Several departments at Cal State Long Beach have released statements denouncing the writings of psychology professor Kevin MacDonald after accusations surfaced that MacDonald’s writings and teachings are anti-Semitic.
Last semester, MacDonald sent an e-mail to the CSULB faculty confirming his belief that the Jewish race has had a negative effect on Western society. That thesis was published in MacDonald’s book, “The Culture of Critique.”
The history department’s statement acknowledges the fact that MacDonald does not call himself a historian, but criticizes the historical claims MacDonald’s work makes, saying he lacks “training or understanding of historical methodology.”
Specific examples of MacDonald’s views on European history were cited, as well as his arguments on the 1965 U.S. Immigration Law. The history department said that his writings on these topics demonstrated his disregard for historical fact. The department’s statement added that MacDonald only used historical accounts that would support his claims, ignoring facts that proved his claims to be false.
Like most of the faculty, MacDonald received the statement in an e-mail sent to throughout the College of Liberal Arts.
“I was flabbergasted to see it. It was so outrageous,” MacDonald said.
“I don’t see how any historian could see that chapter and think I didn’t read the research,” MacDonald said in response to the history department’s claim that he didn’t read the Congressional debates surrounding the 1965 U.S. Immigration Law.
According to the history department’s statement, “[MacDonald’s] misuse of historical methodology would be unacceptable in an undergraduate history paper.” The statement also says that the department is disturbed that in MacDonald’s writings he identifies himself as a professor at CSULB.
MacDonald issued his own response, in which he outlined the sources he used while writing the chapter brought into question from “The Culture of Critique.”
In an e-mail sent to the CLA forum, the anthropology department said it “voted unanimously to endorse the statements of the History Department and the Jewish Studies Program regarding writings by Kevin MacDonald which promote prejudice and intolerance.”
The anthropology department also sent out a draft statement, which it will vote to finalize at its next meeting. The draft statement touches on the issue of academic freedom, but also says the department feels “it is important to clearly and publicly dissociate ourselves from work by Kevin MacDonald that promotes prejudice.”
According to an e-mail from the psychology department, members took a straw ballot regarding MacDonald’s writings and activities.
The e-mail stated that “results from the straw ballot indicate that a minority (21 percent) felt that no further action should be taken by the department, while the majority endorsed a number of explicit statements of dissociation.”
Though the history and anthropology departments have chosen to distance themselves from MacDonald and his work, they said they maintain and respect his First Amendment rights and academic freedom.
Both statements led MacDonald to question just how much his freedoms were respected.
“The fact is that even though the history department and others at the university claim to defend my academic freedom, the intense assault on my work as well as the ostracism that one must endure certainly has a chilling effect on academic freedom,” said MacDonald. “That is, professors who have views that conflict with well-entrenched, commonly held views are clearly getting the message that they will they will pay a high price for publicizing their views.”
MacDonald has said he will take legal action about the statements made by the history department that claim he did not do proper research for his book. He said the claims were defamatory and libelous.
“Academic freedom doesn’t mean you have the right to defame anyone,” he said. “You can’t violate other people’s rights.”