American Renaissance, November 1991
Rising Black Star
Cornel West is one of those hot, young, black professors that stylish universities are dying to hire. At age 37, he already has tenure at Princeton, and virtually every other university in the country would kill to get him. A recent New York Times Magazine article about him says this: “Harvard is determined to hire him, Yale can’t believe it lost him; Columbia offered him a tenured position in its history department while he was trying to decide about Princeton.”
We were not familiar with the work of this paragon, so we have been on the lookout for something he had written. This is the first thing we found (Voice, 9/17/91, p. 35.):
The 60s was a watershed period because black rage came out of the closet. As white institutional terrorism was challenged, black rage surfaced with a power and a potency never seen in American history. In fact, it threatened the very social order and stability of the country. The major American-elite response to this threat was to reduce tragic black persons into pathetic black victims and to redirect the channels of black rage in and to black working-class and poor communities. The reduction was done by making black poor people clients of a welfare system that both sustained and degraded them; by viewing black middle-class people as questionable and stigmatized beneficiaries of affirmative-action programs that fueled their identity crisis . . .
Thus saith the new darling of the Ivy League.
Through the Looking Glass
The Houston Fire Department has been under the usual pressures to hire and promote more non-whites. Promotion to most positions is on the basis of written examinations. Firemen who are serious about advancement buy a shelf of books and study for months to pass the tests.
Recently, 815 Houston firemen took a 100-question exam for a promotion. As usual, there weren’t enough non-whites among the 308 who passed. The only acceptable explanation for this, of course, was that the test was biased. What to do? Acting under a federal judge’s order, the department decided that questions that were gotten wrong more often by non-whites than by whites, were discriminatory and would be thrown out. This was duly done and 28 questions were eliminated.
As a result, 32 people who originally passed were now declared to have failed: 22 whites, six blacks, three Hispanics, and one Asian. On the other hand, 13 people who had originally flunked were now found to have passed: five whites, four Hispanics, and four blacks. With a little more jiggling of the scores, the department managed to produce a net gain of one non-white promotion and declared the exercise a success.
The firemen who were knocked off the promotion list are hopping mad. Several are considering filing a discrimination suit against the city.
Kathleen Blee has written a book called Women of the Klan, about women who were active in the Ku Klux Klan during the 1920s. As part of her research for the book, Miss Blee interviewed a number of these women, all of whom are now quite elderly.
In our current era of enforced “tolerance” and “sensitivity,” it is always instructive to observe the implacable prejudices of the liberal. This is how Miss Blee describes her feelings about the women she interviewed:
[I] was prepared to hate and fear my informants. My own commitment to progressive politics prepared me to find these people strange, even repellent. I expected no rapport, no shared assumptions, no commonality of thought or experience. What I found was more disturbing. Many of the people I interviewed were interesting, intelligent and well-informed.
Miss Blee’s “commitment to progressive politics” had brought with it the conviction that anyone without that commitment must be “strange” and “repellent.” Any white woman with a sense of her own racial destiny is bound to be such an alien, loathsome thing that Miss Blee expected to find “no commonality of thought or experience.” That these women should be intelligent and interesting was “more disturbing” than that they be loathsome. No doubt this is because the discovery shook Miss Blee’s unconscious conviction that anyone not like herself was a moral inferior. The liberal mind is a fearful thing indeed.
Later, Miss Blee goes on to say, “They just had a world, and they wanted to maintain it.” How strange. How repellent.