NOTE: This article is slated to be updated.
When Heather MacDonald was on a call-in program on C-SPAN during the Book Expo in Los Angeles in 2003, one caller, a black man from Houston, had a particular problem with her. “Every time I see this young lady on television she always talks about black people and the privileges we get, and I’m wondering what is her agenda,” he said. “Where does that contempt for black people come from?” That question was a long time coming. Heather MacDonald is best – some would argue only
– known as a protagonist writer against people of color and an advocate for the dissolution of civil rights. She is a mainstream conservative however, so this characterization might be contested by her. In fact she will definitely tell you that her efforts are done in the interest of preserving our freedoms. Of course, that is like when conservatives fought the civil rights movement and the anti-apartheid efforts in South Africa in the name of fighting communism. In other words, it’s a crock of shit.
Besides Donald Trump going to the White House, in the past twenty years there has been no greater success story for racists than their ascension in New York City politics – ironically Trump’s hometown. During that time conservatives used every opportunity to diminish the strength of people of color in the Big Apple, and to a great deal they succeeded back then. Trump’s personal attorney Rudolph Giuliani became mayor due to his courting these racist elements and after using them to defeat the first Black mayor in New York’s history spent his tenure directly engaged in a war with African Americans. Then there was a white supremacist named Frank Borzolierri who sat on a school board in Queens, a school board that once helped oust the Hispanic schools chancellor Jose Fernandez because of him including a curriculum that teaches tolerance of the LGBTQ community. The New York Post
has used its pages to race-bait, featuring articles and columns by writers that were also found in white supremacist publications like American Renaissance. 77 WABC has also been a part of the hatemongering, with their roster including the late, unlamented Bob Grant, who had even allowed white supremacist groups to leave their contact information on the air, and Sean Hannity who once promoted a bid for Congress by his friend, neo-Nazi FBI informant Hal Turner.
While the black/white war in NYC wasn’t one-sided, it most certainly was a boon for the right-wingers who have been trying to find new ways to undercut the African American community across the country. A non-practicing lawyer fresh from stints at the EPA and as a clerk for a Judge Stephen Reinhardt in California, Heather MacDonald moved to the city from Los Angeles in 1987 and jumped into the racial tensions going on there at the time. She found herself at a conservative think tank called the Manhattan Institute (MI) This lovely place was founded by former CIA director William Casey and in the past was funded by far right eugenics advocates such as the Pioneer Fund and others, many of those other backers also backing Hitler’s rise to power. One of them, Chase Bank, has publicly apologized for its support of Hitler, but where today’s hate politics are concerned, MI does not seem so forgiving. They sponsored eugenics projects, most notably the pro-eugenics book The Bell Curve
, a best-selling book that proposed the idea that blacks are mentally inferior. On one website, it is noted that while the Manhattan Institute does not publicly advocate mass extermination or mass relocation of minorities the policies it does promote are mostly about targeting black and Latino inner city populations in such a way as to make relocation an attractive option and elimination a day to day reality. It should be noted that they were responsible for Giuliani’s campaign for mayor, and his abandoned 1999 senatorial campaign, both of which faced strong opposition by the African American community. They were also involved with President Bush’s 2000 presidential bid, which also found itself on the bad side of African Americans, especially at the end.
So this was fertile ground for MacDonald, who said she started writing by addressing what she saw were “academic problems”. In particular, she was pissed about what she saw as universities being overrun by a “know-nothing” attack on western culture. And by “know-nothing” we don’t mean the anti-immigration nativist campaigns of the 19th Century. She would have loved that. She was on some other shit with that term.
“You have now students refusing to read the great books if their authors don’t match their own ethnicity or gender – and their professors that they have are often fueling the stupid identity politics,” she said, bringing in the common tactic among conservatives of indirectly attacking a group or individual by blaming the universities, media, government, etc. for a given problem. In fact, this is a tactic she leans on like a crutch. By the way, MacDonald served on Mayor Giuliani’s task force on CUNY.
On the aforementioned C-SPAN program she was on, one caller noted another tactic common among your more far right figures. MacDonald is taking her ideology and passing it off as social science. It is why her conclusions on various issues never seem to correspond with reality. For one thing, she does not believe that racial profiling exists, a theme she began in 2001 just after the Cincinnati uprising after Timothy Thomas, a 19-year-old African American boy with no criminal record and no weapon was murdered by a police officer. Her contention is that “civil libertarians” are furthering the notion that police arrest based on the population ratio, and to that end they have concocted this notion of racial profiling. As every conservative must, she also blames the press for creating the notion as well. Never mind the fact that it was the police officers themselves that have been saying they practiced it, particularly former New Jersey State Police Chief Carl Williams who lost his job after he gave an interview to a newspaper and said that they did. She not only forgets this, but basically ignores the number of complaints that African Americans have filed regarding this, some even calling the C-SPAN program. One of those callers was stopped 31 times. On a Fox News program in 2001 when she first mentioned her so-called “study” on the issue, the person she was debating correctly slammed it as “junk science”. Here’s the funny part: MacDonald supports
racial profiling. She says she does, not for African Americans, who have made it an unpopular stance to take, but for dealing with terrorists, or to be more precise, Muslims, an area where racial profiling has had a lot of support.
