Wow, just wow.
Andrew Kirell of Mediaite snags this clip of Georgetown's Michael Eric Dyson denouncing the Supreme Court decision in the Voting Rights Act (VRA). The decision struck down part of the 1965 law that had been renewed most recently in 2006.
The VRA required nine states or parts of states—mostly but not exclusively in the South—to get "pre-clearance" before changing anything related to voting. That's because when the law was passed, these areas had proven records of discriminatory practices.
"We are now expected to believe that we should trust them [various Southern states and other jurisdictions subjected to the law] to police themselves," said Dyson. That's a fair point that's worth arguing.
As Steve Chapman notes, times have thankfully changed and states such as Mississippi now have higher percentages of blacks than whites registered to vote. As Chapman writes, "As a dissent in the appeals court [whose ruling led to the current case] documented, the Justice Department raised 'only five objections for every ten thousand submissions between 1998 and 2002.'"
So there's been huge and unequivocal progress since the mid-1960s, when segregationists openly ran and won office around the country. I think you can legitimately express serious anxiety that if the VRA is weakened, things might backslide. I don't think that's likely, but I think Dyson has a point on that score.
But when it comes to his denunciation of Justice Clarence Thomas, who was part of the majority striking down the VRA, Dyson not only loses all credibility, Dyson reveals himself to be far beyond the pale of acceptable discourse.
He called Thomas
"A symbolic Jew has invited a metaphoric Hitler to commit holocaust and genocide upon his own people."
This is from an academic whose self-promotional materials are heavy on praise for him being an "ideal public intellectual," "a serious intellectual," "a major American thinker," and more. It is brilliant, I guess, the way that Dyson manages to be coyly anti-Semitic (those Jews, with their secret Nazi connections!) while engaging in the reductio ad Hitlerum. Hmm, maybe he is the "the most talented rhetorical acrobat in the academy" (as Cornel West attests on Dyson's website).
You've got to be kidding us, MSNBC. And the next time a liberal says it's only the right that is ill-tempered and extreme, point them to this.
I think that the "symbolic Jew" Clarence Thomas would be totally within his rights to suggest that the literal Professor Dyson should figuratively go fuck himself.