For students interested in learning how to conduct a first-class shakedown, few finer examples exist than the recent de-pantsing of the president of Harvard, Larry Summers. A thing of beauty it was, and here is how it went down.
Last month, Summers called in the highly-paid star of his black studies department, Cornel West, to dress him down. West, said Summers, was not devoting full time to teaching, was giving half his students A's, had just signed on as chair of Al Sharpton's presidential campaign and had put out a hip-hop rap CD the lyrics to which would have embarrassed Snoop Doggy Dog. Here is a partial rendition:
"From the heights of rich African humanity, to the depths of
sick American barbarity, in the whirlwinds of white supremacy, black people preserved their sanity and dignity."
Feeling dissed, West -- one of only 14 on Harvard's 2,000-person faculty to carry the title "University Professor" -- let drop a threat that he might just jump over to Princeton and take the rest of the All-Stars in the black studies department with him.
Instead of telling West to take a hike, Summers chilled. So it was that on New Year's Day, that inveterate pair of shakedown artists, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, arrived at Harvard to lay down surrender terms to Summers.
"There are two issues here," said Jesse, "one of academic freedom, and the other of affirmative action. We had Cornel West leaving a meeting with Mr. Summers feeling aggrieved. And (Summers), at his inaugural address, was not forthcoming about the role of affirmative action, which helped establish this DuBois Institute." By week's end, writes columnist Rod Dreher, Jesse and Al had turned "the famously ferocious Larry Summers into the Ivy League equivalent of a prison bride."
According to Professor William Julius Wilson, who also threatened to walk, Summers apologized, committed himself to greater "diversity" (more black students) and promised to keep his hands off the DuBois Institute.
As an example of Ivy League cravenness in the face of minority mau-mauing, Summers' capitulation is hard to top, though most Americans probably would not care if the gang at the DuBois Institute had looted Harvard's endowment and used the cash to buy an NFL franchise.
After all, Harvard is hardly representative of America -- as one graduate, an ex-congressman, noted in the title of his book, "Harvard Hates America." Why else would Harvard name a school for Dr. W. E. B. DuBois, who gave up his U.S. citizenship, joined the Communist Party, praised Stalin as "a great man" and won the Lenin Prize after applauding Stalin's murder of 7 million Ukrainians.
Yet there is an issue here that ought to concern Middle America. For Harvard and the Ivy League have become the major access roads to power in America, and these roads are being closed off to ethnic Catholics and white Christians.
A few years back, Harvard graduate Ron Unz wrote in The Wall Street Journal about the admissions policies at his alma mater and the student body it produced. With affirmative action for preferred minorities and set-asides for children of alumni and faculty, and for foreign students and athletes, Harvard's student body, said Unz, had begun to look like the Greenwich Village Democratic Club.
According to Unz, 15 percent of Harvard's student body is Hispanic or black, 20 percent is Asian, 25 to 33 percent is Jewish, but only 25 percent comes from that 75 percent of America that is white and Christian. Christians are being frozen out of the elite schools that control the access to power in a nation that Christians, primarily, built.
But, in challenging this Ivy League bigotry, Republicans have shown all the courage of Larry Summers. Nevertheless, Congress ought to demand that the Department of Education require all Ivy League schools to report annually on the religious and ethnic composition of their faculties and student bodies, and, if Unz's percentages hold, should be asked what they are doing to end this discrimination. After all, if it is illegal for Irish cops to get their kids preferences, why is it OK for Harvard professors?
And if the Ivy League fails to take corrective action, federal funds should be cut off until the reverse discrimination ends, and the student bodies and faculties start to look just a little more like America.
Unfortunately, ours has become a country where those who preach loudest about injustice and persecution turn out to be its most unexcelled practitioners, once they get into the driver's seat.