Thursday, May 03, 2007
Wisdom From Dr. Leon Litwack
The great Cal history professor Leon Litwack retires this week. With his retirement and that of the magnificent Ling-Chi Wang last year, some might say we've reached the end of an era.

Characteristically, neither chose to go quietly. Here's Professor Litwack and his students in today's Chron on the "messiness of history", which he and Professor Wang taught us is always pouring over into the ugliness of the now:

Timothy Simmons said he attended a college alumni event in Maryland where all the guests were white and all the hired help was black. "No, I can't be seeing this," he recalled, "but I was."

This is what Litwack means when he says history is messy. "At some point," he said, "students have to confront the fact that we're founded by slave-owning champions of liberty. We're not the land of the free and the home of the brave."

He believes the regression on race he has noticed since the 1970s can be explained by the theory that the impulse to integrate has been more economic than social. In his view, gains such an integrated Army and integrated schools in the 1950s were the result of post-war prudence.

"We would not be the leader of the free world" and maintain a segregated America,he said. "That had to end for the first time. The reason we had some advances is, for the first time race became a matter of national security."

Litwack was asked how Don Imus' comment about the Rutgers women's basketball team fits into America's racial narrative.

"It was kind of an offhand remark," he said. "Is it more racist than people who talk about their belief in black equality but whose actions or indifference suggest something else? There's a great deal of hypocrisy in how we dealt with Imus.

"We react with such fury about what he said about the Rutgers basketball team and yet we absolutely seem to be indifferent to the decay of our public schools -- the fact that every day blacks, and whites as well, are cheated of a decent education in this country," he said. "That to me is obscene. That's racist and obscene both."

Labels: , ,

posted by Zentronix @ 7:24 AM   0 comments links to this post


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link


Previous posts
May Day On The Frontline (2007 Mix)
Mark Anthony Neal :: "What's the Real Reason for t...
We Got This
They Don't
Going Home To New Orleans? :: Housing and Public P...
Quote of the Millennium
Me on Chuck Brown's Great New Album
Who gets to use the N word? :: Mark Anthony Neal o...
K Sanneh on Hip-Hop Outrage
Dave Marsh on Imus and Whiteness

select * from pages where handle = "BlogLinks" #content#

June 2002
July 2002
August 2002
September 2002
October 2002
November 2002
December 2002
January 2003
February 2003
March 2003
April 2003
May 2003
June 2003
July 2003
August 2003
September 2003
October 2003
November 2003
December 2003
January 2004
February 2004
March 2004
April 2004
May 2004
June 2004
July 2004
August 2004
September 2004
October 2004
November 2004
December 2004
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
October 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007
December 2007
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008
January 2009
February 2009

Email list

Add me to the Can't Stop Won't Stop email list, an irregular update of what's new in our world: