I recall back in the 1980s that you could always count on Duke political scientist and “Sovietologist” Jerry Hough to take the wrong line on everything. Reagan was a dunce, the Soviets are normal folks just like us, détente is dandy, the arms buildup is bad—the whole catechism. You wondered sometimes whether he was on the Soviets’ payroll.
So it is with some delight to see this octogenarian grandee of liberalism get into all kinds of trouble for writing to the New York Times to criticize one of their post-Baltimore editorials. Here’s what he wrote to the Times, in full:
This editorial is what is wrong. The Democrats are an alliance of Westchester and Harlem, of Montgomery County and intercity Baltimore. Westchester and Montgomery get a Citigroup asset stimulus policy that triples the market. The blacks get a decline in wages after inflation.
But the blacks get symbolic recognition in an utterly incompetent mayor who handled this so badly from beginning to end that her resignation would be demanded if she were white. The blacks get awful editorials like this that tell them to feel sorry for themselves.
In 1965 the Asians were discriminated against as least as badly as blacks. That was reflected in the word “colored.” The racism against what even Eleanor Roosevelt called the yellow races was at least as bad.
So where are the editorials that say racism doomed the Asian-Americans. They didn’t feel sorry for themselves, but worked doubly hard.
I am a professor at Duke University. Every Asian student has a very simple old American first name that symbolizes their desire for integration. Virtually every black has a strange new name that symbolizes their lack of desire for integration. The amount of Asian-white dating is enormous and so surely will be the intermarriage. Black-white dating is almost non-existent because of the ostracism by blacks of anyone who dates a white.
It was appropriate that a Chinese design won the competition for the Martin Luther King state. King helped them overcome. The blacks followed Malcolm X.
Cue all hell breaking loose at Duke! Hate speech! Hough is a racist! Fire him! (He’s already on a long-planned leave, but who can doubt this will transition into “retirement”?)
Duke University issued a statement, naturally:
“The comments were noxious, offensive, and have no place in civil discourse,” said Duke Vice President for Public Affairs and Government Affairs Michael Schoenfeld. “Duke University has a deeply-held commitment to inclusiveness grounded in respect for all, and we encourage our community to speak out when they feel that those ideals are challenged or undermined, as they were in this case.”
Just curious: has the Duke administration ever apologized or censured the “Gang of 88” racist professors who judged the Duke lacrosse team guilty without any facts merely because of their pale skin color? Or perhaps not issuing a statement was part of the financial settlement Duke had to make with the wrongly charged players. (Heh.)
Hough is not backing down, sending a follow up comment to a local TV station:
“Martin Luther King was my hero and I was a big proponent of all the measures taken at the time, including Affirmative Action. But the degree of integration is not what I expected, and it is time to ask why and to change our approach. I am, of course, strongly against the toleration of racial discrimination. I do not know what racial intolerance means in modern code words and hesitate to comment on that specific comment.
“The issue is whether my comments were largely accurate. In writing me, no one has said I was wrong, just racist. The question is whether I was right or what the nuanced story is since anything in a paragraph is too simple.
“I am strongly against the obsession with “sensitivity.” The more we have emphasized sensitivity in recent years, the worse race relations have become. I think that is not an accident. I know that the 60 years since the Montgomery bus boycott is a long time, and things must be changed. The Japanese and other Asians did not obsess with the concentration camps and the fact they were linked with blacks as “colored.” They pushed ahead and achieved. Coach K did not obsess with all the Polish jokes about Polish stupidity. He pushed ahead and achieved. And by his achievement and visibility, he has played a huge role in destroying stereotypes about Poles. Many blacks have done that too, but no one says they have done as well on the average as the Asians. In my opinion, the time has come to stop talking incessantly about race relations in general terms as the President and activists have advocated, but talk about how the Asians and Poles got ahead—and to copy their approach. I don’t see why that is insensitive or racist.”
This isn’t going to go down well. So liberals are about to eat up another one of their own.
Remember: when leftists say they want a “conversation about race,” they mean—you shut up and confess your white guilt. Oh, and raise taxes.