Radosh: Brooklyn College’s Radical Required Reading

August 31st, 2010 at 1:35 pm | 3 Comments |

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Ron Radosh writes about Brooklyn College’s decision to require students to read a new book presenting a one-sided portrait of the treatment of Muslims and Arabs in America.

Now, Brooklyn College is showing its worst face once again. As The New York Jewish Week reports, incoming transfer students have been assigned a book to read that is meant to give them a common framework for discussion. As the newspaper informed its readers, “ ‘How Does It Feel to Be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in America, by Moustafa Bayoumi , has been assigned to about 1500 incoming transfer students ‘in an effort to provide a common experience for this population of students,’  according to a letter from the school administration to Brooklyn College faculty members.”

The book was described by the trade publication Publisher’s Weekly as a “quintessentially American picture of 21st century citizens ‘absorbing and refracting all the ethnicities and histories surrounding [them].’ However, the testimonies from these young adults — summary seizures from their homes, harassment from strangers, being fired for having an Arab or Muslim name—have a weight and a sorrow that is ‘often invisible to the general public.”

It is clear that the book  is a highly exaggerated view of how American citizens treat Muslims and Arabs. (The book carries a blurb by none other than Rashid Khalidi.)  It is not being paired with any readings that challenge its biased thesis.  But what is also upsetting many of Brooklyn’s residents, as well as CUNY faculty and students, is that its author, who is also an Associate Professor at the college, recently edited another book, Midnight on the Mavi Marmara: the Attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla and How it Changed the Course of the Israeli-Palestine Conflict. …

No one is asking that Professor Bayoumi’s book be censored. Unlike K.C. Johnson, whose leftist colleagues wanted him out because of his views, no one is demanding that the Professor be disciplined in any way, not to speak of being fired. In the United States, we believe in freedom of speech, which includes the right to publish one’s views and to present them for airing in the marketplace of ideas.

But that freedom does not include forcing the book in a compulsory fashion upon incoming students, without any other point of view being presented to them for comparison.

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3 Comments so far ↓

  • Slide

    “radical” required reading? Is anything, and everything Muslim, considered “radical”? From what I understand the book recounts the personal stories of seven Muslim Americans and their experiences after 911. How can the author of this article claim that it is “highly exaggerated view of how American citizens treat Muslims and Arabs.” Is he Muslim? Has he walked in their shoes? How would this white, neocon professor have a clue as to what it is like to be a Muslim in our country?

    It is amazing after we have an arson at the construction site of a Mosque in Tennessee, the stabbing of a New York cabbie after he answered yes to the question, “Are you a Muslim?”, the fierce loud and bigoted opposition to the building of a community center in NY and recent polls, one of which showed 54% of Republicans have a negative view of Islam, that Mr. Radosh could even write this nonsense.

  • ProfNickD

    The book is radical because it presents an exactly inverted portrait of the Muslim experience in America: Muslims do not suffer from hate crimes according to FBI hate crimes data (there are 8-10 times as many hate crimes directed at Jews, many, in fact, by Muslims), Muslims have very high incomes per capita, and high numbers of graduate degrees, and increasing numbers of places of worship. Both Pew and Gallup have done expansive polling on the success of Muslims in America.

    This is not data representative of a minority group that is under constant “harassment” — so having incoming freshmen read a book that presents solely and only stories from individual Muslims who have experienced harassment is quite radical.

    BTW: certainly not all Muslims are radical, but Islam *is* radical, at least until Islamic religious authorities unambiguously expunge the Islamic concepts of jihad, dhimmitude, Jew-hatred, and the exhortations to implement sharia from the Quran, the hadiths, and from their religious schools.

  • Carney

    All too typical leftist brainwashing of unsuspecting university students. Trusting parents scrimp and sacrifice for decades, are impressed by the ivy and tradition of a school, and have little idea that nearly the entire faculty and administration are a deeply radical gang, intent on revolutionary transformation of our entire society. Parents are turning over their children’s intellectual and moral development to what amounts to an anti-American, anti-Western, anti-Christian, anti-capitalist cult, straining at the leash in its creepy fervor to alienate students from the values they were raised in, and deeply hostile to the very traditions of the school they are now occupying.

    Well, with public funds comes public accountability. Time for a sweeping, top-to-bottom, wall-to-wall housecleaning, and the louder the screeching about “McCarthyism” and “witch hunts” gets the better indication it is that we are doing precisely what needs be doing, and the more vigorously, swiftly, thoroughly, persistently, and ruthlessly we should press forward. If that means a whole new generation of young scholars and administrators has to be put in place to replace the crazed neo-Marxists, all the better. Sky-is-falling scenarios about harm to the hard sciences are overblown; they have largely remained intact and sheltered from the lock-step ideological insanity anyway.