly call him "blunt," which I assume must be some sort of Ivy league codeword for "asshole."
Harvard has been hemorrhaging top female scholars like Juliet Schor, Carol Gilligan, Seyla Benhabib, Ann Pellegrini and Rebecca Faery over its treatment of women faculty in general and the failure to grant tenure. Although the problem at Harvard is probably more systemic and can't be laid solely at Summers' feet, it's nice to know he's doing his part to insure that the leadership class being educated at Harvard continue to reflect the entitled yahoo white male perspective that's working so well right now in Washington.