Going Soft on the Weak

Some historians romanticise the powerless to the point where they can do no wrong. This offers a moral threat to both the profession and the wider society, which must be challenged, says Tim Stanley.

I took a class recently that examined the American Black Power movement of the 1960s. We looked at authors and activists who made some idiosyncratic observations about Cold War America. Among the charges were that the white man was invented in a test tube, that Jews established the Federal Reserve, that the drug trade was an experiment in population control by the CIA and that Mickey Mouse was the friendly face of imperialist genocide. However absurd these fantasies were, the most radical Black Power leaders used them as the pretext for separatism and urban terrorism. One wrong (white racism) was used to justify another (black racism). In his book of essays, Soul on Ice, the Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver even redefined rape as a political act.

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