Carol M. Swain
|Carol M. Swain|
Carol Swain speaking at the Miller Center of Public Affairs in 2013.
March 7, 1954 |
|Education||Virginia Western Community College (A.A.S.)
Roanoke College (B.A.)
Virginia Tech (M.A.)
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Ph.D.)
Yale Law School (M.S.L. Law)
|Occupation||University professor, author, television host|
|Employer||Princeton University (1990–1999)
Vanderbilt University (1999–ongoing)
|Religion||Jehovah's Witness (prior to 1975)
Pentecostalism (since 1998)
|Children||2 sons, 1 daughter|
Carol Miller Swain (born March 7, 1954) is an American political scientist, professor of political science and law at Vanderbilt University, and former television host. She is the author or editor of six books. Her scholarly work has been cited by two Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States. Her fields are race relations, immigration, representation, evangelical politics, and the US constitution. Her views on race and Islam have attracted national attention in the media.
Carol Miller Swain was born in Bedford, Virginia in 1954. Her father dropped out of school in the third grade and her mother dropped out in high school. Her stepfather used to beat up her mother, Dorothy Henderson, who is disabled due to infantile paralysis. Swain grew up in poverty, living in a shack without running water, and sharing two beds with her eleven siblings. The second of twelve children, she did not have shoes and thus missed school whenever it snowed. She did not attend high school, dropping out in ninth grade. She moved to Roanoke with her family in the 1960s and appealed to a judge to be transferred to a foster home, which was denied; Swain instead lived with her grandmother in a trailer park.
After she got divorced in 1975, Swain earned a GED and worked as a cashier at McDonald's, door-to-door salesperson and assistant in a retirement facility to pay for it. She later gained an associate degree from Virginia Western Community College. She went on to complete a magna cum laude B.A. in criminal justice from Roanoke College and a master's degree in political science from Virginia Tech. While an undergraduate at Roanoake College she organized a scholarship fund for black students that by 2002 had an endowment of $350,000. She finished a Ph.D. in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1989. In 2000 she earned a master's degree in law from Yale Law School.
Her first academic book, Black Faces, Black Interests: The Representation of African Americans in Congress, was published by the Harvard University Press in 1993. It was reviewed in many academic journals, including The Georgia Historical Quarterly (the journal of the Georgia Historical Society), Political Science Quarterly, The Journal of Politics, Public Choice, the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, the American Political Science Review (the journal of the American Political Science Association), etc. The book was cited by Anthony Kennedy and Sandra Day O'Connor, two Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States. It was the recipient of the D.B. Hardeman Prize as well as the American Political Science Association's Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award.
In 1996, she edited a collection of essays entitled Race Versus Class: The New Affirmative Action Debate.
Her third book, The New White Nationalism in America: Its Challenge to Integration, was published in 2002. It was widely reviewed in scholarly journals, including The American Historical Review (the journal of the American Historical Association), the British Journal of Sociology, The Review of Politics, Perspectives on Politics, the Journal of Southern History (the journal of the Southern Historical Association), Contemporary Sociology, American Studies, The Journal of Politics, etc.
In 2003, she edited Contemporary Voices of White Nationalism with Princeton University Professor Russell K. Nieli. It was reviewed in Rhetoric and Public Affairs  and The Journal of Southern History.
In 2011, she released Be the People: A Call to Reclaim America’s Faith and Promise, published by Thomas Nelson. She explained she wrote the book as a response to "the ungodly direction" of the United States.
Swain has written op-eds in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, and USA Today. Past media appearances include ABC News, CNN, and Fox News. She testified before Congress alongside comedian Stephen Colbert in 2010.
She served as an advisor to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission and she was a member of the National Council on the Humanities. She served on the Board of Trustees of her alma mater, Roanoke College. She is a foundation member of the Nu of Virginia Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.
She is a Founding Director of the Veritas Institute. She was a Visiting Fellow at the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University from 2004 to 2005. She was also a Visiting Copenhaver Scholar at Roanoke College. She has participated in conferences and radio programs organized by the Family Research Council (FRC). She also did a book signing event for Be the People at the FRC in 2011. In 2013, she spoke at a Tea Party rally in Lebanon, Tennessee alongside Republican state Congressman Mark Pody. On November 15, 2013, she also spoke about immigration reform a panel entitled "Doing Good to the Stranger and the Citizen: Evangelicals Discuss Immigration Reform" at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C.
She attended the 'People of the Land: A Twenty-First Century Case for Christian Zionism', an academic symposium organised by the Institute on Religion and Democracy at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. on April 17, 2015. It was the first academic conference on Christian Zionism in the United States.
