My previous blogging series explored Critical Race Theory founder Derrick Bell’s Afrolantica Legacies and its connections to current events and the Obama administration’s public policies.
Bell was born in 1930, and his generation would go on to lead the ’60s campus revolts and the various components of the New Left. (See Ron Radosh’s memoir Commies: A Journey Through the Old Left, the New Left and the Leftover Left for the stories of Bell’s radical peers.) By the early 1970s this Silent Generation cohort produced not only their pivotal works (Bell’s Race, Racism and American Law came in 1973) but also the children who would some day gain the name Generation X.
Touré was born in 1971, and now 40 years later you can read how his generation of writer-activists has updated Bell’s political theology.
My motives for reading Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness remain as selfish as for Afrolantica Legacies: I want to know “what it means to be black now.” Or rather: who counts as black today? Do those with one African-American and one Caucasian parent count as black? What about one grandparent?
What do those in multi-racial families need to know in order to raise the next generation of mixed race children? How do you explain “blackness” and “whiteness” to a child who falls into neither category?
Based on the reporting of PJ Media’s J. Christian Adams.
Ann Coulter quotes from the book Negroes With Guns by Robert F. Williams in her column recounting the courageous battles Southern blacks fought to defend themselves against the KKK with the help of the National Rifle Association:
In the preface to “Negroes With Guns,” Williams writes: “I have asserted the right of Negroes to meet the violence of the Ku Klux Klan by armed self-defense — and have acted on it. It has always been an accepted right of Americans, as the history of our Western states proves, that where the law is unable, or unwilling, to enforce order, the citizens can, and must act in self-defense against lawless violence.”
MJ Rosenberg might have left David Brock’s Media Matters for America, but Breitbart.com Editor-At-Large Ben Shapiro has discovered another progressive with a long history of shilling for genocidal antisemites, emphasis and graphic added:
Senior Fellow Eric Boehlert, one of the faces of the organization, has a dicey record when it comes to Israel and the Jews. On September 11, 2001, he wrote a piece for Salon.com defending American Muslims from the supposed anti-Muslim hysteria brewing. In that piece, he recounted a Muslim rally in Paterson, New Jersey:
“We won’t rest until all the Jews are dead,” said a burly young man. “Shame on America,” said another bitter-faced youth. “For helping Israel to kill Palestinians,” said a third.
In the wake of the WTC attacks, however, those brash sentiments were muted.
“We won’t rest until all the Jews are dead” is not a “brash sentiment.” It is open genocidal anti-Semitism. But not to Eric Boehlert, apparently.
Boehlert’s bias in favor of anti-Jewish terrorists didn’t stop there. In 2002, he wrote a piece for Salon.com in which he lamented the fate of Professor Sami Al-Arian, former North American head of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. This is the same Al-Arian who proclaimed, “God cursed those who are sons of Israel … Those people, God made monkeys and pigs … Let us damn America, let us damn Israel, let us damn them and their allies until death.” When Al-Arian was suspended from his teaching post at Florida Atlantic University, Boehlert defended Al-Arian as an “innocent professor.”
In Professor Derrick Bell’s Afrolantica Legacies, his chapter “Shadowboxing: Blacks, Jews, and Games Scapegoats Play” defended and downplayed the antisemitism of Nation of Islam cult leader Louis Farrakhan. Similarly, President Barack Obama describes Recep Erdogan, the Islamist, antisemitic leader of Turkey as, a “friend and colleague….We find ourselves in frequent agreement upon a wide range of issues.” And of course, we have to continue to remind on the subject of a certain video tape that’s racking up quite a late fee:
These aren’t anomalies. This is the Democratic Party today.
As a transition from my previous series on Afrolantica Legacies to the next sequence of blogging on political books and their relation to current events, consider this excerpt from The Derrick Bell Reader in which the founder of Critical Race Theory defines the controversial term.
Just as important as what Bell says is how he says it. “Who’s Afraid of Critical Race Theory?” is a familiar formulation, that intentionally inspires readers to imagine the ideology — and those who promote it — as a wolf.
From pages 78 and 79 (next page) with illustrations added by me:
From March 19 through April 13 I blogged through Afrolantica Legacies, analyzing the arguments and connecting them with current events in the political culture. This compilation collects and re-edits those 21 posts. It’s 9800 words and features more than 30 photographic excerpts from the book.
As a 28-year-old student at Harvard Law, Barack Obama supported the activism of Professor Derrick Bell and urged his peers to open their hearts and minds to the words of Critical Race Theory‘s founder.
But what did Bell believe and how could his ideas have any relation to the president’s policies today?
The myth of the rise and fall of Afrolantica — a kind of Atlantis where only African Americans can live — opens the book and provides Bell with a way to tie together his essays, fictional dialogues, and political parables written through the ’80s and ’90s. From seven of these essays, Bell extracts these principles to serve as “rules of racial preservation”:
This is how Derrick Bell concludes Afrolantica Legacies, a final discussion with the idealized female version of himself, Geneva Crenshaw:
“Let’s get back to the struggle” are the final words in a book in which Bell has:
A) Named his utopia “Afrolantica” and decreed it a land where only African-Americans could survive. Thus, in Bell’s imagination utopia is a world without Jews. Bell described the sensation of living in such a place “a euphoria of Freedom.”
B) Defended Louis Farrakhan, antisemitic conspiracy theorist and leader of the Nation of Islam, and promoted the blood libel of Jewish control of the economy.
C) Urged Jews to remain loyal to the progressive cause above defending themselves from antisemitism.
D) Named the Stalinist artist Paul Robeson — who lied to the world about the Soviet murder and torture of Russian Jews — one of our “greatest heroes.”
