Civil rights group investigates professor
CSULB Daily 49er
Posted: 11/13/06A representative from the Southern Poverty Law Center
(SPLC), a civil rights firm based in Alabama that tracks hate groups, will visit
the campus starting today to investigate the writings of Cal State Long Beach
psychology professor Kevin MacDonald and to write a report for its publication,
The SPLC was recently commissioned to co-write an
article for another magazine, Old Trout, and has named MacDonald "the Scariest
Academic" of the "Thirteen Scariest People in America."
producing work, especially his trilogy on the Jews, that's being used as
propaganda by Neo-Nazis and other extremists to prove their point that Jews are
a cancer on America society," said Heidi Beirich, deputy director of the SPLC's
Intelligence Report and the representative who will be on campus investigating
MacDonald through Wednesday. "His work is finding a home with the
The books of concern to the SPLC are MacDonald's three-part
series of evolutionary psychology, "A People That Shall Dwell Alone" (1994),
"Separation and Its Discontents" (1998) and "The Culture of Critique" (1998).
The last book of the series has stirred the most controversy through its
discussion of influential 20th century Jewish intellectual and political
movements on American politics and culture.
"What he does is he argues on
behalf of white-Europeanism, but he doesn't put it in those terms," said Jeffrey
Blutinger, assistant director of the Jewish Studies Program at CSULB. "He uses
pseudo-academic language to conceal his racism."
According to Blutinger,
faculty are not knowledgeable of MacDonald and his work, which he described as
"My view is that my writing is well within the academic
controversy except that it deals with some very sensitive issues: Anti-Semitism
and Jewish influence on culture," MacDonald wrote in a recent e-mail. MacDonald
has declined an in-person interview per his attorney's
MacDonald has also refused to give any interviews with
Beirich or the SPLC for reasons outlined in detail on his Web site,
"He wants us to take down the piece [on the Internet]
that ran in Old Trout," Beirich said. She plans on interviewing faculty,
students and administrators about MacDonald during her visit to CSULB this
In September "someone not connected with CSULB e-mailed all the
full-time people in the psychology department, except [him], alerting them to a
comment about [him] at the SPLC Web site," according to MacDonald. This started
a general discussion about MacDonald within the psychology department via
Then, MacDonald said the Psychology Department Advisory
Committee discussed "whether [he] had breached ethical principles having to do
with the use of [his] work by extremist groups."
"It seems a stretch to
me that he has ties to Nazi organizations," said Sharon Sievers, associate
chairwoman of the history department at CSULB. Sievers participated in a group
discussion about MacDonald's work via faculty e-mails in 2000. According to
Sievers, she experienced a free exchange of ideas with MacDonald until the
administration shut them down.
"I think that the university has
extraordinary control over communication through e-mails and other
technologies," Sievers said. "I think that we should be able to have this
conversation online and see what's happened since the last time around." Sievers
said she believes MacDonald owes his colleagues an explanation of his
According to MacDonald, this internal discussion that began this
year about his work has served as a favorable time for the SPLC to conduct
interviews for their report. "I suspect that [Beirich] and the SPLC would also
hope that CSULB would initiate some form of disciplinary procedure against me,"
The SPLC said they began investigating MacDonald because
of his work published in the Occidental Quarterly. MacDonald is a contributing
writer and was given a $10,000 award from the publication in 2004.
have published a number of articles in the Occidental Quarterly because there is
literally no other outlet for this type of work," MacDonald said. "Their view
that the people and the culture of the West are worth preserving is no different
than the views of many other ethnic activists, including Jewish ethnic
activists, who are active in the defense of their people and
According to MacDonald, the SPLC indiscriminately labels people
as racists and certain organizations as hate groups, partially to intimidate
Beirich described the Occidental Quarterly as a hate group and
said, "[MacDonald] is active in these groups that denigrate blacks and
The Occidental Quarterly's editors consider the publication
an academic journal. In its current editorial, it describes a politically
correct environment in the United States, Australia and Europe that criminalizes
white dissident speech and any association with it.
Blutinger said he
considers the publication a "racist journal. It's a match made in hell between
the Occidental and MacDonald."
MacDonald predicted that Beirich will
emphasize any negative information, disregard any information that "does not
suit her purpose," oversimplify his work and present quotations from his books
out of context.
According to MacDonald, Beirich regards his work as a
threat because it could ultimately be used, as an Old Trout article points out,
to "make anti-Semitism respectable."
MacDonald's work has a disclaimer
that aims to discourage readers from using his writings as propaganda. It states
that his work is based on his analysis and does not advocate anti-Semitism or
"…I want to make it clear that I absolutely reject any
use of my work to promote violence against Jews or any other group," MacDonald
He said he has written a letter to the CSULB faculty about the
impending SPLC report that said the group is trying to stifle his academic
freedom and basic constitutional rights of freedom.
In an e-mail Beirich
sent to the faculty on Nov. 2, she wrote, "Here at SPLC, we consider MacDonald
to be the leading anti-Semite of his generation and a major generator of
anti-Semitic propaganda, especially for the Neo-Nazis."
MacDonald, the SPLC's investigation has created a hostile work environment for
"I used to love my job, but now I really don't enjoy coming to the
university," MacDonald said. "I basically lock myself in my office, minimize or
avoid any committee meetings, teach my classes and go home."
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