I’m not one who buys into the FOX News conspiracy theory about how Obama is a Marxist revolutionary acting as a puppet for Bill Ayers, but this critique of Ayers and his wife Bernardine Dohrn is interesting.
Today, the wily Ayers and his wife sit pretty atop American society: he, a professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago whose traveling lectures find him hailed in the press as an “anti-war activist” rather than a terrorist, and who enjoys the fawning attention of the New York Times Magazine’s Deborah Solomon; she, an adjunct professor at Northwestern, one of the most prestigious law schools in the nation, and a former employee of white-shoe law firm Sidley Austin — despite apparently having never been admitted to the bar. (A hiring partner was friends with Bill Ayers’ father, Thomas Ayers, once a CEO of Commonwealth Edison in Chicago. Sidley Austin also employed Michelle Obama as an associate and Barack Obama as a summer associate.)
Bill Ayers, in fact, has been lavished with praise by none other than the Southern Poverty Law Center. In a 1998 edition of its magazine, Teaching Tolerance, he is described as a “civil rights organizer, radical anti-Vietnam War activist, teacher and author.” Ayers, the SPLC tells us, “has developed a rich vision of teaching that interweaves passion, responsibility and self-reflection.”
Talk about white privilege. Ayers and Dohrn — themselves white — committed a slew of criminal acts on the way to persuading most of America that whites are something worse than the devil, but escaped unharmed. Only the occasional pesky journalist from Fox News bothers them now, with Ayers responding by threatening to call the police (apparently the racist pigs are sometimes useful).
This passage from the article reminded me of a conversation I had once with an ex-Black Panther where he mentioned that white radicals in the 60s were typically treated much more leniently by the law than black radicals. For instance, the leadership of the Panthers was targeted for assassination by the FBI and local police, or subject to frame-ups for capital crimes or other serious offenses. On the other hand, members of groups like the Weathermen could carry out bombings and end up pleading guilty to lesser charges and given lenient sentences or put on probation. This was likely because the authorities saw student rioters and groups like the Weathermen for what they were, i.e. privileged white kids trying to play revolutionary who were more of a nuisance than anything else, whereas groups like the Panthers, AIM, Young Lords, Young Patriots, etc. represented a genuine insurgency by the lower socioeconomic levels, thereby posing a much greater threat to the system.