In November 2015, Vanderbilt University students started a petition on Change.org, asking administrators to terminate her from teaching and require her to attend diversity training sessions. The students accused Swain of becoming, "synonymous with bigotry, intolerance, and unprofessionalism." The petition garnered over 1,000 signatures within days. She responded by calling those students, "...sad and pathetic, in the sense that they're college students and they should be open to hearing more than one viewpoint." The petition underwent some revisions that changed to asking administrators to only suspend Swain and requiring all professors to attend diversity training. Meanwhile, Nicholas S. Zeppos, the chancellor of Vanderbilt University, issued a statement saying that while Swain's views are not the same as the university's, the university is committed to free speech and academic freedom. Additionally, a pro-Swain petition was started by her supporters, who suggested the student petition was "reminiscent of China's Cultural Revolution, when student Red Guards made false and ridiculous accusations against their professors."
Be the People talk show
|This section requires expansion. (February 2015)|
Between October 8, 2012 and July 2014, she was the host of Be the People, a weekly television talk show on Sundays at 11:30PM on WSMV-TV. Since February 2014, it has also been shown on WZTV, Comcast Channel 6 and Channel 1006.
Views on race
In 2002, Swain argued against reparations for American descendants of African slaves during an event at Delaware State University, a historically black university. She told black students, "Get over it." However, in 2005, she wrote an op ed in The Washington Post calling for the Republican Party to offer a formal apology to American citizens of African descent for the institution of slavery. She also wrote a policy document about it for the Heartland Institute. When the apology happened in June 2009, during the presidency of Barack Obama, she called it "meaningless." She expressed disappointment that it did not happen under President George W. Bush, when the Republicans were in power, arguing that "It would have shed that racist scab on the party."
In September 2009, Swain wrote an op ed in The Huffington Post titled "Whites are People Too: Why Some White People are Stating the Obvious," calling for an end to political correctness about race. Meanwhile, she endorsed A Conversation About Race, a documentary directed by Craig Bodeker whose premise is that racism does not exist in the United States. She wrote a blurb about the documentary and called it "outstanding and meticulously done." In October 2009, Sonia Scherr of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an anti-discrimination group based in Montgomery, Alabama, questioned Swain's endorsement on their "Hatewatch blog", explaining that the documentary was "a hit among white supremacists" for its suggestion that the race card was used to oppress whites in America. Meanwhile, Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote an op ed in The Tennessean arguing, "Carol Swain is an apologist for white supremacists." However, James Taranto of The Wall Street Journal rejected this position, arguing that she was simply politically incorrect. He concluded, "dismissing Swain as 'an apologist for white supremacists' is the tactic of one who is trying to shut down, not encourage, debate." Swain herself wrote an op ed in The Huffington Post four months later, in March 2010, after comments made by Bodeker comparing Present Barack Obama, who is black, to a "monkey", became known. She dissociated herself from Bodeker, adding "The racist comments attributed to Mr. Bodeker are ugly and vile." She drew a parallel between her endorsement of Bodeker's documentary and liberals who praised Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine.
Swain called the re-election of President Barack Obama in 2012, "a very scary situation". In April 2012, she argued that civil rights leaders like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton had used the death of Trayvon Martin for political gains in order to increase voter registration for the Democratic Party. In July 2013, she contextualized Trayvon Martin's death by reminding listeners that black-on-white crimes, especially when groups of black youths attack a lone white person, are underreported in the media. A month later, she criticized Martin's mother for failing to address the issues of black-on-black crime rates, unemployment and abortion in black communities.
In 2013, when she was asked if Jesus was black or white, she responded that the issue was "irrelevant." She added, "Whether he’s white, black, Hispanic, whatever you want to call him, what’s important is that people find meaning in his life."
In the wake of the 2015 Charleston church shooting, Swain suggested the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the South Carolina State Capitol might exacerbate tensions between blacks and whites, adding that "It was easy to focus on the flag, as opposed to the issues that have divided blacks and whites historically."
Views on Islam
Islam is not like other religions in the United States[;] it poses an absolute danger to us and our children unless it is monitored. . . . If America is to be safe, it must . . . institute serious monitoring of Islamic organizations.— Carol M. Swain, The Tennessean (January 16, 2015)
Shortly after, Vanderbilt students held a protest, accusing Swain of engaging in "hate speech"  while promising that further protests would be held unless the University implements a policy to "promise its students protection from being attacked by faculty members."
