I don't know that it makes any difference, but in light of the phony "controversy" generated from the grave by the late and totally unlamented Andrew Breitbart, I think I ought to say at least a word about the late and very much lamented Derrick Bell. I did not know Bell well, but I had enormous respect and admiration for him, both for his scholarly writings and for his courageous stand at Harvard Law School against their failure to hire a Black woman to the faculty. Bell, you may recall, with an ironic wit that I thought was simply off the charts marvelous, once staged a "sit-in" at Harvard Law School, announcing that he would not leave his own office [!!!], to protest the failure of the Law School to tenure a Black woman. He thereby skewered his colleagues, who were notorious for being everywhere in the world save in their offices available to students. [Some time later, the Law School decided that its faculty were not spending enough time with students, so they set out to raise four hundred million dollars to hire some new faculty for the purpose -- I am not making this up.]
Eventually, Bell took an unpaid leave, saying that he would not return until Harvard tenured a Black woman in the Law School. I was at UMass at the time, and I was simply outraged at the complete failure of his "radical" fellow Critical Legal Theorists at Harvard to make any sort of public fuss about all of this. So I sent him a check for a thousand dollars to help tide him over until he got another gig. [This was, on my part, more or less the act of a parochial boob, since Bell, at his resignation, was probably making two or three times my salary, but at least it was well intentioned.] He responded in a very sweet letter, and told me he had donated the money to a fund that had been set up to honor his wife, who had passed away rather tragically a short time earlier. He and I stayed in touch, on and off, and I actually had the pleasure of meeting him on at least one occasion.
The big controversy, by the way, consists of a video of Obama, then President of the Harvard Law Review, introducing Bell at a rally in Bell's support [and hugging him, horror of horrors.] I was unaware of this fact, and needless to say, consider it one of the best things I have ever heard about Obama.
God, this is a really screwed up country.