Anyone who has watched Massachusetts Gov.
recent book tour will see that white elites are still
very willing to buy into the black oppression narrative.
The tour for Patrick`s memoir, A Reason to Believe: Lessons from an Improbable Life,
included television appearances on
The Daily Show
with Jon Stewart,
Real Time with Bill Maher, and the Today Show
with Matt Lauer.
Virtually everyone in the media fawned over our
post-racial governor. Jon Stewart asked Patrick if he
were running for President. Matt Lauer asked him about
the white racism he suffered during his campaign. Worst
of all, Bill Maher compared Patrick and Barack Obama`s
breaking the color barrier to
Major League Baseball.
But anyone who has done an honest reading of Deval
Patrick`s memoir will conclude that this is utter
nonsense. In fact, the book contains many dubious claims
of victimhood and some very unflattering facts—all of
which was never mentioned during his televised
Moreover, an honest reading of Deval Patrick`s book
depends not on understanding Chicago, where Patrick is
originally from, but the Boston area, where Patrick
lived from high school through law school. Indeed, just
that Barack Obama`s
Dreams From My Father
depends upon readers knowing very little about Hawaii,
so too does Patrick`s memoir depend upon readers not
knowing much about the Boston area and its circle of
The Boston area has actually had a small, but cohesive
black elite for generations—
we used to call them. They are invariably light-skinned
and less inclined to associate with dark-skinned blacks.
Prior to the Civil Rights Movement, the Black Brahmins
prided themselves on being privileged, not
oppressed. They attended society functions, vacationed
and often hired Irish servants—just as the white
Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell,
a Black Brahmin once confronted him in a local
restaurant in order to put him in his place. “I want
you to know, I`m a fourth-generation Bostonian,” the
man told the 6`9 Russell. “And we will never accept
In the post-civil rights era, it`s no longer PC for
black elites to talk to dark-skinned blacks in such a
manner. But that is a classic Black Brahmin attitude,
and it`s no wonder Bill Russell chose
to live in a distant white suburb
over living in Boston.
Deval Patrick, like Obama, was not born into the black
elite, and only came to join it later. However, like
Obama, he still feels an inordinate need to claim the
historical injustices of black America as his own.
Indeed, Governor Patrick frequently reminds
Massachusetts voters of how he came up the hard way on
South Side of Chicago.
He even highlighted the fact in his inauguration speech
Growing up in rough times and rough circumstances taught
me not to just curl up and wait for better times. No,
what I learned was that optimism and effort, hope and
hard work, is the only way to climb out of a hole.[Governor
Deval Patrick`s Second Inaugural Address,
January 6, 2011]
In fact, this is only partially true of Deval Patrick.
Certainly, Patrick`s Chicago days were not easy ones.
The Patrick Family was poor, but not desperately so.
Their difficulties mostly stemmed from his
father having abandoned them
when Deval was only four years old.
Patrick spent much of his preteen years with his mother
and grandparents. These appear to be very lonely years
for him. Young Deval was a
and often got picked dead last for sports teams at
school and in the neighborhood.
The neighborhood kids also teased Deval for being
light-skinned, a trait he inherited from his
Laurdine “Pat” Patrick,
Deval`s father, was a darker-skinned
who only intermittently appeared in his son`s life. He
was also a sports fanatic and militant
who frequently criticized young Deval for his lack of
athleticism and lack of authentic blackness—both obvious
sources of insecurity for Deval.
However, Deval Patrick`s rough experiences on the South
Side largely ended after he won a
minority scholarship to Milton Academy,
a prestigious boarding school on the outskirts of
Boston, Massachusetts that boasts many illustrious
alumni like T.S. Eliot,
and Robert F. Kennedy.
Milton Academy was clearly a life-changing opportunity
for Deval Patrick, and a difficult transition to make.
But one is immediately impressed by the many kindnesses
the Milton faculty and students showed him.
the most touching scene in the book, Patrick describes
how a fatherly Latin teacher became the first adult male
to ever tell him that he loved him. “I let it wash
over me”, he says of the moment.
Patrick confesses that he has always felt like something
of an “orphan” in life. But the people at Milton
Academy became something of a foster family for him,
including a Black Brahmin parent who became his
Milton Academy was obviously the best thing that ever
happened to Deval Patrick, an experience he is both
grateful for, and resentful of—a common reaction of
Affirmative Action recipients
toward their benefactors.
“I was expected to absorb and display the ways and
habits of this monochromatic culture,”
Patrick explains. “I was welcome in that new world,
it seemed, so long as I did not bring too much of my old
The seeds of Patrick`s resentments toward Milton Academy
were at least partially planted by his father. Pat
Patrick was bitterly opposed to his son attending Milton
because “he thought the school would make me white”.
He even refused to sign his son`s application to the
school because he “feared that I would forget that
ours was a heritage of struggle and pain for which
whites were to blame.”
Pat Patrick was a saxophonist for the
Sun Ra Arkestra,
a popular Afro-centric jazz troupe that wore
ancient Egyptian attire
and preached Afrofuturism.
the band`s leader, claimed to be a missionary from
Saturn who was sent to Earth to save the human race, or
at least the black members of it.
Pat Patrick was a devoted disciple of Sun Ra who tried
hard—and apparently, with some success—to
transmit an Afrocentric worldview
to his son, Deval.
"In a manifestation of his militancy, [my
father] associated himself with ancient Egyptian
culture and took pride that
advances in science, engineering, architecture, and art
originated among Africans who looked like him. I shared
that pride. "
Deval Patrick also feared that his father would
embarrass him the few times he visited the Milton
campus. But he also desperately sought his father`s
approval, as every adolescent boy does.
Steve Sailer has written about how Barack Obama has
greatly embellished, if not outright invented, the
racial indignities he claims to have suffered while
prestigious prep school
similar way, it appears that Deval Patrick greatly
exaggerates his “rough experiences” at Milton
"I cannot count the number of times I sat at the dinner
table of a classmate and listened respectfully to a
parent`s dissertation on the causes of black poverty or
family breakdown, only to be asked by that parent if he
or she could touch my hair, wondering what it felt
hard to believe this even happened once, never mind
countless times. This would be a major faux pas
for a very manners-conscious crowd. How did Patrick
find the time to ditch the campus dining hall and have
dinner at the homes of all these rich white folks eager
to touch his afro?
Patrick also claims that the local police constantly
harassed him whenever he walked off campus to patronize
a nearby convenience store.
This claim too is simply not believable. Milton students
still routinely walk the same street to that same
convenience store, and it is very easy to spot them.
Moreover, if Patrick had really been constantly harassed
by the local police, then why did he decide to settle
down and raise a family within walking distance of the
Milton campus? He has lived there for over 20 years, and
remains well-liked by his neighbors, some of whom are my
Despite such dubious complaints, Deval Patrick was far
more accepted at Milton Academy than he
ever had been on Chicago`s South Side.
Indeed, in true Black Brahmin fashion, Deval Patrick
eventually assimilated to Establishment Waspdom. “I
had broken the code,” he boasts of his Milton days.
out-WASP the WASPs.”
Today, Deval Patrick divides his time between his
off-campus colonial manse, and a large estate in a small
all-white hamlet in the Berkshires.
Curiously, Patrick says comparatively little about his
experience at Harvard and Harvard Law School. But he
writes at length about his post-college year doing
volunteer work in
Pat Patrick had made many trips to the
and Deval`s decision to go there seemed to be motivated
both by a desire to seek his father`s approval and to
assert his blackness.
"I wrote to [my
father] from Africa and described how rich and
inspiring my experiences were, and this embossed my
credentials with him. He stopped questioning whether I
At this point, you might think that Deval Patrick should
be able to put his insecurities behind him—but not
Such struggles with the bar would have hobbled the legal
most aspiring lawyers,
but not Deval Patrick. He was made a partner at a
prestigious Boston law firm at the age of 34.
reading A Reason To Believe, it seems obvious
that Deval Patrick`s life has been much smoother than he
would like to admit.
Still, despite being the twice elected governor of
Massachusetts, Deval Patrick still sees himself as
“someone from a despised quarter of society”
struggling against the Man.
“The curse of being black,”
Patrick complains, “is always having to wonder
whether the things that go wrong in your life are on
account of your race.”
The actual truth: many of the good things in Deval
the plum political and legal appointments, even the
governorship of Massachusetts—all
were opportunities he attained precisely
because he is black.
real curse that Deval Patrick labors under is the
pressure to convince others, and even himself, that he
has struggled, and continues to struggle against the
very white power structure that, in reality, has given
him most everything he has ever achieved.
Matthew Richer (email
him) is a writer living in Massachusetts. He is the former American
Editor of Right NOW magazine.