It seems nearly everyone is weighing in on the Henry Louis Gates Jr. debacle, so here's my story.
Henry Louis Gates Jr. came to speak at my high school about the legacy of W. E. B. DuBois. In a follow up question and answer period, I persuaded him to give me an interview. At the time, I was 113th editor in chief of The Milton Measure, which I ran successfully.
My co-editor in chief was a huge left winger who got the job largely through personal connections and who basically dumped much of the work onto me all the time. Against my better judgment, I took her along to the interview.
She wasted much of the interview to show just how down she was with black intellectuals. But I did manage to get one question in -- when will America be sufficiently post-racial? I asked whether Justice O'Connor was right in the Michigan cases -- whether affirmative action would be gone 25 years later in the year 2028.
I'm paraphrasing here, but what he said shocked me. He said no and that it would take so much longer and that that wasn't what we hoped to achieve. We would never be fully equal with one another until we solved systemic racism.
It floored me.
Even though interracial marriages are growing and the numbers of people who can remember Jim Crow are declining every year, we would never be equal.
I found it revealing, though, because I suspect that's how a lot of the black establishment thinks. Please note, however, that I do not mean that this is how black Americans think. Black intellectuals are as representative of blacks as white intellectuals are.
The political ramifications of Obama's comment seem to explain why he was so quick to take his words back. If there is one cardinal rule of blue state politics, it is this: do not anger the unions. The Governator learned that lesson the hard way and began his drive to the middle so that he could get re-elected. Unions have long, long memories and they were responsible for
All three of the politicians are black and all three of them are arguing that race was what was behind this decision. My ex-governor and down the street neighbor, Deval Patrick, said that it was every black man's nightmare. And the mayor of Cambridge, E. Denise Simmons, has said that race is behind everything.
Cambridge Mayor E. Denise Simmons said Wednesday she wants to bring police and Gates together to discuss what happened. She said she sees the incident as a "teachable moment" and that she is planning to hold a community town hall event, encouraging residents to share ideas and to help move the community forward. When asked is she thought race played a role in Gates' arrest, Simmons said she believes race plays a role in everything.So here's my prediction: Deval Patrick will be defeated in 2010 and Obama will be gone by 2012. And the unions -- the original Reagan Democrats -- will do it.