Thomas Sowell

To puff up their role as defenders of blacks, it has been necessary for Democrats and their media supporters to hype the dangers of "racists." This has led to some very creative ways of defining and portraying people as "racists." Ann Coulter has a whole chapter titled "You Racist!" with examples of how extreme and absurd this organized name-calling can become.

No book about race would be complete without an examination of the role of character assassination in racial politics. One of the classic injustices revealed by Ann Coulter's book is the case of Charles Pickering, a white Republican in Mississippi, who prosecuted the Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1960s.

Back in those days, opposing the Ku Klux Klan meant putting your life, and the lives of your family members, at risk. The FBI had to guard Pickering and his family. Later, Pickering went on to become a federal judge and, in 2001, President George W. Bush nominated him for promotion to the Circuit Court of Appeals.

As a Republican judge, Pickering was opposed by elite liberal Democrats in Congress and in the media who, in Ann Coulter's words, "sent their children to 99-percent white private schools" while "Pickering sent his kids to overwhelmingly black Mississippi public schools."

Among the charges against Pickering was that he was bad on civil rights issues. Older black leaders in Mississippi, who had known Pickering for years, sprang to his defense. But who cared what they said? Pickering's nomination was defeated on a smear.

"Mugged" is more than an informative book. It is a whole education about the difference between rhetoric and reality when it comes to racial issues. It is a much needed, and even urgently needed education, with a national election just weeks away.


Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate