Why oh why can't we have a better press corps?
The Inferiority of Blackness as a Subject: Today The Chronicle of Higher Education published a blog entry from Naomi Schaefer Riley entitled “The Most Persuasive Case for Eliminating Black Studies? Just Read the Dissertations.” I refuse to link…. So bemused is she by the mere titles of the dissertations of these young black scholars that Schaefer Riley can barely contain her glee as she proceeds to viciously, intentionally, and deliberately insult every single one of the scholars listed and everyone within the field of black studies. You can almost hear her giggling as she writes:
If ever there were a case for eliminating the discipline, the sidebar explaining some of the dissertations being offered by the best and the brightest of black-studies graduate students has made it. What a collection of left-wing victimization claptrap. The best that can be said of these topics is that they’re so irrelevant no one will ever look at them.
What could be so utterly ridiculous of an academic topic to draw such ire from Schaefer Riley? For one, black midwives. I mean can you just imagine a critical examination of how black women give birth? How RIDICULOUS!
That’s what I would say about Ruth Hayes’ dissertation, “‘So I Could Be Easeful’: Black Women’s Authoritative Knowledge on Childbirth.” It began because she “noticed that nonwhite women’s experiences were largely absent from natural-birth literature, which led me to look into historical black midwifery.” How could we overlook the nonwhite experience in “natural birth literature,” whatever the heck that is? It’s scandalous and clearly a sign that racism is alive and well in America, not to mention academia.
Not only is black childbirth beneath her contempt but the very idea of literature about natural birth is also contemptible. It could be argued that is a particularly odd position in an age when public health schools are cropping up at every reputable university imaginable and scholars from across disciplines are attempting to better understand the links between social realities and biological processes. Schaefer Riley will hear none of that! It’s liberal nonsense this whole idea that scholars might want to record the history and experiences of women having babies…