Memo to Liberals: We’ve Had Enough!

RaceAbout a week ago, the New York Times ran an op-ed by Georgetown sociology professor Michael Eric Dyson under the headline “Where Do We Go After Ferguson.”

In it, the professor writes about what he sees as “the plague of white cops who kill unarmed black youth.” He writes that the grand jury “failed” to indict Officer Darren Wilson. And he says, “To the police officer and to many whites, Michael Brown was the black menace writ large, the terrorizing phantom that stalks the white imagination.” And then there’s this observation about how, in the professor’s view, whites generally see black males in this country: “Our American culture’s fearful dehumanizing of black men materialized once again when Officer Wilson saw Michael Brown as a demonic force who had to be vanquished in a hail of bullets.”

In other words: blacks = victim, whites = bad. We get it, professor.

That op-ed produced a number of letters to the editor of the Times including one by an emeritus professor of political science at Purdue University. Here’s one sentence from that letter: “I am ‘white,’ so is my wife, so are most of our friends. Not one of us views the events as Mr. Dyson suggests. All of us are horrified by police brutality and the victimization of another young black man. Although a majority of whites may indeed blame the victim, a substantial minority does not.”

There it is: good white, liberal racial manners on display right there in the letters section of the New York Times. What the professor is saying is: Yes, a “majority of whites” are racists who insensitively “blame the victim” but there are some of us – and I am one – who are not racists. We are among the few good white people.”

And by “victim” the good professor is referring to Michael Brown who as we all know robbed a convenience store, pushed around its owner, walked in the middle of the road and mouthed off to a cop who told him to walk on the sidewalk, got into a scuffle with the cop and then tried to take his gun away.” Only after all that was he shot dead.

But to liberals, Michael Brown was a “victim.”

So here’s a bulletin for the erudite professor from Purdue and to all the other liberals who think the way he does:

There are lots of us who were once liberal and are now conservative who care deeply about fair play and equal opportunity and civil rights. Those of us of a certain age were on the side of black people fighting for equality in the 60s. We detested the white cops who beat them simply for marching.

In other words, we are not the bigots you think we are.

And not that you’ll care, professor (and all you other liberals who see yourselves as morally superior) but we’ve had enough. And so have millions of so-called moderate Americans who aren’t bigots either and are tired of being lumped in with George Wallace, Bull Connor and David Duke. We’ve all had enough of being called racists because we don’t think Michael Brown is a victim, let alone a civil rights saint.

We’ve heard enough about how racists used to wear white sheets but now they wear suits (and vote Republican).

We’ve had enough of your “Hands up, Don’t Shoot” demonstrations, which are based on lies.

We’ve had enough of your slogans like “black lives matter.” We know that.   Many of us knew that in 1965. But we’re sick of hearing that mantra when you do nothing about the black lives that are taken every weekend in places like Chicago. I guess black lives only matter when a white person is somehow involved in the death.

We’ve had enough of Al Sharpton, though truth be told, we had enough of him a long time ago. But now there’s something new involving the Reverend. Sharpton has become what Martin Luther King, Jr. once was — the leading voice for civil rights in America. Yes, I understand that this is like being the tallest midget. Still it’s pathetic.

But if the absence today of great men in the civil rights establishment has left Sharpton standing atop the mountain – and if a tone deaf President Obama wants to bring Sharpton into the White House for conferences on how to bridge the gap between the races — then it is liberals – not conservatives – who are inflicting great damage to the ideals of liberalism in America regarding race.

Liberals like Professor Dyson and the professor from Purdue and all the others who see America in black and white have hardened decent Americans who hate discrimination. We don’t want to hear about so-called white privilege as a root cause for black problems – not when it comes from people who won’t talk about the dysfunction in parts of black America that lead to chaos and death.

Basically, we’ve had enough about hearing about how bad we are.

And here’s another shocker, my liberal friends: Many of us are not only saddened by the death of Eric Garner on Staten Island but also think that his death should never have happened; that cops need to use better judgment when trying to arrest an unarmed man who whose crime was selling loose, untaxed cigarettes to people who can’t afford more than $10 for a pack. Should Garner have resisted arrest? No! Should he have been treated as brutally as he was? No!  Should at least one cop have been indicted? In the view of many of us on the right, Yes!

And you know what? While we think Michael Brown brought about his own demise, we wish that could have ended differently too. Maybe Officer Darren Wilson could have shot him in the legs, or waited for backup. We don’t know.

But we do know that too many liberals don’t care what Michael Brown did that day that brought about his death. All they care about is that Michael Brown was black and Darren Wilson is white. Case closed, right?

