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More Jacobsen

By Matthew Yglesias  

"More Jacobsen"

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It’s Christmas Eve here in Mexico, but a couple more links on William Jacobsen. I second what Scott Lemieux has to say and especially these remarks from Ta-Nehisi Coates:

That of course leads us to the second point–that there is an outbreak of liberal bloggers claiming Barbour is a racist. A google search of “Barbour is a racist” is instructive. It does not reveal a single liberal blog of real note making that case. On the contrary it reveals a raft of sites either arguing that Barbour isn’t a racist, or arguing why it’s not relevant. Unable to deal with the actual arguments made by Matt here, for instance, and evidently generally ignorant of the basic facts of American history, Jacobson simply strawmans and changes the subject.

Regrettably, this is basically the accepted tactic of many conservatives when talking about race. It happens so often that, in most cases, it’s not even worth noting. But Jacobson is a professor at one of the most prestigious institutions of higher learning in this country. I can’t for the life of me imagine how someone rises to such heights and, evidently, never acquires an understanding of the rudiments of American history, nor an ethic of honest debate.

The whole question of which people are or are not racists is a bit of a red herring. People do stuff. That stuff is open to criticism. Different people respond to that criticism in different ways. Life goes on. The specter of “racist”-calling liberals exists almost entirely in the heads of conservatives.

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