Mac Donald, Heather 1956-

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Mac Donald, Heather 1956-


Born November 23, 1956, in Los Angeles, CA; daughter of Robert (an attorney) and Elouise Mac Donald. Education: Yale University, B.A. (summa cum laude), 1978; Cambridge University, M.A., 1980; Stanford University, J.D., 1985. Hobbies and other interests: Volunteer for the Natural Resource Defense Fund, "classical music, especially baroque and classical opera."


Home—New York, NY. Office—Manhattan Institute, 52 Vanderbilt Ave., New York, NY 10017.


Previously served as a clerk for the Honorable Stephen Reinhardt, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit; Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, attorney-advisor, 1986-87; Manhattan Institute, New York, NY, John M. Olin fellow, 1996—.


Phi Beta Kappa.


New Jersey State Law Enforcement Officers Association Civilian Valor Award, 2004; Bradley Prize for Outstanding Intellectual Achievement, 2005.


The Burden of Bad Ideas: How Modern Intellectuals Misshape Our Society, Ivan R. Dee (Chicago, IL), 2000.

Are Cops Racist? How the War against the Police Harms Black Americans, Ivan R. Dee (Chicago, IL), 2003.

(With Victor Davis Hanson and Steven Malanga) The Immigration Solution: A Better Plan than Today's, Ivan R. Dee (Chicago, IL), 2007.

Contributor to periodicals, including City Journal, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New Republic, and Weekly Standard. Contributing editor, City Journal, 1994—.


Heather Mac Donald is a conservative critic of the feminist/multiculturalist paradigm holding sway in contemporary government and academia. Her first book, The Burden of Bad Ideas: How Modern Intellectuals Misshape Our Society, is a collection of eleven essays, each of which examines one way in which the feminist/multiculturalist paradigm has had a deleterious effect on modern U.S. society. Many of these pieces first appeared in City Journal, a publication of the Manhattan Institute.

One essay, "How to Train Cops," critiques the diversity training provided to New York City police after the scandalous mistreatment of Abner Louima and Amadou Diallo. In "Public Health Quackery" Mac Donald objects to the fact that modern epidemiologists no longer study individual risk factors, such as smoking, promiscuous sexuality, and drug use, because this is considered to be tantamount to blaming the victim. Similar critiques of the removal of personal responsibility from public discourse appear in several of Mac Donald's essays. The Ford Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation, and other philanthropic groups, as well as the public welfare system, are condemned for shielding the poor from the repercussions of their poor decisions. Critic Jonathan Yardley, writing in the Washington Post Book World, called The Burden of Bad Ideas "social, cultural, and political criticism of the first order."

In Are Cops Racist? How the War against the Police Harms Black Americans, Mac Donald returns to her study of the behavior of police in relation to minorities. She proposes that minority groups and major news services should use extreme caution before jumping to the conclusion that racism is behind every altercation between the police and a minority individual, since ultimately those same minority groups are frequently the victims of the crimes in question. While there might be some isolated incidents of racist behavior on the part of the police, the author maintains, in most cases Mac Donald states that there are other issues to be considered. Booklist critic Vernon Ford acknowledged the importance of Mac Donald's arguments, while noting that "because her interview subjects are decidedly propolice, some readers might find this a one-sided view." David Frum, writing for the National Review, nevertheless concluded: "Mac Donald's work is a powerful corrective to the anti-police myth-making of recent years."



Booklist, January 1, 2003, Vernon Ford, review of Are Cops Racist? How the War against the Police Harms Black Americans, p. 816.

Forbes, May 4, 1998, Dyan Machan, "Free Lunch—No Dishes to Wash," pp. 62-63.

Insight on the News, February 26, 2001, William Murchison, "A Collection of Articles So Common-Sensible …," p. 26; February 26, 2001, Liz Trotta, review of The Burden of Bad Ideas: How Modern Intellectuals Misshape Our Society, p. 26.

Library Journal, September 15, 2000, Robert F. Nardini, review of The Burden of Bad Ideas, p. 96.

National Review, April 7, 2003, David Frum, "What's Right," review of Are Cops Racist?, p. 60.

New York Times, December 24, 2000, Allen D. Boyer, review of The Burden of Bad Ideas, p. L15.

Washington Post Book World, October 8, 2000, Jonathan Yardley, review of The Burden of Bad Ideas, p. 2.