Friday, February 27, 2009

Pundit’s “Don’t Miss” Letter To AG Holder

National Journal columnist Stuart Taylor has written an outstanding letter to AG Eric Holder who recently said America was “a nation of cowards [who’ve] not come to grips with our racial past. (This post links to Holder’s Feb. 18 speech.)

Here’s some of what Taylor told Holder:
Please use your bully pulpit in the future to cut through the usual cant and state some politically incorrect truths about race in America that would carry special weight if they came from you.
That would require mustering the courage to take on the Democratic Party's powerful racial-grievance lobby. But it would do the country a lot of good.

The one point that you developed in a bit of detail in the February 18 speech was especially silly: "Black history is given a separate, and clearly not equal, treatment.... Until black history is included in the standard curriculum in our schools and becomes a regular part of all our lives, it will be viewed as a novelty, relatively unimportant and not as weighty as so-called 'real' American history."

Bosh. The reality is that our high schools and universities are quite clearly focusing disproportionate attention on black history.

The proof includes a poll published last year in which 2,000 high school juniors and seniors in all 50 states were asked to name the 10 most famous Americans, other than presidents and first ladies.

The top three finishers were black: Martin Luther King Jr. (67 percent), Rosa Parks (60 percent), and Harriet Tubman (44 percent). So is the only living finisher, Oprah Winfrey (22 percent).

As for the universities, "the almost obsessive emphasis on race, class, and gender in the humanities and social sciences means that, if anything, black history is overrepresented in college history curricula," in the words of professor KC Johnson, a distinguished scholar of American history based at Brooklyn College. (We co-authored a 2007 book on the Duke lacrosse rape fraud.)

It's true that college black-studies courses are often "separate." But the reason is hardly to slight black history. It is to satisfy demands for hiring more black professors, who tend to specialize in black studies.

Some of them also use their platforms to spread the lie that America is still pervaded by white racism.

Your unelaborated assertion that "this nation has still not come to grips with its racial past" is also way off base, Mr. Attorney General.

To the contrary, this nation has adopted numerous civil-rights laws. It has replaced the once-pervasive regime of discrimination against blacks with a benignly motivated but nonetheless wide-reaching regime of discrimination against whites, euphemistically known as "affirmative action." It sometimes seems more interested in teaching children about slavery and segregation than about math and science. It has elected a black president. . . .

Taylor’s “don’t miss” letter’s here.

If you haven’t read them already, you many want to take a look at Holder’s A Nation of Cowards” Speech: A First Take and Holder’s “Cowards” Speech: Overseas Commenters Respond.

Tonight I’ll post some more reader comments from adadfa adfda along with my responses to them.

Hat tips to cks for the heads up on Taylor’s column and to for hosting it.


Anonymous said...

"Admirable public servant" is a term that does not come to mind when considering Holder's record.

When Slick Willie Clinton left the White House, he gave pardons to a number of absolutely despicable people--terrorists, thieves, and garden variety scum-bags. Holder was in a position where he could have challenged the decisions. Indeed, if Holder were an "admirable public servant" he surely would have stood up to Clinton and said "not no, but Hell NO!" Instead, the gutless Holder went along with it despite knowing what was being done.
Adding insult to injury, he showed up at his senate hearing and told the world's greatest deliberative body that he "learned a great deal" from his experience as Janet Reno's horse-holder (hey, that must be how he got his name).
Taylor can't cajole Holder into becoming something he isn't by sucking up to him. Taylor's points are well-taken and valid, but I have a real problem with his tagging Holder as "admirable."
Tarheel Hawkeye

Anonymous said...

Taylor's comments are spot on - particularly his point about the teaching of Black History. One has only to pick up any of the American history textboks used in primary or secondary schools today to see how the history that is taught overemphasises the contributions of many minority figures and women at the expense of those who had a signficant role in the development of this country's economic, political, andsocial history. When Alexander Hamilton is not mentioned at all and Oprah is granted a paragraph, then one knows that something is seriously out of whack.
As a teacher I find Black history month and women's history month to be a political construct to satisfy some interest group who was able to put a guilt trip on a significant number of politicians who then voted accordingly. One doesn't stop in a course to artificially inflate the role played by individuals in the making of history. Rather those roles played (large and small) are taught in the proper sequence with the actions/reactions discussed as need be (this can be based on any number of factors: class make-up; teacher or class interest; focus of the class - economic, political, diplomatic; etc.). When I taught American history I did not "celebrate Black history month, women's history, etc. Rather, the efforts of all those who contributed in the making of this nation were taught as part of a whole so that my students could comprehend that while yes, the United States came about as did other states in the eighteenth century as a result of the efforts of white, Anglo-Saxon, protestant males, there were many women, blacksm Indians, Catholics, athiests, deists and later imigrants from many countries who contributed in ways both large and small to make this country (though by no means perfect) the closest thing to "a shining city on a hill".

Anonymous said...

If you reward bad behavior, you get... more bad behavior.