Ex-Harvard president could learn something from new Philly mayor

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I’ve been watching with some interest the backlash to Harvard University President Claudine Gay’s resignation.

If you were to believe the media reports, at least the ones from the Associated Press and other legacy institutions, Gay was railroaded into a premature departure by bigoted white men who were threatened by her superior intellect and accomplishments because, as we all know, that is the only reason a Black woman would be forced to resign.

Gay was not forced to resign because she was a Black woman. She was not “targeted” because of her skin color or her race. She is not the ex-leader of an Ivy League institution because she is not a white man. The facts are clear: Gay engaged in decades of dishonest scholarship, stealing the work of colleagues without deigning to credit them. She most egregiously did this with another Black scholar, Professor Carol Swain, who is a well-known conservative and therefore doesn’t appear to matter to outraged liberals.

Another reason that Gay was forced to resign, which can really be spelled “F-I-R-E-D,” is that she failed in the most spectacular manner to condemn antisemitism on campus. If her supporters are to be believed, she actually did criticize the acts of bigotry that she couldn’t deny were happening at Harvard on a regular basis since Hamas murdered hundreds of innocent Israelis. But if you listen to her words at that tragicomic hearing, they drip with the annoyance of a woman who can’t believe she’s forced to defend the rights of Jewish students to live on a safe and secure campus. Gay was not amused. She was too important for this little charade.

It’s amazing the way progressives have tried to manipulate the narrative in the Gay saga. Turning her into the victim of some right-wing conspiracy is just the latest example of how so many on the left have abandoned the concept of accountability.

Leftist academics will cover for their less accomplished colleagues because the idea of “merit” is now racist and sexist. Leftist politicians have pushed for policies that favor the traditionally underprivileged unless those traditionally underprivileged folks are white, straight, Christian men who happen to like country music and work at blue-collar jobs. And leftist prosecutors will refuse to prosecute those who, because of their upbringing, are given a pass. It’s what I call the Officer Krupke theory: “We’re depraved because we’re deprived.”

This brings me to a Black woman who hasn’t allowed anyone to pigeonhole her by her race or even her gender. Cherelle Parker is the first female Black mayor in the centuries-long history of Philadelphia. She was raised by her grandmother, who proudly used food stamps to feed her, and she herself is a single mother to a young Black son. She grew up in tough Philly neighborhoods and knows that minorities bear the heaviest brunt of crime waves.

Yet not once during her campaign for mayor did Parker play the “woe is me” card, lamenting that she had a harder time making it to the top because of her race and gender. She referenced them as things that motivated her, that provided her with strength and with purpose, as things that defined her challenges and formed her worldview. But never once did I hear her say that she was targeted because she was a Black woman.

And that gives me, a white woman who was recently a victim of crime in Philadelphia, hope. I confronted a woman who had stolen my wallet and who fought me when I tried to take it back. She screamed, she kicked, she was violent enough that three other people had to hold her back. She was clearly under the influence of some controlled substance.

I walked away from that with my wallet and no scratches. But even as I write these words, I am still shaking. What if she had a knife or a gun? In retrospect, despite my bravado as being a tough Italian-Irish “badass,” I was foolish to run after her down a dark city street on a cold winter evening.

But when you live in a place where the prosecutor and so many progressive politicians think that the criminals matter more than the victims, you reach a breaking point. You eventually feel, foolish as that is, that you need to take matters into your own hands.

That is why I am glad that my new mayor, a Black woman who has made crime reduction her primary concern, took the oath of office last week. And I am glad that she, and all of us who voted for her, don’t care about her race. We care about results.

Perhaps the esteemed scholar, Claudine Gay, could take some lessons from Her Honor, Mayor Cherelle Parker.

Copyright 2024 Christine Flowers, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Christine Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the Delaware County Daily Times, and can be reached at [email protected].

Christine Flowers is a Philadelphian who loves the Eagles but can leave the cheesesteaks. She writes about anything that will likely annoy the majority of people, and in her spare time practices immigration law (which is bound to annoy at least some people.)