On January 19, Judson Phillips, another conservative activist, wrote an op ed in The Washington Times in defense of Swain's remarks. That same day, a piece by Vanderbilt professor David J. Wasserstein, titled "Thoughtful views on Islam needed, not simplicity," was published in the Tennessean in response to Swain's piece.
On January 23, 2015, The Tennessean published another opinion piece, titled "Anti-Islam op-ed distorts reality, could harm people," by Randy Horick countering Swain's views.
In February 2015, Swain filed a police complaint after she received a sexually harassing package from an address in Portland, Oregon in retaliation for her op ed. She added she no longer felt safe on the campus of Vanderbilt University.
Swain got married at the age of sixteen and had two sons and one daughter. Her daughter died of sudden infant death syndrome. Upon being divorced five years later, Swain attempted to commit suicide by swallowing pills. During this period she was a Jehovah's Witness. According to the Nashville Scene, "As a young girl, Swain became a devout Jehovah’s Witness. At the time, many in that church believed that the world would end in 1975. Swain was among them. [...] By 1975, the world hadn’t ended." In 1998 Swain was baptized into the Pentecostal faith after hearing an "internal voice" when she thought she was dying at a hospital.
- "Up From Poverty: The Remarkable Career of Professor Carol Swain". The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education (37): 66–67. Autumn 2002. doi:10.2307/3134294. Retrieved February 28, 2015 – via JSTOR. (registration required (. ))
- P.J. Tobia, A Woman Apart: How a Nashville academic, born poor and black, has become a conservative mouthpiece ‘speaking truth to a world that doesn’t want to hear it’, Nashville Scene, July 5, 2008
- "A Snippet of Professor Carol M. Swain’s Christian Journey". carolmswain.net. December 21, 2011. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
The hospital in Princeton happened to have a black Pentecostal chaplain, which was unusual given the affluence and racial makeup of the surrounding community. The chaplain and a cleaning lady witnessed to me in the hospital and arranged for me to be baptized.
- Kathryn Jean Lopez, Being Faithful to a Founding: A college professor talks good sense, National Review, November 28, 2011
- Vanderbilt University: Author presentation: Carol M. Swain
- "Visiting Scholar's Program Offerings Announced". Roanoke College. Archived from the original on October 29, 2014. Retrieved February 28, 2015.
- Be the People: About Carol Swain
- Bullock, Charles S. III (Fall 1993). "Reviewed Work: Black Faces, Black Interests: The Representation of African Americans in Congress by Carol M. Swain". The Georgia Historical Quarterly 77 (3): 656–658. Retrieved February 28, 2015 – via JSTOR. (registration required (. ))
- Thompson, J. Phillip III (Winter 1993). "Reviewed Work: Black Faces, Black Interests: The Representation of African Americans in Congress by Carol M. Swain". Political Science Quarterly 108 (4): 743–744. doi:10.2307/2152414. JSTOR 2152414. Retrieved February 26, 2015 – via JSTOR. (registration required (. ))
- McClain, Paula D. (November 1994). "Reviewed Work: Black Faces, Black Interests: The Representation of African Americans in Congress. by Carol M. Swain". The Journal of Politics 56 (4): 1145–1148. doi:10.2307/2132080. JSTOR 2132080. Retrieved February 28, 2015 – via JSTOR. (registration required (. ))
- Overby, L. Marvin (June 1995). "Book review: Black Faces, Black Interests: The Representation of African Americans in Congress by Carol M. Swain". Public Choice (Springer) 83 (3–4): 386–390. doi:10.1007/BF01047753. JSTOR 30026994. (registration required (. ))
- Valelly, Richard M. (Spring 1995). "Reviewed Work: Black Faces, Black Interests: The Representation of African Americans in Congress by Carol M. Swain". Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 14 (2): 346–350. doi:10.2307/3325163. JSTOR 3325163. Retrieved February 28, 2015 – via JSTOR. (registration required (. ))
- Pinderhughes, Dianne M. (December 1994). "Reviewed Works: Black Faces, Black Interests: The Representation of African Americans in Congress by Carol M. Swain; From Protest to Politics: The New Black Voters in American Elections by Katherine Tate". American Political Science Review 88 (4): 1008–1010. doi:10.2307/2082752. JSTOR 2082752. Retrieved February 28, 2015 – via JSTOR. (registration required (. ))
- "Justice Kennedy cites Swain – Johnson v. DeGrandy".
- "O'Connor cites Swain – Georgia v. Ashcroft".
- "Woodrow Wilson Award Winners – American Political Science Association" (PDF).
- "Google Books – New White Nationalism". New White Nationalism.