The word “struggle” finds itself featured prominently in other genocidal antisemitic movements. The infamous title of Adolf Hitler’s autobiography:
Also, the term “Jihad,” defined courtesy of Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan:
What were these men, scattered across cultures but united in antisemitism, struggling with “inside ones self”? Warning: the graphic answer on the next page quotes from material containing profanity and disturbing content.
The last of Derrick Bell’s Afrolantica Legacies explicitly labels the law professor’s life program as a faith:
To illustrate his political dogma, Bell uses another literary reference. He titles the essay “Bluebeard’s Castle: An American Fairy Tale” and borrows Bela Bartok’s opera. The plot summarized via Wikipedia:
The basic plot is loosely based on the folk tale “Bluebeard“, but is given a heavily psychological reworking—some would say psychoanalytic or psychosexual, (see Bruno Bettelheim and The Uses of Enchantment).
- Place: A huge, dark hall in a castle, with seven locked doors.
- Time: Not defined.
Judith and Bluebeard arrive at his castle, which is all dark. Bluebeard asks Judith if she wants to stay and even offers her an opportunity to leave, but she decides to stay. Judith insists that all the doors be opened, to allow light to enter into the forbidding interior, insisting further that her demands are based on her love for Bluebeard. Bluebeard refuses, saying that they are private places not to be explored by others, and asking Judith to love him but ask no questions. Judith persists, and eventually prevails over his resistance.
The first door opens to reveal a torture chamber, stained with blood. Repelled, but then intrigued, Judith pushes on. Behind the second door is a storehouse of weapons, and behind the third a storehouse of riches. Bluebeard urges her on. Behind the fourth door is a secret garden of great beauty; behind the fifth, a window onto Bluebeard’s vast kingdom. All is now sunlit, but blood has stained the riches, watered the garden, and grim clouds throw blood-red shadows over Bluebeard’s kingdom.
Bluebeard pleads with her to stop: the castle is as bright as it can get, and will not get any brighter, but Judith refuses to be stopped after coming this far, and opens the penultimate sixth door, as a shadow passes over the castle. This is the first room that has not been somehow stained with blood; a silent silvery lake is all that lies within, “a lake of tears”. Bluebeard begs Judith to simply love him, and ask no more questions. The last door must be shut forever. But she persists, asking him about his former wives, and then accusing him of having murdered them, suggesting that their blood was the blood everywhere, that their tears were those that filled the lake, and that their bodies lie behind the last door. At this, Bluebeard hands over the last key.
Behind the door are Bluebeard’s three former wives, but still alive, dressed in crowns and jewellery. They emerge silently, and Bluebeard, overcome with emotion, prostrates himself before them and praises each in turn, finally turning to Judith and beginning to praise her as his fourth wife. She is horrified, begs him to stop, but it is too late. He dresses her in the jewellery they wear, which she finds exceedingly heavy. Her head drooping under the weight, she follows the other wives along a beam of moonlight through the seventh door. It closes behind her, and Bluebeard is left alone as all fades to total darkness.
For his essay Bell casts America as Bluebeard and black Americans as Judith. Then he labels all the great Civil Rights victories (the Emancipation Proclamation, the post-Civil War Amendments to the Constitution, desegregation, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965) as akin to doors in Bluebeard’s castle: false improvements leading toward a truth too evil to comprehend.
The previous chapters revealed Afrolantica Legacies’ reliance on a conspiracy theory world view. In the second chapter’s Marxist parable of the Citadel, Derrick Bell imagined a conspiracy to allow the advancement of a handful of “lowlanders” in order to deceive the masses. In the third chapter Bell defends the antisemitic conspiracy theorist Louis Farrakhan and advances his own version of the “Jews control the economy and will run you out of business if they want to” conspiracy. And yesterday the excerpt from the fifth chapter showed Bell’s embrace of Robert L. Allen’s conspiracy theory that whites in America had effectively “colonized” the black community, installing fake black leaders who would actually sabotage black interests.
For the sixth Afrolantica Legacy Bell goes all in on imaginary conspiracies.
Bell titles his Critical Race Theory fiction “The Black Sedition Papers” and describes a plot to use a series of studies by various “race traitors” to blame black Americans for their proletariat class status:
“Under the ground rules, the papers are to focus on black pathology, describing it in detail and condemning those afflicted with it.”
In the essay’s conclusion, Bell imagines an academic friend investigating the Black Sedition Papers conspiracy and reporting back to him on a text suspected of being part of the evil white scheme. He then lays out the strategy I’ve employed in this analysis of Afrolantica Legacies.
Following his full-throated defense of the Stalinist singer Paul Robeson, Derrick Bell chose to provide another icon with a less flattering portrayal. To illustrate the fifth Afrolantica Legacy, Bell borrowed Margaret Atwood’s “classic” 1986 Marxist feminist-dystopian novel The Handmaiden’s Tale. Throughout the essay Bell compares Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall to the novel’s protagonist Offred, a women kept as a sex slave in a nightmare future.
He does this to demonstrate that even though — in his view — Marshall’s Civil Rights victories failed to lift up black Americans, and even though racism will endure forever, we should keep up the hope like the hero of the novel and carry on in the “struggle” regardless because:
Bell needs an explanation for how the apparent improvement in black lives over the last 50 years is actually an illusion. He needs to reveal Marshall’s life work as fraudulent. He does so via a conspiracy theory mirroring the parable of the Citadel in the second Afrolanica Legacy.
