What a difference a day makes

On the one hand, today’s Washington Post publishes an op-ed column by Juan Williams making the reasonable case that the “challenge for this generation of Americans dealing with poverty” is for this generation to use the opportunities made available to them by the sacrifices of past generations.

On the other hand, yesterday’s Washington Post Book World assigns Williams’s new book on the same subject for review by one Peniel Joseph, who teaches in the Department of Africana Studies at Stony Brook University. Mr. Joseph responds to the book with predictable, fact-free disdain; he is offended by Williams’s “flurry of righteous condescension, preaching that youngsters can best avoid poverty by finishing high school, getting a job and postponing marriage and child-bearing until at least 21.”

Where does Williams get off saying those kinds of things? He apparently lacked the advantage of a class in Africana studies, where teachers such as Mr. Joseph dispense the higher wisdom instructing that “white backlash, the decline of industrial jobs and fatigue over racial conflict helped blunt the [civil rights] movement’s more ambitious dreams…”


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