Tape of Obama Protest at Harvard Released
Breitbart promised that this election season would be different from four years ago - that Barack Obama would be vetted. Here's the first of what hopefully will lead to many more insights into the president's background - and hopefully they'll get better.
Derrick Albert Bell, Jr. (November 6, 1930 – October 5, 2011) was the first tenured African-American professor of Law at Harvard University, and largely credited as the originator of Critical Race Theory. He was the former dean of the University of Oregon School of Law.
Bell reentered the debate over hiring practices at Harvard in 1990, when he vowed to take an unpaid leave of absence until the school appointed a female of color to its tenured faculty. At the time, of the law school's 60 tenured professors, only three were black and five were women.
The school had never had a black woman on the tenured staff. Students held vigils and protests in solidarity with Bell with the support of some faculty. One of these students was future U.S. president Barack Obama, who spoke at a protest at Harvard Law School on behalf of Bell. Critics, including some faculty members, called Bell's methods counterproductive, and Harvard administration officials insisted they had already made enormous advances in hiring.
The story of his protest is detailed in his book Confronting Authority. To some observers, Bell's lament about Harvard amounted to a call for the school to lower its academic qualifications in the quest to mold a diversified faculty on the campus.
But Bell argued that academically able faculty were being ignored and that critics of diversity invariably underplay the value of a faculty that is broadly reflective of society, and, more importantly, that the credentials demanded by institutions like Harvard perpetuate the domination of white, well-off, middle-aged men.
As he commented in the Boston Globe, "Let's look at a few qualifications--say civil rights experience ... that might allow [a chance at a tenured teaching position for] more folks here who, like me, maybe didn't go to the best law school but instead have made a real difference in the world."