From Page 130 Bell embraces the thesis of Robert L. Allen’s 1969 book Black Awakening in Capitalist America:
“… what we deem as progress measured by the number of blacks who have moved into management level positions, is quite similar to developments in colonial Africa and India. The colonizing countries maintained their control by establishing class divisions within the ranks of the indigenous peoples. A few able (and safe) individuals were permitted to move up in the ranks where they served as false symbols of what was possible for the subordinated masses.”
Juan Williams in June last year — responding to Ann Coulter’s book Demonic — discussed the divisions within the Civil Rights movement over tactics:
The left often has a simplistic view of the civil rights movement as monolithic. The truth is that Marshall and King represented very different approaches to ending the bitter history of segregation. Marshall favored using the law while King favored bold demonstrations to gain media attention.
History tells us that both the demonstrators and the lawyers played vital roles in bringing about the end of segregation in America. But Marshall’s more conservative view of how to create lasting social change is often forgotten because he never wore a dashiki or patronized the idea of race riots as helpful to achieving racial equality. He was seen by many of the 60’s activists as a boring, law and order, establishment judge who deeply believed in the Constitution, loved America and was a social conservative.
Following the long defense of Louis Farrakhan’s antisemitism in the previous chapter, Derrick Bell presents an essay illustrating the fourth Afrolantica Legacy, another of the dogmas in his political religion:
For his proletariat martyr Bell names one of the saints of the faith. His title: “Paul Robeson: Doing the State Some Service.”
Here’s an excerpt from page 111:
There’s something chilling about Bell arranging his chapters in this way. The previous essay “Shadowboxing: Blacks, Jews and Games Scapegoats Play” defended Louis Farrakhan and denied his antisemitism. Now in this chapter Bell holds up the Stalinist icon Paul Robeson as “one of our greatest heroes.”
Robeson too, had his own history of supporting lethal antisemitism. Wikipedia summarizes and even generously provides the justifications of Robeson’s defenders:
In June 1949, during the 150th anniversary celebration of the birth of Alexander Pushkin, Robeson visited the Soviet Union on a major tour including a concert at Tchaikovsky Hall. Concerned about the welfare of Jewish artists, Robeson insisted to Soviet officials that he meet with Itzik Feffer a few days earlier. Robeson had first met Feffer on July 8, 1943, at the largest pro-Soviet rally ever held in the United States, an event organized by the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee and chaired by Albert Einstein. Robeson then also got to know Solomon Mikhoels, the popular actor and director of the Moscow State Jewish Theater. Mikhoels also headed the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee in the Soviet Union with Feffer as his second. After the rally, Robeson and his wife Essie had entertained Feffer and Mikhoels.
According to an account by Paul Robeson Jr told to Robeson biographer Martin Duberman, in the 1980s, Robeson was disturbed as to why he could not find his many Jewish friends when he returned to the U.S.S.R. in June 1949. After several inquires, Feffer was brought to Robeson’s hotel room by the State Police. He and Feffer were forced to communicate through hand gestures and notes because the room was bugged. Feffer indicated that Mikhoels had been murdered in 1948 by the secret police and intimated that he also was going to be killed. Feffer in fact was executed along with 14 other Jewish intellectuals three years later.
Upon returning to the United States, he denied any persecution of Jews and other political prisoners, stating that he “met Jewish people all over the place… I heard no word about it.” Historians Martin Duberman, Philip S Foner, Marie Seton, Paul Robeson Jr and Lloyd Brown concur that Robeson had a long standing mistrust of the US government and that he felt that criticism of the Soviet Union’s internal affairs by someone of his immense international popularity would only serve to shore up reactionary elements in the U.S. . Robeson is on record numerous times as stating that he felt the existence of a major socialist power like the USSR was a bulwark against Western European capitalist domination of Africa, Asia and the Caribbean.
According to Joshua Rubenstein’s book, Stalin’s Secret Pogrom, Robeson also justified his silence on the grounds that any public criticism of the USSR would reinforce the authority of anti-Soviet elements in the United States which, he believed, wanted a preemptive war against the Soviet Union. A large number of Robeson biographers, including Martin Duberman, Philip S Foner, Marie Seton, Paul Robeson Jr and Lloyd Brown also concur with Robeson’s own words, that he felt that criticism of the Soviet Union by someone of his immense international popularity would only serve to shore up reactionary elements in the U.S., the same elements that had lifted his passport, blocked anti-lynching legislation, and maintained a racial climate in the United States that also allowed Jim Crow, impoverished living conditions for all races and a white supremacist domination of the US government to continue.
And recall in the previous Afrolantica post, one of my translations of a statement by progressive Jews who Bell had quoted to try and mask his antisemitism: “Translation: defending the progressive faith is more important than defending the Jewish faith. When the two conflict, Jews should embrace the former.”
His latest provocation, in a webzine, lurches from the politically incorrect to the nasty and indefensible. We never would have published it, but the main reason that people noticed it is that it is by a National Review writer. Derb is effectively using our name to get more oxygen for views with which we’d never associate ourselves otherwise. So there has to be a parting of the ways. Derb has long danced around the line on these issues, but this column is so outlandish it constitutes a kind of letter of resignation.
“A conservative is someone who stands athwart history, yelling Stop, at a time when no one is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it.” — WFB
After “The Citadel,” the third Afrolantica legacy comes in “Shadowboxing: Blacks, Jews and Games Scapegoats Play,” a chapter I discussed previously in Part 4: The Wages of Antisemitism. (The shootings of four Jews in Toulouse, France seemed an appropriate time to highlight the lethal effect of tolerating antisemitic ideologies.)
And so having already diagnosed the antisemitic views in the chapter, now let’s consider Bell’s bigotry in the context of his Marxism.
Why the indifference to antisemitism? For the same original reason as Karl Marx himself, because Judaism disrupts the establishment of utopia.
