PROFESSORIUS NINCOMPOOPUS Accredited Ignorance by the Pound THE BACK PAGE Graglids Unjustifications When people say [false] things, I have a responsibility to say, ‘You can say tha4 but you’re wrong” Professor Reuben McDaniel of U.T.-Austin, resigning from the Faculty Council The educational and political controversy over the remarks of University of Texas Professor of Law Lino Graglia is not going away anytime soon \(see this issue of the Observer, throughcalled for an investigation of Graglia’s pronouncements concerning the inferiority of minority cultures. \(And with the characteristic regental approach to due process, Sanchez suggested that Graglia be suspended until the dent groups, as well as several state legislators, have asked that Graglia’s remarks be investigated under university rules as instances of “racial harassment.” Graglia himself has announced his “recommitted to “equal opportunity for all Texans,” and predictably blames the press: “some of the media may have different interests.” Graglia suggested he was pressured by unscrupulous reporters into saying that in minority cultures “failure is not considered a disaster.” In fact, Graglia has been denigrating minority students for many years. State Representative Pete Gallego recalled being a student in Graglia’s required constitutional law class fourteen years ago. “One of the things he said in class,” Gallego told the Odessa American, was ‘Look around, all you blacks and Hispanics and women, look around and realize that you took the seat of someone who really deserves to be here.'” Personal attacks such as these may fall within the bounds of free speech; but it is also at least arguable that such comments constitute, in the words of U.T.’s Faculty of Color Caucus, an attempt to “slander, defame or intimidate students.” Graglia’s half-hearted apology more primly made basically the same argument, saying “racially preferred [i.e. minority] students would be better served if encouraged to enroll in the best educational institution for which they meet the ordinary admission criteria.” That is: Go somewhere else besides U.T., where really qualified white folks like me won’t have to be reminded of your miserable existence. Represeritative Gallego has not called for Graglia’s dismissal, and indeed credits the nutty professor with “gal vanizing” the minority community. He found some bitter humor in his recollections of Graglia’s classroom condescension: “In fact, when we were in law school,” Gallego said, “you worked a lot harder because you were so pissed.” But Gallego agreed with the Faculty of Color Caucus that there should be an investigation to con firm that Graglia’s attitude is not pervasive, because “if [Graglia] is reflective of the system, then I doubt that I would have the same opportunities [as other students].” Similar statements have been issued by several U.T. faculty and student groups, “LOOK AROUND, ALL YOU BLACKS AND HISPANICS AND WOMEN, LOOK AROUND AND REALIZE THAT YOU TOOK THE SEAT OF SOMEONE WHO REALLY DESERVES TO BE HERE.” and the entire Department of Anthropology has denounced Graglia’s remarks as one more racist form of “blaming the victim” for the effects of institutional racism. Not all the faculty has been so forthcoming. For mysterious reasons, the U.T. Faculty Council could not bring itself to deplore Graglia’s remarks, and confined itself to a defense of his academic freedom. That was too much for long-time council member Reuben McDaniel, an African-American professor who became the first public casualty of Graglia’s racial generalizations. Resigning from the council after fourteen years of service, McDaniel said, “I don’t think I should be asked, as an African American scholar, to stand up and defend that I come from a background that’s achievement-oriented.” That’s exactly what Graglia and his allies have demanded of minority students, and no othersthat they should continually and repeatedly be required to justify their access to opportunities whites take for granted. It appears that sword will now show its double edge, as the minority community, from the schoolhouse to the statehouse, demands of Graglia and friends: Justify yourself.