Interesting how the Right rallied around Breitbart’s funeral, like mafioso over a fallen thug, or more accurately racist, at least in my opinion. Promised by the late Breitbart was damning evidence that would “expose Barack Obama for who he really is.” Comes the long teased video, whose hardly earth-shattering revelations, if it can be called that, pimped by Breitbart hangers-on and partisan pimp apparents.
The Right-wing media is pulling out all the stops to sell a non-story, packing every sentence with emotive and highly charged adjectives, because this story is all sell and no substance. At the core of the story is Obama’s respect and friendship with Harvard Professor Derek Bell, while Obama was a student there. The Right calls him a radical, punching the word for optimal impact, as though that is simply enough evidence of Bell’s politics, teachings and opinions. They cite his Critical Race Theory, without actually citing his critical race theory, or by attempting to deeply mischaracterize it altogether. Then again, maybe for their audience, that simply is all the evidence they require, an attitude which would tend to support Bell’s theory, even to the most ardent denouncers.
But what is Critical Race Theory? Bell offers that in the wake of a painful racial history, in which power and institutions supporting, perpetuating and defending racial apartheid , neglect and exploitation in America do not need outright racists to exist. It postulates that systems of racism may perpetuate in the absence of overt or even conscious racism, like a fading echo or ripples on a lake. Hardly an unacceptable idea, unless one is unwilling or unable to look at racial issues as anything other than some sort of tribal football match.
I cannot do Critical Race Theory justice in this short piece, but even as a white male I absolutely subscribe to it, and have seen it in practice throughout my life. The theory is, in a nutshell, the social science of oppression, where oppression comes from, its history and manifestations through all levels of society, from the practical, such as in, say, the workplace, or in less seemingly blatant ways such as power structures and social dynamics. Were you ever nervous to see a black guy coming at you on a dark empty street…that’s a very simple illustration of a much deeper discipline.
And Critical Race Theory speaks to far deeper conditions of humanity than simply black/white racial issues in America. As the science of oppression, the insights gained from an honest comprehension of Bell’s theory reveals intimate insights regarding power and oppression anywhere in which one group asserts its power unfairly and cruelly against a weaker group.
I might take away from all this blathering on the Right a fear of the abysmal and destructive depths they are willing to sink this country into as a means of assailing Obama. In truth, it makes me sad for them, because this issue is the flimsiest of issues. they are shouting, becoming apoplectic and looking increasingly and irrecoverably foolish in rabidly attempting to sell something no one but the most partisan, ridiculous or racist would buy.