Let’s translate the quote line by line:
We can find no safety in turning inward upon ourselves, severing our links with the general community.
Translation: More lethal antisemitism will come if Jews continue remaining Jews. Jewish identity must be watered down.
We can find safety only if we help America deal not only with the symptoms — hatred, rage, bigotry — but with the root problems of our society — slums, powerlessness, decay of our cities, and unemployment, which spawn the evils of bigotry and conflict.
Translation: To end antisemitism we must end crime and to end crime we must end economic inequality. (Vorspan and Saperstein appear to share Bell’s contention discussed in Part 7: Unemployment Creates Crack Dealers.)
Our task as Jews must go beyond the defensive job of countering the attacks of anti-Semitism to helping bring about a just and peaceful society.
Translation: defending the progressive faith is more important than defending the Jewish faith. When the two conflict, Jews should embrace the former. And today in America the majority do.
The Huffington Post reported this week on continued Jewish support for Bell’s admirer, President Barack Obama:
More Jews (46 percent) named a “commitment to social equality” as the factor most important to their Jewish identity, followed by 20 percent who said “support for Israel” and 17 percent who said “religious observance.”
The poll also showed Jewish voters’ strong support for Obama. Twice as many said they would vote for Obama over a GOP candidate. That level of support is nearly unchanged from the same point during Obama’s first presidential run.
Kenneth Wald, a political science professor who studies Jewish voting patterns at the University of Florida, said he has heard the political chatter that U.S. Jews are so upset with Obama’s treatment of Israel that they will move away from their traditionally Democratic leanings and vote for a GOP challenger — but the survey doesn’t find evidence for that.
“About three out of four American Jews voted Democratic in 2008,” Wald said. “Something relatively similar is likely to occur in 2012.”
I would like to wish my Jewish friends a happy Passover this weekend. Thank you for keeping your tradition alive in spite of all the threats lined up against you and all the challenges that remain ahead.
On Page 72 Derrick Bell continues his Marxist parable, the ruler of the citadel conspires to dupe the lowlanders into believing they’re free when actually their oppression continues:
“By admitting a few of them slowly, we will appear fair and open-minded.”
“We will win… by admitting the error of our past policies. Only by ostensibly renouncing them, will we ensure their continued viability.”
Hmm… An advocate for the antisemitic cult leader Louis Farrakhan draws on conspiracy thinking to explain how so many black Americans could rise up in incorrigibly racist America. Surely no connection exists between the two opinions?
Stay tuned here at PJ Tatler for more on Bell’s attraction to conspiracism in the concluding installments of this guided tour through Afrolantica Legacies.
Related: Shelby Steele at the Wall Street Journal yesterday:
In fact Trayvon’s sad fate clearly sent a quiver of perverse happiness all across America’s civil rights establishment, and throughout the mainstream media as well. His death was vindication of the “poetic truth” that these establishments live by. Poetic truth is like poetic license where one breaks grammatical rules for effect. Better to break the rule than lose the effect. Poetic truth lies just a little; it bends the actual truth in order to highlight what it believes is a larger and more important truth.
The civil rights community and the liberal media live by the poetic truth that America is still a reflexively racist society, and that this remains the great barrier to black equality. But this “truth” has a lot of lie in it. America has greatly evolved since the 1960s. There are no longer any respectable advocates of racial segregation. And blacks today are nine times more likely to be killed by other blacks than by whites.
On page 61, the second Afrolantica Legacy begins, a parable titled “The Citadel” told to Professor Derrick Bell by his female idealization of himself, the civil rights lawyer-activist Geneva Crenshaw. (We also learn that actually Geneva was the alien prophetess Chiara from the previous chapter.) The story serves to illustrate the second of Bell’s dogmas: “Service in the cause of truth and justice is no less worthy of praise because it is misunderstood, misused, or condemned.”
The story depicts a world of class conflict: the rich residents of the Citadel oppress the noble commoners who live in the hills below, the so-called lowlanders. The Citadel’s current master, the iron-fisted Xercis, encounters opposition from his idealistic daughter Tamar who longs to end the abuse of the lowlanders.
Page 67 presents one of their arguments:
“the price of maintaining power over others is the continuing risk of their revolt. But we must abide by the teaching of our forebears. Whatever its cost, we must maintain dominance.”
Bell’s fairy tale reinvents the Marxist understanding of bourgeoisie vs proletariat into Citadel vs Lowlanders. This mythology of class warfare defining human existence — life as a zero-sum game where one “side” must always lose in order for another to benefit — serves as one of the foundational dogmas of his Critical Race Theory. “Blackness” and “Whiteness” remain locked in permanent conflict and we don’t need it spelled out which side professor Bell has cast as proletariat for his morality play.
Out in the real world there exists an often forgotten piece of “collateral damage” in this class war. Genuine victims, harmed by those inflaming racial divisions.
From Page 50 of Afrolantica Legacies, an alien prophetess confirms Derrick Bell’s belief that tests scores also play their part in the white supremacist conspiracy:
The source Bell cites to support Chiara’s claim that “these pen and paper tests actually measure past opportunity better than future potential”: Susan Strum and Lani Guinier, “The Future of Affirmative Action: Reclaiming the Innovative Ideal,” 84 California Law Review 953 (1996).
For a summary of Strum and Guinier’s views, consider a different article with a similar title published in 2000 in the Boston Review. The subtitle summarizes their objective:
Promoting diversity in education and employment requires us to rethink testing and “meritocracy.”
Related: See part 6 of the Afrolantica series for analysis of Bell’s attacks on meritocracy.
