February 21, 2011, - 2:59 pm

WSJ Pimps the Race War: Hip-Hop Affirmative Action in Architecture

By Debbie Schlussel

Will somebody please tell the Wall Street Journal to keep race-war politics out of its real estate pages?  And why is the  Journal using its homes and architecture page to pimp us on Harvard’s “hip-hop archive?”

Affirmative Action Architecture: The Harvard Hip-Hop Archive House

Every Friday, the Weekend section of the Wall Street Journal has a nearly page long article, entitled “Home Front.”  It features very interesting homes, usually owned by the very wealthy, which have been uniquely remodeled, designed, and/or decorated.  One recent week, for instance, the Journal featured this unique modern home, which has a living room raised in mid-air without any supports underneath.  The canti-levered glass house was cool, interesting, and different.  And that’s the point.  The column is a vicarious glance into how “the beautiful people” live.  Since I enjoy unique design and architecture, I enjoy reading the column during the Jewish Sabbath.

But not this past weekend.  The home featured was average, and there was nothing unique about it, unless you consider it interesting that the homeowner manages Harvard’s “Hip Hop Archive” and has Henry “Cambridge Cops Are Racist!” Louis Gates, Jr. as a frequent guest.  To most, that might be “unique,” but not in a good way or in any way that makes a home interesting enough for nearly a page in the Wall Street Journal.  The house looks like the inside of my aunt’s and uncle’s home, but with tacky, ugly decor, including ugly turquoise chairs. It was clear to me that the home, a run of the mill colonial, was featured as an affirmative action way to promote its owners, one of whom was previously denied tenure at Harvard by Lawrence Summers.

And since there is nothing of note or comprising “luxury living” in the house, the Wall Street Journal’s Nancy Keates tells us that the home of Harvard professors Marcyliena Morgan and Lawrence Bobo is warm and “a gathering place.”  Couldn’t that be said of more than half of the homes in America?  But here’s the real point:

Every Sunday night, when Henry Louis Gates Jr. arrives at the home of friends Marcyliena Morgan and Lawrence Bobo, he knows to expect two things: heated discussions and a chilled cosmopolitan.

“As soon as my foot is in the door, Larry starts making my cosmo,” said Mr. Gates, director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard. He said the “Larry and Marcy salon” is “warm, open, inviting, generous, comforting and constant, like them.”

In 2008, Ms. Morgan, a 50-year-old Harvard professor who founded and directs Harvard’s hip-hop archive, and Mr. Bobo, the 52-year-old acting chairman of Harvard’s African and African American Studies department, finished a year-long, extensive renovation that married the traditional exterior and pine floors of an early 1900s Victorian with a more modern interior. . . .

Ms. Morgan and Mr. Bobo met in 1990 when they were both at the University of California Los Angeles; they married four years later and moved to Boston to take positions at Harvard, living in a condo in the Back Bay. In 2004, then-Harvard President Larry Summers vetoed a unanimous vote by the African and African American Studies Department to offer Ms. Morgan tenure. The couple decamped for Stanford University and a ranch house in Palo Alto.

When Harvard offered them both tenured positions in 2007, the couple decided to return.

You see, we’re supposed to be impressed with the very average Morgan/Bobo house because not only are they good friends with a renowned race-pimp, Gates, but she was denied tenure by Lawrence Summers. The article doesn’t tell you that Morgan got “lukewarm reviews” from students and had limited scholarship. And she’d written only one book, “The Real Hiphop,” which would rarely get you Harvard tenure if you’re White, much less consideration for tenure.

And what the heck is a “hip-hop archive?” The words “hip-hop” don’t ever belong next to the word “archive.” It’s kind of like saying “crackwhore country club.” In fact, crackwhore country club is probably a good euphemism for “Harvard hip-hop archive.” Reminds me of the many colleges that once offered courses in “studying” pop star Madonna. I’m holding my breath for the Masters Degree in Lady Gaga. That Harvard has money to waste on a “hip-hop archive” and even more money to waste on hiring a person to run it and “teach” about this garbage should tell you everything about the name, “Harvard.” It’s an upper crust sign fronting a educational sewer. I mean, really, do they study the average measurements of the barely covered bouncing butts in hip-hop videos and look for some implication for American society?

