No, Prof. Derrick Bell Did Not Visit the White House in 2010

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And today, the Heritage Foundation tries to jump on the breitbart.com bandwagon, with another BOMBSHELL post screaming that Derrick A. Bell Visited the White House Twice in 2010!!!

Just two little problems with this absurd attempt at “connecting the dots:” 1) it was a tour of the White House, not a meeting with the President, and 2) it wasn’t Harvard Law Prof. Derrick Bell, but someone with the same name.

Apart from that, BOMBSHELL!

Did Professor Derrick Bell Visit the White House?

There are two problems with the Heritage post. One: it excludes some details from the visitors’ logs. There are 28 columns on the publicly released records, the Heritage blog lists seven. The data they omit includes a description of what the visit was four: in this case, for both visits: TOURS. A White House tour – not MEETING or APPOINTMENT. Another data point: TOTAL PEOPLE. This is a reference to how many people were present for the tour, meeting or appointment – in this case 304 people and 282 people.

Check out the visitors’ logs HERE.

But Bell surely could have taken a tour or two and then met with President Obama, right? Sure, it’s possible – and I asked the White House about it. The answer from a White House official: this was not the same Derrick A. Bell. He one had a different birthday than the late law professor, whose birthday was November 6, 1930. That would seem to undermine the significance of this visit.

It’s difficult to understand why it should be even slightly controversial that a renowned Harvard academic, the first tenured black law professor in the history of the school, would visit the White House.

The true reason for this claim: it plays into right wing race-baiting memes and right wing “academic traitor” memes. The fact that it’s just false doesn’t stop these people from pushing it out there anyway; the right long ago stopped caring whether their smears contain any truth.

Prof. Bell is a perfect target for these cowardly snake oil salesmen, because he’s no longer alive to fight back.

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