Monday, August 28, 2006

In Defense of Andrew Young

In Defense of Andrew Young - Washington Post

John McWhorter understands the game of baseball too well – especially pitching. To combine his argument of over-reaction around civil rights legend Andrew Young and Virginian Republican George “Macaca” Allen is masterful. Satchel Paige would applaud such an un-hittable pitch aimed at Blacks.

Mr. McWhorter is practicing the ‘Appeal to Emotion’ fallacy of argument so openly, one can only question the disdain he has for the intelligence of his audience. This fallacy, simply stated, occurs when someone manipulates peoples' emotions in order to get them to accept an otherwise false claim as being true.

The use of the country’s desire to look past Mr. Young’s race-baiting comments, to sneak in the claim that Senator Allen (R) meant no racist insult to young Mr. Sidharth, of Indian descent, is incredible. Mr. Allen may claim that he did not know the derogatory meaning of the term, but, as shown in the video, he clearly knew he was not offering a compliment among the ‘good ole boys’ at his rally.

As a linguist, Mr. McWhorter should be the first to recognize that regional familiarity is not what makes a term acceptable, in a global world. If a British politician called a Black man holding a camera, “Sam Spade”, after the serial detective, the insult might be largely lost on a British audience, but insulting and racist nonetheless.

Mr. McWhorter follows up the Allen defense with the open-and-shut description of a bat-wielding New Yorker. Who would not look innocent next to this person?

Finally, he tops off his slight-of-hand with the distracting ‘Red Herring’ argument of describing ‘dueling races’ on reality television. Who cares about some Hollywood bomb? I guess Mr. McWhorter understands that we do. To his credit, his linguistic slight-of-hand seems to be working. The passes from the Black community have been flowing like water.

James C. Collier


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