ENEMIES OR FRIENDS: Professor Lloyd has changed his view!


Tomorrow, Gates gone wrong: What are public school students being taught about our American history?

What are public school students in Florida being taught? How about in other states? What are they being taught in honors classes? What are the other kids being taught?

What are they taught about the history of the Americas before 1619, including the history of the Americas before European contact?  What are they taught about the brutal American history which was launched in the seminal year we just mentioned—"before the Mayflower," as a well-known book instructively fashioned it way back in 1962?

So many questions, so little time! Also, so little interest in anything but current tribal warfare! 

That said, we're going to make an admission! When we watched Joy Reid interview three Florida high chool students last week, we wondered how much they already know about American history.

Good God, that first kid was impressive! The transcript of her remarks on that day can't even begin to convey her seriousness, her impressive sense of purpose:

REID (2/15/23): So talk to me, Victoria, about the importance of taking AP classes and why you would want to take this AP African American Studies class.

MCQUEEN: AP [classes] have opened my eyes to an array of new information. When I took honors in middle school, and the friends I have in honors classes now, we go farther back in history, we go deeper into history. And if we had the option to take African American history at the AP level, we also would get that deeper knowledge that you don't get baseline, and that you have to find deep in the Internet to get that knowledge, because it's not easily accessible at our schools.

We were struck by Victoria McQueen's composure, by her seriousness of purpose. To see this exchange as it actually happened, you can just click here, then search on this student's name.

Still and all, we wondered how much McQueen and the other two students already knew about the frequently brutal history of our floundering nation. 

They want to take the College Board's new Advanced Placement course in African American Studies. We wondered about the amount of knowledge to which the contents of that AP course would be added. 

Along the way, we've also occasionally thought about the kinds of things, major and minor, which can (and sometimes do) go wrong at such well-intentioned moments like the moment we're currently in. 

It's true! Sometimes, things can (and do) go sideways at deeply fraught junctures like this. Below, we'll link you to an interesting account of one recent (and extreme) such episode. 

First, though, let's tip our cap to the College Borad once again, and let's look at an overview of their new AP course.

Once again, we offer three cheers—or possibly just two and a half—to the College Board. In the recent statement reported below, they wisely said that they have no intention of telling high school kids what they should think about the history in question:

MECKLER (1/19/23): Revisions [to the AP course] will be made based on early experience, and the course frameworks “often change significantly,” the College Board said...

The College Board statement said that the class does not aim to push any point of view and depends on students immersing themselves in primary sources.

“The course is designed to encourage students to examine each theme from a variety of perspectives, without ideology, in line with the field’s tradition of debates,” the College Board said. “Students will encounter evidence, weigh competing viewpoints and come to their own conclusions. AP students are never required to agree with a particular opinion or adopt a particular ideology, but they are expected to analyze different perspectives.”

More than two cheers for the College Board for advancing this basic notion. For the record, this is the current outline of the course's five segments, with much more detail available here:

Unit 1: Origins of the African Diaspora / ~8th century CE – 16th century CE
Unit 2: Freedom, Enslavement, and Resistance / ~16th century CE to 1865 CE
Unit 3: The Practice of Freedom / 1865 – 1960s CE
Unit 4: Movements and Debates / 1960s – present
Course Project

A lot of ground will be covered, presumably including the meaning of the term "CE." That said, the outline suggests how much time should be spent on each of those five components, and the recommended allotments add up to 28 weeks.

That's much less than a full school year. People, we're just saying!

At any rate, a great deal of brutal and ugly behavior takes place in the history under review—certainly so from the start of the African Diaspora onward. These events can be fashioned a hundred different ways, depending on the wider contexts into which such events are placed.

(We well recall our fifth-grade students asking us the following question when the TV show Roots first appeared: How could people have been willing to treat other people that way? There's no perfect answer to such questions. That particular question can be answered in a variety of ways.)

As our current tribal warfare unfolds, we often see highly simplistic statements about the way such history should be taught, even to grade school students. Instead, we may be inclined to turn to the weapons of war, and those weapons include the rampant use of dumbnified talking points.

How should this brutal American history be taught to Advanced Placement students? Also, here's a question you'll never see asked:

How should this brutal history be taught to the vast bulk of our public school students—to the many good, decent kids who won't be in the honors or AP courses?

How should this history be taught in third grade, or to today's fifth grade students? Also, how should this brutal history be taught in line with the College Board's professed ambition—in line with its stated desire to let American high school students "come to their own conclusions" about the material involved in its new AP course?

