The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Student Activists Confront Anti-Semitic California Prof

By Sonia Scherr on January 29, 2010 - 5:36 pm, Posted in Anti-Semitic

Students at Cal State Long Beach are launching a campaign against a faculty member known for his anti-Semitic writings and, most recently, for his leadership of a white supremacist political party.

Aiming to force Kevin MacDonald’s departure from the university, student activists this week began urging their peers to boycott classes taught by the longtime psychology professor. “We feel that Professor MacDonald brings a very racist ideology into his teaching,” said Marylou Cabral, a senior art education major at Cal State Long Beach who’s helping spearhead the anti-MacDonald efforts. “We believe that his personal biases are going to affect his teaching no matter what he’s teaching, and we believe that he brings a political force to our campus that we need to counter. … He’s not just an individual with hateful beliefs. He’s someone who’s making an effort to organize and promote those beliefs, and we feel that’s dangerous.”

The impetus for mobilizing students was MacDonald’s new position as director of American Third Position (ATP), whose stated mission is “to represent the political interests of White Americans.” According to in-depth reporting by O.C. Weekly, ATP is partnering with Freedom 14, a local neo-Nazi group, to establish itself as a party dedicated to the deportation of non-whites. ATP’s chairman is hard-line racist William D. Johnson, a Los Angeles-based lawyer who once proposed repealing the 14th and 15th Amendments, which made freed slaves U.S. citizens, granted equal protection under the law, and prohibited race-based denial of voting rights. Instead, Johnson proposed the Pace Amendment, which would essentially allow only non-Hispanic whites to become U.S. citizens. The group is planning to run political candidates nationwide, and the Southern California branch has handed out hundreds of anti-immigrant fliers and other materials, according to ATP’s blog.

Until ATP’s founding last October, MacDonald’s bigotry found expression mainly through academia rather than activism. His widely discredited research purportedly shows that Jews are driven by a genetically programmed group evolutionary strategy to undermine and harm Western civilization. In his academic works, MacDonald has suggested taxing Jews or restricting their access to universities as ways of protecting white society.

The student-led campaign against MacDonald began on Tuesday, the first day of his spring semester classes. Student activists affiliated with the groups Students Fight Back and the Party for Socialism and Liberation attempted to get those who’d signed up for MacDonald’s upper-level psychology courses — child & adolescent development, developmental psychopathology and social personality development — to drop them and join the boycott. The activists entered MacDonald’s three classes before the professor had arrived and distributed fliers detailing MacDonald’s bogus research and far-right political affiliations, along with a supplemental sheet listing alternative courses students could take. When MacDonald got to class, the activists confronted him about his white supremacist views, which he tried to deny, according to Douglas Kauffman, a senior English literature major who’s involved in the effort. But MacDonald did not disavow his association with ATP. “He was completely silent and tried to evade the topic each time by claiming he only wanted to talk about school issues,” Kauffman said.

MacDonald did not address his views or far-right advocacy in a brief E-mail to Hatewatch. “Students have disrupted my classes and encouraged students to drop my courses,” he wrote. “I suppose these are exactly the sorts of thuggish behavior advocated by the SPLC. Disrupting classes is illegal and it is unfair to students who are simply trying to get an education in difficult times.”

Department chairman Kenneth Green also took issue with the students’ tactics. “Those students were not registered for his class, and they had no legal right to be there,” he said. “There are more appropriate ways to protest.”

But the students defended their methods. “That was the most direct, efficient way to reach those students who are encountering him twice, three times a week,” Cabral said. And most students were receptive to their message, Kauffman said; despite a budget crisis that has limited their enrollment options, about half a dozen students immediately walked out in the three classes combined.

Provoked in part by an SPLC investigation, controversy has dogged MacDonald since at least 2006, when faculty members began expressing serious concerns about his research methods and the use of his writings by extremists to justify a racist agenda. In April 2008, the psychology department approved a statement disassociating itself from MacDonald’s work. “We respect and defend his right to express his views,” it stated in part, “but we affirm that they are his alone and are in no way endorsed by the Department of Psychology at California State University, Long Beach.” Other academic departments have issued similar statements. While defending his academic freedom, the Cal State Long Beach Academic Senate also voted in October 2008 to disassociate itself from MacDonald’s writings.

University Assistant Vice President Toni Beron said she hadn’t heard about the student campaign against MacDonald and didn’t immediately have any comment.

The students will circulate a petition next week calling for MacDonald’s removal from the faculty and for students to stop taking his classes, Kauffman said. (They plan to present a copy, along with a letter explaining why students want him dismissed, to a psychology department committee conducting senior faculty reviews.) They’re also planning a campus meeting to discuss MacDonald and their efforts to get him ousted. They hope to work with faculty members who have pressured MacDonald in the past and would like to get the unions on campus to join their cause, including the California Faculty Association.

“Our campus is one of the most diverse in the country, and that really flies in the face of having a Nazi as a professor,” Kauffman said.

