Say you write a piece for the Los Angeles Times about Obama's election and what it says about race in America, and include language like this:
Obama is what I have called a "bargainer" — a black who says to whites, "I will never presume that you are racist if you will not hold my race against me." Whites become enthralled with bargainers out of gratitude for the presumption of innocence they offer. Bargainers relieve their anxiety about being white and, for this gift of trust, bargainers are often rewarded with a kind of halo.
And you offer this author blurb at the end:
Shelby Steele is an author, columnist and senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.
Hmm. Don't you think that maybe, just maybe, your readers might have wound up better informed if the author blurb had said this?
Shelby Steele is an author, columnist and senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution. He advanced the same thesis about "bargainers" in his recent book A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited About Obama And Why He Can't Win. [Emphasis mine; wrongness in original]
Sure, maybe it's unreasonable to expect him to say "Look, you ought to consider the distinct possibility that I am full of shit, because these are the same theories that led me to publish and promote a book arguing that Obama would never become president." But wouldn't an author with a smidgen of self-respect or intellectual honesty have managed, at least, to sneak in a self-deprecating "Ooops. My bad!" in there someplace?
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