We hope that kids, from the early grades on, are learning about the history of the Americas before 1492. From the early 1600s on, the project of presenting this history becomes a great deal more challenging—and yes, given the brutality of the history, things certainly can go wrong.

Things can go wrong in major ways. More commonly, things can perhaps go wrong in ways which may be more minor—but when we're engaged in a great tribal war, we may tend to rush past such matters. 

What can go wrong when we teach the truth? For one example of what we mean, consider the experience Professor Lloyd recently described in this essay for the online journal, Compact.

Who the heck is Professor Lloyd? You're asking an excellent question! In a recent interview with Lloyd for The Atlantic, Conor Friederdorf introduced him in the manner shown:

FRIEDERSDORF (2/17/23): Vincent Lloyd is a Black professor at Villanova University, where he directed the Black-studies program, leads workshops on anti-racism and transformative justice, and has published books on anti-Black racism, including Black Dignity: The Struggle Against Domination. Until recently, he was dismissive of criticism of the way that the left talks about race in America. Then he had an unsettling experience while teaching a group of high-school students as part of a highly selective summer program that is convened and sponsored annually by the Telluride Association.


Before, he had quickly rejected the linguist and social commentator John McWhorter’s argument that anti-racism is a new religion. “Last summer,” Lloyd wrote, “I found anti-racism to be a perversion of religion: I found a cult.”

For ourselves, we think McWhorter goes wildly wrong when he insists that "anti-racism" doesn't resemble a religion—when he says it literally is one. 

That said, Professor Lloyd may have gone McWhorter one better with his reference to a cult.

Friedersdorf didn't pull his capsule bio of Lloyd out of thin air. Here's the way Lloyd describes himself as he starts to present his account of a seminar he recently taught, or tried to teach, to some extremely high-powered high school students:

LLOYD (2/10/23): This might be just another lament about “woke” campus culture, and the loss of traditional educational virtues. But the seminar topic was “Race and the Limits of Law in America.” Four of the 6 weeks were focused on anti-black racism (the other two were on anti-immigrant and anti-indigenous racism). I am a black professor, I directed my university’s black-studies program, I lead anti-racism and transformative-justice workshops, and I have published books on anti-black racism and prison abolition. I live in a predominantly black neighborhood of Philadelphia, my daughter went to an Afrocentric school, and I am on the board of our local black cultural organization.

Like others on the left, I had been dismissive of criticisms of the current discourse on race in the United States. But now my thoughts turned to that moment in the 1970s when leftist organizations imploded, the need to match and raise the militancy of one’s comrades leading to a toxic culture filled with dogmatism and disillusion. How did this happen to a group of bright-eyed high school students?

In his lengthy essay, Lloyd describes the intervention of a charismatic young woman with very strong political views. She too was involved in this high-powered instructional program, and the role she played led Lloyd to revise his prevailing views:

LLOYD: The feature of a cult that seems to be missing from this story is a charismatic leader, enforcing the separation of followers from the world, creating emotional vulnerability, and implanting dogma. Enter Keisha. A recent graduate of an Ivy League university, mentored by a television-celebrity black intellectual, Keisha introduced herself as a black woman who grew up poor and “housing vulnerable,” whose grandmother’s limbs had been broken by white supremacists, and who had just spent four years of college teaching in prisons and advocating for prison abolition. She told the class that she had majored in black studies, had been nurtured by black feminists (though her famous mentor is a man), and she was planning to devote her life to transforming the academy in the direction of black justice.

According to Lloyd's account, things went aggressively sideways from there. The experience led him to think of that moment in the 1970s "when leftist organizations imploded."

Very few students who take the AP history course will have the kind of extreme experience Lloyd describes in his essay. Quite possibly, no one will!

That said, the current discussion of the new AP course pays little attention to the various ways instruction in such difficult historical material can perhaps go slightly sideways, or can even go somewhat wrong. 

Instead, the discussion tends to go sideways itself, condemning our adult citizens—and our high school students—to barrages of tribal talking points and to reams of name-calling and insults. 

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but our current discussion of this topic is nothing to write home about. And now, they've even got Professors Gates! We'll examine that improbable statement tomorrow.

"We must not be enemies," one president said. Also, and to state the obvious, Professor Gates is a good and decent person. In what possible way could a person like him have gone wrong?

