Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Black Americans Need Diversity of Political Ideas, Not Conformity

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Black Americans Need Diversity of Political Ideas, Not Conformity

Article excerpt

After years of procrastination, I finally got around to reading Yale University law professor Stephen L. Carter's book, "Reflections of An Affirmative Action Baby." Carter writes engagingly about race issues like affirmative action, racial stereotypes and the civil-rights movement. Particularly interesting was a group of chapters titled "On Being a Black Dissenter."

During the '70s and '80s, Thomas Sowell and I came under scurrilous attacks for our departures from the conventional wisdom on race. We were attacked by the news media, campus intellectuals and members of the civil-rights establishment.

To give a sample of the viciousness of the attacks, Carl Rowan said in his nationally syndicated column: "Vidkum Quisling, in his collaboration with the Nazis, surely did not do as much damage to the Norwegians as Sowell is doing to the most helpless of black Americans. Sowell is giving aid and comfort to America's racists." Not long after, a black reporter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer found Rowan's column so compelling that he plagiarized it, simply substituting my name in place of Sowell's, to attack me. Both during and after confirmation hearings, and right up to today, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has been called "Uncle Tom," "Oreo" and "race-traitor," and has been caricatured in cartoons in national publications in most unflattering ways. Other targets of these attacks have included: Shelby Steele, a professor at California State University; Robert Woodson, director of the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprises; and Julius Lester, a professor at the University of Massachusetts. Carter points out that these attacks and the stifling of dissent is not new among blacks. When W.E.B. Du Bois criticized Marcus Garvey's back-to-Africa movement, Garvey dismissed him as "purely and simply a white man's nigger. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.