Here’s Srum and Guinier’s argument:
We think it is time to shift the terrain of debate. We need to situate the conversation about race, gender, and affirmative action in a wider account of democratic opportunity by refocusing attention from the contested periphery of the system of selection to its settled core. The present system measures merit through scores on paper-and-pencil tests. But this measure is fundamentally unfair. In the educational setting, it restricts opportunities for many poor and working-class Americans of all colors and genders who could otherwise obtain a better education. In the employment setting, it restricts access based on inadequate predictors of job performance. In short, it is neither fair nor functional in its distribution of opportunities for admission to higher education, entry-level hiring, and job promotion.
Question: if you need a high-risk, life-or-death operation would you choose the surgeon with the highest GPA or the one who made it in via affirmative action and just barely managed to graduate?
Here are some of the books on my to-read list in the coming months that relate to this subject:
Here’s a screen capture of how The Nation chose to illustrate their Trayvon Martin editorial:
The progressive flagship embraces the teenager and attacks those who “smear” him by reporting the police and eyewitness accounts of the crime:
The Orlando Sentinel seized on police accounts that painted Martin as the real aggressor, shamelessly reporting that he had once been suspended from school “after being found with an empty marijuana baggie.” Reporters revealed he once spray-painted a locker, and they trolled his Facebook and Twitter accounts for hints of thuggish behavior. In an emotional press conference, Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, said, “They killed my son, and now they’re trying to kill his reputation.”
Last month a white, racist vigilante gunned down an innocent, hoodie-wearing black child with skittles in his pocket. If you had a son he’d look like Trayvon.
That narrative (half of which comes via the President) works to manipulate people’s emotions and inspire them to hate Republicans.
Trayvon the troubled teen with a history of lawlessness and a Twitter account glorifying the Thug Life? The back of George Zimmerman’s skull showed injuries in the recent video? Zimmerman was a Hispanic and registered Democrat?
Can’t have that. Where’s the fundraising potential for Al Sharpton’s National Action Network in that media narrative?
But it’s too late. The train has already left the station. And once an icon of Marxist Martyrdom enters the pantheon of demi-gods then they’re there FOREVER, no matter what. Ron Radosh knows this better than anyone; check out this piece from him and Steven Usdin in The New Republic. The Nation still defended the Communist spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg as recently as 2010.
Progressives knew how to give those proletariat-martyrs the imaginary idol treatment too, as Nation editorial board member Tony Kushner and HBO delivered with Angels in America:
(R-rated language warning)
Marxists have played this game for a long time — hit people in the heart hard enough and you’ll stop the blood flow to their brain.
On page 52, Derrick Bell’s idol Chiara, the black martyr-goddess-alien prophet, continues delivering the Afrolantica Legacies, here blaming whites for the personal failings of a minority of black Americans’ embrace of cracker culture:
“But out of their frustration and despair, many of your people are turning to violence, though mostly against one another. And many more are doing violence to themselves.”
Recall that Bell blamed disappearing industrial jobs for inspiring inner city youth to sell crack. Here he identifies abstract feelings of “frustration and despair” as inspiring the nihilism of the gangbanger lifestyle and ghetto rap culture. To Bell, all black problems stem from the ongoing trauma of living in a white supremacist society. This foundational dogma of Critical Race Theory distorts believers’ ability to interpret reality. Every piece of new information must first go through the believer’s emotional conviction that a grand conspiracy (“The Man”) exists to protect racist white criminals and oppress innocent black males.
Newly released video of George Zimmerman at the Sanford Police Department the night he shot Trayvon Martin to death show the neighborhood watch volunteer without blood on his clothing or bruises on his face or head. His clean-shaven picture seems to contrast with the violent beating he told police he endured at the hands of Martin, 17, who Zimmerman said attacked him from behind.
The video, obtained by ABC News, appears inconsistent with Zimmerman’s recently leaked statement to police that he was in a death struggle with Martin before Zimmerman shot him in the chest in self-defense. Zimmerman told investigators that Martin jumped him from behind, punched him in the nose and pounded his head into a sidewalk, according to a police report first described by the Orlando Sentinal.
So was there a racist police conspiracy to deny justice to Trayvon?
In Part II of Afrolantica Legacies, Critical Race Theory founder Derrick Bell presents the seven essays and parables corresponding with the seven tenets of his political faith. The first narrative, titled “Chiara’s Enlightenment” illustrates the first of Bell’s racial dogmas:
Bell’s story describes a fictional encounter between himself and an alien named Chiara from the planet Nevus. This fantastic visitor traveled across the galaxy to earth in order to assure Bell of his affirmative action ideas’ enlightenment.
This chapter showcases some of the most obvious contradictions in Bell’s political theology.
On page 43 Bell reveals his adherence to Marxist pseudo-feminism, a doctrine that rejects — contrary to Biology 101 — the significance of innate differences in the genders:
But if gender means nothing — and if sex differences are just another tool the bourgeoisie use to oppress the proletariat — then why does Bell repeat on page 46 his belief that “black women will ultimately save our people”?
From page 33, Derrick Bell in dialogue with his idealized version of himself, the female civil rights lawyer Geneva Crenshaw, now elevated to a prophetic goddess with supernatural powers:
“The power of prophesy does not guarantee conversion.”
At some level Bell knew that his ideas had more in common with religion than legal scholarship. He saw himself as a prophet laying the blueprints for the ideal society. The 28-year-old law students who opened their hearts and minds to him did so with the same mentality as the converts at a Billy Graham crusade, feeling an emotional, religious satisfaction they had never known in a secular household.
And now today we see faith in action; the viewers of MSNBC can articulate a more in-depth understanding of the Trayvon Martin shooting than those who witnessed it.
