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Calling Out

Morgen on April 2, 2010 at 12:33 pm

Jonathan Singer is a Berkeley law student who started a blog to support Goodwin Liu’s nomination by President Obama to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Singer is a student of Liu’s at Berkeley, and although perhaps some would question whether Singer’s efforts are self-serving given that he presumably will receive grades and/or career-related recommendations from Liu in the future, I think Singer’s effort and initiative is commendable.

However, like other more prominent supporters of Liu, he has repeatedly disputed the claim that Liu expressed support for reparations for slavery in the video clip we first posted back on March 22, most recently in this post today responding to an earlier post of Ed Whelan’s on Bench Memos. Singer’s (and Media Matters’) defense of Liu is based on a statement which Liu made 20 minutes later in the session where he was speaking about the practical reality of what could be done now to advance the cause of racial injustice given that there is not currently any credible national movement in this direction. Singer would like his readers to believe that Liu spoke in favor of only community-based actions, and that since Liu did not elaborate on any sort of detailed national reparations strategy, that this somehow refutes the fact that he expressed a clear personal belief that until reparations are put on the table “reconciliation can’t fully occur” (Liu’s words).

So I decided to email Singer and call him out on this:

Hey Jonathan, if you are going to continue to advance the line that Liu did not express support for reparations why don’t you embed the full video clip in question so people can judge for themselves. This clip includes the original question from the moderator and the comments from Ambassador Joseph which Liu directly references in his statement:

Pushing something Liu said 20 minutes later in the session, where he was addressing the practical reality of what can be done now to advance the cause of racial injustice, is blatantly dishonest on your part (and Media Matters). The simple fact of the matter is that Liu unequivocally stated that he believes everyone in America must “give something up” for racial reconciliation to fully occur. In Liu’s own words he defined this “something” as including “money”.

But I suppose an honest and open debate is not your primary agenda here…

I will let you know if he responds, but I am not holding my breath. But once again, for good measure, here is the extended clip which includes the full context of Liu’s comments. As I have said repeatedly, don’t take my word for it. Watch and judge for yourself:

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Update: I should add that even Liu’s later statements advocating for community-based efforts to address racial injustices are based on the standard language and strategy employed by advocates for reparations, as John pointed out so ably in our original response to Media Matters on this. So although I completely reject the premise of Singer’s argument since I think it is clear what Liu believes, it does not get Liu off the hook regardless.

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Category: Crime & the Law |

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