I'sa Sho 'Nuff Like Me Some Weekly Standard

Readers of The Weekly Standard will be familiar with its back-of-the-book "Parody" page (always prominently so labeled so you know it's meant to be funny), which in their October 30 issue consisted of "Kids' Letters to Barack Obama." My eyes bulged ever so slightly at this knee-slapper:

Dear Senator Obama,
I'm a student here at Harvard and my mama tells me there ain't no way a person of color be treated fair in Amerika even if they go to Harvard and [stuff]. You cool with that?
 Franklin
Cambridge, Massachusetts

FYI to Bill Kristol: Affirmative action notwithstanding, my sense is that very few Harvard students of any race speak and write like minstrel-show extras.

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  • brian423||

    Watching Love at First Bite the other night, I was reminded how transitory public opinion on ethnic humor is. As a non-subscriber to the Weekly Standard, I can't be sure whether that bit of ebonics is racist in context.

    Why is this post anonymous?

  • Know-it-all||

    Haven't these guys learnt anything from from the furor over that ad with the Playboy woman and Rep. Ford? Just more ammo for the Democrats. Get ready for some major backpedaling once the mainstream media gets a hold of this.

  • Jammer||

    I know some people that talk like that. None of them are black, though...

  • ||

    This, of course, also presupposes Harvard students of any race know how to write letters.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    See that can't possibly be satire.........

  • ||

    Haven't these guys learnt anything from from the furor over that ad with the Playboy woman and Rep. Ford? Just more ammo for the Democrats. Get ready for some major backpedaling once the mainstream media gets a hold of this.

    I hope they do. Racial quotas/affirmitive action is one place where the public is with us and anything that can bring such atrocities into the public sphere is good.

  • ||

    FYI to Bill Kristol: Affirmative action notwithstanding, my sense is that very few Harvard students of any race speak and write like minstrel-show extras.

    Jebbus... they aren't even trying to hide it anymore, aren't they?

  • ||

    Interesting how Jane Hamsher's photoshop of Joe Lieberman in blackface wasn't quite as post-worthy.

    I'm just sayin', dog.

  • ||

    Seriously! The Standard's editors need to brush up on their ebonics, Clearly that should have been ....I be a-studyin' at Harvard an' my mama tell me dat dey ain't no way no colored folk be treated fare in Amerika eben if dey goze two Harvard and [stuff*]. Dat cool wid yew?

    It is good to see that Charlie Brown's Negro pal is doing well.

    Kevin

    * Where "stuff" stands in for the execretory expletive.

  • ||

    Katherine M-G worked there. Lets ask her. In addition to advocating mass global war are they racist twats as well Katherine?

  • ||

    Oh stewardess! I speak jive.

  • ||

    What? Like, it's hard?

  • ||

    The Tar Baby of political correctness always makes me paranoid. Been there. Done that.
    I just want to say I'm looking forward to the full analysis of the Ford-Corker contest in Tennessee. I hope someone will be able to isolate the racism strain. It won't be easy, but it will definitely be there. (Tennessee was where I was born and raised.)
    And I think we have recently done a whole lot worse than Osama bin Obama as a President of the USA.
    Finally, did I mention I happened to spend the night at the home of the official Uncle Remus of Georgia down in Eatonton, many years ago? (You are correct. He was white, but his heart was in the right place.)

  • ||

    A. Yalie Bonesman III writes:"This, of course, also presupposes Harvard students of any race know how to write letters."

    What a cruel and democratic notion - were we to dismiss our social secretaries, their wives and children might have to seek domestic service in New Haven

  • ||

    Most appalling was that assumption that this joke would make me laugh.

  • ||

    "FYI to Bill Kristol: Affirmative action notwithstanding, my sense is that very few Harvard students of any race speak and write like minstrel-show extras."

    That is the whole point. Barack O. is a black (sort of) Harvard Law Grad who supports Affirmative Action. The joke is that minority students at Harvard are ignorant and need special treatment.

  • ||

    sam_h | November 4, 2006, 11:37pm | #

    "FYI to Bill Kristol: Affirmative action notwithstanding, my sense is that very few Harvard students of any race speak and write like minstrel-show extras."