With the racial tensions rising in Florida while antisemitic demagogues feed the flames, note how political activism and religious devotion merge. The hoodie has now become an object to aid in worship, assisting the adherent in identifying with the new martyr of the permanent-victim class, the proletariat:
In an interview last week with Ion Mihai Pacepa by Madeleine Simon:
The Communists went to great lengths to make Marxism the only religion in every country where they seized political power. One of the first things I did on that memorable day of July 28, 1978, when I became a free man, was to fall to my knees and pray out loud, for the first time in more than a quarter of a century. It took me a while. It was not easy to find the right words to express my great joy and thanks to the good Lord.
The way prophesies work is not that one predicts what will happen, but rather what one will make happen.
“If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon…”
From Page 28 of Afrolantica Legacies, the conclusion of Geneva Crenshaw’s response to Bill Clinton’s imaginary speech:
“Blackness is a concept distilled from the degradation of slavery and the exploitation of racism. It is a reminder that black and odious are not identical terms. The concept of blackness reassures us that we are worthy, despite the hostility to our presence we endure, the insensitivity to our pain we abide, and the inner rage we deflect — all too often on ourselves.”
Derrick Bell believed racism to be a permanent problem ingrained into the documents defining the American Idea. In this passage we begin to understand more why. His identity as a black man depends on understanding himself and “his people” as a class of permanent victims. In adopting the Marxist theology of human history as continued variations of proletariat vs bourgeoisie struggle, Bell designated his “blackness” as relegating him to a state of ongoing cultural warfare. (More on Bell’s Marxism and his embrace of Communist icon Paul Robeson in coming posts…)
Here Bell admits that the concept of “blackness” serves as an emotional crutch to “reassure us that we are worthy” and calm “the inner rage.” (Perhaps the kinds of feelings generated through knowing and admitting you’re a “nobody among world famous intellectuals”?)
Why is it necessary to carry around symbols of perpetual victimhood? Because as long as you’re a victim you’re not responsible for your situation in life and you’re powerless to fix it. Luck is all that matters, save when social justice (via affirmative action and reparations for slavery) can tip the imaginary scale back into balance.
“…whites have chosen to protect their sense of belonging based on skin color over alliances with blacks that would have improved all of our lives.”
Thus, the capitalist system bears responsibility for a minority of minorities living in poverty. And since capitalism produces these disparities in racial achievements, capitalism itself is racist. (Bell rejects race-neutral and cultural explanations for inner city pathology.) Because free market economies lead to racist conclusions, this means that anyone who isn’t a socialist is a racist whether they realize it or not.
“We have not been passive in seeking our rights but even our best efforts seem to translate into more property for whites and more promises for blacks.”
When Bell refers to “seeking our rights” here he uses the term in the same way as Barack Obama and today’s mainstream Democrats, in the context of what government “must do on your behalf.” Rights = other people’s property that they acquired by luck and that progressives must redistribute to counteract the innate, permanent racism in American society. You have a Right for someone else to pay for your health care. You have a Right to have someone else supply your birth control pills.
Of course this political tradition has deeper roots in the Democratic Party than the Alinskyite infiltration of Obama’s cohort…
Just as Professor Derrick Bell blamed Jews for inspiring antisemitism, he also pointed the finger at disappearing industrial jobs to explain away inner city criminal culture:
… it is massive unemployment and not the lack of family values that has devasated so many black communities, placed one-third of young men — denied even menial jobs when they lacked education and skills — in prison or in the jaws of the criminal court system, most of them for nonviolent drug offenses.
After my previous post on Afrolantica Legacies featured a video of Thomas Sowell revealing Bell acknowledged his inexperience, a question came to mind: how does Bell’s affirmative action experience at Harvard mirror Barack Obama’s?
In the first essay featured in Afrolantica Legacies Derrick Bell puts his words in Bill Clinton’s mouth. This excerpt from page 13 of Afrolantica Legacies imagines a speech in 1998 from the president titled “Racial Liberation Day: The Challenge for White Americans”:
For Bell’s Critical Race Theory political theology the concept of “racism” shifted from the concrete (Jim Crow) to an abstraction:
… racism is a system of continuing and cumulative advantage that benefits all whites whether or not they seek it.
Thus, Bell can now use this abstraction as the ghost in the gears, the necessary, permanent explanation for any individual black American’s personal failures and professional inadequacies:
As Americans, we want to believe that our country is a meritocracy where anyone who has talent and works hard can be successful. Charges of racial discrimination threaten that image and, in all but the most blatant cases, many whites find it difficult to take them seriously. Thus when blacks assert that racism is alive and flourishing, whites find denial is the easier, the more comforting reaction.
Perhaps the reasons for Bell’s attacks on meritocracy are more personal than political, as Thomas Sowell observes:
Derrick Bell was put in an impossible position. He was hired as a full professor at the Harvard Law School when he himself said he did not have the kinds of qualifications that people have when they get appointed as full professors at the Harvard law school. And so what were his options? His options were to be a nobody among world famous intellectuals or to go off on his own shtick and try to be important or significant in that way. And he chose the low road… The fundamental problem was making him a professor at the Harvard Law School when even he himself knew that was not something that he merited.
In upcoming parts of this continuing journey through Afrolantica we’ll see more instances of Bell’s commentary that read in a different light when understood in the context of the professor’s own career.
Before beginning our journey to Afrolantica, this dialogue opens the book:
Geneva Crenshaw is a fictional character created by Professor Derrick Bell. She appears in his previous writings as an idealized version of himself, expressing his opinions with greater vigor.
