Coulter calls for cuts in legal immigration, ending birthright citizenship, speaks frankly about the Bell Curve, defends groups like the Council of Conservative Citizens (with some qualifications), and even quotes VDARE.com and Peter Brimelow .
So I was excited when I heard of her latest book, Mugged: Racial Demagoguery from the Seventies to Obama.
But, as she began promoting it, the controversy seemed to be limited to her attacking liberals and the Democrats for racism and indifference to blacks.
So I got worried that the book would be more partisan Jonah Goldberg-type “Democrats-are-the-real-racists, Martin Luther King-is-a-conservative” platitudes than an actual, much-needed indictment of racial demagoguery.
Fortunately, however, the vast bulk of Coulter’s book focuses on exposing liberal and black hysteria and lies about race.
If nothing else, Coulter is great at turning a phrase. She opens the book:
The Democrats’ slogan during the Bush years was: ‘Dissent is patriotic.’ Under Obama, it’s: ‘Dissent is racist.’’Her book contains scores of similarly spot-on one-liners.
Coulter notes several actions that now inspire accusations of racism in the Age of Obama:
Beyond documenting the anti-white racism of Jeremiah Wright, which she does marvelously, Coulter skewers Obama’s racial agenda. She notes that in his autobiography, Dreams From My Father, when a white friend who attended a mostly-black party with Obama said “I can see how it must be tough for you” being the one of the few blacks at the school, Obama’s reaction was “A part of me wanted to punch him right there.” Coulter jokes “I don’t want anybody telling Obama about Bill Clinton’s ‘I feel your pain’ line.”
Her book’s subtitle is Racial Demagoguery from the Seventies to Obama, and Coulter systematically documents racial demagoguery from the 1970s on. She does a great job telling the true story behind supposed acts of racism such as the justified Rodney King beating, the tragic (but not racist) shooting of Amadou Diallo, and the Willie Horton Ad. She exposes the little-known fact that Jim Jones People's Temple mass suicide was led by a fanatical left-winger driven by “anti-racism” and Marxism, who also had close ties to the Democratic Party.
Perhaps the best part of Coulter’s book is her discussion of hate crime hoaxes. She devotes an entire chapter, amusingly titled “Hey, whatever happened to that story…” to hate crime hoaxes and how the MSM always accepts the lies, only to deep-six the stories when they prove false. In addition to rehearsing well-known hoaxes such as the Tawana Brawley case, she goes into great detail about lesser-publicized frauds, like the non-existent epidemic of black church burnings during the Clinton years. More importantly, she notes that many of these fake hate crimes stirred up actual hate crimes against whites—which were all ignored by the MSM.
Coulter covers the Duke Lacrosse mess later in the book. This is one of the few Hate Crime hoaxes that most people still remember, but Coulter brings up facts often ignored (outside of VDARE and a few other sources) that put it in perspective. She reports DOJ crime statistics noting that there has not been a single case of an actual white-on-black gang rape, while thousands of black-on-white rapes (including gang rapes) occur each year. As Coulter barbs:
If there were a single unequivocal example of a white on black rape in modern times, a lesbian folk singer would have written a song about it and won an Oscar for the accompanying documentary.There are, however, a few areas where I believe Coulter's partisanship gets in the way of her otherwise excellent analysis. Like many Conservatism Inc. publicists, Coulter argues the Democrats are in fact the real racists, and that the Republican Southern Strategy was non-racial.
Coulter certainly makes a far better case for both of these propositions than anyone else. I will devote another column to discussing her arguments in depth—it would be a disservice to spend the bulk of a review of an excellent book criticizing a small section of it.
That said, I also will bring up a few even smaller parts of the book to quibble with.
For example, when discussing the hysteria about non-existent racist assassination plots against Obama, Coulter implies (though does not explicitly state) that Holocaust museum shooter James Von Brunn was a liberal by noting that he hated neoconservatives and John McCain.
Well, I hate them too. For that matter, while “hate” may be a strong word, Coulter has rightly critical of both neoconservatives and McCain.
Yes, it’s true that Von Brunn does not have exactly the same political views as Coulter, myself, or Sean Hannity. But many of the more radical and violent Occupy protesters don't like Barack Obama or Chuck Schumer either. However, Coulter would never suggest they aren't leftists. By the same token, it seems a stretch that Von Brunn was not a man of the Right.
Coulter has occasionally made some statements suggesting that she is sympathetic to Bell Curve arguments. [See her column Murdering The Bell Curve, June 27, 2002 at 2:50 PM]But she concludes her book by asserting
if all black people woke up tomorrow morning with the cultural predilections of Korean Americans, all sociological disparities—income, crime rates, out of wedlock births—would vanish within ten years.Coulter's general point that most of the problems in the black community will only improve through cultural change is no doubt true. But the unfortunate fact of average genetic differences means that most of those disparities will never vanish.
Of course, if one wanted to be lawyerly about this, one could argue that the idea of blacks waking up with the “cultural predilections of Korean Americans” necessarily implies a change in their genes. But, as is the case with her insinuation that Von Brunn was a Leftist, Coulter's conclusion gives off a fallacious gestalt.
These quibbles aside, Coulter's Mugged ranks with Jared Taylor's Paved with Good Intentions and Thomas Sowell's The Vision of the Anointed as one of the best indictments of American minority and liberal hypocrisy and hysteria on race.
Alexander Hart (email him) is a conservative journalist