    That is the whole point. Barack O. is a black (sort of) Harvard Law Grad who supports Affirmative Action. The joke is that minority students at Harvard are ignorant and need special treatment when they obviously are pretty capable.

  • ||

    I laughed. Am I evil?

  • ||

    Affirmative action notwithstanding, my sense is that very few Harvard students of any race speak and write like minstrel-show extras.

    And if any do, I certainly wouldn't let them write my books for me!

  • ||

    Affirmative action notwithstanding, my sense is that very few Harvard students of any race speak and write like minstrel-show extras.

    And if any do, I certainly wouldn't let them write my books for me!

  • ||

    Affirmative action notwithstanding, my sense is that very few Harvard students of any race speak and write like minstrel-show extras.

    And if any do, I certainly wouldn't let them write my books for me!

  • Ron Hardin||

    Surely it's a goof to put an apostrophe in ain't.

  • ||

    Dear Weekly Standard,
    Why are liberals able to paint conservatives as racists, despite the fact that the civil rights era ended 4 decades ago?

    See letter from Franklin of Cambridge.

  • Eagle||

    Have any of you actually spent any time around a college campus recently? As an undergrad at Hopkins, I hear ebonics and broken english all the time; and if the writing some of them turn in to the campus paper is any indication of their academic work, it's amazing any of them made it into college at all, let alone Hopkins.

  • D.A. Ridgely||

    Eagle, that would be "broken English." And when are you guys going to start putting the apostrophe in "John's"? (N.B. - that's a joke.)

  • ||

    Eagle -- What the [heck] does Hopkins have to do with it? We're talking about Harvard here!

    (heh heh -- couldn't resist -- I went to both JHU and HLS, actually, so it's ok for me to make a joke like that)

  • ||

    "We're talking about Harvard here!"

    Harvard? Harvard? You mean that other school in Cambridge where students who aren't any good at math and science go?

  • thoreau||

    Q: Where do you go for grad school if you're a physicist couldn't get into UC Santa Barbara?

    A: Harvard.

    Yes, Santa Barbara really is that good.

  • thoreau||

    blah. Bragging about alma mater and I can't even use proper grammar.

    Correction:

    Q: Where do you go for grad school if you're a physicist who couldn't get into UC Santa Barbara?

  • D.A. Ridgely||

    Gosh, thoreau, and here I thought the bad grammar was just further evidence you were Harvard material, at least by Weekly Standards' lights!

  • ||

    sam h,

    "That is the whole point. Barack O. is a black (sort of) Harvard Law Grad who supports Affirmative Action. The joke is that minority students at Harvard are ignorant and need special treatment when they obviously are pretty capable."

    I wish the Weekly Standard was making a joke at the expense of people who oppose affirmative action and look down on black college students.

    Sadly, that magazine has been quite vocal in its opposition to affirmative action, and articles appearing therein have included statements about the incapacity of "affirmative action students" to succeed academically and professionally on a number of occasions.

  • ||

    Why do opponents of affirmative action rarely, if ever, bring up student athletes and legacy admits. In my experience, affirmative action candidates tend to be better qualified on average than these two groups.

  • D.A. Ridgely||

    Mo:

    First, it isn't true that affirmative action foes rarely, if ever, make the comparison. I used to make it all the time, opposing both.

    Over the years, however, I've decided that student athlete admissions are like certain other preferences for what I consider legitimate student body diversity concerns (e.g., musicians). If the school wants a winning team or a good orchestra, well, that's the price it pays. By contrast, giving the black upper-middle class son of a suburban lawyer preference over the white working class daughter of a rural mechanic, assuming roughly comparable academic qualifications, makes no sense to me.

    My sense is that most state schools do not give more than tie-breaker preference to legacies, if that. Private schools, dependent upon greater private financial support, admit legacies for that reason.

  • thoreau||

    By contrast, giving the black upper-middle class son of a suburban lawyer preference over the white working class daughter of a rural mechanic, assuming roughly comparable academic qualifications, makes no sense to me.