  • rasheada rodgers

    Sorry, I have some mistakes on my last post in terms of spelling or word use. I’m using my phone, which is pretty difficult.

  • rasheada rodgers

    Cathy- you are awesome! And I will definitely snag my husband’s rascal flatts CD. Thank you!

    Danny, you don’t seem to even begin to understand the main problem that I have with your postings. 1. You can have black friends and still be racist, either against other races or against everyone nonwhite especially if non of your black friends are your best friends.

    2. History in the US shows that Whites as a whole have a reputation for domination, and abuse of power. Minorities have in most cases been oppressed and still are in places where no one is fully accountable.

    3. Whites as a whole do not have the problems of being discriminated against. Its a fact in 9.9 out of ten cases, and perhaps when minorities have a rate that equals the white rate, maybe anti hate and protective groups wont be as necessary.

    4. MY MAIN PROBLEM WITH YOU DANNY IS THAT WE ARE ON AN ANTIHATE WEBSITE, WHICH IS ABOUT EDUCATION AND UNITY, AND YOU’RE POSTING WHAT SEEMS TO BE DEFENSES FOR A LONG BEACH PROFESSOR THAT IS NOW HANGING WITH NEO-NAZIS. THAT IS SCARY MOST TO ME THAT ANYONE COULD POST ANYHING THAT SOUNDS EVEN SLIGHTLY DEFENSIVE ABOUT WHAT THE ABOVE ARTICLE IS ABOUT.

    One other fact to consider, why do people get crazy about white groups that are simply established to address white interests? Answer- aryan brotherhood, the many neo-nazi groups, and the many kkk groups of modern day that continue to intimidate, vandalize, terrorize, physically harm and/or kill minorities in the US. I don’t believe in any offensive race group. This is why people freak out, there aren’t peaceful, white groups that are harmonious win other races, and if you’ve ever bothered checking, there are minority groups that do promote tolerance of all races and would let all races join and learn. Now, for groups like the nation of Islam and the NEW black panthers, I don’t agree with their separatist beliefs, but don’t try to compare these modern groups to kkk, etc because you can research and find that there record for violence is slim to none (as far as I remember, its none). And I’m not talking about he old black panther movement.

    I keep remembering things I wanted to say. On a broad view, there are good and bad people of every race. There are dirty and clean people of every race. Nice and mean of every race. Law abiding a.d law breaking of every race. The great thing about the united states is that it’s United with some of everything. People can avoid religious persecution, cultural persecution, and live peacefully in this great country as long as they’re following the laws of this country. That is how it should be at least.

  • danny

    Rasheeda-
    You have invoked my name several times in your postings and it reads as if you assume that I am somehow against black people? Why do you automatically assume that b/c I don’t want my country to be overrun with 3rd world immigrants who by the way often are not telling their children that “they are american” as you said you would (kudos to you on that), but rather cultivate foreign ethnic identities and loyalties in their “American” offspring, that I am somehow against black people? This is the double standard that exists against whites – if whites stand up for their own interests then they are called “haters” and “racists” while at the same time every other group is permitted and in fact encouraged to stand up for their interests. Why can’t you recognize this fact without assuming that I am against black people. If you actually knew me, you would know that I actually have black friends! And while I disagree in turning America into a ployglot boarding house for displaced people (Theodore Roosevelt also warned us about this) I feel that blacks (the descendants of slaves) are thoroughly American and that we all have a responsibility to ensure that they are treated justly in this country.

  • Cathy

    Dear Rasheada,

    What a pleasure to make your acquaintance and to hear from someone who has “crossed the line”. My heart warms every time I see a black woman who has dared to defy convention for the sake of love – partly because strong black women were an amazing blessing and source of personal courage for me when I was a naive and painfully shy young woman, and partly because it means that American society is progressing.

    Like you, I have confounded many people in life who have wanted to put me in a slot. And you are a distinct minority, even moreso than I am – a white woman who married a black man. I tired quickly of all the stares from white people, especially while traveling – some even showed express hatred and spat on the ground while glaring at us (I specifically recall an older man from Illinois whose belly seemed like it was about to pop – he’s probably long gone by now from heart disease).
    No matter what, remember that “what goes around comes around” and that people who work to make others miserable make their own misery 100 fold – it really all does settle equitably eventually if we keep our peace inside and seek justice.

    At any rate, I’m in my 50′s now, and have learned so much more about the world (thank God). It was a tough road. But now I am in a more secure position – my children have grown into amazing and brilliant individuals who are making an indelible mark in the world. They also change the perspective of others. We come from lower middle class, but my eldest is pursuing a doctorate and teaching, my youngest is pursuing a career in medicine, both at top universities. My son graduated from a top school and is making beaucoup bucks – he is a “computer genius”. They all cross racial and cultural boundaries with ease, and they surprise many with their wisdom and maturity in so many ways.