Tomorrow: Gates discusses DeSantis


  1. Maddow serves her staff mule meat.

    1. The Republican Party serves their voters bigotry.

    2. 10:44,
      Thanks to 24-hour cable news stations and AM talk radio, its not just for dinner anymore.

    3. Who wants to eat her staff mule meat?

  2. "That said, the outline suggests how much time should be spent on each of those five components, and the recommended allotments add up to 28 weeks.

    That's much less than a full school year. People, we're just saying!"

    The typical school year is 36 weeks. The course outline must also include time for tests, other school activities such as mandated standardized exams, holidays, and graduation. And there must be time to completee the course project, plus a bit of extra time for school-specific needs -- the course cannot be designed to fit exactly 36 weeks given that the length of school years may vary.

    So what is Somerby "just saying"? A course in world history gets crammed into the same time period. Teachers do their best in the time allotted. Is Somerby suggesting that if there is not enough time for a course to cover everything, that schools should throw up their hands and teach nothing? Just skip it all. That makes no sense. Just saying.


  3. Jeez, dear Bob. More and more often your posts (like this one) strike us as word salads. Sad.

    ...incidentally, in our view most of the "frequently brutal" parts of American history belong to the 20th and 21st centuries: endless imperialist wars, endless butchery, including obliteration of Central America, South-East Asia, and Middle East. And, finally, initiating WWIII nowadays.

    If any of the students survive, what will they be told about these things?

    1. Russians don’t care what we did to the indigenous people or to Africans. They care about about our cold war against RUSSIA.

      You notice, when he complains about our imperial wars, he leaves out World War II, when we were allied with RUSSIA.

      Now he’s preemptively blaming us for World War III, when it’s RUSSIA that’s threatening to use nuclear weapons.

  4. "A lot of ground will be covered, presumably including the meaning of the term "CE."

    Is Somerby pretending not to know what CE means? CE stands for Common Era. Students will have been taught this as part of prior introduction to history. It replaces the previous designation BC (Before Christ). It was adopted because many nations, who all have their own history, are not Christian and have not numbered their years from the birth of a Christian figure. The birth of Christ is a still a common marker designating a time period but it does not impose Christianity on others with different religions. Historians worldwide have adopted this standard of referring to the time before Christ as Before the Common Era (formerly BC) and during the Common Era (formerly AD, Anno Domini or Year of our Lord). This all happened after Somerby was no longer a teacher, but kids will have learned the more neutral designations.

    "The term "Common Era" can be found in English as early as 1708, and became more widely used in the mid-19th century by Jewish religious scholars. Since the later 20th century, BCE and CE have become popular in academic and scientific publications because BCE and CE are religiously neutral terms."

    Somerby's snark here is ugly and juvenile. He apparently has some problem with respecting others (such as non-Catholics), but what else is new?

    1. CE is too woke for Somerby. He most likely quit teaching because they introduced metric measurement into the math curriculum.

    2. CE replaces AD. BCE replaces BC.

  5. "How should this brutal history be taught to the vast bulk of our public school students—to the many good, decent kids who won't be in the honors or AP courses?"

    If Somerby is seriously asking how difficult things are taught to children, it may be because he received no training himself before he became a teacher -- just 6 weeks of indoctrination by Teach for America before being placed in an inner city Baltimore classroom without a mentor teacher, classroom management techniques or any guidance about how to address the special problems of his students related to race and poverty. He was just dumped into the classroom under the assumption that enthusiasm and an Ivy League education would see him through. It was a disservice to both Somerby and his students. But how much training did Somerby seek out after that? He never says.

    Teachers are trained to understand the developmental stages, differences in children's thinking at different ages, and how to address difficult topics with kids. These range from learning that Santa doesn't exist, to the death of a pet, to family divorce or perhaps death of a parent, to life difficulties such as being disabled, poor, being bullied or shunned or just ignored by peers, seeing serious events in the news (e.g., the Challenger blew up right in front of watching children in their classrooms) or in their daily lives (George Floyd was killed on video, the 9/11 towers fell). Atrocities of our distant past are far less immediate than these situations that children face in real life and work through with their teachers (among others).

    Today's qualified teachers are trained for this job. Somerby seems to imply that school boards or parents should interfere or dictate to teachers. Parents have their own role at home. School boards should provide training to teachers, but they cannot tell teachers how to do a job that takes four years of education, plus an additional year devoted solely to teaching-issues, and for many teachers, a Master's degree or a specialization (such as special education, counseling).

