Henry Louis Gates, Jr., has come out of the closet. He now admits to self-destructive tendencies within black America. I saw parts of a recent special he did in which he goes into a little more detail on this. One of the observations he made was that many younger black people today are dependent on affirmative action, and it's bad for their own potential to do well on their own. He thinks this is unfortunate, yet he doesn't bring himself to condemn affirmative action as bad, even if its harmful effects are obvious to him.
He expresses a far too typical attitude among black liberals (to avoid the label of not being black? -- he explicitly mentions Clarence Thomas in the process, who often does get it put that way about him). Here's the bad argument he gives:
1. X is bad.
2. I benefited from X.
3. Therefore, I can't speak out against X without being hypocritical.
Now insert slavery in for the X. Is a slaveowner who realizes the badness of slavery a hypocrite for changing his mind and speaking out against it? Gates's argument is of the same form. I've heard the same argument from other people, and I just can't understand why they think the conclusion follows. It seems to me that the denial of the conclusion straightforwardly follows from the first premise, and thus the second premise is irrelevant.
I think the hypocrisy goes the other direction. He's come to a conclusion that something is harming his people, and he won't bother to do anything about it. Why? The answer seems to be that he's gained because of it. Isn't hypocrisy when there's a discrepancy between what you do and what you say?
Thanks to La Shawn Barber for the link.