Footnotes on The New Republic

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Fallows has a nice wrap-up on Peretz-Gate. One last quote from Peretz which I saw earlier, but did not report because it wasn't sourced. I did some searching and found it myself:


At the forum last week on black-Jewish relations, sponsored by the United Jewish Appeal, the perception problem between the two groups was brought painfully into focus as Mfume and other panelists discussed the quest for equal opportunity. 

Citing statistics on out-of-wedlock births among blacks, Martin Peretz, editor in chief of The New Republic, said, "So many in the black population are afflicted by cultural deficiencies." Asked what he meant, Peretz responded, "I would guess that in the ghetto a lot of mothers don't appreciate the importance of schooling." 

Mfume challenged Peretz, saying, "You can't really believe that. Every mother wants the best for their children." Peretz agreed, then added, "But a mother who is on crack is in no position to help her children get through school." Some in the audience of 2,600 young Jewish leaders hissed at Peretz's remarks.

To the extent that those odious remarks can be defended, its worth saying that a few weeks earlier the Congressional Black Caucus, which Mfume then headed, had announced a "sacred covenant" with the Nation of Islam. I don't think that is a defense, but it still should be said.

Next, I need to amend my characterization of "Taxi Cabs And The Meaning Of Work." The article, while assumed to be false by many of the writers covering Stephen Glass's fall, was never proven to be completely cooked. Indeed, Cynic was able to electronically document the likely existence of the cab driver. I think I wrote that the piece was "completely cooked." That isn't true. I still find much of the article highly suspect, in light of who Stephen Glass was. But I wanted to be clear about precisely what I know, and what I don't.

Finally here is video of Harvard students confronting Peretz. I found it unsatisfying, and expected as much. It doesn't mean it shouldn't have happened, or that the students were wrong for confronting Peretz--they most certainly were not. I've just never gotten much out of the watching the administration of comeuppance, not matter how justified.

EDIT: The Peretz quote is from the The Washington Post. March 28, 1994. It was written by Lynn Duke. Sorry that info got cut during rewrites.
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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