Today in Why Middle Eastern Studies Majors Are Head-Desking, comes this little gem of a story from New York that, surprisingly, is not
about THE GROUND ZERO MOSQUE!!!!!1!!* http://www.nydailynews.com/news/2010/08/31/2010-08-31_alum_to_cut_college_out_of_will_over_arab_tome.html
Basically, alum is like "OMG you had a required reading text by an Arab? No more moneys for you!"
I have read the book in question. It's...not exactly radical. And most of it is based on interviews with real people who suffered some form of discrimination for being Arab. Even the criticism the alum gave that's not quite about how ~radical~ he is accuses Bayoumi of making unwarranted comparisons to anti-Black racism, when I don't remember the book trying to enter the Oppression Olympics very much if at all. Saying a group of people is
dealing with racism is not the same as saying they are dealing with the same racism as, or worse racism than, another group of people. I generally remember seeing "last acceptable prejudice" rhetoric because I don't like it very much, and I don't remember it in this book. (I also can't remember much radicalism, but I forgot the "Oh No, An Arab Is Standing Up For Himself, He's a Radical" definition so yeah.)
I recognize that the alum has the right to do this; after all, it's his money, whether the grounds for revoking it suck or not. But they do
suck, and when a school loses an important source of income, it's almost always the students that suffer. Causing them
to lose out on something else because you don't like them reading a book is dickish. And you know what? I think I'd say the same thing about a huge liberal who pulled his grant because students had to read an overly conservative book. This particular case saddens me because of the rather obvious ethnic/possibly religious prejudice involved, but also because it's a dick move in general to think that a school is only worth donating to if it supports your thinking. A school that DOESN'T confront you with ideas you don't agree with is a piss-poor school, and an alumnus should recognize that. (note: the headline says "cuts out of will" but the article quotes him as saying he doesn't want to send the school any "more" money, so he probably was already a donor; they're losing actual as well as potential money.)
*Anyone who can't guess what my feelings on this clusterfuck are haven't been paying attention. It's not a mosque, it's not at Ground Zero, most of the protesters don't even live in New York, many people who do live in New York don't actually care that it's being built, and letting the city go on with its life, including its diverse religious life, is
the best way to heal and to stand up to terrorism and extremism.