Ever since Breitbart.com released a video of then-Harvard Law school student Barack Obama introducing controversial Harvard Law professor Derrick Bell, one of the most stalwart defenders of Bell has been CNN “Starting Point” anchor Soledad O’Brien.
Last Thursday, O’Brien had a somewhat contentious back-and-forth with Breitbart.com editor Joe Pollack, which she defended on her Monday broadcast.
“Last week we had a lot of feedback on a debate we had about Critical Race Theory,” O’Brien said. “And it was kind of brought back into the spotlight, the academic theory that nobody was talking about, brought into the spotlight by Breitbart.com editor-in-chief Joe Pollack, who was on our show talking about what he called a bombshell, a video released by the website.”
“The video shows a hug between then-Harvard Law school student Barack Obama and Professor Derrick Bell, one of the founders of Critical Race Theory. And Pollack said on this show he implied or nearly said that bell was a radical because he helped develop his theory. We got into a debate about what exactly Critical Race Theory is.”
O’Brien then brought on Dorothy Brown, a professor of law at Emory University who has her own writings about Critical Race Theory, to defend and explain Bell’s ideas.
“I would say there are various interpretations to this extent — there are lots of Critical Race theorists at different ends of the spectrum,” Brown said. “So, if you got five of us in a room, we might get into a fight about what Critical Race Theory was, but no one would say it’s about white supremacy. We agree on that.”
Brown dismissed Pollack’s interpretation as “a smear tactic,” but said Bell would be thrilled for his Critical Race Theory becoming “mainstream.”
“I think Derrick would be laughing right now for a number of reasons,” Brown said. “One of which is this is just silly. Second of which, ‘Wow,’ he would say, ‘Critical Race Theory has gone mainstream. They’re talking about us. For all of his life people didn’t talk about Critical Race Theory. God rest his soul. He’s passed on. We’re now talking about Critical Race Theory and Derrick Bell being the founder of Critical Race Theory.”
O’Brien followed up with her own message for viewers: To stop tweeting her about their concerns on her coverage of the Bell coverage.
“Well, he’s not on the receiving end of the crazy tweets that I’ve been getting about critical race theory as well,” O’Brien said. “[C]ritical Race Theory 101, stop tweeting me — we have moved on, people.”