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How will Paul Ryan’s former black girlfriend factor into the election?

posted at 1:13 pm on August 22, 2012 by

On April 30 of this year, conservative writer Naomi Schaefer Riley took aim in print at the field of black studies. In a post at The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Brainstorm blog, she opined:

You’ll have to forgive the lateness but I just got around to reading The Chronicle’s recent piece on the young guns of black studies. If ever there were a case for eliminating the discipline, the sidebar explaining some of the dissertations being offered by the best and the brightest of black-studies graduate students has made it. What a collection of left-wing victimization claptrap. The best that can be said of these topics is that they’re so irrelevant no one will ever look at them.

She went on to offer specifics, but that opening paragraph likely provided all the rope readers of the liberal publication needed. Some 6,500 of them signed a petition calling for Riley’s dismissal. A week later, after initially asking for a healthy debate and even publishing a rebuttal by three of the dissertation authors, the Chronicle’s editor, Liz McMillen unhealthfully capitulated. She announced Riley’s termination in a contrite note to readers. So much for freedom of speech.

But the really interesting part of the story was the comments section, where a number of readers insisted that firing wasn’t enough for Riley. One wrote that she needed to be “re-educated” by being forced to “spend more time around African-Americans.” That shouldn’t be a tall order for Riley, whose husband—Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Riley—is black.

Well, at least his skin is black. Riley, like his wife, is conservative and therefore gets painted with the same broad brush as Thomas Sowell and Clarence Thomas, who are denounced in one of the dissertations because of their hostile political views.

All of which brings us to GOP vice presidential hopeful Paul Ryan’s dating history. It has been reported at several websites, including the Daily News blog The Rumble, that Ryan had a black “college sweetheart.” The quoted phrase is the term used by Keli Goff of The Root, who seems to be the ultimate source of the claim.

Goff (who also reports that Ryan’s sister-in-law is black) doesn’t provide any information about the young woman or the alleged relationship. She does get right to what she considers to be the “million-dollar question”:

Is the fact that Ryan has dated interracially a noteworthy detail to consider when analyzing his politics and policies?

Goff could have answered the question to her own satisfaction if she had bothered to investigate the girlfriend’s political leanings. That information will surely come out in time anyway if the allegation is true. If the former girlfriend is black in the manner of the aforementioned Justice Thomas or Mssrs. Sowell and Riley, then Goff might refer you back to an earlier column of hers titled “What We Know About Paul Ryan and Blacks.” Among the things she claims to “know” is that Ryan “has a dismal record on civil rights” (the NAACP says so), and that he “doesn’t appear to be a fan of the poor.” The basis of this second assertion is an article at The Examiner noting that (1) Ryan is a self-described fan of the writings Ayn Rand and (2) that Rand had no use for altruism. Again, if Goff had bothered to do her homework, she would have discovered that Ryan’s admiration for Rand is limited to her “articulating the pitfalls of statism and collectivism.” He told Politico that he openly rejects Rand’s philosophy.

The answer to the question that forms the title of this post would appear to be that the black girlfriend story, if borne out, will have no impact on Ryan’s standing among liberals, even if the woman turns out to be a militant progressive herself. Goff makes that clear at the end of her article:

If you want to know where a politician’s heart lies when it comes to a particular community, it may be best to look at that person’s policies—such as his or her record on civil rights—rather than personal relationships.

Paul Ryan, in other words, is damned if he did and damned if he didn’t.

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If you want to know where a politician’s heart lies when it comes to a particular community, it may be best to look at that person’s policies—such as his or her record on civil rights—rather than personal relationships.

Me thinks one might want to look at bho/mo’s policies on this issue for a change? If you want to go after Ryan, do the same for bho, you know the president of the US?
L

letget on August 22, 2012 at 2:22 PM

If you want to know where a politician’s heart lies when it comes to a particular community, it may be best to look at that person’s policies—such as his or her record on civil rights—rather than personal relationships.

