Alex Constantine - February 16, 2010
By Gerry Wachovsky
Daily 49er (Cal. State University of Long Beach) | February 9, 2010
CSULB Professor Ron Karenga, CIA-FBI popularizer of Kwanzaaa
When examining the relationship between a student and a teacher, it is quite an interesting subject that is often times one-sided. A teacher knows most of their students based on papers, test scores and class participation, but how much does the student really know about their teacher?
Obviously teachers aren’t required to be an open-book to their class, but some things should definitely be known. Things such as credentials, teaching history and any other relevant information about the instructor’s past are all pertinent.
Before I go any further, allow me to issue a disclaimer of sorts. This article is not meant in any way to cast a bad light on the university.
This is an amazing school, if I didn’t believe so I wouldn’t have decided to do my master’s coursework here. There are, however, some “skeletons in the closet,” and I think it is important for students to know some information which certain teachers may not readily provide about themselves.
What would you feel like if you learned that your favorite teacher inflated his own resume and included bogus information about his credentials? Such was the case with film and electronic arts associate professor Michael Berlin, when the news broke in 2008 about fabrications on his resume.
Berlin, according to an old university biography online, was “a graduate from Columbia University’s master’s program,” as well as a supposed member of the American Psychological Association. How “surprising” it must have been for Berlin when Columbia University disproved both these claims.
This happened two years ago, and some may think it is irrelevant now, but the reason I mentioned it, is because it really makes one think. If a professor can just write his own biography — as Berlin admitted to doing — then how many other professors have self-aggrandized claims or inflated experience?
By the way, it turns out Berlin never worked on “Walker, Texas Ranger,” another claim he made. What is more unforgivable — saying that you worked on a show that you never worked on or lying that you worked on a show as lame as “Walker, Texas Ranger”?
How about professors who hide behind the First Amendment and use it as a shield for all the asinine drivel they spew? Such is the case with psychology professor Kevin MacDonald. He openly claims that Jews have had a negative impact on Western society and testified in defense of convicted Holocaust denier David Irving, gaining MacDonald cause célèbre among white nationalists.
The psychology department has dissociated itself with his controversial writings. But MacDonald, as he has claimed in the past, is “just trying to describe [the Jews’] breeding patterns.”
Thanks for the public service MacDonald, but judging by the disruption of your class this semester by students calling for your removal, I don’t think your message is having its intended effect.
According to MacDonald, he just wants to get on with teaching and keep it separate from his controversial ideas. Sadly, it’s a little too late for that. All he is doing is effectively fine-tuning anti-Semitism so it fits in a collegiate environment, legitimizing it so it has an intellectual aura surrounding it. Reminds me of the old phrase, “You can polish a turd, but it’s still a piece of … ” well, you know.
Has anyone here ever heard of Ronald Everett? He also works here on campus, but if you search for him under that name you won’t find him in the CSULB directory. That’s because these days he goes by the name Maulana Karenga.
A faculty professor of the Africana studies department, Karenga is probably best known for creating Kwanzaa — a specifically African American holiday. Despite the fact that I’ve never known anybody who celebrated this holiday, an estimated 12-to 30-million people apparently do. But that is besides the point.
I just find it ironic that Karenga is best known for creating Kwanzaa, not for being a convicted torturer of women. “United Slaves” or US was an organization that Karenga founded in 1965, which considered itself a rival to the Black Panthers.
At some point, according to a May 14, 1971 Los Angeles Times article, Karenga grew paranoid and believed two of his members, Gail Davis and Deborah Jones were trying to kill him with “magic crystals” they placed in his food and around his living quarters.
So Karenga did what a delusional person would do — he tortured the women in various ways which included whipping them with an electrical cord, placing a hot soldering iron against parts of their faces, and tightening Davis’ toe in a vise. He spent about four years in prison for felony assault and false imprisonment. Upon his release, he restarted US and became a professor at this very school.
Again I ask, why don’t more people know about Karenga’s sordid past? It is a travesty that people only know this man for his creation of Kwanzaa, painting their picture of him as a progressive and influential African American, while forgetting parts of his truly violent nationalist past.