    It doesn't make much sense to me either, but I've never seen any numbers to indicate just how common or rare such preferences are. Maybe I've just been obtuse, and the numbers are frequently cited, or maybe it's one of those things that nobody wants to talk about because it would mean admitting just how low the stakes are in this highly emotional debate.

    (And yes, I know, a meaningful presentation of statistics wouldn't give us something simplistic like "Melissa Jones, daughter of a white janitor, was denied admission in favor of Michael Johnson, son of a black surgeon, even though Jones had higher test scores." But we could look at the demographics of the admitted students with the lowest grades or test scores or whatever, and compare with the demographics of the rejected students with the highest grades or test scores or whatever.)

  • ||

    Just to demonstrate how "with it" the Weakly Standard folks are, I'm pretty sure that "Franklin" hasn't been a legitimate (as if there were such a thing) stereotypical African American name for at least 2 or 3 decades.

    What a bunch of tin-eared dinguses. They might as well have used "Roosevelt" or "Kareem."

    It's like the jewish kid in Porky's said, "You know, you're too stupid to even be a good bigot!"

  • ||

    D.A.
    Maybe you've made those arguments, but all the hand-wringing over the Michigan case never said anything about legacy admissions. For all the pissing and moaning over academic standards (I agree athletics and musicians are a different beast), the status of legacy admits are primarily brought up by liberal supporters of AA, not by AA opponents.

    I've been working with the head of my (private) university's strategy and they have multiple baskets set aside. They have diversity slots, socio-economic slots, legacy slots, athletes, etc.

    And while it may seem silly to make racial diversity a factor, when the minorities are likely to come from the same socio-economic strata, my experience the past couple of years in a lily white university environment has made the value of a diverse student body readily apparent to me. If anything, being in school with rich black kids may teach some of the more sheltered kids that you don't need to clutch your purse everytime you see a black person.

  • ||

    Isn't Franklin the token black character in the Peanuts comic strip?

  • ||

    There's a big difference between preferences based on athletic ability or "legacy status" and preferences based on race -- namely, it's illegal to discriminate against someone because of his/her race. When colleges use affirmative action to prefer applicants of one race, the colleges are by definition discriminating against other applicants because they are not members of the preferred race.

  • dhex||

    somewhat unrelated, but i found out the other day that some of the CUNY schools have a category for italian-american still on the roles when considering extra information for student admission.

  • ||

    Isn't Franklin the token black character in the Peanuts comic strip?

    Yes, but honestly, the first Franklin that came to my mind was Gob Bluth's puppet.

  • ||

    Bill Kristol,

    You're an idiot, and it's only the fact that you're actually not a conservative that keeps you from being an embarrassment to us.

    As penance, promise you won't propagandize for any more wars that are needless and aren't in America's interest.

  • ||

    Sorry, Rick. Irving Kristol is a neo-con. As a "neo-con narrowback", Bill is just a plain vanilla conservative. He's a legacy, if you will. That he's long been lost to the dark side of "national greatness conservatism", invoking TR as easily as Ronald Reagan, even as he should be admitting that he actually follows the statist interventionism of that dolt, Woodrow Wilson, hasn't been in doubt for a long time.

    Still more proof that "conservative" and "enemy of big government" have well and truly diverged.

    Kevin

  • D.A. Ridgely||

    Mo writes: If anything, being in school with rich black kids may teach some of the more sheltered kids that you don't need to clutch your purse everytime you see a black person.

    A valid observation. My sense, though, is that with fairly few exceptions, the impact of the elimination of affirmative action would not result at this point in much of a shift in the actual numbers of African American students at most universities. Instead, those student given AA preference would be attending different schools. Further, while the extent of racial group self-segregation isn't as bad as it was ten or twenty years ago, it is still quite high and the supposed benefits from a more racially diverse college community are diminished as a result.

    thoreau: My guess is that viewed as a macro phenomenon the stakes probably are not very large. That's little comfort, however, to the individual on the wrong end of the racial preference.

  • ||

    I wish the Weekly Standard was making a joke at the expense of people who oppose affirmative action and look down on black college students.

    "Sadly, that magazine has been quite vocal in its opposition to affirmative action," - joe

    Because anyone who thinks affirmative action is simply reverse racism is just "unenlightened" in the Archie Bunker sense...