That’s a hilarious hypocritical statement considering the pass BHO got on his entire policy history in 2008.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on August 22, 2012 at 2:53 PM

Identity politics. I was told in 2008 that, “Now we can have an honest discussion about race relations in this country.”
Or now commonly explained as “Shut up, you Racists!”

mdenis39 on August 22, 2012 at 2:56 PM

I tried to read the original article the other day. I couldn’t get through it because it was trying so hard to straddle the fence. When it came down to it, though, it seemed to lean toward the prospect that you could still be a racist if you dated/married/befriended someone of a different race.

While this is true, it indicates nothing. Except, of course, how obsessed with race that liberals have become. This is just all so dang annoying. I actually possess one of those get-out-of-race-jail-free cards. It’s particularly galling that it actually works. Can we just finally learn to ignore the thoroughly irrelevant factor of someone’s skin color? At least, in our politics? Please?

GWB on August 22, 2012 at 3:44 PM

Wait a minute, didn’t Barack Hussein Obama have a white composite college sweetheart before he started dreaming about his Kenyan father? Does that mean he loves white women more than black women? How racist of him!!!

If ever there were a case for eliminating the discipline, the sidebar explaining some of the dissertations being offered by the best and the brightest of black-studies graduate students has made it. What a collection of left-wing victimization claptrap.

Could this include the dissertation of Michelle Robinson, who was never proud of her country until her husband was elected President?

I have a dream. Let’s start evaluating people by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. Nearly 50 years after Martin Luther King said it, it’s still only a dream.

Steve Z on August 22, 2012 at 4:03 PM

Could this include the dissertation of Michelle Robinson

Her senior thesis is here, for those who haven’t seen it. I’ve tried getting through it several times, though I always get hung up at her misspelling of thank you, which she seems to think is hyphenated.

Howard Portnoy on August 22, 2012 at 4:58 PM

Well, if she’s a “former black,” that might be worth some headline space. :-)

J.E. Dyer on August 22, 2012 at 5:59 PM

Well, if she’s a “former black,” that might be worth some headline space

Nicely done, J.E. Takes me back to my linguistic days and the distinction between “light housekeeper” and “lighthouse keeper.” (See also “white housekeeper”/”White House keeper”).

Howard Portnoy on August 22, 2012 at 6:22 PM

Useless without pics of alleged girlfriend.

Business attire
evening wear
swimsuit
active wear

At least three of each, in color. Current and at time of alleged interaction.

cozmo on August 22, 2012 at 8:46 PM

A racist is a person who filters all information and choices by their association with skin colour before evaluating them.

Which means that the people who are obsessed with skin colour are the racists.

As for the ‘former girlfriend’, unless she volunteers to be part of the campaign, she shouldn’t be brought into it in any way.

YiZhangZhe on August 23, 2012 at 3:39 AM

I could have sworn there were more comments on this.

GWB on August 23, 2012 at 8:46 AM

And, now, they appear. Weird……

GWB on August 23, 2012 at 8:47 AM

I was kinda waiting for you to get to this story Howard!

My “favorite” line of the piece is this though:

Is the fact that Ryan has dated interracially a noteworthy detail to consider when analyzing his politics and policies?

Now, if this was written by say, a Caucasian author, that wasn’t a left leaning member of the MSM, do we really think they’d be able to get away with it?

But because this one is a Trifecta (Black, Female Progressive) this is supposed to be some sage advice.

Exit question: How much media resources will be used to track down this woman, as compared to being used to at least have them look at the entirety of the Obamacare mandate, or at least the Presidents college transcripts?

BlaxPac on August 23, 2012 at 10:38 AM

Disgusting race politics from “Liberals” as usual.

And as usual Obozo is held to a different standard.

The American people have got to be getting fed up with this nonsense by now.

KMC1 on August 23, 2012 at 1:43 PM