Trending yesterday on Yahoo: “Breitbart’s Obama college video turns out to be a dud,sparks race debate.”
Boy, did this CNN interview cause a Twitter backlash against Soledad yesterday…but I honestly don’t know why. She asked a very pointed question: “What’s the bombshell?” And Pollak's answer was, well, rather weak. And once I learned what "Critical Race Theory" ("CRT") was, I understood EXACTLY why Yahoo called this a "dud".
First, the "bombshell". According Pollak (in the CNN interview), the "bombshell" is the "revelation of the relationship between Obama and Derrick Bell". Now as far as I can see, the most apparent relationship is that of student and professor - beyond that, possible friendship, maybe?
But, ahhhh, Pollak goes on to insist that Derrick Bell is the author of Critical Race Theory (by the way, Bell had with help from a white man named Alan Freeman), and that "White Supremacy is at the heart of critical race theory and Obama knew it!”. They (the "right") are trying, of course, to characterize it as another radical association (he does this in another interview with
Faux Fox News' Sean Hannity)
Sounds scary, doesn't it? But once you understand what "CRT" actually is, you might not be so scared.
Sooo, what is Critical Race Theory? Well in that same interview with
Faux Fox News,
Pollak and his associate claim that the Wikipedia article on “CRT” had been altered. So I went in search of a better, more
reliable source…and found one.
|(image is licensed under Wikimedia Creative Commons License)|
From 2003, long before anyone allegedly “covered up” the video, Temple University published part of a book (the forward, perhaps?) that addresses Critical Race Theory. Put on your hard-hat, because knowledge is about to be dropped ya, son. (sorry, black colloquialism)
First - WHY "CRT":
"the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s had stalled, and that indeed many of its gains were being rolled back. New approaches were needed to understand and come to grips with the more subtle, but just as deeply entrenched, varieties of racism that characterize our times. Old approaches - filing amicus briefs, marching, coining new litigation strategies, writing articles in legal and popular journals exhorting our fellow citizens to exercise moral leadership in search of racial justice - were yielding smaller and smaller returns. As Freeman once put it, if you are up a tree and flood is coming, sometimes you have to climb down before finding shelter in a taller, safer one."
Basic "insights" of "CRT":
Racism is normal, not aberrant, in American society.
The call to context - storytelling in which the writer analyzes the myths, pre-suppositions, and received wisdoms that make up the common culture about race.
Interest convergence - the concept that white elites will tolerate or encourage racial advances for blacks only when such advances also promote white self-interests.
The critique of liberalism.
Bottom line of what Critical Race Theory seeks to accomplish (as I see it):
"Ultimately, the reader will have to decide whether our system of civil rights law needs a complete overhaul, as the "CRT" writers argue, or just a minor tune-up..."
"CRT co-founder Kimberle Crenshaw critiqued the conservative right's and the liberal left's approaches to anti-discrimination law. Echoing the work of others, she argued that 'color-blind' race-reform law, espoused by the conservative right, can make only minor modest inroads into institutionalized racism. But she also pointed out that the left's harsh criticism of such measures ignores the benefits they can provide while downplaying the role of racism in legitimizing oppression."
Doesn't sound at all like "white supremacy" is at the heart of this a "radical" point of view, does it? (sorry, Repugs)
Now, if the argument is that Professor Charles Ogletree intentionally hid the video until after the 2008 elections, that's one thing. Although, it has not been proven that President Obama had any part of the "cover-up", and frankly, can you blame Ogletree? I mean look at how it's being characterized 3 years AFTER the election!
Additionally, IF WBGH withheld the video once it was requested, that's question that needs to be asked. I don’t, however, see how Pollak and Hannity or anyone else can classify this as a “Liberal Media” conspiracy. It’s only one station! (unless the “right” means that ONLY PBS is the “liberal media elite”, in which case congrats MSNBC, CNN, ABC, CBS, and NBC - you’re off the “liberal media elite” watch-list!)
Can't wait to see what other "Bombshells" (video or otherwise) the late Breibart has in store. If they're anything like this one, Soledad O'Brien better hire more security...the "right" doesn't like it when their "outrage" is de-bunked as, well, bunk.