UC-Berkeley: Criticism of Black Lives Matter 'goes against our values'

The letter's author is anonymous, citing the possibility of losing their job.

The University of California-Berkeley condemned a letter allegedly written by one of its history professors.

An open letter allegedly written by a University of California-Berkeley history professor has surfaced online, prompting the school to denounce the views expressed in the document.

The author, who identifies as a person of color and addresses the letter to fellow faculty members, is highly critical of the conversation surrounding systemic racism following the death of George Floyd. The author expresses fear over the potential consequences of publicly stating the arguments in the letter.

“I am worried that writing this email publicly might lead to me losing my job, and likely all future jobs in my field. In your recent departmental emails you mentioned our pledge to diversity, but I am increasingly alarmed by the absence of diversity of opinion on the topic of the recent protests and our community response to them,” the author wrote.

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In response, UC-Berkeley’s history department took to Twitter and roundly condemned the letter.

“An anonymous letter has been circulating, purportedly written by a @UCBHistory professor. We have no evidence that this letter was written by a History faculty member. We condemn this letter: it goes against our values as a department and our commitment to equity and inclusion," the department said.


Referring to previous "departmental emails," the author writes, “I could not find a single instance of substantial counter-argument or alternative narrative to explain the under-representation of black individuals in academia or their over-representation in the criminal justice system.”  Instead, the author’s colleagues have a “univariate” explanation for these problems: white supremacy and white systemic racism.

In the counterargument, the author argues that this explanation “remains a problematic hypothesis that should be vigorously challenged by historians.” The author then contests the claim of an all-powerful regime of white supremacy in the United States.

“If we claim that the criminal justice system is white-supremacist, why is it that Asian Americans, Indian Americans, and Nigerian Americans are incarcerated at vastly lower rates than white Americans? This is a funny sort of white supremacy," the letter's author states.

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In addressing the structural problems of academia, the author clearly states that UC-Berkeley’s history department “appears to have been entirely captured by the interests of the Democratic National Convention, and the Democratic Party more broadly."

The author condemns other history professors, as well as UC-Berkeley’s administration,  for turning a blind eye to victims of black-on-black violence: “The message is clear: Black lives only matter when whites take them. Black violence is expected and insoluble, while white violence requires explanation and demands solution. Please look into your hearts and see how monstrously bigoted this formulation truly is.”

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft