Civil rights group investigates professor

CSULB Daily 49er

MaryJane O'Brien

Posted: 11/13/06

A 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, Intelligence Report.

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."

"MacDonald is 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 Neo-Nazis."

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 disturbing.

"My view is that my writing is well within the academic mainstream in terms of use of sources and evidence and would raise no 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 instructions.

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 week.

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 e-mails.

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 work.

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," MacDonald said.

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.

"I 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 culture."

According to MacDonald, the SPLC indiscriminately labels people as racists and certain organizations as hate groups, partially to intimidate donors.

Beirich described the Occidental Quarterly as a hate group and said, "[MacDonald] is active in these groups that denigrate blacks and Hispanics."

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 discrimination.

"…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 said.

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."

According to MacDonald, the SPLC's investigation has created a hostile work environment for him.

"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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