Friendly Fire?

Twice in the past few weeks I’ve been the subject of a surprise attack by a well-known black newspaper columnist. What did I do to deserve this?

I keep asking myself what I did to deserve this. Twice in the past few weeks I’ve been the subject of a surprise attack by a well-known black newspaper columnist. Having my name dragged through the mud has been a very enlightening experience.

The first to fire was Leonard Pitts of the Miami Herald—my former teaching colleague at Hampton—who let me have it for refusing to waste my time seeing Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire. His overwrought column didn’t persuade me to see the movie, but at least it was civil and made a logical case.

Not so with Stanley Crouch of the New York Daily News, who dredged up and totally distorted a column I wrote 15 years ago for TIME magazine, in a tortured attempt to associate me with what he claims is a backlash aimed at Tiger Woods for philandering mainly with white women.

Never mind that I’ve never written a word about Tiger Woods’ sexual peccadilloes or that I don’t give a hoot about the race of his bedmates. Never mind that I have never written what Crouch accused me of writing—that O.J. Simpson had committed a racial crime against black women by marrying Nicole Brown—in that column or anywhere else. Read my piece here and judge for yourself whether I said any such thing.

But then, poor Stanley has never been one to let facts get in the way of gratuitous verbal—and, in his case, physical—assaults on people he disagrees with. His MO is to mix crude insults, laden with 50-cent words he often misuses, with putdowns based on the skin color of his opponents.

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