One interesting aspect of GatesGate is how many of his critics are using the oppurtunity to settle old scores. Here are the criticism of Ishmael Reed, Stanley Crouch and Glenn Loury. I was in school at Howard, when Gates-hatred seemed to be at a fever-pitch.
I never followed the debate too much for a couple reasons. 1.) We had a bad impression of black studies, and generally believed it was a place for English professors who couldn't cut it. Yeah I know, it wasn't fair. 2.) The conversation basically revolved around the Ivy League schools, which was just a different world for us. 3.) I quickly figured out I wouldn't be able to cut it in academia.
I'm not in any real position to weigh in on the old feuds, and what Gates has done or hasn't. I've never read any of his books. And I've never finished any of his documentaries. For the most part, I try to avoid generalists. So rather than check out what an Af-Am lit cat has to say about African history, I'm probably going to check out an actual Africanist. I also love a good story. So rather than watch celebs untangle their lineage, I'm going to spend my time with a narrative that has some bite.
That said, there's a lot of juice and back story here. I find it fascinating that Glenn Loury, former black conservative, has the following to say about Gates:
I find laughable, and sad, Professor Gates's declaration that he now plans to make a documentary film about racial profiling. Is that as far as his scholarship on the intersection of race and policing in America extends? Where has this eminent scholar of African-American affairs been these last 30 years, during which a historically unprecedented, politically popular, extraordinarily punitive and hugely racially disparate mobilization of resources for the policing, imprisonment and post-release supervision of those caught up in the criminal justice system has unfolded?