- Blee, Kathleen M. (April 2003). "Review of Books: The New White Nationalism in America: Its Challenge to Integration Carol M. Swain". The American Historical Review 108 (2): 457–458. Retrieved February 26, 2015 – via JSTOR. (registration required (. ))
- Cashmore, Ellis (September 2003). "The Impure Strikes Back: The Making of English National Identity by Krishan Kumar; Race and Racism in Britain by John Solomos; Stuart Hall by Chris Rojek; The New White Nationalism in America: Its Challenge to Integration by Carol M. Swain". British Journal of Sociology 54 (3): 309–311. Retrieved March 2, 2015 – via JSTOR. (registration required (. ))
- Meilaender, Peter C. (December 2003). "Review: Confronting Taboos: Reviewed Work: The New White Nationalism in America: Its Challenge to Integration by Carol M. Swain". The Review of Politics 65 (2): 309–311. doi:10.1017/s0034670500050117. Retrieved March 2, 2015 – via JSTOR. (registration required (. ))
- Sawyer, Mark Q. (December 2003). "Reviewed Work: The New White Nationalism in America: Its Challenge to Integration by Carol M. Swain". Perspectives on Politics 1 (4): 792–793. Retrieved March 2, 2015 – via JSTOR. (registration required (. ))
- Weisenburger, Steven (February 2004). "Reviewed Work: The New White Nationalism in America: Its Challenge to Integration by Carol M. Swain". The Journal of Southern History 70 (1): 200–202. doi:10.2307/27648387. Retrieved March 2, 2015 – via JSTOR. (registration required (. ))
- Shanks-Meile, Stephanie L. (March 2004). "Reviewed Works: The New White Nationalism in America: Its Challenge to Integration by Carol M. Swain; Contemporary Voices of White Nationalism in America by Carol M. Swain, Russ Nieli". Contemporary Sociology 33 (2): 157–159. Retrieved March 2, 2015 – via JSTOR. (registration required (. ))
- Barton, Michael (Spring 2004). "Reviewed Work: THE NEW WHITE NATIONALISM IN AMERICA: Its Challenge to Integration by Carol M. Swain". American Studies 45 (1): 176–177. Retrieved March 2, 2015 – via JSTOR. (registration required (. ))
- Spence, Lester K. (September 2004). "Reviewed work(s): The New White Nationalism In America. By Carol M. Swain.". The Journal of Politics 66 (4): 1306–1308. Retrieved March 2, 2015 – via JSTOR. (registration required (. ))
- "Google Books – New White Nationalism". Contemporary Voices of White Nationalism.
- Beasley, Vanessa B. (August 2004). "Reviewed Work: Contemporary Voices of White Nationalism in America by Carol M. Swain, Russ Nieli". Rhetoric and Public Affairs 7 (1): 103–105. Retrieved March 2, 2015 – via JSTOR. (registration required (. ))
- Powell, Lawrence N. (August 2004). "Reviewed Work: Contemporary Voices of White Nationalism in America by Carol M. Swain, Russ Nieli". The Journal of Southern History 70 (3): 725–726. doi:10.2307/27648550. Retrieved March 2, 2015 – via JSTOR. (registration required (. ))
- Billy Hallowell, Author Seeks to Change America’s ‘Ungodly Direction’, The Blaze, August 30, 2011
- "Huffington Post Page".
- "CNN Transcript featuring Carol Swain". CNN Transcript featuring Carol Swain.
- "Tennessee Advisors – US Civil Rights Commission (see page 5)" (PDF).
- "Members – National Council on the Humanities". Members – National Council on the Humanities.
- "Roanoke College Trustees". Roanoke College Trustees.
- James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions: Events (Fall 2004)
- James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions: Visiting Fellows 2004-05\
- Index of Belonging and Rejection Release and News Conference, Family Research Council, December 15, 2010
- Tony Perkins, Richard Land, Laurie Cardoza-Moore, Carol Swain, Todd Starnes, Family Research Council, February 25, 2014
- Be the People: A Call to Reclaim America's Faith and Promise, Family Research Council, June 9, 2011
- Swain Speaks to Wilson County Tea Party, Lebanon Democrat, May 1, 2013
- Doing Good to the Stranger and the Citizen: Evangelicals Discuss Immigration Reform, Heritage Foundation, November 15, 2013
- Christians and Israel: Carol Swain
- Gerald McDermott, New offer from first-ever Christian Zionism conference, Patheos, February 20, 2015
- Caloway, Nick (November 9, 2015). "Student petition asks Vanderbilt to suspend conservative professor". WKRN-TV (Nashville, Tennessee). Retrieved November 11, 2015.
