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New York Times columnist Bret Stephens, whose recent column was spiked by the paper when he criticized the firing of a reporter who repeated a racial slur in conversation about the word, has lashed out at what he says is excessive 'wokeness' in the media and academia.

In a column published on Monday, Stephens took aim at Bon Appetit's 'Archive Repair Project', which launched last July as an effort to identify and edit 'problematic recipes' over the past 55 years.


In a recent example, Bon Appetit apologized for a 2015 recipe that had promised 'actually good hamantaschen,' a triangular cookie that is traditional for the Jewish festival of Purim, hours after someone on Twitter complained that the author wasn't Jewish.

'Most Jews would probably be grateful for an 'actually good' hamantasch,' wrote Stephens, who is Jewish. 'No transgression of sensitivities is so trivial that it will not invite a moralizing rebuke on social media.'

Bon Appetit apologized for a 2015 recipe that had promised 'actually good hamantaschen,' a triangular cookie that is traditional for the Jewish festival of Purim

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Food writer Abigail Koffler had written on Twitter of the hamantaschen recipe: 'Traditional foods do not automatically need to be updated, especially by someone who does not come from that tradition.'

Hours after the complaint, Bon Appetite had changed the headline on the six-year-old article to read 'Five Steps to Really Good Hamantaschen' and added an editor's note of apology.

'As part of our Archive Repair Project, we have edited the headline, dek, and content to better convey the history of Purim and the goals of this particular recipe,' the note read in part. 'We apologize for the previous version's flippant tone and stereotypical characterizations of Jewish culture.'

Stephens, a Pulitzer-winning conservative columnist, slammed the move, writing 'no charge of cultural insensitivity is so far-fetched that it won't force a magazine into self-abasing self-expurgation,' saying that the incident was 'the apotheosis of Woke.'

The Archive Repair Project is an effort to search and edit 55 years of recipes from Bon Appetite and other Conde Nast magazines, which are collected at

The project's aim is to remove 'objectionable titles, ingredient lists and stories told through a white American lens,' according to the Associated Press. 

Bon Appetite added this editor's note to the hamantasch after the Twitter complaint

Most recipes on Epicurious that have been updated do not indicate what was changed, though archived versions of the pages reveal some examples.

In one case, suggestions from 2015 for 'how to make pesto out of pretty much everything' were edited to remove a tip to use a 'Middle Eastern blend of mint and cilantro' to give the pesto an 'exotic flavor.'

For reasons that are unclear, another tip to make pesto from cilantro and pumpkin seeds, which contains no cultural references, was also removed.

Another 2017 recipe for sweet and sour chicken was edited to remove this line recommending the addition of pineapple: 'Yes, pineapple. I admit that it's a strange and sort of trashy addition, and one that takes the recipe in a decidedly non-Chinese direction. But those juicy bites of pineapple do add a brightness to the dish.'

In several recipes, an alternate name for a makrut lime, which is the same as the South African 'K-word' for black people, was removed. 

'George Orwell warned in '1984' of a world in which 'the past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became the truth,'' Stephens wrote in his column. 

'At the Ministry of Truth, Winston Smith was obliged to rewrite what had been said about sweets — chocolate, not cookies — to hide the fact of ever-dwindling rations,' he continued. 

Stephens added that the project to erase and edit old recipes 'may seem like a farce. But it's a telling one.'

'If a major media company like Condé Nast can choose to erase and rewrite its food archives for the sake of current Woke sensibilities, why stop there?' he asked.

In the column, Stephens also criticized the University of Illinois at Chicago for banning law professor Jason Kilborn from campus after an incident during a civil procedure exam.

In the column, Stephens also criticized the University of Illinois at Chicago for banning law professor Jason Kilborn from campus after an incident during an exam

In a question about a workplace discrimination claim, the exam contained the phrases 'n____' and 'b_____' (using the first letters of the slurs and an underscore for the other letters, as they appear above).

