Former Duke Professor Houston Baker, now Distinguished University Professor at Vanderbilt University, has a new book out: Betrayal: How Black Intellectuals Have Abandoned the Ideals of the Civil Rights Era.
Here’s some of what its publisher, Columbia University Press, says about it:
Houston A. Baker Jr. condemns those black intellectuals who, he believes, have turned their backs on the tradition of racial activism in America. …Do you recall Houston Baker’s response to the lies of Crystal Mangum and Mike Nifong?
As he sees it, the mission of the black intellectual today is not to do great things but to do specific, racially based work that is in the interest of the black majority.
The lacrosse team - 15 of whom have faced misdemeanor charges for drunken misbehavior in the past three years - may well feel they can claim innocence and sport their disgraced jerseys on campus, safe under the cover of silent whiteness.I’m sure Baker believes he’s a intellectually equipped to judge other scholars.
But where is the black woman who their violence and raucous witness injured for life? Will she ever sleep well again?
And when will the others assaulted by racist epithets while passing 610 Buchanan ever forget that dark moment brought on them by a group of drunken Duke boys?
Young, white, violent, drunken men among us - implicitly boasted by our athletic directors and administrators - have injured lives.
There is scarcely any shame more egregious than one that wraps itself in the pious sentimentalism of liberal rhetoric as though such a wrap really constituted moral and ethical action.
But Baker’s a bully, a fool, and a raving racist. In March and April 2006 he was a loud and enthusiastic supporter of Mike Nifong’s outrages. He demanded Duke expel all the white students on the lacrosse team. He gave media interviews in which he hyped slanders being used by those working to frame three obviously innocent Duke students. And he eagerly signed the Faculty Group of 88’s statement thanking those who’d circulated Vigilante posters and rallied under a CASTRATE banner.
I’m glad he left Duke and I'm sorry for Vandy.
I also plan to pass on Baker’s book. But you already knew that, didn’t you?
Hat tip: Ex-prosecutor