    When Somerby asks how we teach children about our brutal history, the answer is that we leave it to the experts who have devoted their careers to figuring this out, from an age-appropriate curriculum perspective, but also with regard for the social and emotional needs of kids. And parents or communities can supplement that, if they cannot stand letting trained professionals do their jobs.

  6. Somerby describes Lloyd and Keisha but he doesn't tell us what actually happened in Lloyd's class. He says only:

    "According to Lloyd's account, things went aggressively sideways from there. The experience led him to think of that moment in the 1970s "when leftist organizations imploded."

    What does that mean? Did Keisha put Lloyd on the spot or did she organize the students to attack him or campus facilities (as occurred in the 1970s). Later on in the 1970s, the SDS because the Weather Underground, planted bombs and robbed banks to fund their rebellion. Did Keisha organize a bombing or tell fellow students to bring guns to a rally (as Rittenhouse did)?

    The vagueness of Somerby's report is troubling. Lloyd didn't like seeing activism taken to an extreme, but that is what college students do. They especially upset their elders and they apparently caused Lloyd to reconsider his own activism, after which he retreated to defending law and order and the establishment, as many older former-activists did during the 70s too. People age out of their youthful passions.

    But what exactly did Keisha do? Somerby won't tell us. I suspect it was minor but annoying, but it leaves Somerby in the position of suggesting that the black students were getting uppity and if they are going to do that, then they cannot be trusted with knowing their own history. Uppity to Lloyd, not just to the white bigots and those jealously holding the keys to equality in our society.

    Somerby uses the word "cult" but there is nothing cultlike about charisma and leadership. MLK had it and those who called him a cult leader have been rebranded as bigots. I suspect the same is true of Keisha. Lloyd knows that he cannot side with Keisha without losing his job, so he is hurrying to assure those in power that he is a responsible adult and not one of the rowdy activists. Good for him, but he cannot continue to be a firebrand activist himself without actually siding with those trying to move forward. He chose the security of siding with the powerful. The same thing happened in the 70s. Black people chose sides for and against the charismatic leaders of that time. History has blessed the troublemakers (not the Weathermen, who routinely warned people to leave the buildings where they put their bombs), but the non-violent black activists in their cult-adjacent movement, who were condemned by white people as too much in a hurry to change society.

    But Somerby hasn't told us what Keisha actually did. Perhaps he fears it would sound too trivial to those of us who think change is important. Instead we get this: [...]

    1. Somerby provided a link where you can read about Lloyd and Keisha.

    2. Yes, when you follow that link it goes to an Atlantic article that is behind a paywall. I quoted (below) the part I could reach without signing up for the magazine.

      As a matter of respect, Somerby should quote relevant parts that are not available to his readers, so that we can all participate in his discussion. When he vaguely hints at what happened, instead of even summarizing it, he is being manipulative and propagandistic. He can hint at whatever he wants and no one can check him. It is dishonest.

    3. Before the link to the Atlantic there’s a link to Compact. Try that.

    4. Thank you -- I read the entire article and have some observations:

      1. Lloyd seems to be generalizing a problem he had with a specific seminar to anti-racism as a whole, to a movement that includes a lot of different people, organizations and activities.
      2. Lloyd was in a power struggle with Keisha that never got resolved. That didn't help Keisha any more than it helped any of the other students.
      3. The institutional set up of the seminar as a non-graded and unpaid limited-time program meant that Lloyd had no leverage over any of the students or the administration of the program. He could not assert any guidance over the grad-student workshop leaders, for example.
      4. Lloyd didn't intervene when things went wrong in his own seminar. He doesn't seem to have recognized the problem until week 4 of a 6-week course. He didn't stop the finger-snapping, which was within his authority to do. He didn't reach out to meet with Keisha when she didn't set up a meeting time. He had resentments of her afternoon workshops that went unexpressed to her. There was no coordination of effort with her. It sounds like he ignored her and seethed. You need to co-opt a disruptive student, not directly oppose them.
      5. Lloyd does not know what the two expelled students did to deserve expulsion. He implies that it was doctrinal apostasy but it could have been anything from attempted rape to theft to racist name-calling, to failure to respect Keisha's authority as a student-coordinator by mocking her or being uncooperative. The administrators must have found something serious if it asked them to leave. But Lloyd blames Keisha for suppressing their participation without wondering further what they did. Keisha may not have been able to tell him due to violations of their confidentiality.
      6. I question the judgment to have unsupervised grad students teaching workshops in such a manner, but Lloyd could have "counter-programmed" their teachings as a controversy, with a discussion about how learning works and whether those efforts were actual learning, as opposed to dictating belief. He clearly felt that way, so why not make that explicit?
      7. There is nothing wrong with lecturing as opposed to discussion-style teaching. People from other cultures are sometimes more comfortable with a professor who lectures and learning does happen that way. Lloyd was being inflexible about Keisha's suggestion (which he frames as a demand) but it might have helped the seminar go forward.
      8. Lloyd has a podium to expose all of his feelings, from only his perspective, about what happens. He has maligned Keisha without her having any way to tell her side of things. That is dirty pool and it reflects poorly on Lloyd that he chose to work out his spite in public like this, against teenagers.
      9. There are some unexplored gender issues between Lloyd and Keisha (note the use of her first name only, when he could have invented a name that deemphasized the power differential). In contrast, some professors refer to their students as Mr. or Ms. since they are adults.
      10. Lloyd's nostalgic memories of the previous seminar seem to have prevented him from teaching the one he was confronted with, from day one. All of this gets blamed on anti-racism, which seems very unfair given the wide and divergent community in which it is being taught nationwide, not at all likely to be the same as that handful of unsupervised grad students and their doctrinaire workshop that Lloyd blames for all of his troubles.