A petition from the Black Students Law Association claimed: 'The visual of the N-word on Professor Kilborn's exam was mental terrorism.'

One student declared that on seeing the sentence, she became 'incredibly upset' and experienced 'heart palpitations,' according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Kilborn was placed on administrative leave, removed from his committee assignments, and barred from the UIC campus in response. 

Jason Kilborn's exam the exam contained the phrases 'n____' and 'b_____' with the letters of the slurs represented by underscores

The administration later told him he had been suspended as a potential threat to campus safety for a remark he made to one of the petitioners, who asked him to speculate why the dean had not shared their petition with him. 

'I flippantly responded, 'I suspect [the dean's] afraid if I saw the horrible things said about me in that letter I would become homicidal,' Kilborn said, saying the remark was then reported by the student as a homicidal threat.

'In the game of Woke, the goal posts can be moved at any moment, the penalties will apply retroactively and claims of fairness will always lose out to the perpetual right to claim offense,' Stephens wrote of the case. 

It comes weeks after the New York Times killed a column by Stephens that was critical of the executive editor who initially said 'intent' doesn't matter after star health reporter Donald McNeil Jr was forced to resign over his use of the N-word. 

The Times had initially allowed veteran journalist McNeil Jr. to keep his job after complaints he used the racial slur during a company funded school trip to Peru in 2019. 

It comes weeks after the New York Times killed a column by Stephens that criticized the ouster of health reporter Donald McNeil Jr for using a racial slur in conversation about the word

Management said last week it had conducted an investigation and decided not to fire him because they believed he showed 'poor judgment' but did not use the words with 'hateful or malicious' intent.

But McNeil Jr. was forced out after 150 Times employees out of 4,500 signed a letter saying they were 'deeply disturbed' by the paper's handling of the incident. Out of those 4,500, only 1,600 are journalists.

Executive editor Dean Baquet and managing editor Joseph Kahn had initially said: 'We do not tolerate racist language regardless of intent.' 

Stephens had planned to question those comments by Baquet and Kahn in his column titled 'Regardless of Intent' in his column before it was spiked by editors. The New York Post has since obtained a copy of his column and published it in full. 

He noted that his column was not about the 'particulars of McNeil's case' and wasn't an argument about the 'ugly history' of the racial slur.

'This is an argument about three words: 'Regardless of intent.' Should intent be the only thing that counts in judgment? Obviously not. Can people do painful, harmful, stupid or objectionable things regardless of intent? Obviously,' the conservative commentator wrote.

'Do any of us want to live in a world, or work in a field, where intent is categorically ruled out as a mitigating factor? I hope not.'  

Read more:
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  • How to Make Pesto Out of Pretty Much Anything | Epicurious
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  • How To Make Sweet And Sour Chicken In 22 Minutes | Epicurious
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Tags: topics index according ’actually good ’regardless editor’s note stephens the new york times an argument pulitzer winning times employees health reporter the racial slur was spiked in the column the n word by the paper the headline an effort the incident pineapple to erase rewrite the project the project

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Coalition blasts union chief Greg Floyd in ongoing feud with Jumaane Williams

More On: department of education De Blasio to make announcement on high school reopenings next week Queens City Councilman calls for reinstatement of Gifted and Talented test NYC’s new schools chancellor seems stuck on bad old priorities Feud between school safety agent union chief and Jumaane Williams escalates

A group backing the removal of safety agents from city schools jumped to Pubic Advocate Jumaane Williams’ defense this week in his ongoing feud with union chief Greg Floyd.

“We unequivocally condemn Local 237 President Gregory Floyd’s attack on Public Advocate Jumaane Williams for advocating on behalf of the youth who have been harmed at the hands of school police,” said a coalition of progressive youth groups and other organizations called Dignity in Schools.

Floyd, who opposes handing the school safety reins to the DOE, has pushed back on WIlliams’ characterization of his membership being prone to student abuse.

