With Vice President Al Gore, former Sen. Bill Bradley and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton actively seeking the support of Al Sharpton, the notorious race-baiter who perpetrated the Tawana Brawley fraud and incited a deadly race riot in New York City, it is the perfect time to ask "Why?"
Why is it not as politically unacceptable to seek Sharpton's endorsement in the Democratic presidential primary as it would be to seek David Duke's help in getting redneck votes in Louisiana?
Why is there only limited protest when Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan is invited to speak on campus at a major university, but the whole college comes to a screeching halt when University of California Regent Ward Connerly is invited to talk about his disapproval of affirmative action?
Why is a portrait of Elijah Muhammed, the Nation of Islam founder who taught that white people were invented by a mad scientist named Yakub, given an equally prominent place with the portrait of Martin Luther King Jr. in the national Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tenn.?
Why is writer bel hooks (who recently spoke in Flint) celebrated as an anti-racist commentator even after she writes a graphic article about how she would like to slaughter a passenger sitting next to her on an airplane because he was a white male and got the window seat?
David Horowitz, a former member of the Black Panthers and editor of the prominent 1960s radical magazine Ramparts, seeks to shed light on this double standard in the provocatively titled, Hating Whitey: and Other Progressive Causes.
The book is not a study, however, but a collection of his columns from the online magazine Salon, loosely centered around this theme.
Horowitz's outrage is not directed primarily at the fact that what is euphemistically called "reverse racism" exists. Rather, his wrath is aimed at those in the largely white radical Left who encourage it.
What makes these seemingly fringe characters worth blasting, Horowitz contends, is that their point of view dominates current academia and the publishing business, and they have an effective heckler's veto over public political discussion.
Horowitz traces the trend to tag white males as the root of all social ills from what used to be called the "blame America first" crowd.
But now that we have Orwellian phrases like "majority minority" and constant bleats about America's "diversity," the purveyors of political correctness have needed to narrow the focus of their outrage.
The specter of this enemy gives them the moral high ground to give each other big writing grants, high-paying professorships and exorbitant speakers' fees at taxpayers' expense. Anyone who protests this featherbedding for the mediocre must be a racist, a sexist, a homophobe or all of the above.
But political power, Horowitz writes, is really the reason for this hate mongering.
"Leftists like Maxine Waters and Toni Morrison ... have persuaded the African-American community that Republicans are racists who want to reverse the gains of the civil rights era," he writes. "This is really the Big Lie that locks African-Americans into (President) Clinton's corner, blocks reform, and protects the one-party political system of America's largest cities."
Horowitz writes of his own experiences with the Black Panther Party, which he joined out of enthusiasm for the cause of racial justice. After a close friend was murdered for asking questions about the use of party funds, however, he learned that the Panthers were thugs who dealt drugs and enforced party discipline with rape, sodomy, whippings and murder.
It's a short trip from the excuses of the politically correct for outrages like those of the Panthers to the "Whaddya expect from those people?" of the belligerent racist, Horowitz shows.
There is an authenticity to Horowitz's claims of consistency as he moved from the political Left to the Right.
While the political stripe of his targets have changed, he still takes great delight in storming the ramparts of the smug elites, taking them apart with their own words and fiercely arguing with a bracing intellectual honesty.