    5. anon 5:33, interesting, and weird, take on Lloyd's essay. When people criticize wokeism, it isn't 'racism' - it's common sense, something you don't have much of.

    6. If you read The Compact story (not The Atlantic) you would gain sympathy for his students and a clearer picture of what happened (still in his own words). Calling those kids a cult is ludicrous.

    7. AC/MA,
      We must be hearing different things. when I hear someone criticize (not cancel culture, BTW, because there is no such thing) wokeism, I just hear nonsense.
      Do you have a link to someone criticizing wokeism in a common sense way? If so, post it.
      Most of the criticism I've heard, is that viewpoints that aren't strictly straight/ white/ male hurt some peoples feelings.

    8. The Right's arguments make just as much sense if they're criticizing the use of woks as their criticism of wokeism.

    9. anon 9:19 - there are zillions of rational criticisms of "Woke-ism" - You are apparently in a cocoon or wilfully deaf and blind.. I am working, and can't take the time to find links for you, but In fact TDH criticizes it in a rational way all the time, but he's just one voice out of a great many. .Or you could look at the link to Professor Llyod's essay.

    10. anon 12:05, I did read the Compact essay. The sympathy I might have for the students is for their having been brainwashed. "Keisha" seems to be horrid, crazy, a dogmatic and fanatical, North Korean style approach to reasoning - the opposite of a "liberal."

    11. AC/MA, the word "rational" doesn't exist in your discussion of Somerby's essays or the right wing attack on woke. You read something and agree with it, and thus conclude it must be rational. That isn't the same thing as actually considering the logic behind an argument. Somerby hasn't been "rational" in decades. Lloyd's essay is not rational either. It is his own perception of a series of events, characterized in an ego-preserving fashion (self-serving), without any rationality at all. It is aimed at making those students look bad, without any explanation of why they would behave as they do. And when things don't make sense, as his account doesn't, then one must ask questions about them, but Lloyd doesn't ask the obvious ones. That isn't rationality at all. But you lap it all up, because you are predisposed to agree with Lloyd that those kids were corrupted by wokeness and became monsters who couldn't (wouldn't) learn. Lloyd calls them a cult, but that is the silliest comment of all, arising from his religious perspective (where religious sects spend a lot of time calling each other cults). Meanwhile, you AC/MA, go around looking for confirmatory evidence to support your own views, and Somerby provides it, but you never actually think about anything much. That is evident in the fact that you don't reply to the points in other people's comments, but continually call others off-point when they address yours. There is a basic inability to think clearly about what you read, including Lloyd's piece in The Compact (the Atlantic article leaves out the stuff about what actually happened between Lloyd and the students during the seminar).

    12. AC/MA,
      So basically, you got nothing to back-up your statement.
      Big shocker!

  7. What did the students do to Lloyd? According to an Atlantic article that is behind a paywall:

    "The students began the summer excited about the six-week seminar, called “Race and the Limits of Law.” But soon, they moved to expel two of their classmates from the program amid political disagreements. Then, as Lloyd later recounted in an essay for Compact Magazine, the remaining students read a prepared statement about “how the seminar perpetuated anti-black violence in its content and form, how the black students had been harmed, how I was guilty of countless microaggressions, including through my body language, and how students didn’t feel safe because I didn’t immediately correct views that failed to treat anti-blackness as the cause of all the world’s ills.”

