Thursday, March 8, 2012

You Can Relax Now, Professor Derrick Bell Is Not Dangerous To Most People

The website Weasel Zippers is always good for laughs. It's a "drink the Kool Aid and we'll all be together with God" kind of place. Funny, very, is the fact that many of the articles make perfect progressive sense unless one is already drunk on the Kool Aid.

For instance, there is the new tea-pot-tempest over President Obama supporting one of his professors while at Harvard Law. Prof. Derrick Bell is presented as a dangerous radical, but all of the presented evidence is pretty mild and unconvincing.

For instance, here are the Professors quotes that the site used to support the finding:

“Despite undeniable progress for many, no African Americans are insulated from incidents of racial discrimination. Our careers, even our lives, are threatened because of our color.”

“[T]he racism that made slavery feasible is far from dead . . . and the civil rights gains, so hard won, are being steadily eroded.”

“. . .few whites are ready to actively promote civil rights for blacks.”

“[D]iscrimination in the workplace is as vicious (if less obvious) than it was when employers posted signs ‘no negras need apply.’”

“We rise and fall less as a result of our efforts than in response to the needs of a white society that condemns all blacks to quasi citizenship as surely as it segregated our parents.”

“Slavery is, as an example of what white America has done, a constant reminder of what white America might do.”

“Black people will never gain full equality in this country. . . . African Americans must confront and conquer the otherwise deadening reality of our permanent subordinate status.”

“Tolerated in good times, despised when things go wrong, as a people we [blacks] are scapegoated and sacrificed as distraction or catalyst for compromise to facilitate resolution of political differences or relieve economic adversity.”

What's not to agree with here? I find all of these quotes to be utterly reasonable, and certainly they are all acceptable for a Law School professor who wishes to contribute to a reasonable dialog on race in America. It's not a Black thing either, I'd have done the same (from the back rows and in private conversations, but still).

The professor's proposed dialog is threatening to "post-racial" White Conservative America, maybe even to American culture in general. We all cherish our illusions, and many of us cherish the illusion of racial progress. Never good though to sweep these things under the rug. Real progress comes in the light of day.

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