    "and articles appearing therein have included statements about the incapacity of 'affirmative action students' to succeed academically and professionally on a number of occasions." - joe

    If you're battling it out with other people for the bottom slots of admission, it really wouldn't surprise me if affirmative action students fall at the bottom of the pile. How this would be an argument for or against affirmative action escapes me entirely. Sounds like a red herring of an argument, at best.

    "Why do opponents of affirmative action rarely, if ever, bring up student athletes and legacy admits. In my experience, affirmative action candidates tend to be better qualified on average than these two groups." - Mo

    That's probably the best question I've heard of. Like you, I've never heard anyone ask this question - despite a couple of claims on this thread to the contrary.

    I also wonder why the student's financial status (and that of the parents) doesn't deserve more weight in an affirmative action admissions process. Surely, if the idea is to allow people "trapped in a cycle of poverty" an opportunity to break out of it and become a heart-warming success story that Will Smith can star in this would be a no-brainer!

    I've got no real beef with affirmative action - other than the burden it places on universities - because of all the issues in the U.S. this has to affect the least number of people I can think of.

  • R C Dean||

    Why do opponents of affirmative action rarely, if ever, bring up student athletes and legacy admits.

    Probably because admitting people because they have athletic skills or rich parents has nothing to do with the wisdom or propriety of admitting people because they belong to a certain race.

  • ||

    Kevin:

    Sorry, Rick. Irving Kristol is a neo-con. As a "neo-con narrowback", Bill is just a plain vanilla conservative

    No way. Irving's generation of neocons were much more pro-individual liberty than the current generation. Bill Kristol self describes as a "neocon" and advocates a hyper-interventionist foreign policy, especially where he judges that it will benefit the Israeli state. That this is his, and many other neo-cons' main focus, and that Kristol isn't a real conservative at all is illustrated by Kristol's quote:

    "I will take Bush over Kerry, but Kerry over Buchanan ... If you read the last few issues of the Weekly Standard, it has as much or more in common with the liberal hawks than with traditional conservatives. If we have to make common cause with the more hawkish liberals and fight the conservatives, that is fine with me, too."

    http://acuf.org/issues/issue21/040929news.asp


    If there is justice, Kristol and the neocon gang will be purged from the conservative movement cuz they so often support and administer larger government. They are not conservatives.

  • ChrisO||

    That 'joke' in the Standard is about the whitest jive I've ever seen. I might actually pay to see Bill Kristol attempt Ebonics, though.

  • ||

    Rick:

    OK. It seems I'm a couple of years out-of-date on Kristol fils' self-taxonomy. He used to regularly object to the neo-con tag when I watched him babble on ABC's This Week program, which I watch less and less these days.

    As for whether he and the other warhawk neo-cons get read out of the conservative movement, I could care less. Being a conservative meant something to me once, when I still thought there might be something important to conserve. Ever since I took up the libertarian cause I've been concerned about restoring such liberties as we have lost, and establishing the ones we've never had. It isn't enough to defend the tattered shreds of those that have been left to us. That it would be Kristol and his ilk, strange fruit of a branch grafted onto the tree of conservatism from the rootstock of Karl Marx by way of Trotsky and assorted other lefty heretics, who would take it upon themselves to read the paleo-cons out of their own movement does strike me as the ultimate dystopic Bircher fantasy, though.

    Kevin

  • ||

    Kevin:

    ...Kristol and his ilk, strange fruit of a branch grafted onto the tree of conservatism from the rootstock of Karl Marx by way of Trotsky.

    Nice!

    25 years ago, It was easy for me to use "libertarian" and "conservative" interchangeably. It's harder now. and I have become a hyphenated "libertarian-conservative". Of course I'm really the former, hoping that increasing numbers of the latter will join me.

    Ever since I took up the libertarian cause I've been concerned about restoring such liberties as we have lost, and establishing the ones we've never had.

    To borrow a slogan from the left; I'm with you in the struggle.

  • ||

    Affirmative action notwithstanding, my sense is that very few Harvard students of any race speak and write like minstrel-show extras.

    That's only because Cornel West didn't get his way.

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