    In other words, they complained about the teacher and his reactions to their concerns. And that shakes his dedication to anti-racism! So, he is all for civil rights unless students get in his face in disrespectful ways, and then he is done with it.

    Having taught college myself, I sympathise with Lloyd's dismay over high school student behavior. College students are differently behaved, especially in the higher grades, closer to graduation. In contrast, freshmen are more like high school kids, more juvenile, more difficult to deal with. If any group of students turns against you, as the teacher, then you will have trouble teaching the lesson until after you have dealt with their problems. As quoted, Lloyd seems to blame the ringleader, Keisha, but it really isn't her fault if he is unprepared to address student concerns before they get out of hand. In my classes, the resistance came over treatment of lab animals in experiments. But I was prepared to handle it, as Lloyd apparently was not, perhaps used to the students accepting him as a good guy when it comes to anti-racism, and not a target of their unrest.

    High school and college students are new to being adults. They are flexing their muscles when it comes to agency. Opposing them head on via authority is the exact wrong response. Administrators don't even do that -- they wait them out, secure in the knowledge that they will graduate in a few years and then go away, so there is no need for direct confrontation. Lloyd seems to have no insight about what happened in his classroom, something he should discuss with campus resources available to help teachers develop skills.

    Somerby doesn't care what happened from a teaching perspective -- he is happy to have a black African American Studies professor siding with conservatives about the need to slow down anti-racist initiatives. High school teachers, fortunately, have thicker skins.

    1. Lloyd's attitude leaks from this sentence:

      "students didn’t feel safe because I didn’t immediately correct views that failed to treat anti-blackness as the cause of all the world’s ills."

      Here we see Lloyd minimizing the students concerns instead of acknowledging their strong feelings. No one seriously considers anti-blackness to be the cause of ALL ills, much less ALL the WORLD's ills. This comes across as calling the students histrionic and claiming that they are too upset about things that are not that important. That approach doesn't work with teens.

      Inserting the word "immediately" suggests that Lloyd thinks the students shouldn't have expected him to stick up for them when they were on the receiving end of what they perceived as an attack on themselves for their blackness. This is the kind of thing that no professor should permit in a classroom. Even those with legitimate questions shouldn't be personally attacking anyone else in stating their views. Lloyd did need to intervene immediately when that happened, separate the question from the way it was asked, deal with the disrespect and THEN deal with substance of the question. Students should not be attacked in any classroom discussion. Teaching students how to ask questions without insulting others is part of the learning. If Keisha and her group were demanding, then acknowledging their concerns while showing them how to appropriately respond to perceived attacks, is a learning experience. It really does sound like Lloyd wanted to go straight to the substance without acknowledging the disrespect felt by other students. Emotions first, question second, halting the back and forth before it gets out of control. Instead, Lloyd blames Keisha & the other students for understanding and exercising their right to feel safe from verbal attacks in the classroom, when it is his job to mediate conflicts and prevent such attacks from happening, while still moving the class forward and discussing all sides of an issue.

      Teaching is a skill. Not everyone is good at it. Somerby's approach is to blame those who complained, not the professor who let things deteriorate to the point where the majority of the students could not learn effectively. And Somerby politicizes the situation by assuming that the two students who attacked others in Lloyd's class were right and Keisha and the others were wrong, because Somerby himself thinks anti-racism is too woke, so Keisha and the majority of the class should just sit down and shut up because Lloyd says they had formed a cult.

    2. Conservatives are always ready to take advantage of unfortunates like Lloyd, who got mad and looked for justification outside his own actions. He will have lots of nice supportive white friends now.

    3. Could Somerby ever demonstrate an ounce of integrity? Apparently not.

      Prof Lloyd teaches theology and religion at Villanova, a conservative Catholic private institution. Lloyd is a hard core Christian and he has a history of opposing non religious activism (his claim this is new for him is nonsense) back in 2017 Lloyd wrote

      “ “secularism” means being caught up in “the world as it is,” and not as it should be.”

      and also back in 2017 wrote about college activists

      “ You appear righteous, but are morally adrift.”

