September 18, 2003

McWhorter on Blair

John McWhorter suspected that Jayson Blair would play the race card to deflect attention from his personal and professional failings. Well, Blair played it, and it helped land him a deal for a book which will carry the preposterous title, Burning Down My Master's House. Here's an excerpt from McWhorter's piece at WSJ Online:

...Mr. Blair is a college drop-out who nevertheless was hired by the top general-interest newspaper in the country at 23, steadily promoted despite repeated flubs and professional misconduct, and just two years later was sitting pretty as a full reporter. This is decidedly not the sort of thing that was going on in the master's house back in the day. Yet Mr. Blair wants to depict himself as the aggrieved slave "acting out" against the deathless bugbear of racism.

But just what sort of anti-black bias did Mr. Blair encounter? "I don't want to go into the specifics of alleging X, Y or Z," he has said. But when James Meredith could only take his place at the University of Mississippi under armed guard, he was hardly faced with ambiguous "specifics" to "allege." And Mr. Meredith would have been flabbergasted to hear in 1962 that 40 years later, the New York Times would be rewarding a black man for incompetence.

Posted by dan at September 18, 2003 12:35 AM