We know there are some white racist cops out there who shouldn’t be allowed to wear a badge and carry a gun. But it’s not the “plague” that too many liberals like Professor Dyson tell us it is. We’re tired of hearing that white cops are the problem, when it’s too much black crime that’s the real problem. And black crime is something liberals are not comfortable talking about.  Too many white liberals have become apologists for bad behavior among too many African Americans. If liberals truly cared about young black men they would march with signs that scream: Don’t Break the Law … Don’t Resist Arrest … and Never Ever Go for a Cop’s Gun.

We’re not the people too many African Americans and white liberals in and out of academia and the media think we are. But the more important point is that, while it’s been a long time coming, we don’t give a damn what they think about us anymore.




NYT: At It Again

I try not to read the opinion pages of the New York Times because when I do I come away from the experience feeling lousy. I remember when the Times was a great newspaper, when the columnists, whose politics I may not have agreed with, were smart and made me think.

The other day I did what I should not have done and came upon perhaps the shallowest piece I have ever read in the Times.  Given how the paper has been in decline in recent decades, that’s saying a lot.

The op-ed was by the Times’ own Brent Staples, a black man who sees the world through a prism of race.  The headline over the piece read:  “Young, Black Male, And Stalked by Bias.”

Here’s how it began:  “The door to the subway train slides open, revealing three tall, young black men, crowding the entrance, with hooded sweatshirts pulled up over downward-turned faces; boxer shorts billowing out of over-large, low-slung jeans; and sneakers with the laces untied.

“Your response to the look – and to this trio on the subway – depends in part on the context, like the time of day, but especially how you feel young, male blackness.”

Actually, that’s not true.  My response to the look doesn’t depend on how I feel about black teenagers.  It depends on how I feel about anybody who looks like a thug.  Besides, given the epidemic of black-on-black crime, a black kid getting on the train would also be worried if the door slides open and he sees three young black kids in saggy pants and hoodies.  But let’s give Mr. Staples the benefit of the doubt.  Let’s assume white people do have a built in concern when we see black teenagers on the street late at night, or on the subway.  Why don’t we have that same concern – fear is the more precise word – when we see a bunch of young Hassidic Jews hanging around?  Could it be because there aren’t a lot of violent Hassidic Jews out there — and there are a disproportionate number of black kids involved in street crime?

“If it unsettles you – as it does many people – you never get beyond the first impression,” the column goes on.  “But those of us who are not reflexively uncomfortable with blackness can discern the clues and tell who these kids are.  They may be tall, but their hormonally pockmarked faces, narrow hips and the cartoon-patterned underwear show that they are probably 15 years old, at most.  The grimy black book bags, barely visible against the black hoodies, make them students on the way to school.”

Oops, I didn’t notice the “barely visible” book bags.  And, geez, it never occurred to me that since they were probably only 15 years old, they couldn’t possibly be up to no good.  Guess I’m just a white bigot.

That’s not sarcasm.  It’s Staples’ main point –that if black kids make you feel uncomfortable you must be a racist, even if you don’t know it.  Does Staples understand that wearing your pants with your underwear showing is how black kids pay homage to black criminals?  In prison you’re not allowed to wear a belt. That’s why their pants are falling down and their underwear is showing.

“Very few Americans make a conscious decision to subscribe to racist views,” Staples graciously tells us, before getting to the mandatory “but …”  “But the toxic connotations that the culture has associated with blackness have been embedded in thought, language and social convention for hundreds of years.  This makes it easy for people to see the world through a profoundly bigoted lens without being aware that they are doing so.”

For a writer, Staples is profoundly devoid of introspection.  Yes, some people “see the world through a profoundly bigoted lens” and don’t know it – and Brent Staples apparently is one of them.

Imagine if the door to the subway train slides open and we see, not three black teenagers in faux prison garb, but three young nuns, all black.  Or we see three young black men in suits and ties.  Or, somehow, we see Kobe, LaBron and Carmello riding the subway.  No one would feel threatened by their “blackness.”  We feel threatened by the three kids with hoodies and drooping pants not because we’re racists, but because we’re realists: they look like criminals.

Brent Staples fancies himself an expert on race because he’s black.  This is why he feels safe in writing nonsense like this:  “Society’s message to black boys – ‘we fear you and view you as dangerous’ – is constantly reinforced.  Boys who are seduced by this version of themselves end up on a fast track to prison and the graveyard.”

So whitey is not only a bigot, conscious or otherwise, but is also responsible for turning good black kids into gangsters simply because they are “seduced” by the image bigoted white people have of  them. If only we saw them in a different light – a better, less bigoted light – they would have turned out to be productive citizens.  That’s called wishful thinking.

