John McWhorter is like the leader of a road band that plays the same tune every night. He advocated “ racial profiling” in Feb. 2004 in Commentary magazine which at the time was edited by John Podhoretz. This article in which a number of Blacks were barked at was McWhorter’s coming out party after far-right money brought him from his job as an obscure linguistics professor teaching at U.C.Berkeley to Manhattan to be a spokesman for the  Manhattan Institute, whose purpose seems to be that of arranging cocktail parties where second and third generation ethnics, Italians, Jews, and Irish Americans can mingle with Anglos. 

The Manhattan-Anglo old money establishment is traditionally anti-Semitic, anti-Irish––and anti-Italian judging from the writings of Louis Auchincloss, Henry James, and others––but that doesn’t discourage the Anglo-wannabes who spend the rest of their time creating programs like Stop and Frisk, which was declared unconstitutional by Judge Shira A. Scheindlin after it led to thousands of Black and Brown men and some women being stopped and harassed. The women complained that they were fondled inappropriately by some members of the notorious NYPD who, in the last century cooperated with slave catchers. The Manhattan Institute’s other quack theory was Broken Windows. Northeastern University researchers explained and debunked that theory. More than 35 years ago, researchers theorized that graffiti, abandoned buildings, panhandling, and other signs of disorder in neighborhoods create an environment that leads people to commit more crime. In the ‘broken windows theory,’ as it has come to be known, such characteristics convey the message that these places aren’t monitored and crime will go unpunished. The theory has led police to crack down on minor crimes with the idea that this will prevent more serious crimes, and inspired research on how disorder affects people’s health. 

Now, Northeastern researchers say they have debunked the “broken windows theory.” In research published in the Annual Review of Criminology and in Social Science & Medicine, they have found that disorder in a neighborhood doesn’t cause people to break the law, commit more crimes, have a lower opinion of their neighborhoods, or participate in dangerous or unhealthy behavior. Wouldn’t Tobacco executives lying about smoking leading to cancer deaths be a serious crime? Or oil giants lying about the effects of their carbon emissions on climate change? Not according to the Manhattan Institute. They are funded by Big Oil and Big  Tobacco. When their house newspaper The City Journal referred to me as an “old-timer,” because I criticized “Hamilton,” a musical that glorifies slaveholders, my answer was that maybe if they hadn’t accepted tobacco money some of their subscribers would have lived as long as I have. 

In the 2004 Commentary article, like a rookie guarding LeBron, McWhorter attacked his elders, Manning Marable, Maxine Waters, and me. He was angry with me because when a U.C.Berkeley  campus newspaper, The Daily Californian, asked me to comment on his  blame-the-victim book “Losing The Race” I said I’d read it twice in five minutes because it was a retread of Shelby Steele’s work. Shelby Steele is a better writer. In the book, McWhorter wrote:“Black America is currently caught in certain ideological holding patterns—chief among them being the ideology of permanent victimhood—and that these today are ‘much more serious barriers to Black well-being than is white racism.” Victimhood? Blacks are victims in areas that interfere with their well-being. They are robbed of equity by criminal banks like Wells Fargo. They were singled out for subprime loans, while many were eligible for conventional loans. They face discrimination in housing, health care, and from hostile police––thousands of whom have been caught posting racist comments on social media. Blacks are confined to environmentally toxic neighborhoods. Victimhood? So McWhorter says that by exposing these inequities, civil rights leaders, intellectuals, and scholars are committing a deed that’s worse than white racism, the element that is responsible for them? This is McWhorter’s usual funhouse mirror thinking. 

In the 2004 issue of Commentary that printed McWhorter’s outburst,  there was a reference to the Holocaust on every other page. Does that mean that Commentary was wallowing in victimhood? No, American Jews are right to remind readers that with the rise of Hitler, Jews faced extermination, but before that thousands of Jews had assimilated into German society. Had become in a sense, white. Victimhood? No, McWhorter has victimized himself. His being assured a space by his billionaire oligarchic owners, a space that his target, the Black Left lacks, has made him lazy. Lacking the resources that McWhorter has, his battle with the Black Left becomes a mismatch.