And it figures that Casa Morgan/Bobo is frequented by their fellow Harvard professor of victimhood, Skip Gates, friend of Obama.

Please, Wall Street Journal, leave the racism-pimps and undue respect for hip-hop, out of the cool homes column. Especially when the home isn’t the least bit cool.

Remember, MTV “Cribs” was canceled after poor ratings.

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10 Responses

You must be overweight to own this house.

You must also “teach” (giggles) USELESS courses at a left-wing school. Ms. Morgan, a 50-year-old Harvard professor who founded and directs Harvard’s hip-hop archive, and Mr. Bobo, the 52-year-old acting chairman of Harvard’s African and African American Studies.

Yeap, majoring in these “studies” is certain to improve the lives of future generations. No doubt ’bout it.

Frank Scarn on February 21, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Affirmative action, african american studies, Gates. I couldn’t make it through the article without GRINDING MY TEETH. I’m done with it.lol

samurai on February 21, 2011 at 5:22 pm

Maybe it was featured so that the law enforcement community would know who lives there. Maybe the WSJ thought that this public knowledge would prevent a repeat incident with the Cambridge police, thinking that even if the residents if this abode lost their tempers in the future, the Cambridge police would know who they were.

Little Al on February 21, 2011 at 6:27 pm

Its unfortunate how our schools today consider African American sutdies consist of Oprah, Woopie and J.Z. Where names like Behtune, Chisolm, Washington Carver are so long since forgotten. Our yong poeple are learning more about pop culturalist (if thats even a word) instead of real African Americans who actually contributed to this country and society at large.

Anthony on February 21, 2011 at 8:11 pm

“……..but with ugly,tacky decor,with ugly turquoise chairs.”

What Black racists believe looks cool.Along with tricked up cars with the tacky hubcaps,bling,gold teeth,etc,etc. No taste.

Phineas on February 22, 2011 at 10:48 am

My take Sat morning reading the WSJ story on Morgan/Bozo was IDENTICAL ! Vile racist ass kissing. So the ONLY superior/desirable house in the entire U.S. that a black person can own and enjoy is a stupid ‘professor’ whose whole life is built on white guilt and blame the honkys for every evil in the world. Very sick.

Mike on February 22, 2011 at 1:11 pm

I wish you had a more open mind and you are automatically discredited as a writer and a valid opinion when you use over simplistic and stereotypical words to characterize Gates by calling him a “race pimp”. This article is filled with so many argument fallacies that I will email you my FRESHMAN college worksheet on argument fallacies so you can see what you did wrong.

Are you aware that the Hip Hop Archive is a resource and not a class? Whether you like it or not Hip Hop is an integral part of African American culture; its lyrics and aesthetics provide a window into thoughts and minds of a certain part, not all, of black America and its roots are in showcasing the once overly ignored problems of the ghetto. Yes, there are misogynistic and hyper sexualized aspects that I don’t agree with or condone but that is apart of it and not all of it. I don’t like country music, but I wouldn’t derail the existence of one like you have just because of my dislike of country music.

And I am sorry that your sunday morning was ruined because they showed a common person’s house. Maybe next time you can shove that part of the paper up your you know what and criticize something that needs to be criticized like the lack of equity and access in our education system and how that hurts the economy.

Dave on March 4, 2011 at 1:50 am

Oh and do you know the history of Affirmative Action and the actual impact? Thought not. Why don’t you do actual research before you use your stereotypical verbatim and ideological assumptions to discredit it. At least that way I could disagree and respect you for right now I just disagree.

Dave on March 4, 2011 at 1:53 am

    That’s telling ‘em, Dave! Thank you for balancing the uneven argument filled with fallacies(just got an A in Logic). How’s this for irony: I’m a junior at University of Chicago, I hate hip hop, AND I’m Black! (no Native American blood in me, either!) Go figure…

    Ms. Black on August 8, 2012 at 11:00 pm

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