      From his writings it is clear, Lloyd’s thesis for his career is to promote the Christian religion via performatively co-opting leftist concerns while attacking their methods and ideology. As he wrote 7 years ago:

      “ We honor the Black Nationalists, Marxists and other hard left thinkers and organizers who have made us who we are, and who have kept the abolitionist fire burning throughout this dark era of acute national disgrace. But it’s time for a religious turn.”

      Lloyd is not a leftist, not a progressive, he’s a hard core Christian nut right winger.

      Somerby, you are a dope.

    4. People here should read Lloyd's essay, there's a link, and decide for themselves. Anon 6:32, you are living proof of how many "liberals" have gone completely off the rails. The guy (who seems to be a fairly radical "anti-racism" intellectual gets viciously slandered by you, a thuggish hatchet job. You are walking proof of what TDH, in his mild way, tries to suggest - that "liberals", at least those like you, have gone off the rails.

    5. Except that isn’t what he is. As noted, he is a Catholic, ultra-religious theology professor against civil rights activism.

  8. Women's Studies professors have encountered a similar situation in which male students register for the course in order to be loudmouthed hecklers of the course material, which of course upsets the female students who are there to take the course seriously. So, this is not a new situation. Lloyd has perhaps had white students attend his courses in order to express white supremacist views. It sounds like there were two students who were opposing the others, but it is unclear whether they were sincere in their questions or intentionally disrupting the course.

    The professor must find a way to defuse such conflicts during class discussions (and lectures) or all learning is derailed. Part of the answer is to have students buy into rules of civility from day one, that all must follow. Another part is to take the hecklers seriously and reframe their remarks as issues that can be discussed -- which means identifying the concern buried in whatever the heckler has said, taking it out of its disrespectful language but addressing the point seriously. Disruptive students who cannot be engaged that way can be removed by administrators, usually by appealing to a campus code for behavior that prohibits disrespect of other students, but this is a last resort. Out-of-class discussions with students who monopolize discussion are helpful when there is an actual concern at the heart of the disruptive behavior, but if they are motivated by anger or deeper emotions, then a referral to the campus counseling center is possible, combined with a warning that if failure to follow course rules continues, they will be asked to drop the course. There are good faith concerns and bad faith efforts to harm others, and these can be distinguished from each other.

    Controversy is part of every college course. Disruptive behavior is not. At the college level, professors give grades and students typically do not want to fail. That gives professors some leverage over their behavior, when it is disruptive and not a matter of sincere concerns. It sounds a lot like Lloyd messed up in dealing with questions and dissent during discussions, blamed Keisha and her group for being too cultish and woke (and organized), and took offense at their criticisms of him, including his body language. But how any of that leads to abandoning his own support for civil rights makes no sense at all. It would be like a black person saying they are against the rights MLK fought for, because they didn't like MLK's disrespect for white authority as he engaged in civil disobedience. Except in this case, the high school students were just bringing complaints and petitions, not sitting in anywhere or doing anything particularly rowdy. He seems to be saying that they were taking civil rights too seriously, were too empowered, insufficiently deferential to his position when they criticized his behavior.

  9. I think job one for a teacher is to get the students to like them by making it clear that you are on their side and want to help them succeed. Getting kids to like you isn't hard -- you start by liking them first. You show concern for them and explain how to succeed in your course (assuming it is graded) and what to do if they have problems. And then you demonstrate helpfulness and respect for their efforts throughout the course. In other words, you place yourself on their side.

    If Lloyd had done that, the students would have reacted differently and he would have been able to resolve difficulties long before the 4th week, when he finally woke up that there was a problem, and the following week when they gave him feedback on what THEY thought was wrong with the course. Many professors ask for such feedback early in a course, so they can correct anything going wrong. Lloyd portrays himself as oblivious to everything except the annoying stuff he said Keisha and the grad students were doing. He eloquently describes the sullenness of the students, without any awareness that this was something he needed to investigate or correct, even with the contrast of his previous seminar at hand.

    When students dislike a professor, snippets of teaching wind up on the internet. Complaints are made to the administration. Students talk with each other and organize rebellions, they write horrible reviews on rate-my-professor style websites. They tell their friends not to enroll in that course. Ultimately, the professor gets a summons to the Department Chair's office (if lucky) or to a campus ombuds or anti-discrimination office. There is no charity or goodwill extended to professors when students feel they are not respected, as Keisha and the others clearly felt about Lloyd.

