Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Empty Black Suit

A friend sent along a copy of the above-named essay by his friend, academic Joseph Kay, which was published by Lawrence Auster at his blog, View from the Right. Auster’s introduction follows.

Joseph Kay, a professor at a prominent university, explores a fascinating and familiar phenomenon that to my knowledge has never before been analyzed at length: the black who through imitation of an intellectual manner is able to create a convincing but false appearance of intellectual ability and build a career on that basis. Prof. Kay has previously written an article at VFR on why many Third-World immigrants cannot be assimilated.


Upon reading Kay’s essay, two figures immediately came to mind: MLK and Cornel West.

King’s academic career and reputation as an “intellectual” rested on plagiarism. From his teen years on, he stole other people’s words, and plagiarized one-third of his dissertation from his classmate, Jack Stewart Boozer’s dissertation. And as his best friend, Ralph Abernathy, wrote in his memoirs, And the Walls Came Tumbling Down, King was a gifted mimic, who privately did dead-on impressions of other prominent black preachers that had his closest followers in stitches.

When West first became a celebrity during the early 1990s, he was often invited to speak on TV. What immediately became apparent to me was his lack of any ideas of his own. He combined what I’ve called the black school of rhetorical bombast—the use of big words and a pompous style, to give the impression of erudition—with the robotic use of English translations of phrases from German intellectual guru J├╝rgen Habermas, himself a vastly overrated leftist, though of course never giving credit to his source.

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