May 13, 2013
David G. Savage:
Church-state, literally? Supreme Court weighing public school graduation in a church
May 10, 2013
Rabbi Berel Wein: Be all that you should be
May 8, 2013
Peter Ford: Why China is welcoming both Israel's Netanyahu and Palestinians' Abbas
Obama administration quietly backs out of appeal over new contraceptive mandate
At Kerry-Putin meeting, US-Russia relations thaw --- a tad
The Kosher Gourmet by Leela Cyd Ross :
Almost too pretty to eat, this colorful salad with Sicilian inspiration will tickle the taste buds and delight your visual sensibility
May 6, 2013
May 3, 2013
Kids, kittens the Same?
With employee perks at struggling Internet pioneer Yahoo! it's hard to tell
Artificial kidney offers hope to patients tethered to a dialysis machine
April 29, 2013
Poland's new Jewish museum celebrates life, doesn't revisit Holocaust
Terrorism in America: Is US missing a chance to learn from failed plots?
Boston Bomber's 'Svengali' Revealed
Tiny satellites + cellphones = cheaper 'eyes in the sky' for NASA
April 26, 2013
Clifford D. May:
Defense in the Age of Jihadist Terrorism
Sharon Palmer, R.D.:
How to feel your best -- with plenty of energy, a healthy weight and optimal mental and physical function -- without driving yourself batty
April 24, 2013
Admit it: No one has any idea what's going on
April 22, 2013
US man departing country arrested on terror charges
An unorthodox but growing treatment in a 9-year-old's battle against cancer
April 19, 2013
Caroline B. Glick:
Why Obama's visit to Israel had no impact on public opinion or government policy
Gold collapse: The start of something big?
Livable super-Earths? Two candidates among Kepler's latest finds
April 17, 2013
Too much of a good thing? 'Palestinians' realize downside of foreign aid boom
BAD NEWS: EVERYONE IS RIGHT!
April 15, 2013
Egyptian Christians respond with harsh words to attack -- rocks, Molotov cocktails, and gunfire -- against main cathedral
Marcy Darnovsky and Karuna Jaggar:
High Court to decide if you should own your DNA
US bracing for more Russian blowback after taking action against 18 more human rights violators
April 12, 2013
New cybersecurity bill: Privacy threat or crucial band-aid?
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom:
The Kosher Gourmet by Susan Russo:
Jackie Robinson's Friend, Hank Greenberg; CNN's Jake Tapper; Texas County in the News is named for 19thC. Jewish soldier and Congressman
FRUITY QUINOA STUFFED PEPPERS: A flavorful, colorful and edible vessel of delicately fluffy, mildly nutty filling combined with chewy apricots, tangy cherries, and crunchy pistachios
April 10, 2013
North Korean missiles: Could US shoot them down?
Warning: Don't waste your capital being fooled by profit prophets
Donald Hensrud, M.D.:
Mayo Clinic Medical Edge: Take vitamin supplements with caution --- even approved, they may actually do damage
74 DNA discoveries move cure closer for three cancers
April 8, 2013
Jonathan Tobin: What Part of No Preconditions Do American Jews Not Get?
Is Putin finally trading his own party for a new power base?
Jewish World Review
Feb. 7, 2007
/ 18 Shevat, 5767
Much ado about the “a” word
Here's irony for you. Last spring, focus-group guru Frank Luntz said that Sen. Joseph Biden should be considered a front-runner in the Democratic presidential primaries because so many Democrats in New Hampshire and Iowa judged him to be wait for it "articulate."
I should back up. Biden is famous for his brain's chronic inability to hold brake fluid. Once he revs his engines, the motormouth can't be stopped, and he just keeps talking and talking and talking. My theory is that those constant smiles where he displays his shiny fake teeth are the facial equivalent of flashing your brights while driving, signaling to those in Biden's path, "I can't stop this thing!"
Anyway, Biden is running for president. On the day he announced, the New York Observer released an interview in which it was clear Biden had no brakes. Asked about Barack Obama, the Democratic wunderkind, Biden said: "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's a storybook, man."
This statement didn't amuse some folks and highly amused others, particularly his Democratic rivals. A plain reading is indefensible (as Biden has admitted). First, the word "candidate" is missing, so it reads like he's talking about blacks generally, which everyone agrees is preposterous. But even with that caveat, he seems to be saying that Shirley Chisolm, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Alan Keyes were lacking some or all of those attributes mainstream, articulate, bright, clean or nice-looking. Feel free to play pin-the-adjective on the former candidates. But all I will say is that I've met Alan Keyes, and whatever his other flaws, he's so clean you could eat off him.
What I find fascinating is that the least offensive adjective describing Obama "articulate" has caused the most offense. The New York Times ran a lengthy essay by Lynette Clemetson on the troubling and pernicious racism behind the oft-used compliment for well-spoken black people. The Washington Post's Eugene Robinson penned a similar meditation arguing that "articulate" is essentially code for not scary to whites. "It's being used to describe a black person around whom white people can be comfortable," writes Robinson.
Obviously, there's ample truth here. Colin Powell, for example, was routinely described as "articulate" when he was pondering a presidential run. But you know what? Powell is articulate. Moreover, if you ever heard him talk to inner-city kids, you'd know he puts a great deal of importance on speaking and writing ability. Why? Because much of low-income black America has a problem in this regard (as does much of low-income white America, I should add).
It's weird: Everyone agrees that our schools are disproportionately failing African-American kids, that there is a cycle of dysfunction afflicting large swaths of lower-class black America. But if you ever point to the consequences of those failures, even in the most oblique and glancing way, someone cries "Racism!"
Clemetson spoke to a host of hyper-successful blacks who are weary of being called "articulate." But nowhere do Clemetson and the people she interviewed address the fact that not all of black America is as articulate as Condoleezza Rice or D.L. Hughley. It's as if white America just made up the idea that proper diction and speech is lacking in some quarters of black America.
Many blacks are deeply sensitive to all of this. Indeed, the whole "Ebonics" fad a social-science neologism conceived to describe black slang as a distinct dialect, which it is was designed to cover up the fact that large numbers of black Americans are not articulate in mainstream American English. But as Bill Cosby and others have noted, simply because Ebonics describes something real doesn't mean it's in the best interests of black people to embrace it.
Again, I think complaints from elite blacks about the overuse of the word "articulate" are well-taken to a point. However, not only is it not the code word some are making it out to be, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Al Gore and even Biden himself are routinely described as "articulate," and President Bush is relentlessly dubbed "inarticulate," yet nobody thinks that means he's being called "black."
But more important, the word "articulate" is used to describe eloquent blacks both truthfully and in an important context. Large swaths of black America are not articulate enough to succeed in the 21st century. We are constantly being told that we need a "national conversation" about precisely this sort of thing. But when even the most well-meaning whites use the word "articulate" to describe successful blacks, they're called racist. It's no wonder that national conversation is so slow in getting started.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
To comment on JWR contributor Jonah Goldberg's column
Jonah Goldberg Archives
© 2006 TMS
Richard Z. Chesnoff
Frank J. Gaffney
Victor Davis Hanson
A. Barton Hinkle
Judge A. Napolitano
Cokie & Steve Roberts
Debra J. Saunders
J. D. Crowe
Ask Doctor K