An over reaction by academics?

Using the "N-word" was a stupid error in judgment, but this guy was a kid when it occurred and he admitted responsibility and apologized. The kid was a teenager when it happened. I have also heard stories of what this kid has had to endure. Apparently at a conference at Yale last year, the Yale Law School Dean lead a walkout when this kid merely showed up in the audience. Are these reactions in proportion to what this kid did given that he has apologized and there is no evidence that the apology wasn't sincere.

What the kid said was wrong, but compare it to other statements that could have been made. Suppose that he had said that Bush was the same as Hilter or that Republicans were Nazi. Would he have been condemed in academia? I can even concede that these later attacks would not be nearly as hurtful, but I doubt that it would have been given even a brief notice by many academics. Surely even if it had been an issue, his age would have been raised as a mitigating factor. I would like to believe that I would be wrong about all this, but I doubt it. Surely, law deans would not lead walkouts on this person if he showed up at a conference under those circumstances.

Finally, let me note that this kid is some type of genius. It is not surprising to me that people who have these book smarts lack certain, shall we say, people skills (understanding when some things are a mistake).

Camara, a native Filipino who grew up in Hawaii and enrolled at Harvard Law School at age 16, had been on track to become an assistant professor at GMU's law school. But his candidacy was derailed after the law school's dean, Daniel D. Polsby, publicized the possible appointment so he could hear what students had to say before making a final decision.

During Camara's first year at Harvard Law School in 2002, he fueled a controversy when he wrote racist remarks in a voluminous summary of a 1948 Supreme Court decision that barred restrictive covenants based on race. He then posted the writing on a Web site designed to help other law students. . . .

This kid is now just 22. Show some compassion towards this kid who made a mistake and move on. I am disappointed that George Mason turned the guy down for a position.



Anonymous Mike said...

Actually, it's probably a good thing in disguise. Why would this brilliant youngster want to be associated with a school so obviously lacking in human decency? He'll have no difficulty making his way in the world, and instutitions who appreciate ability and potential will open their doors to him.

4/05/2007 9:19 PM  

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