Earlier this month, the Black Student Alliance posted flyers and held a protest to "condemn" popular conservative William Bennett's "racist" remarks. Well, I condemn the BSA for its misguided and slanderous assault on William Bennett.
To paint Bennett as a racist it was necessary for the BSA, like the countless others who lined up to knife Bennett as he lay on the alter of political correctness, to literally excise Bennett's comments from their immediate context. The portion of Bennett's statement continually quoted has him saying, "[I]f you wanted to reduce crime, you could-if that were your sole purpose-you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down." However, what occurs directly before and after this remark is conveniently, and inexcusably, ignored.
Bennett was responding to a caller on his radio show who offered a bizarre ends-justifies-the-means argument against abortion. The caller advanced his pro-life view by saying that if no children were aborted there would be more workers to pay into Social Security, and it would thus be more solvent. Believing this was an absurd way to stake out a position on abortion, Bennett offered an even more absurd hypothetical to dramatically prove his point, hoping to demonstrate that one could not argue for a desired end without taking the means into account.
Knowing how the race-baiting left operates, Bennett was careful to emphasize what should have already been obvious, that he was not in any way advocating this radical premise and that its purpose was to show the error in his caller's line of reasoning. Thus the very next words out of Bennett's mouth following his now infamous hypothetical were, "That would be an impossible, ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down. So these far-out, these far-reaching, extensive extrapolations are, I think, tricky." Tricky indeed.
That Bennett felt it necessary to be so adamant in explaining that this ludicrous hypothetical was not an actual suggestion reveals the environment of racial paranoia the left has created. And that even this was not enough to protect Bennett from the merciless attacks that ensued shows just how severely McCarthyist the left's tactics have become. Any opponent of the left is fair game. As soon as the opportunity presents itself you will be decried as a racist, then boycotted, smeared and blacklisted. With the scent of blood in the air, the left descended on Bennett like a pack of wolves.
Whether it was senators like Ted Kennedy and Harry Reid or civil rights activists like Al Sharpton, prominent leftists across the nation charged Bennett with racism. Many called for his show to be pulled from the air. Sadly, this disgusting smear campaign made it all the way down to Duke's BSA.
The BSA should be ashamed of its contribution to the public evisceration of William Bennett and have an ethical obligation to retract its accusations. Falsely labeling someone as a racist should not be taken lightly and does nothing whatsoever to help black people, which I'm presuming the BSA wishes to do. If that is indeed the case, here is some advice:
The real problems facing the black community are not-gasp-conservative commentators but the fact that, as some studies have shown, about 194,300 black men between the ages of 20 and 29 are sentenced federal or state prisoners-compared to 126,600 white men and 103,300 Hispanic men; two-thirds of black children are born out of wedlock; and 12 percent of black students in the eighth grade are at or above a proficient reading level. I'm sure to be called a racist just for shedding light on these troubling issues. That I said nothing racist, am not a racist, that I abhor racism, is of course irrelevant. Just ask Bill Bennett.
As long as the left is intimidated by facts, they will continue to try and slay the messenger. I only ask that before they start sharpening their knives, they think about who they are really harming. The truth hurts, but as history has proven, ignoring it causes the real devastation.
Stephen Miller is a Trinity junior. His column normally runs every other Tuesday.