Monday, November 02, 2009

Sound Familiar?

In truth, even if the griot had known a Kunta Kinte, there was no way Haley could have written anything approaching a "history" about the first seventeen years of his life. The notion that an oral historian could recall the life of an ordinary young boy two hundred years prior surpasses the preposterous. "There was no Kunta Kinte," says Nobile bluntly.

Nobile and an African-American coauthor put a book proposal together on the subject, but as Nobile ruefully admits, "Nobody wanted to touch it." A Lexis search shows shockingly little follow-up by the media, major or minor.
Not surprisingly, the Pulitzer people did not ask for their award back, and the book and video have remained a staple in history classes across America. Nobile blames Roots's seeming immunity on his progressive colleagues. "They were all too scared, or dishonest," he writes, "to admit to the public that the most famous black writer had lied about his ancestry."

Sound familiar?