Friday, April 27, 2001

Leondard Pitts, Jr.'s columns are often featured in the Post-Dispatch and I have found myself appreciating much of what he writes. Though I don't always agree with his columns, I often find them thought provoking and I appreciate an African-American perspective that doesn't always tout the same, tired rhetoric of Jessie Jackson & Al Sharpton types. His most recent column is nothing spectacular or peculiarly insightful, but it represents a point of view not often given much airtime among African-Americans. Here's a quote from his most recent column where he describes speaking at a forum in West Virginia and the subject of "gansta chic" -- which he describes as the distinctive style of urban fashion that says, I am here to rob and injure you -- came up:

I said what I usually say: It's troubling to me that young men, particularly many young African-American men, dress in a style that's perceived as the uniform of the career criminal.

Whereupon a black woman rose from the audience, eyes flashing danger signs, mouth full of rebuke.

This is what I often find refreshing about him, he offers a different perspective that is countercultural to much of the thinking in particular segments of the African-American community. Often only one position is given a seat on the platform, and that seat more often than not goes to a Jessie Jackson or an Al Sharpton than it does to a Leonard Pitts, Jr. Yet, Pitts is not exactly Walter Williams or Thomas Sowell, both of whom I appreciate and benefit tremendously from. Pitts is not a firmly entrenched black conservative and that gives him an edge that is provocative to my largely conservative sensibilities. His columns demonstrate a balanced and thoughtful approach that represent some of the best of both the liberal and conservative movements. He doesn't always persuade me, as George Will almost always does, but he does keep me sharp.

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