- Chasmar, Jessica (November 12, 2015). "Black conservative professor slams ‘sad, pathetic’ Vanderbilt students demanding her ouster". The Washington Times. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
- "GREENBERG: The Carol Swain petition silences dissenting voices". Vanderbilt Hustler. November 11, 2015. Retrieved December 8, 2015.
- "Being Muslim on Campus". The Atlantic. November 2015. Retrieved December 8, 2015.
- McDermott, Gerald (November 16, 2015). "Help defend Carol Swain". Patheos. Retrieved December 4, 2015.
- Weathersby,, Ronald W. (January 12, 2013). "Carol Swain's New Talk Show Gaining Momentum in Middle Tennessee". The Tennessee Tribune. Archived from the original on October 29, 2014.
- "About |". www.carolmswain.net. Retrieved 2015-12-20.
- Chris Chisum, Popular Show Expands to New Networks, Christian News Wire, February 28, 2014
- Gregory Kane, Bold remark on reparations: 'Get over it', The Baltimore Sun, November 27, 2002
- Carol M. Swain, An Apology for Slavery, The Washington Post, July 16, 2005
- Carol M. Swain, Apologizing for Slavery, Heartland Institute, April 1, 2005
- Krissah Thompson, Senate Unanimously Approves Resolution Apologizing for Slavery, The Washington Post, June 19, 2009
- Carol M. Swain, Whites are People Too': Why Some White People are Stating the Obvious, The Huffington Post, September 20, 2009
- SPLC Accuses Swain of Being an Apologist for White Supremacy, Salon, October 31, 2009
- "Black Professor at Vanderbilt University Denies She Is an "Apologist for White Supremacists"". The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education (66): 30. Winter 2009. Retrieved February 26, 2015 – via JSTOR. (registration required (. ))
- Sonia Scherr, A Slick DVD Defends Racism, Southern Poverty Law Center, October 8, 2009
- James Taranto, In Defense of Carol Swain: A black scholar gets smeared as "an apologist for white supremacists.", The Wall Street Journal, October 26, 2009
- Carol M. Swain, Guilt by Association: The Southern Poverty Law Center Hurls a Punch, The Huffington Post, March 18, 2010
- Napp Nazworth, Expert: Black Leaders Fueling Racial Division for Political Gain, The Christian Post, April 10, 2012
- Obama Gives Highly Personal Take On Trayvon Martin Death, Urges Soul-Searching, PBS, July 19, 2013
- Gregory Kane, Why Carol Swain demands honesty about Trayvon Martin, The Washington Examiner, August 5, 2013
- Jessie Washington, , The Times of Israel, December 24, 2013
- "Confederate flag down in South Carolina but only first step in solving problems". Fox News. July 12, 2015. Retrieved December 7, 2015.
- Holland, Jesse J. (July 12, 2015). "Confederate flag down but what happens now". aol.com. Retrieved December 7, 2015.
- "Beliefs". CarolMSwain.net. Retrieved February 26, 2015.
- Carol M. Swain, Charlie Hebdo attacks prove critics were right about Islam, The Tennessean, January 15, 2015
- Is Carol Swain Charlie? or Hateful?, Inside Higher Ed, January 19, 2015
- Ridley, JR. "Former ‘SNL’ actress defends prof accused of ‘hate speech’ against Muslims". CollegeFix.com. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
- "Uproar over Vanderbilt professor's anti-Muslim column @insidehighered". insidehighered.com. Retrieved February 28, 2015.
- Students to protest Carol Swain's op-ed on Islam by Aaditi Naik, The Vanderbilt Hustler, January 16, 2015.
- Between brats and bigots by Angelica Lasala and Aaditi Naik, The Vanderbilt Hustler, January 21, 2015.
- Judson Phillips, Vanderbilt’s Carol Swain, the fight to silence liberty, The Washington Times, January 19, 2015
- Vanderbilt Professor Under Attack for Criticizing Islam by Mark Tapson, Frontpagemag, January 23, 2015.
- ‘Liberal,’ ‘Tolerant’ Vanderbilt Muslims Seek To Bully Black Professor Into Silence by Eric Owens, Daily Caller, January 21, 2015.
- Wasserstein, David J. (January 19, 2015). "Thoughtful views on Islam needed, not simplicity". The Tennessean.
- Randy Horick (January 23, 2015). "Anti-Islam op-ed distorts reality, could harm people". The Tennessean. Retrieved February 28, 2015.
- Tom Wilemon, Carol Swain to police: Islam column brings harassment, The Tennessean, February 15, 2015