This piece does as good a job as any I've seen in defining what critic Armond White is trying to do, though of course it doesn't excuse his reported behavior or make him sound any more fun to be around. Still, we need our contrarians.
Like Kanye, Armond White poses a threat to this idea of the “Obama effect.” The election, then reelection, of Barack Obama, and the arrival of a film like 12 Years A Slave (if we're to believe that the latter is contingent upon the former) signals the erasure of racial lines only in the sense that they deny the continued existence of such lines. These lines are not being erased. They’re being matted over. As White put it in his review, the film “makes it possible for some viewers to feel good about feeling bad…12 Years A Slave lets them congratulate themselves or ‘being aghast at slavery.’”