    YOU’RE RIGHT!!!!!
    I have worked so hard over the years, writing, observing, and studying, to figure out why some are overtly prejudiced and why others are not, or are less so. I came to the conclusion that it is the lack of quality experiences with people in “other” groups that keeps us in the dark. Those who have had quality experiences with those in “other” groups have crossed a line to where they cannot even consider inexperienced views because they now know the truth first hand.

    From my current position of security, I can see that the nay-sayers were, and are, all wrong. Yes, it’s been a challenge for us all. But look at the children – they are in an amazing place and they are the ones who will continue to change the world. Just you wait – you’ll see. I have learned to view those whose minds are warped by separatism with… amusement. Let your light shine and never succumb to emotional immaturity and defensive insecurity of others – keep your own peace.

    My blessings to you, your husband, your children, your entire family – those with a foot in more than one camp are poised for greatness – no matter what anyone else thinks – because they know multiple cultures and see the value in them all.

    Respectfully,
    Cathy

    PS – Check out Rascal Flatts if you get a chance!

    PPS – Regarding your voice, please don’t take it personally. I’m sure there are ignorant ones who mean it wrongly, but I am sure that they are not the majority. Most are probably like me – I find it hard to understand and connect with what others say to me unless I know their general background. Having lived in a black neighborhood half my adult life, I know subtle cues, pronunciations, rhythms, and tones in “black” speech. I can tell about 99% of the time – and it helps me understand where an individual is coming from. If I can’t tell, that person probably has a foot in multiple worlds, which speaks volumes.

  • Rasheada

    I mis-spoke on one part. I will tell my children that they are American, and more importantly, part of the human race. The rest is correct on my above statement.

  • Rasheada

    For all of the people who are speaking on such a separatist level, let me just say that I am a black woman and my husband is a white man. Maybe it’s because we’re relatively young (28), but we have a lot in common (hence the marraige). I know many blacks like myself who have grown to not only like hip-hop or r&b, but also love rock and I’m trying to listen to country but it hurts my ears.

    The people that I find are the most separatist are those who don’t have quality friends of another race. Being black isn’t really an ethnicity in my opinion, just like being white isn’t. Just like Danny, being black in America, just like being white really means that you’re a big mixture of things. Both sides of my family descended from Africa, Native American, and White. Almost any black person (regardless of how dark they are) in the United States is descended from multiple races. I imagine that almost no one who descended from America during it’s founding and/or slavery days is just one race. Also, many white people are part Native American and some don’t even realize it.

    Being married to a white person has been very interesting. I get to tune into things that I had never directly had any eperience with. My grandpa-in-law (who I love dearly) has NO clue about what black people are about, and actually he has at times sounded a lot like Danny and John Lawson. He has never met a non-stereotypical black person like myself, or my parents. He spends all of his time around white people and even calls his mixed grandsons white. I have learned that at his core, there is some racism and that’s only because my husband is honest. I would doubt that Danny or John Lawson spend a lot of time with any intellectual blacks.

    It makes me so sad to see things so divided after all that the country has been through. After my grandfather, my uncles and my brother have spent their time in the military fighting for this country, I should be able to tell my mixed race children that they are an American and that they live in the land of the free. I should be able to tell them that people won’t hate you based on the color of your skin, just be a good person and you’ll be treated like everyone else. The fact is that I cannot say that to them, but I will tell them that despite the ignorance of others, they can achieve anything that they want to in life.

    One last thing, I work in a call center. I know that racism still exists. I get calls from people all over the country, and I sound like a “white” girl as some people have said. If people would listen to my name in the beginning of the call, they would probably realize that I’m black, but they usually don’t. What I get to hear are rants about how Mexicans are taking over in the U.S. and what we should do with them, or I hear about how ” the last girl I talked to was black and I couldn’t understand her.” One lady actually asked me at the end of our call (actually, this happens pretty often) and I told her “Rasheada”, then she asked my race and I told her “black”, and she proceeded to tell me how I didn’t sound black because most black people have a certain voice and that I was very “articulate (which is code for “I think blacks are stupid)” I sound EXACTLY like my mother, who was born in 1960, so I don’t sound “white”, I sound like my mother.

    Love you all, even if you’re not friendly.

    P.S. get more black friends! and pleasedon’t comment on false racism until you stand in that person’s shoes.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Ukraine was very independent minded, but it also had a large Communist movement and thanks to their work it became an SSR(Soviet Socialist Republic). There was of course Western Ukraine, which was annexed by Poland because the remaining nationalists sold them out. My own grandfather was from Western Ukraine and being familiar with the ideology common to nationalists there, I’m glad I never met him.

  • Cathy

    Of course not. But first, I am referring to the Ukraine – which as you must know is or was very nationalistic and independence-minded.
    Second, I was sure you knew that when Russia invaded the Ukraine, that anyone with the intellectual equity to oppose was systematically eliminated. I don’t know what means were used to select the victims, but according to my family (from a village near Kiev) all intellectuals (including clergy) in the Ukraine were disposed of unless they managed to get out.