His opinions are financed by the Hoover Institute, the American Enterprise Institute, William E. Simons Foundation and the notorious Manhattan Institute, the John M. Olin Foundation, Inc., the JM Foundation, Koch Family Foundations, Claude R. Lambe Foundation, Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation which supported “The Bell Curve.” His assignment from the right seems to be that every time the Black Left says neither (nee-ther) he says neither ( nii-ther). Since the Black Left covers a number of issues, he is required to comment on matters about which he lacks understanding.

Since “Wokeness” began to be spouted by some on the left, “Woke” being a term popularized by author William Melvin Kelly in 1962, it was inevitable that McWhorter would be pushed by his backers to comment on it. He rushed out a book called “Woke as a Religion” but spent so much time in the book straining to make the analogy work that the book drowned under the weight of ignorant history and bad writing. His bad writing was first exposed by Jonathan Yardley in The Washington Post:

“He obviously is a very smart guy, but a lot of the time he writes like a dumb one.” Maybe that’s why he uses words that can’t be found in the dictionary like “Victimhood” coined by people who sit on their asses all day creating double-speak whose purpose is that of owning progressives and Blacks. His books however are  held in awe by the white media and white intelligentsia because he says what they say in private. When he appeared on “Morning Joe,” he was greeted like a conquering hero; he sounded really silly. He said that whichever brutality that police commit against Blacks is the result of the War on Drugs and when the war ends the police will be nice. 

On the show, during which Mika Brzezinski was shown nodding her head, giving his remarks her approval, he also prescribed proficiency in English as a way Blacks will get ahead. He should have been in attendance at a book party hosted by Booker T.Washington’s great-granddaughter, Sarah Washington O’Neal Rush, which took place in her grand house overlooking a Lake in Oakland.

Black business people who speak excellent English told me that though their business proposals are qualitatively superior to those of whites, they regularly lose out to whites whose bids are inferior.

In the Commentary 2004 issue, he dismissed my unpleasant run-ins with the police recounted in my book, “Another Day At The Front.” He wrote: “Not once to date have I had a nasty, intrusive run-in with the police, despite being no stranger to nightlife in cities like New York, Philadelphia, and Oakland, and despite having driven a beat-up car in tony white neighborhoods on a regular basis.” On June 11 2020, sixteen years later he was back defending the police. He has a real urge about the police. He wrote: “Some police officers are surely racist and act like it. But it does not follow that white cops routinely kill Black people in tense situations out of racist animus.” His pro-police stance is the policy of The Manhattan Institute.

One of their fellows, Heather McDonald, an Irish American, who has forgotten why some police vehicles are called “paddy wagons,” denied that racial profiling exists at a time when even the Bush administration admitted to its existence. The Manhattan Institute promises its spokespersons media attention. After an ignorant article about “classical music,” a white supremacist term, he concluded: “If, meanwhile, classical music is mostly #SoWhite, frankly, #SoWhat?” 

This is what the Nazis said about German Jews. That they lacked culture and tradition. They lacked “classics.” This also jibes with the Manhattan Institutes’ philosophy, an Institute that dabbles in eugenics. The article was published in The New York Times. It figures. While some sections of the Times resemble Essence magazine, and in the book review there is a nod to writings from Anglo Africa, the good old boys still dominate the editorial page where they signify and peddle innuendo about Blacks whom they view as corrupting something Americans call Western Civilisation, yet on March 20th the editorial board warned about “cancel culture.” Nobody is canceling the white men who own the columns. 

