You can read them here.
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Some quick thoughts on what I have read:
- Faculty were invited to attend the Racial Equity Institute training at Duke. They were not forced to attend.
- Regardless of what one thinks about racial equity training, Griffith’s response to Anathea Portier-Young‘s e-mail was unnecessarily rude and provocative. If Griffiths does have a legitimate critique of this training, he is not going to get very far convincing others with an e-mail like this. The e-mail was very unprofessional. Nevertheless, in an environment defined by academic freedom he has the right to express his views this way.
- “Keep your eyes on the prize.” Interesting way for Griffiths to end the e-mail.
- One of the best things I have read about this kind of racial sensitivity training is Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn’s book Race Experts: How Racial Etiquette, Sensitivity Training, and New Age Therapy Hijacked the Civil Rights Revolution. I recommend it to all involved.
- Elaine Heath‘s original response to Griffiths is fair, but I think Dreher has a point when he says that Heath was assuming a lot when she described Griffiths’s e-mail as a model of “racism, sexism, and other forms of bigotry.” Thomas Pfau, who holds an endowed chair in the Duke English Department, seems to agree with Dreher here.
- Griffiths sounds like he can be a real pain in the neck.
- For someone who has never been part of an academic institution–Christian or otherwise–Dreher sure seems to have this case all figured out.
- How will the faculty who Griffiths offended respond this week? How will Griffith’s defenders respond this week? This will say a lot about the Christian character of the Duke Divinity School community. One self-proclaimed “conservative” student has already said that “repentance” is needed. Dreher seems most concerned about how this all relates to the culture wars.
- This raises a big question for me: Where does one draw the line between exercising academic freedom and using such freedom to undermine the community of a Christian institution? Often-times Christian schools use “community” to stifle academic freedom or marginalize independent voices. Those who approach issues from a Christian perspective or confessional commitment that might be different from the dominant Christian culture of the institution can be easily ostracized. I have seen this happen. At other times independent voices spew forth their ideas without any consideration for how they might hurt or damage the community in the process. I have seen this happen.
In the end, I am sure there is a lot more to this story. It will be interesting to see how it unfolds.