The rejection of Condoleezza Rice as a commencement speaker at Rutgers by its faculty council won’t surprise many Hot Air readers. It doesn’t surprise Fox News commentator and generally liberal Juan Williams, but he’s not shrugging it off, either. Williams, who has written about the shocking treatment of black conservatives by his supposedly enlightened liberal brethren, makes sure to note this episode as yet another marker in a long arc of hatred and bigotry against African-Americans who dare to challenge liberal orthodoxy — even Juan Williams himself:
There is a disgraceful double standard amongst liberals, particularly those in academia, in the hatred they direct at black conservatives.
We saw this last April when the conservative neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson was forced to step down as a Commencement Speaker for Johns Hopkins University (where he ably served as the head of pediatric neurosurgery).
Liberals on the Hopkins campus mobilized against Carson because he criticized President Obama’s health care reform law and said that he opposed gay marriage.
I am not a conservative but I have spoken out for years against the staggering amount blind hatred directed at black conservatives by liberals.
Liberals are shockingly quick to demean and dismiss brilliant black people like Rice, Carson, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), Professor Walter E. Williams and economist Thomas Sowell because they don’t fit into the role they have carved out for a black person in America.
Black Americans must be obedient liberals on all things or risk being called a race traitor or an Uncle Tom.
In part, this is a power play more than anything else. The faculty at Rutgers don’t want to deal with people who oppose their preferred policies, or more importantly, cause others in their little bubbles to think critically about the only sanctioned ideology in those bubbles, either. In that sense, there is no double standard at work here — Jim DeMint and John Bolton would be just as unwelcome at Rutgers as Condoleezza Rice is and Clarence Thomas would be.
That is in itself a double standard. The same faculty who would protest if pushed out the door of their sinecures over political disagreements as a violation of academic freedom suddenly refuse to offer that same courtesy to the administration in its choice of commencement speakers, or to invited guests of the university. Rather than simply declien to attend or encourage others to do the same, they want heterodoxy silenced. ‘Freedom for me but not for thee’ is hardly a consistent approach to liberty, but it’s at least consistent with the sanctioned ideology they’re protecting.
Still, the vitriol of the reactions to Rice, Thomas, Scott, and the rest goes beyond even that double standard. The attacks on them as Uncle Toms and house slaves (and worse) show the place that politics and identity hold in the progressive mindset. It’s inexplicable to progressives that a black man growing up in the South might value individual liberty over group identity and be suspicious of government power, and so the only explanation for Clarence Thomas is that he’s insufficiently black. It’s not just on ethnicity, either, but also on gender. Take a look at the unhinged and ignorant rant by Jamie Stiehm attacking Sonia Sotomayor for her insufficient woman-ness by issuing a temporary stay in the Little Sisters of the Poor case against the HHS mandate. Steihm couldn’t be bothered to do even minimal research before branding Sotomayor a gender traitor over a meaningless pause in enforcement.
What is it called when someone assumes that people have to act and believe in a certain way based on the color of their skin or the composition of their genitals? The word is on the tip of my tongue …
Update: It’s 6:19 pm here at CPAC, and I just got a chance to read the comments — where I found out I’d gotten the “freedom for me but not for thee” backwards. Ugh. I’ve fixed it, but I wanted to make sure I acknowledged the error.