Charles Blow is a really bad columnist

Of the few things in life I know for sure, one of them is that every time Charles Blow files a new column, his editor’s eyes get stuck in the back of her head from rolling them too hard.

Blow is a really bad political columnist.

Every op-ed with Blow’s byline is about how depressed he is or how black people have no choice but to feel hopeless in America.

It’s a weird topic for him because he doesn’t seem to understand people in general, let alone black people specifically. In his half-thought-out column for the New York Times on Monday, Blow wrote ahead of the Iowa caucuses:

Over three days in Des Moines — from Friday to Sunday — I interviewed more than 30 black people, and spoke briefly to many more at a black church, a black-owned barbershop, a popular soul food restaurant and at African-American social events.


My first impression from these conversations was that there existed a staggering level of ambivalence and absence of enthusiasm.

The average person, white or black, does not have strong feelings about politics. The average person cannot name the vice president.

But Blow was beside himself to have found so many black people who weren’t sleeping in tents outside their nearest caucus venue.

Where Blow means to find racial inequality, he finds… equality.

Readers will forgive Blow as he’s baffled by other black people who aren’t turned on by elections. But maybe not when he tries misleading them.

In early 2015, in the heat of national hysteria over white police supposedly unfairly targeting blacks, Blow made a scene about a Yale campus police officer who had apprehended his son, a student at the school, at gun point.

Blow said on Twitter that he was notified about the incident and that “this is exactly why I have no patience for people trying to convince me that the fear these young black men feel isn’t real.” He used the “#BlackLivesMatter” and “#ICantBreathe” hashtags.

In his Times column, Blow wrote of the incident: “I am reminded of what I have always known, but what some would choose to deny: that there is no way to work your way out — earn your way out — of this sort of crisis. In these moments, what you’ve done matters less than how you look.”

As fate would have it, the officer involved was also black, something Blow never revealed to his readers.

Probably because it would have led to an uncomfortable back-and-forth.

Blow’s readers: Wait, so you’re saying your black son was racially targeted?

Blow: Yes!

Blow’s readers: By a white cop?

Blow: Well, no.

Blow’s readers: He was black?

Blow: … Yes.

Blow’s readers: …

As glum as Blow is about the black experience in America, his readers might imagine he’d summon the energy to celebrate a black American who comes out on top. But in September, Blow saw only darkness in the heart of Ben Carson for giving paid speeches before he ran for president.

“This is a sad turn — spurred, I believe, by profit motive — for such a great legacy,” Blow said of Carson.

It is, for Blow, “a sad turn” when a famous black person gives paid speeches.

It turns out, Blow is also a paid speaker, charging up to $15,000 for an appearance. Another thing he did not tell his readers.



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