Read a Book, Get Charged with Racial Harassment


By: Selwyn Duke

The May 9 edition of the New York Post carries a short article by an Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis student named Keith John Sampson. He tells a story of being charged with “racial harassment” simply because he was “caught” reading an anti-Ku Klux Klan book. I’m not kidding. Sampson tells his story:

The book was Todd Tucker’s ‘Notre Dame vs. the Klan: How the Fighting Irish Defeated the Ku Klux Klan’; I was reading it on break from my campus job as a janitor. The same book is in the university library . . . .

But that didn’t stop the Affirmative Action Office of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis from branding me as a detestable Klansman.

They didn’t want to hear the truth. The office ruled that my ‘repeatedly reading the book . . . constitutes racial harassment in that you demonstrated disdain and insensitivity to your co-workers.’

The affirmative-action officer – who draws a salary of $106, 000 a year to perform her crucial role and is obviously a woman of inestimable intellect – neither examined the book nor spoke with Sampson. He wasn’t guilty until proven innocent. He was just guilty.

To make a long story short, the charges were only dropped months later after the institution of lower learning came under pressure from the media, the ACLU (hey, even a blind squirrel . . .) and a more noble entity called the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

Since Sampson works as a janitor to, I would assume, help finance his education, he obviously wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Perhaps he was assumed to be one of those bigoted working class people of whom Barack Obama spoke. Anyway, it’s good to see he is getting something for the many thousands of dollars he is paying to attend his illustrious Indiana university.

As outrageous as the story is, what is more troubling than the facts Sampson provided is what he omitted. He failed to identify the cultural forces responsible for his persecution or even hint at the wider problem. Perhaps the Post insisted he stick to only uncontroversial facts or maybe the fault lies with his own political correctness. It’s probably both, as Sampson seems like a somewhat liberal man who is painfully naive about the power of the thought police (despite being victimized them).

For starters, Sampson fails to point out that the affirmative-action officer is a black woman named Lillian Charleston. Oh, that’s not relevant? Sorry, but this is all about race. Mr. Sampson would never have been charged with racial harassment for reading a history book relating to the Klan were he not white; in fact, it’s hard to imagine such a charge being leveled against a black person for any reason, given the double standards in the academy’s politically-correct environment.

In case you’re considering a career in the vital and growing field of affirmative action and wonder what credentials one must possess to become one of its storm troopers, here is Charleston’s bio:

Lillian Charleston is nationally recognized for her expertise and knowledge of Affirmative Action and related issues. In addition to serving as the Affirmative Action Officer for IUPUI for the past 16 years, she previously worked as a desegregation specialist for the Indianapolis Public Schools. She has been an officer and board member of the American Association for Affirmative Action and the Indiana Industry Liaison Group. She also supports her community through active board service with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Development Commission, the Indianapolis Urban League, the Indianapolis Chapter of Big Sisters, and the Association for Loan Free Education. She earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Indiana University in Urban Studies, Counseling and College Student Personnel.

In other words, she specializes in grievance, social engineering, victimology and in what Rush Limbaugh has labeled get-even-with-’em-ism. To gain a little more insight into the mindset of this woman, read the letter she sent to Sampson about the charge:

Upon review of this matter, we conclude that your conduct constitutes racial harassment in that you demonstrated disdain and insensitivity to your co-workers who repeatedly requested that you refrain from reading the book which has such an inflammatory and offensive topic in their presence. You contend that you weren’t aware of the offensive nature of the topic and were reading the book about the KKK to better understand discrimination. However you used extremely poor judgment by insisting on openly reading the book related to a historically and racially abhorrent subject in the presence of your Black co-workers. Furthermore, employing the legal “reasonable person standard,” a majority of adults are aware of and understand how repugnant the KKK is to African Americans, their reactions to the Klan, and the reasonableness of the request that you not read the book in their presence.

During your meeting with Marguerite Watkins, Assistant Affirmative Action Officer [sic] you were instructed to stop reading the book in the immediate presence of your co-workers and when reading the book to sit apart from the immediate proximity of these co-workers. Please be advised, any future substantiated conduct of a similar nature could result in serious disciplinary action.

The letter reveals something else that should be obvious, which is that the individual filing the complaint against Sampson was also black. And this is another example of the relativistic standard applied in these matters. In other words, in judging the case, the Affirmative Action Office didn’t analyze the action under the light of objective truth, but based on the feelings of a politically-favored individual, in this case an irrational one.

It much reminds me of a notorious sexual harassment standard about which I once read. To wit: If a woman feels as if she has been harassed, it is sexual harassment. It also brings to mind a quotation by John Stuart Mill:

“I can hardly imagine any laws so bad, to which I would not rather be subject than to the caprice of a man.”

One law (or policy) I can imagine that is so bad is one which subjects us to the caprice of other citizens. And this is increasingly America’s practice, as we’re now placing members of politically-incorrect groups at the mercy of the caprice of members of politically-favored ones. This does violence to the principle of human rights, as they are supposed to relate to God’s unchanging Truth, not man’s mercurial tastes. But in Sampson’s case, that his black co-worker felt aggrieved was justification enough to send out a lynching party.

Of course, we’re also subject to the caprice of affirmative-action storm troopers, as their feelings are used to determine whose feelings will be the yardstick of racial justice. And it’s hard to imagine a scenario under which their feelings would ever tell them that a white person’s feelings should be thus exalted. This brings me to my next point.

Keith Sampson, being Catholic and partially of Irish descent, was attracted to the book in question because it tells a story of people of his heritage contending with the Klan. Now, since we’ve been enjoined to pay homage to racial and ethnic pride, since it’s cast as a new virtue, where was the respect for Sampson’s feelings of it?
Of course, fairness and leftist ideologues don’t have the same address. In creating abominations such as affirmative-action officers, diversity counselors and sensitivity trainers, we have empowered people of low character, often vile, ignorant, unintelligent individuals (who else enters such a field?) with degrees in nothing. Some are the epitome of the mediocre modern inquisitor, a person who holds the fate of far better men in his soiled hands as he ruins lives with the stroke of a pen and justifies his wanting existence.

As for the last matter, what do you think would happen if the Lillian Charlestons of the world didn’t bring home a few scalps every month? Well, like Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and other racial hustlers, they would lose their raison d’etre. Thus, they just have to find racism somewhere; they must extract the necessary pounds of flesh. And it is usually white flesh.

This brings me to my last point. For many years now we have heard about data used to justify charges of racial profiling. It will be determined that an inordinate percentage of blacks are pulled over by police in a given area, and that alone is viewed as sufficient cause to change law-enforcement procedures. Even more to the point, many claim that since blacks constitute a percentage of the prison population greatly exceeding that of the general one, it’s evidence of systemic “racism.”

So here is a study I’d like to see conducted. Let’s ascertain the racial composition of those who have charges of racial harassment brought against them – and of those punished for same – on college campuses. Call me crazy, but I have a sneaking suspicion that virtually all those targeted are white.

Oh, yeah, I overlooked something. Only white people can be racist.

Let’s just forget the whole thing.



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