McWhorter on Hillary and MLK

John McWhorter is an extremely insightful professor of linguistics at Berkeley and the author of The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language. I read “Power of Babel” a few years ago, and I’ve been noticing more and more of his articles popping up in the likes of National Review and the The Wall Street Journal, which is where you can find the following excerpt:

There are many people in our great land aggrieved over the idea that Hillary Clinton thinks Martin Luther King Jr. was not the hero of the civil rights movement.

This idea seems so illogical that the only way to understand it is to approach it as a puzzle. After all, why would a white person running for president in 2008 dismiss the legacy of King near his birthday, which is celebrated as a national holiday, and right before a primary in a state with a large black vote?

To do such a thing would suggest inability to tie one’s shoes. Let’s imagine that in private Sen. Clinton thought little of King, which is vastly unlikely for someone of her background. Still, the puzzle remains: Why would she, an intelligent person, say it in public?

Find the answer here.

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