This thing about her stance on racial profiling brings up what is her regular M.O. It’s a rather insulting one if you notice it, and notice it you will. Her thing is to either disparage a practice if it benefits people she finds objectionable or if it adversely affects them, deny it is happening. But she will then flip the script and endorse it to her ends, which is always in an adverse way to the aforementioned people she finds objectionable! She for example decries what she calls identity politics when it means people of color or women are going to be represented positively in certain professions or in culture in general, “Identity-politics tribalism denies the role of reason and ideas in forming individuals’ world views; instead, gonads and melanin reign supreme.” she once wrote despite the fact that she uses identity politics to say, while dismissing charges of racism in policing communities of color and looking instead at high crime and violence rates in those communities as the real problem, “The most powerful antidote to this violence would be to ensure that more black children were raised by both their father and their mother. No other ethnic or racial group suffers from family breakdown to the same degree.” So it’s not that she doesn’t like identity politics. She doesn’t like it when it works for us and not her.
Her columns, quite frankly, are for the record books. To read them, one would have to conclude that she is a) in complete denial of the truth, b) a hopeless fanatic who needs to spin the truth to conform to her worldview, c) incredibly stupid, or d) all of the above. There are way too many examples of this to list here, but in doing this entry and looking at her columns, one just leaped out at us. In referring to the INS detainees that have been rounded up and held in jails across the country without any charges filed against them, MacDonald said that it was only “a mere 1,200 men – a minute fraction of the Muslim and Arab population in America”. Those detentions do not bother MacDonald because she feels it “may have averted at least two more attacks” according to someone she says is an “expert” on Al Queda at St. Andrews University. We bet that if 1,200 white men were rounded up the same way, the argument that it might have averted bombings of abortion clinics might not work with her. She would even probably call that racist. Food for thought, Heather.
Given the above, it should not be any surprise that MacDonald is a supporter of the Patriot Act. She received more than an earful when at the 13th annual Computers, Freedom and Privacy conference in New York in April 2003, she defended the Pentagon’s proposed Total Information Awareness System, which would be a massive database of information on every American including credit card, medical school and travel records.
Of course given what we at OPP do here, it is in many ways quite welcome that MacDonald feels this way. On the website Slashdot, a poster suggested this to her
I say if Ms. MacDonald believes concerns about privacy are outdated and only the concern of Luddites, then I say she ought to lead by example. I hearby make a public calling to Ms. MacDonald to immediately do all of the following to prove to us that privacy shouldn’t be an issue:
* Make available all her credit card numbers, PINs, bank account numbers, and all personal financial information, including bank statements and both personal and professional tax information.
* Make available to the public all financial statements, receipts and information concerning purchases she has made.
* Make available for public viewing all personal correspondences via all mediums (i.e., email, written, phone, etc.)
* Make available all passwords to her Internet accounts and online services.
* Make available all professional exchanges between herself and her clients as well as those of others in her field and those with whom she does other business.
* Make available for public viewing all personal journals and/or diaries as well as any personal records pertaining to herself or her family members (i.e., birth certificates, medical records, etc.)
* Install 24-hour Web cams in her home, business or place or work and in any other places she spends significant time; of course, we expect that since privacy is not a concern, all personal moments in the bedroom and bathrooms will be freely available in an uncensored form.
* Leave the locks on the doors of her home, car, business and elsewhere (including safes and other contained personal belongings) unlocked and available to the general public.
I’m sure there are other items and areas I have forgotten, but since Ms. MacDonald seems to willing to give up privacy in favor of protection from a world full of terrorists, I bet she will happily accommodate any further requests in the future.
So, Ms. MacDonald… lead the way. Lead by example. Show us poor, befuddled, unwashed Luddites the way out of our backward thinking about privacy and basic human rights, We’ll be right behind you too because it’s painfully obvious to us that an attorney with links to a conservative think-tank who feels the need to swipe aside the our basic rights could have nothing but the best of intentions for us.
Oh, how we agree!
MacDonald’s book quickly fell off the radar screen and after the Book Expo, not much of it or her was heard from. In fact, the revision to this entry was done on Halloween 2004, and she has been pretty much nonexistant on the scene. She is back however. The Faux News Channel in particular likes to trot her out whenever it is time to attack African-Americans, so it is always best to wait until that moment arises again.