Why is Kristen Clarke being accused of racism? Fox host Tucker Carlson slams Joe Biden's pick for top DOJ role

Why is Kristen Clarke being accused of racism? Fox host Tucker Carlson slams Joe Biden's pick for top DOJ role
Fox News host Tucker Carlson, Kristen Clarke (Getty Images)

President-elect Joe Biden has faced criticism over his picks for the next administration at the White House. The former vice president has nominated a number of individuals of color and it has not impressed the far-right camp. One of the president-elect’s picks who has come under the scanner at the moment is Kristen Clarke, who has been nominated to run the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. 

On Monday, January 11, Fox News host Tucker Carlson hit out at Clarke in which he said while Clarke has vowed to end hate, she is “actually an enthusiastic purveyor of what she claims to fight”. The right-wing television host and political commentator made his remarks in an article which was adapted from a portion of his remarks on the Monday edition of “Tucker Carlson Tonight”. He said that in 1994, Clarke penned a letter (‘Blacks Seek An End to Abuse’, October 28, 1994) to The Harvard Crimson newspaper at Harvard University in which she spoke about her views on race science as the president of Harvard-Radcliffe Black Students Association (BSA). Therein, Clarke made the following observations on “genetic differences between Blacks and Whites” which Carlson called “crackpot” and said they were considered “deranged and dangerous” even at Harvard.


'Blacks have superior physical and mental abilities,' said Clarke

Clarke wrote: “Please use the following theories and observations to assist you in your search for truth regarding the genetic differences between Blacks and whites [sic]," Clarke wrote. "One: Dr Richard King reveals that the core of the human brain is the 'locus coeruleus,' which is a structure that is Black, because it contains large amounts of neuro-melanin, which is essential for its operation.

“Two: Black infants sit, crawl and walk sooner than whites [sic]. Three: Carol Barnes notes that human mental processes are controlled by melanin – that same chemical that gives Blacks their superior physical and mental abilities. “Four: Some scientists have revealed that most whites [sic] are unable to produce melanin because their pineal glands are often calcified or non-functioning. Pineal calcification rates with Africans are five to 15 percent [sic], Asians 15 to 25 percent [sic] and Europeans 60 to 80 percent [sic]. This is the chemical basis for the cultural differences between blacks and whites [sic]. Five: Melanin endows Blacks with greater mental, physical and spiritual abilities – something which cannot be measured based on Eurocentric standards.”


Clarke objected to those who defended 'The Bell Curve' book

Clarke’s letter was in response to those who defended ‘The Bell Curve’ (Opinion, Oct 24, 1994). The ‘Bell Curve’ is a book co-authored by conservative political scientist Charles S Murray and professor Richard J Hernstein in which they argued that intelligence differs among races and these differences are partially genetic and they eventually have implications for America’s public policy. The book stirred controversy with the liberals in Harvard campus slamming it. Derek Ho, a senior editor of liberal monthly Perspective even went to the extent of saying that the book amounted to “racism masquerading as true scholarship”. 

Clarke was also among them who attacked the book saying it lacked “any scholarly merit or application in our society”. The BSA even held a protest at the Widener Library against the book at that time. 

Nearly three decades since Clarke expressed her viewpoints on race as a student, Carlson has taken her on. He said in his piece that Clarke’s viewpoints were not something that an editorial from the Final Call, Louis Farrakhan’s free newspaper but from someone the next president of the US intends to put in charge of the country’s civil rights laws. 
He also claimed that after facing a backlash for her views, Clarke said that she suggested that she didn’t necessarily believe in what she had written. Saying the “left-wing” Harvard Crimson didn’t buy her viewpoint, he also cited a link from The Crimson staff that sought Clarke to retract her statements. It said Clarke resorted to bigotry to put across her point.

“Clarke's outrageous statements came in the context of a letter attacking those who would defend The Bell Curve, a controversial new book co-authored by the late Harvard professor Richard Herrnstein that suggests (among other things) that race and intellectual ability are somehow genetically linked. Rather than attack the questionable research and logic underlying The Bell Curve, however, Clarke resorted to bigotry, pure and simple, to reach the opposite conclusion,” the letter dated November 4, 1994, read. 


Clarke invited anti-Semite to Harvard campus

Carlson then added that Clarke, who now is the president of The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, invited noted Trinidadian anti-Semite Tony Martin to speak on the campus a month later and the latter, who then taught at Wellesley College. Carlson said Martin authored a self-published manifesto called “The Jewish Onslaught” in which he chronicled the “escalating Jewish onslaught” against Black people. He said Clarke strongly supported Martin, who passed away in 2013, and told The Crimson in his favor: “Professor Martin is an intelligent, well-versed Black intellectual who bases his information on indisputable fact.” Clarke was convinced that Martin’s anti-Semitism was based on “indisputable fact”, Carlson added. 


The right-wing commentator then said that Clarke’s viewpoints have remained the same and only grew more sophisticated over time. He said: “Just last year, Clarke was fighting for the crudest kind of racial discrimination in college admissions, saying it was “madness” for the federal government to take the side of Asian applicants who had provably been denied college admission on the basis of their skin color”. He then said Clarke should be under investigation by the Civil Rights Division and not in its charge. 

In June last year, Clarke wrote an opinion piece for Newsweek in which she called for strategic defunding of the police as protests against the law-keepers took violent turns in the wake of the brutal death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis. 


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