Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Academic Mainstreaming of Fringe Anti-American Theories

A surprisingly good piece from Peter Wood at The Chronicle of Higher Education, "Bell Epoque."

Discussing Soledad O'Brien's response to Joel Pollak on the Derrick Bell story, Wood writes:
The O’Brien-Pollak exchange is surely grist for divergent enthusiasms. What I find most interesting is O’Brien’s pretense that because critical race theory is a “theory,” it has nothing to do with “white supremacy.” She seems touchingly oblivious to the possibility that CRT is a theory that posits the centrality of white racism in the American legal system. The answer to her last question is surely yes: Pollak is attempting to connect President Obama with a “serious radical.” Bell’s appointment as a tenured professor at Harvard Law School in no way stands as evidence that he was not “a serious radical.” To the contrary, Bell prided himself on his radicalism. Those who paid attention to his career at Harvard, punctuated by outbursts of public protest against imaginary instances of institutional racism, can hardly think otherwise. Anyone doubting the radicalism of his theory can easily consult his own statements, as in his 1995 article, "Who’s Afraid of Critical Race Theory?"