I mean really. Check out this backward-ass interview over at Mother Jones. No disrespect to Adam Hochschild, who wrote the stunning King Leopold's Ghost, but it just amazes me that after years of studying with some of the great seers of American academia, in some of the greatest intellectual institutions ever established in world history, Skip Gates racial analysis still boils down to this sort of strawmanship:
Look—no white racist makes you get pregnant when you are a black teenager.
Who is making this argument? Where are the black lefties, or black welfare mothers, or irresponsible black fathers who are running around saying the Klan is responsible for teenage pregnancy among black people? Dude please. You always know a hack because he has to reduce his adversary into a flat cartoon before he can engage him. This is the sort of moralizing that's only employed against black people. The deep South--even today--is home to the country's poorest and most backward population of white people. No one looks at them and says, yeah you guys need a moral revolution. People look at them say, yeah ban gay marriage that'll make your life better. More Gates hackery:
Look at black immigrants landing here in Boston from Haiti who can’t even speak English! After ten years, they own taxi medallions. So it’s not simply a matter of racism. I mean these people are as black as anybody, but they have an immigrant mentality. We need to instill an immigrant mentality back into the African American community. Really, the values under which my generation was raised in the ’50s were immigrant values even though we weren’t immigrants.
How does Gates suppose that we instill this mythical immigrant mindset in the minds of of millions of black people? Has he ever been to Little Haiti in Miami where that vaunted immigrant work ethic has landed fools exactly where Negroes around the country have been for generations? Has he ever been to Brooklyn where large swaths of black folks hail from the islands and still take the back-seat? Gimme a break. Gates is an intellectual in name and rep. But he hasn't brought the ruckus in years. For some actual heavy lifting on black immigrant values, see Malcolm Gladwell.