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Ed Driscoll

Separate But Equal At The New York Times?

December 9th, 2009 - 12:51 pm

Mediate explores the rationale behind the “NYT Holiday Gift Guide For People Of Color”:

What I would like to know is who thought this was a good idea? In this year’s NYT’s Annual Holiday Gift Guide there is a section devoted to “Of Color | Stylish Gifts.” From the intro to the section.

Somali fashion, do-it-yourself henna kits, children’s books that draw inspiration from the lives of Barack Obama and Sonia Sotomayor: it’s not hard to find gifts created for and by people of color this holiday season. Here are some possibilities.

nyt_of_color_xmas_2009_sm

Click to enlarge.

I had to read that twice. Because really New York Times? NYTPicker, who was the first to note the addition thinks there’s no other word for it but racist. I’m not sure I’m willing to go that far. But badly, terribly thought out, bordering on offensive, absolutely. I suspect what actually happened was somewhere in the editing process someone thought they should figure out some way to work Barack Obama (he’s done well for them before!) into the mix and then extended it to Sotomayor and voila, suddenly you have a gift guide that weirdly looks like it’s out of some magazine from the 1960’s except this might not have been kosher in the 60’s (for very different reasons). So mainly just of-puttingly weird. Mostly, I am utterly amazed it made it past the editing process and am baffled why anyone felt the need to separate these gifts from the more generalized categories into which all these items fit, to one based on skin color.

Why be amazed? Elite colleges, with faculties that skew far to the left have been promoting the functional equivalent of “Separate But Equal” graduations and dorms for years — we first wrote about the latter topic (linking to a piece by Joanne Jacobs, former San Jose Mecury columnist turned author and pioneering edu-blogger) during the first year of our blog, back in 2002. Boston talk radio host Michael Graham wrote Redneck Nation, which looked at similar trends in 2001.  As he said:

In 1948, Strom Thurmond was a politician obsessed with race. The modern American liberal is obsessed with race. Strom Thurmond thought schools and courts should treat citizens differently based on their skin color. Liberal supporters of, among other things, race-based admissions policies and hate-crime laws agree. Strom promoted the “multicultural” view that institutions like Jim Crow and segregation might appear irrational or unjust to outside agitators, but they were a perfect fit with southern culture.

* * *

Having fled these attitudes among my rural southern neighbors, I know live in a modern, liberal America where Ivy League colleges are building segregating housing because “race matters.” I actually heard one modern defender of segregated public schools (blacks-only academies) say “black people learn differently from white people.”

And of course, it was only last year that a certain prominent spiritual leader was telling his audience in a nationally-televised speech precisely that last point:

He was trafficking in stereotypes, though to a p.c. theme to which few could object. But soon, Wright’s speech turned more serious. More subtly separatist. More Afro-centric.

He claimed these differences were genetic (imagine Charles Murray trying to pull this off!). European-Americans have a “left-brain cognitive, object-oriented learning style. Logical and analytical,” explained Wright, whereas blacks “learn not from an object, but from a subject. They are right-brain, subject-oriented in their learning style. That means creative and intuitive. The two worlds have different ways of learning.”

The logical conclusion of Wright’s words was that whites and blacks should be schooled separately, but he did not expand on the point. What was important is that whites and blacks inhabit different spheres — two worlds, in fact. And now we were at the nut of Wright’s message.

A longtime mentor to President Obama has spoken. Why wouldn’t the Gray Lady toe the line?

Related thoughts from Stephan Tawney at the American Pundit, who imagines the howls from the left if the aisles were reversed, and such a publication came from the right.

As does Mary Katharine Ham, who adds:

And, so we reach the ironic pinnacle of the liberal sophisticate’s compulsive striving for “diversity.” I believe it was Martin Luther King Jr. who famously said we should buy each other presents, based not on the content of our character, but the color of our skin.

But what do I know? I probably would have supported slavery, according to Harry Reid.

Huh. I’m sure Senator Geary is shopping there right now.

Update: Tom Maguire adds, “Geez, I always thought ‘Stuff White People Like’ was a spoof, but the scales have fallen.” Meanwhile, Stephen Kruiser adds that the Times’ article is “Another case of the pot calling the kettle a utensil of color.”

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