The confrontation spiraled this week when Floyd broached Williams’ prior brush with the law and demanded that he unseal records related to a 2009 domestic incident.

Arguing that Floyd’s offensive was made in “bad faith,” Dignity in Schools contended that “a vast majority of New Yorkers” support removing any NYPD role in city schools and that the “racial justice uprisings” over the summer have only deepened that position.

“In New York City public schools, that means eliminating police in schools and using the bloated school policing budget to fund guidance counselors, social workers, and restorative justice programming instead,” the group said.

Dignity in Schools cited NYPD statistics that showed 67 student complaints against agents in 2020.Stefan Jeremiah for New York Post

Williams advocated for that shift at a City Council hearing last month. While he said that he didn’t want to paint all agents “with the same brush,” he asserted that “many students report verbal, physical, and sexual abuse that have been committed at the hands of school safety agents.”

Floyd pressed Williams to document that claim after the meeting and later brought up the Public Advocate’s NYPD case as the clash escalated.

Dignity in Schools cited NYPD statistics that showed 67 student complaints against agents in 2020 in backing Williams’ portrayal — while asserting that many cases also go unreported.

An NYPD school safety officer ushers a student in for a temperature check upon entering Sun Yat Sen M.S. 131.Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

“Public Advocate Williams is taking a stand for students because he has listened to their stories of outright abuse by school police, and of the pervasive culture of criminalization their presence creates,” they said. “We call on Mr. Floyd to stop deliberately ignoring the testimony from young people and educators attesting to this abuse.”

Floyd has resisted the characterization of school safety agents as a hostile force.

Depictions of the unarmed school safety agents — who are 90 percent African-American and Hispanic and 70 percent women — varied wildly during last month’s City Council hearing.

“As laid out in student testimony during the February 18th public hearing on school policing, young people experience routine verbal and physical harassment by school police. In their testimony, students reported feeling ‘frightened,’ ‘unsafe,’ and targeted in persistent negative encounters,” Dignity in Schools said.

School Safety Officer Sgt. Ramon Carabello (left) and his colleague outside PS 64 on East Sixth St. and Avenue C on the Lower East Side.Helayne Seidman

Manhattan Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal likened the agents to a “paramilitary” force in light of their NYPD affiliation and said they had no place in schools.

Queens Councilman Daneek Miller — a parent of five city public school students — said the notion of their removal was “absurd” and that they were seen by kids as familiar mentors rather than alien menaces.

“When we walk into a building, we don’t necessarily see that blue uniform, an extension of the police department, but see an extension of our community,” he said. “And oftentimes, the only extension of that community that you’re going to see.”

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Floyd echoed that theme this week, arguing that the removal of school safety agents would in effect excise a largely minority group from DOE buildings and replace them with a far whiter population of guidance counselors and social workers.

But Williams has repeatedly stressed that any school safety agent rendered jobless by the shift in school security duties should be given an alternative position along with any training required.

“We’re calling for funding to hire Black and Brown New Yorkers into jobs that support young people’s social, emotional, and mental health,” Dignity in Schools said.

Asked about the 2020 complaints against his members, Floyd argued that they were unsubstantiated.

“These should be investigated,” he said. “But there are 1.1 million children in our school system. You have this small number of complaints compared to the overall school system. And there are a number of children who may have gotten out of line and may have had interaction with school safety. This number does not support their claims.”

Floyd maintains that school climate and safety would deteriorate if the DOE handled security.

Williams asserted that “many students report verbal, physical, and sexual abuse that have been committed at the hands of school safety agents.”

But Dignity in Schools and Williams have both asserted that agent presence — along with metal detectors — create a criminalized and demoralized atmosphere in city schools and that resources should be routed elsewhere.

“Let us be clear: for New York City to offer a just education to every student — and especially to the Black, brown, and immigrant students who are consistently targeted by SSAs (school police)— we need entirely police-free schools,” the group said.

Filed under department of education ,  jumaane williams ,  public schools ,  3/5/21

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