My City Journal feature on Jesse Jackson’s nemesis, the Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson, is now available online here. It’s called “A Man Alone.” I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who speaks his mind so plainly and so completely without fear despite the political incorrectness of his opinions. No hate, no anger, just courage and his unique insight. Here’s a brief excerpt:
“The contrast between Jesse Jackson’s wealth and fame and Jesse Lee Peterson’s relatively modest circumstances seems an object lesson in the fate of competing narratives and identities. The great social thinker Shelby Steele has written that to “be black” in America requires the wearing of a mask. Either you are a “challenger,” like Jackson, who essentially tells whites: “I judge you racist until you do something—such as giving me money—to prove otherwise.” Or you are a “bargainer,” like Barack Obama, who says, “I will not use racism against you, if you will not use race against me.”
But Jesse Lee Peterson will not “be black” in that sense at all. “The ‘Black Experience’ is a myth used to control people,” he has written. His approach to the problems facing America’s entrenched black underclass is profoundly personal. And his comparatively marginal place in the culture raises the possibility that, for a public black in America, to be a man only is to be a man alone.”
Once again, here’s the link. Lotta good stuff at CJ. Check it out.