Toure (I’m way too lazy to hunt down the special character code for the accent mark) is, as Ace notes, one of the dimmer intellectual lights of the current crop on MSNBC.
And he’s catching a ton of flack from the right for a stupid tweet he made about the power of White Privilege.
The problem is, a lot of people on the right are willfully assigning this a meaning that is dubious at best. Virtually every critic is arguing that Toure is saying that the family survived concentration camp because they were white. Look, Toure is stupid, but even he isn’t that stupid.
An honest reading would lead to the conclusion that the family’s success in America after surviving the camps was in part due to the fact that they were white.
And there’s a grain of truth to that.
African American soldiers, having served in large numbers during World War II, came home to a nation of Jim Crow laws, and a de facto apartheid of Separate but Equal. The contrast with their treatment in the Army, shabby as it was, where they were considered good enough to fight for Europe’s freedom, with the treatment at home was a major impetus for the civil rights movement. Further, the many white citizen soldiers who served alongside them and saw the hypocrisy of forcing black Americans to serve, and denying them true participation in society afterwards, helped every bit as much. Without general support from the caucasian majority, no amount of activism from the black minority would have lead to the Civil Rights act.
So Toure is kinda sorta on track. Coming home from World War II and being black, there was simply no guarantee of success, no matter how much hard work one applied.
But he’s also wrong (as always) about the power of whiteness. Don’t forget that along with institutionalized discrimination against blacks, prejudice against Jews was quite socially acceptable at the time. Certainly not to the extent against blacks, but there nonetheless. Of course, for those Jews that did make it to the US from Europe after the war, there was a strong Jewish community to help them get started. And the strong family structure and cultural emphasis on education helped immensely. But that alone was no guarantee of success.
So by all means, mock and shame Toure for being the half-wit he is. But at least make sure you’re arguing against what he says, not what you want to hear.