ochanilele (ochanilele) wrote,

Misrepresentation in the Media and Poor Scholarship

I would like everyone to read the following news story:


Because the professor of culture provided such bizarre, uneducated quotes, I did a bit of research. It turns out that Professor Casimir is not a professor of culture at Western New England College. He is a professor of ECONOMICS. I wrote the following email to Professor Casimir and CC’d it to the Media Relations Department at Western New England College. His email address is
scasimir@wnec.edu. It would be nice if all my readers could do the same.

Ócháni Lele

Dear Professor Casimir:

I am writing to you about your comments, quoted by the reporter in a news article found at the following URL:


First, in that story you were identified as a professor of culture at Western New England College, but the faculty listing on their website says that you are a professor of economics in the School of Arts and Sciences. So I find that a bit confusing.

Still, that is not why I am writing you.

I am writing you because of your quotes in the news article. First the newspaper reports this: "Voodoo is a religion that came from West Africa. Voodoo has animal sacrifices, primarily chicken," says Arthur Schiller Casimir, a professor of culture at Western New England College. Later in that same article, the reporter quotes you as saying, “Chicken blood is something that means quite a bit to the voodoo religion . . . In the Spanish Caribbean, voodoo takes a different form. It's called Santeria. In Puerto Rico, it's there. That's why in Holyoke you're going to see a lot of Santeria activity because of the Puerto Rican population."

If you are a professor of culture and not economics, then you should know that Santería and Voodoo have nothing to do with each other. Voodoo is Haitian, and shares roots from various ethnicities found throughout the African continent; Santería comes from Oyó Ilé (ancient Oyó), part of the Yoruba empire found in the southwestern part what is now, since European conquest, known as Nigeria. It is a religion that found its way to Cuba and had nothing to do with Haiti, and there, in the cabildo societies of Cuba, went through a few evolutionary changes. It has nothing to do with Haitian Voodoo. I invite you to educate yourself by reading some of the literature available on the subject, from Dr. David Brown’s (Ph.D.) book titled Santeria Enthroned to Dr. Marta Morena Vega’s (Ph.D.) The Altar of my Soul. Also, you could read any of the books I have written under the pen name Ócháni Lele: The Secrets of Afro-Cuban Divination; Obi, Oracle of Cuban Santeria; The Diloggún; and Teachings of the Santeria Gods.

While these inaccurate quotes of yours (and possibly inaccurate representation of your discipline) might seem small things to you, to us, and to other academics who study this field, they do a huge disservice to not only academia, but also the millions of people who practice this faith.

I believe it is your ethical duty as a professor and academic to make sure the media properly identifies your field of study (economics as opposed to culture); and, I believe it is your ethical duty that you do a bit more research before speaking on topics of which you obviously have little practical or academic knowledge.


Stuart Myers/Ócháni Lele

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