    If a professor starts feeling dislike for a particular student, or for a class, or for "students these days," it is a signal that something is majorly wrong and needs addressing. Lloyd didn't like his seminar students. He says nothing positive about any of them, yet these were kids selected for their promise and talent. I get no sense that he knew them at all -- something he would blame on Keisha no doubt. And he clearly didn't know her either. So, what then is the fun of teaching such students? He claims he saw even his shy black students learning, but did he tell them, beyond his self-justification?

    What has Lloyd learned from this experience about how to teach a seminar to gifted students? Not much. His blaming his difficulties on anti-racism prevents that -- he is obviously not open to examining his own contribution to the seminar disaster. He blames Telluride but is entirely defensive when it comes to what he might have done differently.

    1. Keisha was a living intersection.

  10. “We well recall our fifth-grade students asking us the following question when the TV show Roots first appeared: How could people have been willing to treat other people that way? There's no perfect answer to such questions. That particular question can be answered in a variety of ways.)”

    Yeah, we know it can be answered in a “variety of ways.” That is about the most tepid way Somerby could have put it.

    And, you know what? Who gives a shit? What the hell was Somerby’s answer? Those kids, who were black, had a sincere, even burning desire to know. Did Somerby say “ well, class, you can answer that question in a variety of ways.”

    The noncommittal stance doesn’t suit Somerby. Or, should I say, it doesn’t suit someone concerned about teaching those kids something.

    I would remind Somerby that Lincoln, for all his talk of better angels and being friends, took sides against the South. He judged their secession unacceptable and waged total war on them to force them back into the Union. How’s that for “judge not, lest ye be judged”, or his view that “We must not be enemies.” Somerby’s idealization of the know nothing, “ anything is possible”, faux-magisterial above-it-all stance is frequently ludicrous.

    1. Lloyd was interviewed in the Atlantic. You might want to read the link to Lloyd's essay if you want to get a taste of raw woke-ism. Also, Lincoln pursued the war, and it was brutal. Possibly if grant didn't emerge from obscurity to lake over the army, the South might have won. But Lincoln was always in the spirit that TDH evokes, try not being so self-righteous and dogmatic. I don't know how you get TDH saying there are a lot of ways to answer the kids' question to him idealizing "know nothing, anything is possible, faux magisterial above-it-all stance." You kind of go off the rails on that.

    2. The South wasn’t ever about to win. Lloyd wasn’t interviewed. He wrote an essay consisting largely of excerpts from his The Compact piece. That piece is a diatribe against wokeness, which he blames for ruining his failed Telluride seminar. The right loves to showcase this stuff, just like they did Herschel Walker — another black man saying conservative shit.

    3. anon 12:00, Lloyd did not say one word of "conservative shit" - you're being dishonest or stupid of both

    4. AC/MA, you have no idea what Lloyd said to those students during that seminar. They clearly heard different things in their other workshops and they also didn't like what he was dishing out and complained to him about it. It seems highly likely that his ideas about anti-racism were out of step with the rest of the program. I think this is a good example of what happens when you try to indoctrinate teens -- and Lloyd was the one trying to do the indoctrination, under the guise of letting them express their own ideas while becoming upset when they didn't agree with him.

    5. anon 12:00 - also, Lloyd was interviewed by Freidershof in the Atlantic - it was an with questions and answers. The piece is not a diatribe against wokeness. Lloyd himself is into wokeness, antiracism - in that class, according to him, he encountered what was even for him wokeness gone nuts. There wasn't' an iota of "conservative shit" in his Compact essay. Certainly, we don't get "Keisha's side of the story - but there is no reason to think Lloyd is making things up.

    6. anon 10:49, I do have an idea of what Lloyd said in the seminar - he describes what he said in his essay. The mere fact that what he says there is unwelcome to your beliefs doesn't prove that he is lying, and doesn't justify all the assumptions made by you simply on the basis of your own prejudices, i.e., that "they clearly heard different things in their other workshops" (I think this was their only workshop, though not sure). You have no evidence that he was trying to "indoctrinate" the students, that just fits in with your own prejudices. Sure, maybe Lloyd, who was interviewed about his essay in the Atlantic (not a conservative media source), who is head of the African Studies program at Villanova, and seems ultra-woke himself, is a big liar Neither of us were present during this anti-racist seminar. Before denouncing the guy, you should have some evidence, other than that the thrust of his essay contradicts your own (seemingly highly flawed) beliefs.

    7. No, it wasn’ their only workshop.

    8. He wasn’t interviewed. He submitted an article that was published. An interview involves Q&A with another person.

    9. The reaction of the studnts is evidence.