Why is Andrew Sullivan rolling his eyes?

Posted by Marcy Darnovsky October 24, 2007
Biopolitical Times

Andrew Sullivan – libertarian conservative pundit, gay Catholic, prolific blogger – quotes CGS’s Patty Berne via a ColorLines article, in a blog post he titles Genetics and “Race.”  Sullivan expresses his irritation at her reminder of the history of science and racism, complaining that, “My eyes roll when they don't glaze over.” He goes on to pledge his allegiance to “fact” and “truth.”

Sullivan has been here before. In 1994, as editor of the New Republic, he gave prominent and respectful coverage to the argument advanced in The Bell Curve that Blacks are less intelligent than Whites and Asians. His comment on that decision: “The notion that there might be resilient ethnic differences in intelligence is not, we believe, an inherently racist belief.”

As Jim Naureckas pointed out at the time, “In fact, the idea that some races are inherently inferior to others is the definition of racism. What the New Republic was saying – along with other media outlets that prominently and respectfully considered the thesis of Charles Murray and the late Richard Herrnstein's book – is that racism is a respectable intellectual position, and has a legitimate place in the national debate on race.”