Some Times writers are into eugenics, which hold that Blacks are intellectually inferior to whites and Asians. For Accuracy In Media reports: Nicholas Wade was a leading New York Times science writer for three decades, at one point the editor of the Science Times section. He retired from full-time work at the paper in 2012, and in May 2014 published “A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History,” a book that has been described as a full-throated defense of “scientific racism” (New Statesman, 5/20/14). Wade’s embrace of the pseudoscience of eugenics raises questions about his tenure at the Times, and about corporate media vigilance when it comes to racism. When David Brooks praised “whites with high fertility rates who want to move from vulgarity,” Steve Randall of FAIR found the source of the quote:

“Did Brooks understand his source’s views? A look at the American Conservative article (12/20/04) that Brooks presumably read, since he cited it, ought to have raised the suspicions of an engaged columnist. In it, Sailer describes the undesirable urban traits he says white people are trying to escape: ‘illegal immigrants and other poor minorities,’ ‘ghetto hellions’ and ‘public schools.’ Are these the things Brooks meant when he alluded to ‘disorder, vulgarity and danger’ and ‘bad influences’ in his Times column? Hitler says that he was influenced by the American eugenics movement.

One columnist, Brett Stephens, has lost his mind over Critical Race Theory and Wokeness. He points to a few Black anti-Semites, people who are unaware that Black Americans and Africans were placed in Nazi concentration camps, and that the first Nazi medical experiments were conducted on women in Namibia in 1900. But then he defends Kyle Rittenhouse, a White Nationalist who killed two American Jews. After being deceived by Attorney General Barr’s spin on the Mueller report, Stephens said that the Democrats should apologize to Trump, who headed an anti-Semitic government. 

So McWhorter is right at home at the Times editorial page, though you have to return to 1930s Harlem to find a Black Nazi.

When I debated McWhorter on Michael Eric Dyson’s show, he asked that I be civil toward him. I said that I didn’t have to be civil toward a Nazi sympathizer. I knew that his Manhattan Institute, like the Nazis, dabbled in eugenics and flirted with Charles Murray’s “The Bell Curve,” which was funded by The Pioneer Fund, a Nazi “race betterment” outfit.( Check Pioneer Fund at Wikipedia.) Well, now it all comes out! McWhorter wants Blacks to submit to gene splicing or be given a serum so that they will be as smart as McWhorter. Textbook Nazism. How smart is McWhorter? When I debated him he was unaware that his Manhattan Institute was founded by Reagan’s CIA chief, William Casey, who would have been indicted for Iran Contra had he not died. The purpose of the Institute is to create a right-wing intelligentsia that would counter the left-wing intelligentsia. With McWhorter, they’ve succeeded.

Finally, unaware that McWhorter puppets the opinions of those who dabble in eugenics, the far right’s ability to provide him with coverage has hoodwinked many Blacks. That’s why he is dangerous. He writes, “Among the over 3,000 e-mails and letters I have received about ‘Losing the Race,’ only a trickle have been written in malice. From Blacks around the country I have heard, rather, that it touched them deeply, that they wish me well, and that they hope I will continue to speak out. I have been approached regularly in the street by Blacks wanting to tell me how much they appreciate my message even if they do not agree with me on every point.”

Do they agree with him that Blacks should be gene-spliced or given a serum so that their IQ will be on a level of say the yahoos who stormed the Capitol?

McWhorter says of me that I recall things that he’s said that he doesn’t remember. I will continue to do so John. You can count on that.

Ishmael Reed is a well-known poet, novelist, essayist, and playwright.

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3 Comments

  1. It is so sad how hard leftist zealots try to sound like they are applying logic and supplying evidence for their points…… but fail over and over. They just can’t make disjointed jabs an infrastructure for reason; and they just can’t make their emotional biased reactions appear as evidence. Where, in this article, is the actual evidence for it’s claim that warranted the article title: “Well, now it all comes out! McWhorter wants Blacks to submit to gene splicing or be given a serum so that they will be as smart as McWhorter?” I read the whole article and then skimmed it again. I feel so sad for you, with your misguided virtue and twisted mind. Keep trying though.

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