Speak no ill of the dead? That appears to be the attitude of Harvard professor Derrick Bell's widow, Janet Dewart Bell, who appeared on MSNBC's "The Ed Show" to give her perspective on the man who Sarah Palin has denounced as a "racist" and who recently became the center of a firestorm of controversy thanks to Breitbart.com. You can watch the clip of her appearance below:
Mediaite gives a semi-sympathetic overview of the appearance:
To her credit, though, Ms. Dewart Bell also saw an opportunity in the glare of attention. “I’m smiling because I want to lift up the memory of Derrick Bell,” she daid. “Derrick Bell left a great legacy, not just to me and our family, but my husband was — if he were here today, he would be standing up forSandra Fluke. You know, Gloria Steinem once named him an honorary woman, because he was a feminist before feminism was cool.”
“That is the Derrick Bell that I know,” she continued, the freshness of her loss (Prof. Bell died in October) evident in her choice of tenses. “He’s a man of courage, of conviction. And he was always standing up for justice. It didn’t matter who it was. He accepted people as they were.”
Of Sarah Palin’s attack, Ms. Dewart Bell said ” It’s outrageous. It’s an outrage,” adding that while this thing is to be expected from the ranks of right-wing provocateurs like Palin, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and Bill O’Reilly, she asked “Where are the good people who are going to speak up on the right side, you know? There should be some moderate right people or moderate Republicans who speak up and say, ‘This is not right.’”
To Dewart Bell's credit, she does not appear to have held the same inflammatory views as her late husband, at least with respect to her personal life. Prior to her marriage to Bell, she caused a stir among black radicals by deciding to marry a white man, Bob Dewart, as chronicled in the book Struggle for a Better South. What caused her to change and marry such a consummate believer in the permanence of racism, when she herself defied the phenomenon, can only be guessed.
For economist Thomas Sowell's Thoughts on Derrick Bell, click here.
For more information on Bell's ties to the Obama White House, click here.