White privilege is real, but mewling about it isn’t helping

During the hot racial strife of 1968, author James Baldwin was interviewed by Esquire magazine on the status of race relations in the country. Baldwin, whose works offered keen insight into the worldview of black America, didn’t pull any punches. He was up front with describing the ineptitude of white Americans in alleviating racial animosity. When asked why the state of New York planned to erect a government building in place of a black nationalist bookstore in Harlem, Baldwin plainly told the interviewer, “the American white man has proved, if nothing else, he is absolutely, endlessly, foolish when it comes to this problem.”

“Foolish” is a good way to describe Lehigh University visiting professor Christopher Driscoll. Stupidly garrulous may be another. Dr. Driscoll takes political correctness to a whole new level with his blog Shades of White. After co-hosting a rap music symposium (totally appropriate for a university) with two hip-hop educators (such pedagogy), Driscoll decided to issue “The Ten Cracka Commandments” to teach his fellow whites how to view and interact with black culture. Like Moses descending from Mount Sinai, the totally conscious professor wants, I think, to make sure his people aren’t creating a golden calf out of racial misunderstanding.

First, I’ll give credit where credit is due: Dr. Driscoll is as “white” as can be. His website’s profile picture shows him wearing bright yellow pants and loafers. For being a college professor and dressing like a Capitol Hill staffer, I grant Driscoll the title of “expert on white people.” He better be welcome.