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Eugene Volokh Headshot

Why Did He Steal? Well, Partly Because He's Black

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That, I kid you not, is precisely what an L.A. Times op-ed from last week says. Black conservatives are bad, the theory goes; also, being conservative is spiritually bad for blacks; and that helps explain why White House adviser Claude Allen committed fraud: "It's hard to imagine that such compromises and cognitive dissonance don't exact a psychological toll at some point, and Allen's alleged dabbling in crime might have been that point for him."

Oh, and quite a charming little reference to "house Negro[es]" a couple of paragraphs before, as well -- plus the old traitor-to-his-race line of "I don't support conservatism in its current iteration, and I support black conservatives even less." (I take this to mean "traitor to his race," since otherwise it makes no sense: Why would holding any view be worse if you're black, unless the theory is that somehow blacks ought not hold that view because it's supposedly bad for blacks?) When whites are called traitors to their race for supporting policies that are supposedly bad for whites, that's pretty roundly condemned as racism, and rightly so. Yet somehow condemning blacks as traitors to their race is seen by many as just fine.

Read the whole piece, if you have a high tolerance for bile and schadenfreude. And ask yourself how "progressive" it is to condemn people differently for the same views based on their race, and how progressive or factually plausible it is to argue that someone has committed fraud partly because he's black.

Thanks to Paul Geary (The New Editor) for the pointer.