Joel McDurmon, who had the theonomy knocked out of him by Jordan Hall after they debated the issue a few years ago, recently accused Voddie Baucham of plagiarism and falsely attributing quotes in his Fault Lines book. Much of the consternation revolves around Baucham’s use of quotations, paraphrases, and summaries of beliefs and ideologies from Critical Race Theory founder Richard Delgado. In particular is the included section, with McDurmon claiming that the Baucham misquoted Delgado in all the red sections, declaring that those red portions are not Delgado quotes, but rather are completely made up whole-cloth.
Speaking on the August 5, 2021 edition of Founders’ Sword and Trowel podcast (below) Tom Ascol and Jared Longshore listen and chime in as Voddie explains that the blockquote was not intended or designed to be direct quotations that might be falsely attributed, saying: “It’s not a direct quote, even from the first words, you know, I’m giving an outline, I’m using Delgado’s outline as an outline that I’m giving to the reader,” and “It was not meant to be presented that way, (as a direct quote) to be understood that way, or to be read that way.” He notes:
That’s part of the front matter of the book. The idea was (when) when people get into the book, we immediately start off with some assumptions. So the editor said, ‘What if we put something before that, or what if we extended the introduction?’
And I had the bright idea of doing this thought line, you know, getting fancy with the spices. And so what I’m trying to do is I’m trying to give people a view from 35,000 feet…of what I’m going to be talking about, a view of the arguments that I’m going to be making, and a view of the ideologies that I’m going to be dealing with.
That section of it, it is indented, it is blocked off, but it’s not a blockquote. That’s obvious from the first words that it’s not a blockquote because I’m giving a heading. That’s not Delgado’s. I’m using Delgado’s order and organization and structure, but I’m not directly quoting Delgado.
Another thing that sort of indicates that it’s not a blockquote is that in the middle of–I think that second paragraph–there’s a footnote in the middle of the second paragraph, which is something that you wouldn’t do, you know? In a block quote, right? So on the one hand, there are some structural and formatting issues there, that are unfortunate. And, and that are unclear.
Voddie explains that if given the chance, he would have formatted it a different way, but that to McDurmon’s primary charge, it was never meant to be taken as a direct quotation, despite McDurmon’s insistence to the contrary.
The other accusation from McDurmon is that Baucham is misrepresenting Delgado on whether or not it’s fair to ascribe the view to Delgado that “racism is normal” when Delgado only said that “racism is ordinary.” Like the previous response, Baucham insists that he wasn’t giving a direct quote or trying to pass it off as a quote, but rather the notion that “Racism is ordinary” is a summary of the framework of Delgado’s belief, i.e., Delgado doesn’t have to specifically say the words in order to surmise that is what he believes based on everything else he has written, including saying “racism is normal” in other writings. [Editor: ::sigh:: Voddie is right, you know…]
They discuss the charge that Voddie plagiarized some words from James Lindsay. McDurmon insists that it happened, where Baucham retorts:
I quote Lindsey several times, not only in the book but also in this sort of thought line. Why am I going to cite Lindsey, and then not cite Lindsey in other places? I have no qualms about the fact that I’ve worked with Lindsey. I have no qualms about the fact that, you know, James and I became friends. James, and I had many discussions about these issues. What am I hiding from? I’m waiting, why am I hiding?
Critically, McDurmon likewise takes Voddie to task for a message he delivered back in January 2021, where Baucham claimed that Delgado said that white folk “are incapable of righteous actions” when in fact Delgado never said that. Voddie said the following, in context:
This means whites are incapable of righteous actions on race and only undo racism when it benefits them, when their interests converge with the interests of people of color—and yes, he (Delgado) used the word ‘righteous.’ White people are incapable of righteous actions on race. Everything is racist…Again, not me — this is critical race theory.
Voddie’s response is simple: Yep! He made a mistake and got it wrong. He says he’s been talking about CRT and Delgado so much, that he must have merged both the quote from Delgado, and his commentary on Delgado, and then presented it all as one piece in his public message. This is not malicious, but rather a simple error, one that Baucham freely and humbly admits to.
And the second issue is the attribution of that statement to Delgado. Let me just say that is not Delgado’s statement…
I’ve been talking about this a ton, right? I’ve been talking about this all over the place. And unfortunately, what I have done is I have read that statement the way it is, in the book, without making a clear distinction between where that footnote is and where I’m making a clarification.
And I’ve done that. I don’t know how many times I’ve done that, but I’ve done that. And, man, I regret doing that. Because, one, as you see in the book, I put the footnote there, and then I give an explanation. Right?
And I mean, it’s clearly that’s what I’m doing. Let’s set aside the fact that it’s in the block, we’ve already dealt with that. It would have been much clearer if it wasn’t in the block. And not only does that lack of clarity show up in terms of what people are reading, but it’s also showed up in terms of me reading that same thing. I’ve read that. I’ve read that. That’s my comment on interest convergence….
[Tom Ascol]: ‘That’s a mistake. And when you read it as if that was, that’s just a mistake.’
Makes sense to us, and shows why by and large McDurmon’s nitpicky criticism ought to be taken with a Lot’s wife full of salt.
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