The Toni Morrison Problem: Barack Obama Is About to Find Out that Undeserved Nobel Prizes Injure the Reputations of Their Recipients

by Brandon Martin
Daily Uprising
October 9, 2009

A few years ago, Toni Morrison won the nobel prize for literature. If you’ve read Toni Morrison, you know that she is a good writer, but not a great one. Her distinguishing characteristic is her ability to illustrate the suffering African-Americans have experienced as a result of slavery and race relations in America.

The problem for Toni was that more than a few distinguished academics and scholars thought that the nobel prize should have gone to someone who deserved it. For these professors and distinguished writers, the prize meant something and bestowing it on Toni because of her “enlightened” views on race and borderline anti-Americanism seemed to communicate that great literature was something that should be overlooked in favor of political correctness. A sizeable number of distinguished literary names associated with both the political Right and the political Left signed a full page advertisement denouncing the award in the New York Times.

Although the controversy isn’t brought up much in classrooms where college students must read Toni Morrison’s racial melodrama as part of the New Cannon, the undeserved reward injured Toni in a substantial way. She went from being a unique voice for those that enjoy “postmodern blackness” to a symbol of how political correctness rewards mediocrity. The prize didn’t make the woman — instead, the prize overshadowed the woman and highlighted her mediocrity.

The article continues here.

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