Tuesday, March 25, 2008


John Lott, the ethically challenged right-wing academic best known for that mantra-turned-monograph More Guns, Less Crime (gee, John, how's that working out these days?), has posted an opinion piece on the Fox News Web site that accuses Barack Obama of being one of those scary angry radical Negroes -- all because Lott and Obama didn't have nice chat-ups when they were colleagues at the University of Chicago.

Lott knows all about scary angry black people because (he tells us) he just read about them in a book -- Stupid Black Men by the African-American right-wing pundit Larry Elder. Now Lott is an instant expert. He tells us (in a "critique" of the book that reads rather like a press release) that Elder

rips into the festering sore of what passes as discussions these days about race. Elder confronts the "I-am-a-victim" attitude that corrupts people's sense of self-confidence and causes them to interpret the everyday difficulties people face in life through a prism of racial animosity....

People get so wrapped up in past traumas of what they are owed that they can't focus on the opportunities available....

These days everything from the higher default rates of blacks on mortgages to the supposedly high rate that blacks receive the death penalty are attributed to discrimination. But, Elder seems to be right that "racism provides a convenient way of avoiding serious examination of issues."

The sad thing that Elder discusses is how locked into this cycle of victimhood blacks are....

This is all, of course, a vast Democratic Party conspiracy:

...Elder says that Democrats need black people to be angry and constantly feel aggrieved to keep 90 percent of them voting for Democrats.

Republicans are actually more in-sync with black views on issues from vouchers for schooling, crime, abortion, illegal immigration, but many blacks would never vote for Republicans because of their perception of rampant racism by Republicans.

Which brings us to Angry Barack Obama:

... As someone who knew Obama for a little while -- we were both at the University of Chicago -- it has been hard to recognize the person that I knew from the one portrayed in the campaign. The person that I knew was not one who sought to build bridges with those he disagreed.

Academia is overwhelmingly filled with liberals and many even to the left of that, but most liberal academics enjoy arguing with those whom they disagree with. Debate and discussion over lunch and in the halls is what makes academia a fun place to be.

But Obama was not like that.

Possibly it was his anger over our differences over the gun issue or a broader anger with those with whom he disagreed, but attempts to engage in discussions ended with a stern looks and a turned back. That was true whether I met him at school or someplace else. There was anger there.

Like Larry Elder’s family, many blacks can point to experiences that they could let consume them with anger, real or imagined, but that obsession only harms themselves and those blacks who are trying to make their lives better. Hopefully, Elder’s book can get across the message that the vast majority of people really want them to succeed.

So there you go. After having known Obama "for a little while," Lott thoroughly understands his psyche, and Obama, he concludes definitively, is angry -- the sole bit of evidence being the fact that Obama didn't choose to shoot the breeze with Lott, a monomaniacal right-wing partisan.

And, to judge from the last paragraph, apparently the whole stereotype applies -- Obama is full of rage and blames the world for his problems, which is just the kind of thing that keeps black people down. If that's true, I'm not sure how Obama got through Columbia, Harvard Law, several career changes, the writing of two best-selling books, and a presidential nominating contest in which he's on the verge of an upset victory over one of the toughest competitors in the business. Maybe Lott will explain it all in his next Fox op-ed.

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