Leave it to Mary Mitchell of the Chicago Sun-Times to get her kufi in a twist over the decision by Northwestern University to withdraw the honorary degree they had intended to bestow upon Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama's racist "spiritual mentor."
In the sort of backwards logic of a woeful Black victim mentality -- Mitchell’s specialty -- Mitchell is claiming that the decision to rescind the racist Rev's honorary degree is an illegitimate one because the decision was made in March "before his image and words exploded on YouTube and became a headache for Barack Obama." Mitchell acts as if Wright's outrageous hate-speak was born fully-grown out of nowhere when he burst onto the national scene in March. But it was all rather well known in Illinois long before that.
Mitchell reports on some malcontent students who are raising one of those interminable "student petitions" that are constantly thrust in the faces of students that are just trying to focus on their class work. This time the "For Members Only, the Black Student Alliance" group is the one responsible for diverting everyone's attention from what they are all supposed to be at Northwestern for in the first place: an education. Remember that, guys? Remember the classes?
Anyway, Mitchell agrees with the rabble-rousers that the turnaround by the university was a bad decision.
Frankly, the university has underestimated the dismay its decision has caused. And really, what kind of education would these black students be getting if they stood by and did nothing while the university engages in what looks like a grave injustice.
It’s a “grave injustice” to refrain from supporting Wright’s racist tripe?
As far as the University President, Henry Bienen, is concerned, though, they made the right decision.
"I withdrew this invitation because controversy over his receiving an honorary degree would have overwhelmed commencement for our students and their parents. This is what I told Dr. Wright and this is the case and most alumni seem accepting of this view."
Who can deny that this seems reasonable? If the racist Rev. showed up, so would all the national media and THEIR focus would be on Wright, not the graduating class. The graduates' day would turn from a celebration of their success to just another pulpit for Jeremiah Wright to pound his fist and rail against Whitey.
But, so what if the decision was made in March? It turns out that the decision was the correct one in the end. As Wright's racist rhetoric and wild eyed rants of the past came to the national spotlight more each month after March, it increasingly looks like the university made the right decision.
But let's think about Mitchell's point that the decision was made before Wright became a national disgrace. She wonders "exactly what made Wright controversial way back in March"? With this point, Mitchell seems to be saying that the university could not possibly have known anything about the racist rev before March. As if he sprang onto the national stage all at once, never having been "controversial" for a second before March. But this is completely incorrect.
Wright's rants were on You Tube long before March and they were rumored about outside of his church and community in Chicago for nearly a year before that. These spittle specked calumnies were also actually being sold as sermons by Trinity United for years right on their website. Unfortunately for Mitchell's theory, Wright has been known to have anti-white and anti-American views for years.
Further, news that Obama had begun to distance himself from Reverend Wright was also known in Illinois long before March when the national media finally noticed him. So, Mitchell's claim is based entirely on the date when the national media became aware of Wright, not upon when everyone in the know in Illinois did, which was nearly a year prior to this March!
Of course, the ridiculous practice of giving honorary degrees to utterly undeserving and lower tier people is abhorrent in the first place. These foolish universities hand them out like candy to people they hope will donate money so, in truth, these days an honorary degree is meaningless in every way. But one thing that a so-called honorary degree does do is give the imprimatur of the school on the character and life of the honoree. In this case, Northwestern University would have been showing support for Rev. Wright's hatred of white people and his anti-American sentiments.
So, the university did make a good decision by rescinding the invitation.
Mitchell and the protesting students also think they have another supporting reason that Wright deserves his degree when they point to the fact that the school gave an honorary degree to Mayor Richard Daley (as if he deserved one) and therefore so should Wright. But here they have made no legitimate point. Daley didn't deserve one either. Two wrongs do not make a Wright!
No, in the end, Mary Mitchell and the discontented children at Northwestern University are in the wrong. The racist Rev's honorary degree was properly rejected by the school. If they had given a hater like Wright an honorary degree, the standards would have been lowered so far that anyone should be able to get one and the school would be giving it's support to racist hatred. Maybe after a Wright degree occurs, some university might bestow one on a George Lincoln Rockwell figure, or some killer on death row?
Why not? What would be the difference?
(Photo credit: L.A. Times)