I don’t really blame Jeff Goldstein for being indignant, but the problem is that he spends a whole lot of words when his final paragraph would have basically sufficed.
Kiteley’s pretense of “alarm” leads me to believe that it isn’t ME he is worried about; rather, he seems alarmed by the possibility of some of his fellow travelers seeing his name on my site and not being able to make important intellectual distinctions. And he wouldn’t want them questioning his ideological bona fides and purity.
What Goldstein misses is that the professor has every right to not want to be associated with a site that he considers incendiary and tolerant of racism. Goldstein correctly believes he has a right to put an honest biography on his ‘About’ page. He studied under Professor Kitely and he evidently learned some things from him. Professor Kitely has the right to ask that his name be removed from the ‘About’ page, but he has no right to demand it.
This isn’t about free speech, or being afraid of speech (necessarily), but about a professor who finds a former student’s website to be extremely offensive and who doesn’t want his good name associated with it.
There have been debates on this site about what constitutes an offensive cartoon or speech and whether I should tolerate their publication. If someone disagreed with my editorial choices, they were free to leave the site…to no longer associate with it…or even to request that all evidence of their participation be eliminated by me. I wouldn’t grant such a request, but people have made them.
It’s not a problem that professors in our country are generally opposed to racist cartoons. They don’t think they should be illegal, but they think poorly of anyone who publishes them and don’t want to be associated with them. If that’s now to be considered a liberal bias in academia, it’s a fortunate one, and certainly not a problem.