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The New Criterion

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- John O’Sullivan


September 1993

Another sun person heard from

by Terry Teachout

On Black Studies, Rap & the Academy by Houston A. Baker, Jr.

The antics of Leonard Jeffries, chairman of the black-studies department at City College of New York, noted Afrocentrist, and originator of the terms “sun people” (i.e., blacks) and “ice people” (i.e., whites), were widely reported in the press last spring. Nominally removed from his chairmanship in 1992 for incompetence, Jeffries was in fact dismissed for engaging in gross, flagrant, and—most important—public anti-Semitism. His formal evaluations by college officials had been satisfactory right up to (and, incredibly, after) the day he gave a taxpayer-supported speech at the Empire State Black Arts and Cultural Festival in which he explained, among other things, how Jews financed the African slave trade, a revelation he had previously vouchsafed to his students. Jeffries promptly sued the City University of New York, of which CCNY is a part, claiming he had been given the boot not for being a b ...

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Terry Teachout is the author, most recently, of All in the Dances: A Brief Life of George Balanchine (Harcourt).

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 12 September 1993, on page 91

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