From: Pierre de Craon (e-mail him)
According to Gates, he would have achieved great things had not the white Establishment been so eager to keep a brilliant, talented black man in his place.
As it happens, I was an editor at Macmillan Reference about fifteen years ago when that publisher was one of the many that declined to get involved with Gates and his book project, Africana: The Encyclopedia of Africa and the African American Experience.
Here are the reasons why. You determine if they are racist or not.
To begin with, American academic reference publishing is a low-profit game at best. It is no secret that many reference publications never break even.
Therefore, the academic editors involved seldom get paid more than $10,000 even when they actively participate in a project's development.
Many get paid much less—generally because, beyond providing a list of topics and potential contributors (i.e., article writers, more often than not unqualified and semiliterate graduate students), an academic editor seldom does more than lease his name to the publisher for marketing purposes.
Most of the time, the real work, both intellectual and organizational, gets done by an in-house editor with a small staff of freelancers.
Nevertheless, given its hard-Left orientation (pro-minority, feminist, pro-gay, pro-immigration, pro-Israel) the publishing industry considered the opportunity to buy the use of Gates' name a big deal.
Indeed, every important publisher in the country including Oxford University Press and Macmillan Reference (where I then worked) strongly considered accepting his Africana proposal.
Ultimately however, everyone turned down Gates' project, as he correctly observed in his television interview.
But Gates didn't disclose the true reasons for his rejection.
I never heard an amount quoted but according to in-house rumor it ran well into six figures.
In addition, while he would not be available for actual work or even consultation, Gates insisted on the right to withhold approval for publication of any article, or for the project as a whole, at any time right up to the announced day of publication.
Every publisher quickly understood that Africana would be nothing more than a grandiose variant of a vanity-press publication.
Given the level of public's awareness of Gates' image, both as a media wannabe and a powerfully placed figure in Establishment academe, an encyclopedia with his name on it would automatically attract many more mass-market reviews than was typical for academically-oriented encyclopedia.
Macmillan and other major publishers feared that the likelihood that Gates' encyclopedia set would be hammered in reviews because it had so little intrinsic merit.
Since we assumed poor reviews were a certainty, no big-name publisher dared to risk his reputation—and, oh yes, hundreds of thousands of dollars—on a self-important, arrogant, affirmative-action-motivated Harvard professor who was unlikely to appreciate the financial and artistic gamble his project represented.
In other words, we suspected that once, we published Gates' project, he would be unlikely to cooperate by returning e-mails or telephone calls from executives would wanted to enlist him in follow up conversations.
I hope that my insider's view explains to VDARE.COM reader Chen why Gates never approached Oprah Winfrey, Bill Cosby or Michael Jordan.
But he's surely not so stupid as to try to muscle any of those three financial giants into investing in a project that would provide little if any return on their money—even though they are African-American.
de Craon is retired.
From: Linda Cromwell (e-mail her)
I expected to see many quaint scenes of uncomplicated people driving horses and buggies.
While Lancaster County had some of that, my overall impression was that I was in a border town!
I could have been in downtown Los Angeles!
Lancaster is overflowing with illegal immigrants. According to the U.S. Census, Lancaster's Hispanic population is over 34 percent.
Talk about your bad timing!
Cromwell interned at a major California newspaper infamous for its horrible immigration coverage. Her previous letters about John McCain's presidential campaign and why we should not expect responsible reporting about immigration from the Main Stream Media [MSM] are here and here.
From: Bill Sarni (e-mail him)
Fifteen years ago, the Los Angeles Times published an editorial that blasted President Bill Clinton for ignoring the unfunded federal burden on California for the costs of providing services to illegal immigrants. [California Can't Keep Paying This Tab, Editorial, Los Angeles Times, February 9, 1994
Imagine today, a decade and a half later, how many billions of California taxpayer dollars have been wasted.
Naturally, the LAT disagreed with how then-governor Pete Wilson described the illegal alien crisis. It accused him of inflammatory pre-election rhetoric.
But its editorial acknowledged that immigration is a huge cost factor for the state.
Sadly, the LAT has not carried on its campaign to enlighten readers. Instead, it prefers puff pieces.
Sarni, a California native, wrote previously about how much he misses the state he grew up in. Read it here.