The woke mob came for Eric Kaufman… and left empty-handed.
I’ve written twice about Eric Kaufman’s recent article. As I said, it’s a must-read. It casts much needed light on large areas of race, racial attitudes, race relations, perceptions and misperceptions. I won’t attempt to deal with all of it, but suffice it to say that Kaufman’s findings prick the balloon of BLM and the woke on race. There’s just so very much they get wrong.
So naturally, Kaufman’s now in the crosshairs of cancel culture. He’s blasphemed against the one true faith and, according to the disciples, must pay the price. Lacking any arguments with which to refute what he says, they attack him personally, which is a good sign. Like all ad hominem attacks, it’s a sign they have nothing of substance with which to refute what he says. After all, if they had an argument on the merits to make, wouldn’t they? Personal attacks are a sure indication that the person attacked is onto something. It’s certainly true in Kaufman’s case.
So the mob outside with the pitchforks and torches is screaming that Kaufman, who’s Jewish and part Chinese, is – you guessed it – a “white supremacist.” That’s another way of saying he makes statements that fail to accord with the woke mythology that long ago stopped even seeking facts to support it. The woke want all to understand that there is but a single right answer to every question – theirs. Deviate even slightly from that and they mean to make your life hell.
And so they did with Kaufman, a professor of political science at Birkbeck, University of London.
On May 19th, a Twitter account called “Birkbeck Students Anti-Racist Network” posted a long thread denouncing one of the academics at that institution, the political scientist Eric Kaufmann. In typical self-righteous fashion, the thread begins, “Kaufmann is a politics professor & former head of that department at Birkbeck … We want to publicly denounce him as a white supremacist and racist apologist.”
That of course is perfectly fine. Everyone’s entitled to express their opinions regardless of how loony and distant from reality. But, in classic woke form, the students didn’t stop there; they moved on to calling for Kaufman to be fired, i.e., the usual intolerance of the tolerant.
“Alt-right academics are not welcome at Birkbeck,”… “We say #KaufmannOut!”
And, if Birkbeck refuses to fire him, well, the students leave us to guess.
“Even in the face of repeated formal complaints, management have refused to take action,” indicating this is not the first attempt activists have made to defenestrate Kaufmann. The petition calls for Birkbeck management to “fully investigate” his activities, and warns that if management are “unwilling to ensure Birkbeck is free from racists, we will be forced to take action ourselves.”
Is that a threat? It looks like one. If Birkbeck investigates anyone, it should be the person who made it.
So far, that’s the extent of the kerfuffle. Kaufman is still in his job, still doing much-needed research and the students calling for his head have mostly disappeared under the rocks from which they came. Birkbeck is to be commended for refusing to kowtow to the woke mob. Many, many other colleges, universities, private companies, law firms, governmental agencies, etc. should take a lesson. There is one and only one way to stop the madness of woke cancel culture – to stand up to it and shout “No!” to its absurd, destructive and ignorant blandishments. That’s starting to happen in a few places, but still far too few. Now is an “emperor’s new clothes” moment, a “have you no shame” moment. If those who know better will only show some spine, stand up for free speech, the importance of facts and reasoned argument, the woke narrative will vanish in a puff of smoke. It has little-to-no validity of its own. It relies on faith and the entire lack of skepticism that goes with it in order to stay alive. It’s done far too much damage and, like the Salem witch trials and other moral panics, must end.
Eric Kaufman has for now dodged the woke’s bullets. But without the necessary pushback, he won’t be the last to find himself in the crosshairs. And others, like so many in the past, won’t be so lucky.