What we can learn from the Barack Obama/Derrick Bell video

Yesterday, Breitbart.com released a video showing Barack Obama, then a law student at Harvard University, physically embracing law professor Derrick Bell and encouraging attendees at a Harvard symposium to “open up hearts and minds” to his teachings.

The short video clip, captured from a projection screen during a presentation by Harvard Professor Charles Ogletree, also includes this comment from Ogletree: “Of course we hid this throughout the 2008 campaign …(audience laughter)… I don’t care if they find it now. ”  Ogletree showed the clip of Obama to demonstrate how Obama’s understanding of complex race issues had grown “astronomically” during his studies at Harvard, presumably because Obama was in some way captivated by Bell’s teachings.

Derrick Bell was a pioneer in the field of critical race theory, which attempts to study race relationships via social interactions, specifically historical racial hierarchies.  Much of the scholarly work in this field involves the study of how racism is imbedded in laws and legal institutions.

Most people would not find such a field of study to be objectionable.  But most of us outside of elite academic circles would be very disturbed by the conclusions that critical race theory scholars, specifically Derrick Bell, had proposed as a result of their studies.  Dan Riehl explains:

What is dangerous is the underlying assumption upon which their thinking is based. That is, all peoples are driven by self-interest, including as groups, or races. Consequently, American whites – and American Jews – are by definition racist and no amount of reason, or logic can ever change that. Because blacks are a minority, Bell holds that they are at critical disadvantage and an Obama in the White House is the only way to combat that by compelling Americans to act in a certain manner through law and regulation.

In Bells’ eyes – and, I’d argue, Obama’s, all white Americans, including Jews, are inherently racist and will only care, help or do anything about blacks when it is in their own self-interest as whites to do so, or when compelled by government.

If you’ve ever wondered why civil rights leaders go into a state of absolute panic whenever 40+ year old civil rights legislation comes up for renewal, and someone suggests that renewal is really unnecessary because we have moved past the necessity of such laws, you now know the reason.  If you’ve ever wondered why civil rights leaders vehemently defend racial quotas and preferences despite the mountain of evidence that many minorities are harmed because of them, you now know the reason.

This line of thinking is also evident in Justice Sandra Sotomayor’s controversial remark, “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”  And it is evident in Barack Obama’s controversial 2001 statement that the Civil Rights movement wasn’t really ‘radical’ at all because “the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society.”

Derrick Bell illustrated his understanding of race relationships in a parable entitled “The Space Traders (PDF).”  In Bell’s story, an alien race visits the Earth and offers the United States government “enough gold to retire the national debt, a magic chemical that will cleanse America’s polluted skies and waters, and a limitless source of safe energy to replace our dwindling reserves” – all in exchange for America’s black population, which would be whisked off the planet by the aliens, presumably to be used as slave labor.  Naturally America’s white leadership, consisting of elected officials, televangelists, Fortune 500 CEO’s and the like, eagerly embraced the offer.

To academics, this is not radical thought.  It is well-excepted theory that is taught in our most esteemed universities.  And undoubtedly it forms the backbone of race relations as understood by Barack Obama and his administration.  If the motivations behind Eric Holder’s Justice Department policies were not clear before, then they certainly ought to be now.

My final observation is actually the most obvious one – if it is so critically important for Rick Santorum’s religious views to be completely dissected and discussed by talking heads, if Sarah Palin’s worldview was such an essential piece of knowledge for American voters that reporters were compelled to literally dig through her garbage, then aren’t the American people also owed a thorough vetting and discussion of the theories that helped to shape President Obama’s understanding of how the world works?

Obviously the press believes it is doing America a favor by preventing the great, unteachably ingorant, racist, greedy white masses from discussing the conclusions of critical race theory.

I would disagree.

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