Column: Racism on racism

By Elie Dvorin

Last week I had the great displeasure of attending a lecture by former Black Panther Party leader Elaine Brown. In yet another disaster by the oh-so-lovely folks at Allen Hall and the University Housing department, a radical leftist who had no business being anywhere near the campus was paid to come spew hate speech at the University.

Let’s get something straight. The Black Panthers were murderers. Huey Newton, one of the co-founders of the organization, fled to Cuba after killing a teenage prostitute in 1974, and Elaine Brown took over the leadership duties. In 1975, under Brown’s watch, Betty van Patter, an accountant for the organization was found in San Francisco Bay with her head smashed. This murder remained unsolved until 2002 when Bobby Seale, the other co-founder of the BPP admitted that the Panthers killed her along with a multitude of other people. But Elaine Brown was in Allen Hall instead of in jail . Of course, Brown mentioned nothing about this.

In between her musings on Trick Daddy and Lil’ Kim, she offered some intellectual gems explaining how we should deal with racial tensions on campus – and it involved a lot of “ass kicking.” People protesting affirmative action on the quad should get their ass kicked. So should the Chief. The “Crips” (notorious violent street gang) would solve the “problem.” The fourth-grade rhetoric wasn’t all that surprising considering the hour-long lecture contained no more than three grammatically correct sentences. Asking Elaine Brown for solutions for the racial divide is like asking Enron for sound business practices.

Brown argued that the problems plaguing the black community (poverty, drug use, family breakdown, etc.) are completely the product of a racist government. Since the government caused all the problems in the black community, we should rely on the government to fix those problems through reparations, welfare checks, etc. And black people shouldn’t take any of the responsibility for problems affecting the community. Not only should blacks deny any culpability, they should have a “You’re lucky I don’t kill you” attitude towards white people, something she demonstrated with expertise.

And since Brown doesn’t have the intellectual capacity to actually debate people with differing ideologies, she finds it necessary to call into question their character. If you’re white, you’re racist. If you’re black and believe that some of the socio-economic problems affecting the black community are self-induced, then you’re a traitor. Bill Cosby is a “bootlicking negro.” Colin Powell is a “new age house negro.” Clarence Thomas is a “nigger driver” (you knew the slave reference was coming). Brown called Bill Clinton “a little racist” who used to spit on the black kids in Little Rock – of course without presenting a shred of evidence. All blacks that liked Clinton were “bamboozled” and any blacks that voted for Bush were “sell-outs.” So, it’s impossible to disagree with her on principle. If you do, you were either duped, or you sold out. There’s no room for academic debate here.

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For those of you still not convinced that University Housing had no business hosting Elaine Brown, let’s consider a counter-example. What would happen if Allen Hall brought in David Duke from the Klu Klux Klan to discuss racial matters and presented him as a “piece of history?” What if he made comments such as “we should send the Klan to go take care of the black people on the Quad supporting affirmative action?” What if he said “black people should be lucky we don’t kill them?” He would be run out of the building running for his life. And so would the clowns in Housing that brought him here. Heads would roll and jobs would disappear.

So where’s the outcry over Brown’s racism and ignorance? It’s nowhere to be found, because there’s a leftist double standard at the University and at the Housing Department. Whoever was responsible for bringing Brown to Allen Hall for a week is guilty of promoting a radical and hateful ideology over an environment of tolerance. That person badly damaged the credibility of this institution as one working toward the end of racism on campus. And that damage will be hard to repair.

Elie Dvorin is a senior in LAS. His column appears every Monday. He can be reached at [email protected].