Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Speaking of Racial Politics ...

Over at my friend/colleague Robert George's blog, he's posted a PBS link celebrating Percy Julian, a.k.a. "the first black chemist ever elected to the National Academy of Sciences."

At our place of employment, which I gather is typical, we receive daily e-mails from HR filled with interesting facts like, "Did you know Mills Barker was the first African-American herpetologist to castrate a 12-foot python using only his left hand?"

Bits of trivia that make me wonder: If it's wrong to call blacks "smart" or "articulate" because it presupposes such talents to be infrequent among those of African descent, why, exactly, is it appropriate to celebrate Percy Julian for his chemistry talents? I should hope PBS isn't suggesting that rare is the black man with a natural gift for chemistry!

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