by Chris Bodenner

John McWhorter warns against conflating the recent reaction of Henry Louis Gates with the reaction of Cornel West to Larry Summer's criticism back in 2001. While McWhorter calls the latter a "misguided cry of racism":

That sort of thing has not been typical, however, of Gates. He has even been assailed by black writers lefter than him of being what used to be called an accommodationist, such as by Reverend Eugene Rivers, and Houston Baker – best known as one of the “Duke 88” professors raking subsequently acquitted lacrosse players over the coals for raping a black stripper -- assailing assorted black public intellectuals. Gates has never been a rabble-rouser.

McWhorter, a so-called "black conservative," then launches into a thoughtful lament against racist cops:

The relationship between black men and police forces is, in fact, the main thing keeping America from becoming “post-racial” in any sense.

Here is where many will object with statistics about residential segregation, disparities in car loans and health care, and most recently, the dumping of subprime mortgages in black communities. These, however, are more news stories than things felt on a visceral level among ordinary people as evidence that racism is still virulent in this country, a defining experience of being black.

[...W]e cannot call people like Gates drama queens for treating the invasion of their privacy by the fuzz as a symptom of something larger and vocalizing accordingly. I maintain that racism is no longer the main problem for black America – but have always said that when racism rears its ugly head it must be stomped upon.

Read the whole thing. McWhorter and Ta-Nehisi are the sharpest and most engaging writers on race today, IMHO. Watch them spar on Bloggingheads to see what I mean.

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