For Critical Race Theorists to make the case for American racism’s “permanence” they must annihilate the Founding Fathers’ reputations. If Thomas Jefferson and the other founders were so stupid that they could not see the common humanity of non-whites then why should anyone respect their political values and the legitimacy of our nation?
With this political theology embedded in one’s heart and mind, the emotional desire to “fundamentally transform” America arises:
RELATED: J. Christian Adams published a picture worth a thousand words on this subject.
I planned to blog about the late Derrick Bell’s Afrolantica Legacies from beginning to end. However, recent events in France necessitate a brief detour to the book’s sixth — and longest — chapter. “Shadowboxing: Blacks, Jews and Games Scapegoats Play” features two dialogues devoted to Bell’s defense of Louis Farrakhan, the antisemitic leader of the Nation of Islam.
Bell describes a radical student named Nat T (a reference to the slave revolt led by Nat Turner) who comes to visit him in his law school office. When Bell rejects Nat T’s violent, kill-all-the-white-people rhetoric the student storms out, promising to murder him and the other “black tokens” when the revolution arrives.
As Nat T leaves the building he upsets Ben Hirsch, a Jewish faculty member whom Bell describes as “a staunch supporter of Israel where he travels frequently and consults with the government.” Hirsch comes to Bell to complain, leading to a Socratic dialogue where Bell blows over a series of Straw Man arguments. Despite Bell’s reliance on cliches throughout his narratives, this invention of a pro-Israel professor shows a genuine gift for the surreal.
“… when one black leader makes comments they deem anti-Semitic…”
Bell denied Farrakhan’s antisemitism. And his sentiment mirrors paleo-conservative former MSNBC contributor Pat Buchanan’s description of Father Charles Coughlin (who published the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in his newspaper Social Justice in the 1930s) as “an alleged antisemite.”
In the prologue to Afrolantica Legacies Professor Derrick Bell claims whites base their self-worth on skin color:
For without black people in America, what would it mean to be white? Of what value whiteness, the privilege of preference, the presumption of normality, the reassurance of majority status? Were the advantages of color to disappear, how would whites replace their carefully constructed but ever-fragile self-esteem based on whiteness? Blacks doubted that many whites would ever ask themselves these questions, but the questions were not less real because unacknowledged.
“Only African Americans were able to breathe and survive there.”
“The first black visitors reported a sense of well-being, a ‘euphoria of freedom’ one called it, that they had never known in America.”
“Millions of blacks were determined to move to this new land, to begin an ideal society.”
Observe the end goal here. Bell’s utopia is not that Americans of all skin colors embrace one another. Instead, he sought to inspire a “euphoria of freedom” through the fantasy of an “ideal society” without Jews.
As a 28-year-old student at Harvard Law Barack Obama supported the activism of Professor Derrick Bell and urged his peers to open their hearts and minds to the words of Critical Race Theory‘s founder.
But what did Bell believe and how could his ideas have any relation to the president’s policies today?
The myth of the rise and fall of Afrolantica — a kind of Atlantis where only African Americans can live — opens the book and provides Bell with a way to tie together his essays, fictional dialogues, and political parables written through the ’80s and ’90s. From seven of these essays, Bell extracts these principles to serve as “rules of racial preservation”:
James Joyner at Inside the Beltway fisks Bill Maher and Alexandra Pelosi’s stereotype-mongering. Last week on Real Time, the pair presented a video Pelosi shot featuring poor, toothless, racist rednecks embarrassing Republicans. This week for
balance attention they debuted a new provocation interviewing welfare recipients bragging about having “four baby-mamas” and voting for Obama because he’s a black man who keeps the government handouts flowing. Joyner cuts to the core issue and nails it:
There’s an old saying in social science circles: The plural of anecdote is not data. It’s relatively easy to cherry pick examples that confirm your bias but, without systematic sampling to ensure that they’re reflective of the larger universe, they have little value.
It’s doubtless true that there are a lot of ignorant racists in Mississippi. Or, for that matter, anywhere. Similarly, some percentage of those collecting government assistance are doubtless slimeballs who are too lazy to work and have no shame at living off those who do. But sticking a camera in their faces to record the fact doesn’t shed much light on how representative they are of the population we’re attempting to understand. Instead, these examples reinforce existing biases, doing much more harm than good.
Real Time videos available at Inside the Beltway, though, remember: they represent 15 minutes of your life that you won’t get back.
So why not give Zo 8 minutes instead?
If the Democrats lose the black vote, they lose everything. This is why their hooks are so deep in the black community and have virtually hard-wired the black community to be loyal to them. The chains that Democrats used to put on their wrists and ankles have now been clamped onto their hearts and minds.
The Economist reminds environmental utopians of the limited supply of rare metals (dysprosium and neodymium) needed for the high-powered magnets in “green” motors:
…if wind turbines and electric vehicles are going to fulfil the role environmental planners have assigned them in reducing emissions of carbon dioxide, using current technologies would require an increase in the supply of neodymium and dysprosium of more than 700% and 2,600% respectively during the next 25 years. At the moment, the supply of these metals is increasing by 6% a year. To match the three researchers’ projections it would actually have to increase by 8% a year for neodymium and 14% for dysprosium.
Related at Tatler: Roger L. Simon with The High Cost of Winding.
Yesterday National Public Radio promoted the book Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson.
The question: why are some nations rich while others are poor, is the most important question in economics. And after centuries of trying to figure out the answer, economists still don’t know. Until, maybe, just maybe – right now.
Two important economists have come out with a new book that they say, and many others agree, may offer the answer. The book is called “Why Nations Fail.” One of the authors, Harvard’s James Robinson, says the reason economists haven’t succeeded so far is that they’ve been so obsessed with mathematical models of fictional economies that don’t actually exist.