I didn’t write this article attempting to be cynical, outrageous or to question the university’s best judgment. I simply wrote it in order to show how we, as students often don’t know the professors we respect so much. I don’t think that any of the professors I mentioned should lose their jobs; I just believe students should know who their instructors really are.
And if there are skeletons in your closet, they eventually will come to light.
Gerry Wachovsky is a graduate student and columnist for the Daily 49er.
" ... The real question for our campus is this: should a white supremacist professor — who heads a neo-Nazi political party, the American Third Position Party, A3P, whose admirers include former KKK leader David Duke, and who supports the deportation of all non-white immigrants — be allowed to teach at a public university? ... "
It’s hardly worth addressing Gerard Morel-Cruz’s hysterical, anti-communist rant in the Feb. 8 Daily 49er. Getting anything out of it is difficult because it is directed, quite bizarrely, at me personally.
These kinds of rants are what right-wing forces use to divert attention away from the true issue at hand: racism. Racism is the main problem in this country. It has been since its birth. Whether it is aimed at Latinos, African Americans, Asians, Pacific-Islanders, Arabs or anyone else, it should not be tolerated.
I favor healthy debate, but not ad hominem attacks or anything that derails the honest discussion of how to achieve social justice.
What’s incredible about Morel-Cruz’s piece is that it avoids taking a position on CSULB professor Kevin MacDonald’s overt racism, anti-Semitism, immigrant bashing and support for violence against people of color.
The real question for our campus is this: should a white supremacist professor — who heads a neo-Nazi political party, the American Third Position Party, A3P, whose admirers include former KKK leader David Duke, and who supports the deportation of all non-white immigrants — be allowed to teach at a public university?
I say no and so do many others. There is no place for hardened racists like MacDonald at CSULB. He shouldn’t be allowed to shape any more young minds.
MacDonald is known as the country’s premier white supremacist intellectual. His party, the A3P, is named for the political current it represents. The term “third position” refers to a particular political stance of white nationalism—in other words, Nazism.
Despite his claims otherwise, MacDonald has admitted on “white power” Web sites to undermining the content of textbooks from which he teaches. He also has spoken in favor of mass deportations and violence.
In a radio interview on Dec. 14, 2009 on Radio Free Mississippi, MacDonald described how a “white homeland” would look in the United States: “Ideally, what we would do is have some kind of program that would repatriate these millions of people who’ve come here … since 1965 … If we obtain power, the first thing we would do is get these people to go back where they came from.”
While I abhor Morel-Cruz’s vile personal attacks and slander, I would like to point out to him that MacDonald would very much like to get rid of both of us, as well as many other students on campus. It is in his interest to fight alongside the Party for Socialism and Liberation and Students Fight Back, rather than against us.
When Radio Free Mississippi asked MacDonald whether he approved of the tactics pursued by violent racist leader named Alex Linder, who is ready to “get out there and kill” for a “white homeland,” MacDonald responded: “If [Alex Linder] succeeds in producing a mass movement with these tactics, more power to him. … [G]et out there and go for it, do it.”
This is clearly incitement of violence against people of color and Jews. This is hate speech, not protected free speech. Free speech is a hallmark of our society, but incitement and hatemongering is not welcome at CSULB.
Some claim that we should let “reason” combat MacDonald’s pro-fascist views. History teaches us otherwise. Reason couldn’t stop Hitler from using fascist ideas to murder millions. Reason couldn’t stop racist KKK lynching in the Jim Crow south.
MacDonald’s position gives his white supremacist ideas a false veneer of legitimacy. It lets him speak with authority and rally others behind his noxious views.
As a CSULB student, and a Mexican American woman, I refuse to remain silent as a professor attempts to organize a neo-Nazi mass movement that aims to destroy the lives of thousands of students, and millions of people around the country.
I will continue to advocate for students to boycott MacDonald’s classes. I will continue to circulate a petition demanding his immediate termination. A movement against racist hate is what is needed.
Marlou Cabral is a CSULB student and a member of the Party for Socialism and Liberation.