And what signature example do Robinson and Acemoglu select? North Korea:
The two Koreas are an extreme example. But you can see the same thing on the border of the US and Mexico, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, and dozens of other neighboring countries. In all of these cases, the people and land were fairly similar, but the border changed everything.
“It’s all about institutions,” Daron Acemoglu, one of the authors, explained. “It’s really about human-made systems, rules, regulations, formal or informal that create different incentives.”
When these guys talk about institutions they mean it as broadly as possible: it’s the formal rules and laws, but also the norms and common practices of a society. Lots of countries have great constitutions but their leaders have a practice of ignoring the rules whenever they feel like it.
Acemoglu and his co-author, James Robinson say the key difference between rich countries and poor ones is the degree to which a country has institutions that keep a small elite from grabbing all the wealth. In poor countries, the rich and powerful crush the poor and powerless.
So North Koreans live in poverty because “the rich and powerful crush the poor and powerless.” If only today’s Harvard economists and good, progressive NPR listeners lived back when the Soviets set up the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea as a satellite state after World World II then surely they would have built “institutions that keep a small elite from grabbing all the wealth.” Right?
California’s elected officials are particularly adept at dreaming up ways to spend other people’s money. While the state struggles with interminable deficits caused by years of reckless spending, the argument in Sacramento isn’t over how to reduce government; rather, it’s over how much to raise taxes and on whom. Governor Brown is pushing for a tax increase of $6.9 billion per year, to appear on this November’s ballot. California’s powerful government-employee unions and Molly Munger, a wealthy civil-rights attorney (wealthy by dint of being the daughter of Warren Buffett’s business partner) are offering two competing tax-hike plans. The silver lining may be that having three tax hikes on the ballot will turn voters off all of them.
Meanwhile, lawmakers in Texas are grappling with a fiscal question of an entirely different sort: whether or not to spend some of the $6 billion set aside in the state’s rainy-day fund.
Today Breitbart.com Editor-At-Large Ben Shapiro utilizes his Harvard Law education to continue fisking Barack Obama’s constitutional law courses. Today, part III:
Here’s the first question from Obama’s 1997 exam.
The situation is a cross between Dolly the Sheep and Terri Schiavo. Essentially, many years in the future, there’s a young woman, Dollly. After a car accident, Dolly enters into a severe vegetative state with no possibility of recovery. Her parents, Mary and Joseph (you have to love the carefully chosen anti-religious implications here), whom she has given joint authority over her in a living will, decide to pull the plug. They also decide that they want to clone her. The problem is that the state has passed a law against cloning. The second problem is that other states that allow cloning require consent of the cloning subject, unless the subject is a terminally ill child – and it’s unclear whether Dolly gave her consent, though she had no moral objections to cloning.
This presents a question: is there a constitutional right to cloning?
Here the analysis of Obama’s suggested answer:
- First, Obama suggests that there is a fundamental constitutional right to clone oneself. The precedent cases “all argue for a broad reading of the right at stake: a right to make decisions regarding childbearing free from government interference—at least absent a government showing that such interference is narrowly tailored to serve a compelling government interest.” Obama calls Justice Scalia’s argument that constitutional rights must be “deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and traditions” a “cramped reading of the right to privacy.”
Reminder: the ethics of cloning is not the issue here. That’s just the red fingernail Obama and the cultural Marxists use to dupe apolitical people. The important question is what the Constitution means. Does the Constitution grant us the “Right” to do anything? Or do our Rights come from a Creator? Is the Constitution instead a document of checks on the federal government’s power? Is that perhaps why Obama would shift from a career as a community organizer to Constitutional law? Know thy enemy.
Obama and the Alinskyites can’t win this debate so instead they have to dupe apolitical people with “social issues” like how poor Sandra Fluke can’t afford her birth control pills and 26-year-old “adult children” need mommy and daddy’s health insurance.
Mona Charen this morning at National Review:
In his new book, Brooks argues that it is part of the American character to value work. “Americans work 50 percent more than the Italians, the French, and even the Germans.” Why? Cosseted socialists in Europe would say it’s because we’re terrified of losing our jobs. But Brooks points to research showing that the more hours Americans work, the happier they report themselves to be. Only 11 percent of Americans say they wish they could spend a lot less time on their jobs.
The American work ethic can be eroded though, and will be, Brooks argues, by an expanding welfare state. It isn’t just that people who believe life to be unfair demand that governments “equalize” outcomes. It’s that once governments undertake to equalize things, people begin to believe that success is more a matter of luck than of hard work. A 2005 study of 29 countries found that where taxes are high and wealth is redistributed through social programs, people are much more likely to believe that success is a result of luck.
Also new this morning, PJ Media’s Dr. Helen Smith notes a Christian Science Monitor article proclaiming “Three in 10 young adults live with parents, highest level since 1950s” and comments at PJ Lifestyle:
So many young adults are living with parents because they don’t want to take a job they might not like or that doesn’t pay as much as they think they are worth with the Brown degree that everyone probably told them was the path to riches, or at least the good life.
Funny the way the pieces fall together:
1. Students can easily acquire loans to attend college because the federal government intervened in the free market.
2. Because of this attempt to make higher education “more accessible,” the price of college inflated, thus students must incur large debts.
3. Once at college, non-hard science students can study useless variations of cultural Marxism and graduate without any real skill, save the ability to advocate for other people to pay higher taxes:
4. These idealists emerge into an economy devastated by a recession exacerbated by policies such as the Community Reinvestment Act, a law Alinskyte Marxists advocated.
5. The large student loan debt and lack of positions for those without skills scares them into staying at home. The parents who have supported them throughout their education continue to do so.