The reason so many people – black and white – “fear you and view you as dangerous” is because a disproportionate number of young black kids either are dangerous or, at absolute least, just like to look that way, to frighten anyone they can.  If the majority of black kids who don’t commit crimes get tainted by the others, is that really the result of racism — or are we just calculating the odds and arriving at not-so-unreasonable conclusions?

But why is Brent Staples devoting a column to this subject at this particular time?  Trayvon Martin, that’s why.  “By the time he went on neighborhood watch patrol with his 9-millimeter piston and spied Trayvon Martin, Mr. Zimmerman saw not a teenager with candy, but a collection of preconceptions:  the black as burglar, the black as drug addict, the black ‘up to no good.’ And he was determined not to let this one get away.”

On this point, Roger Kimball, who writes at PJ Media, takes Staples’ column and runs it through the shredder:

“Question: how does Brent Staples know what George Zimmerman saw or thought? He doesn’t. He is just making it up.  And the more we know about the shooting of Trayvon Martin, the murkier the episode seems. The man whom the Times branded a “white Hispanic” turns out to have been a conscientious good citizen who donated much time to public good works, including tutoring young black kids for free. In his hysterical campaign against the sin of un- or semi-conscious racism, Brent Staples liberally deploys insidious racialism to make a scapegoat of a man he knows nothing about. ‘Young, Black, Male, and Stalked by Bias’ is all of a piece with the Times’s other reporting on race: whites are guilty until proven innocent, at which point they are still guilty of being white, but blacks get every benefit of every doubt, up to and including being employed by the paper’s editorial page not for merit but for skin color. It’s a case of the not-so-soft bigotry of racialist expectations. Brent Staples is indeed ‘stalked by bias,’ but it turns out that it’s his own bias, underwritten partly by reflexive racialism, partly by stupidity.”

What Brent Staples doesn’t seem to understand is that it isn’t white racism that is stalking young black men.  It’s black dysfunction.  It’s 15-year old girls having babies without ever having husbands.  It’s men who are fathers, but only biologically.  In the entire recorded history of our planet, there has never been a greater voluntary abandonment of children than there is now by black men in America. More than 70 percent of black kids grow up without fathers in the house.

It’s a short but all to predicable leap from fatherlessness to hoodies and baggie pants and menacing demeanors and worse.  That’s what Brent Staples ought to be worried about.

*****

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In Cold Blood?

I read an op-ed in the New York Times the other day about the Trayvon Martin shooting.  The writer, an author named Rich Benjamin, was mainly talking about his dislike of gated communities where residents, he says, develop a bunker mentality and see outsiders – “the young, the colored and the presumably poor” – as threats to their safety.  So it “isn’t just racism,” as a sub headline states, it’s also “the bunker” that led to Trayvon Martin’s death.

Benjamin says people who live in gated communities often have an exaggerated fear of crime.  They think it’s a greater threat to them and their families than it really is, based on police statistics. He makes their desire to stay safe inside the confines of their gated community sound like a bad case of paranoia, or some other kind of mental disorder. But that’s not why I’m writing.

In his op-ed he casually states that George Zimmerman shot “the youth in cold blood.”

Could be.  And if that’s what happened, Mr. Zimmerman must be punished. But Rich Benjamin, since he wasn’t there, has absolutely no way of knowing if that is what happened. Besides, “in cold blood” means that the deed was done ruthlessly and without any emotion.  That’s a reckless term to use when you can’t possibly know what you’re talking about. Did Mr. Benjamin learn nothing from the so-called Duke Lacrosse rape case?

A lot of people also knew for sure, without a shred of evidence, that three young white men supposedly from privileged backgrounds raped a not-so-well-off black woman who had to dance at frat parties to make a living.  How could it be otherwise, they figured? The athletes were white, right?  The “victim” was black.  The story fit all their pre-conceived notions about jocks and race and power and powerlessness.

Except, it turned out that the woman was mentally unstable and made the whole thing up.  Oops!

Every decent person wants justice in the Sanford shooting. But by promiscuously stating that a young black man was shot “in cold blood” – and stating it in the New York Times, no less — Mr. Benjamin may have made that goal more difficult.  So has Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, who recently said, “Now, I’m not going to be politically correct. I’m going to say it like I see it. Trayvon was hunted down like a rabid dog.”

Given America’s history with race, we can understand why African Americans (both Mr. Benjamin and Congresswoman Wilson are black) might jump to conclusions, absent any hard facts. We can understand that black prople  experienced things that whites haven’t and so assume certain things — about the police, the justice system, and other powerful American insititutions — that whites might not.

But Congresswoman Wilson doesn’t know that “Trayvon was hunted down like a rabid dog” anymore than Mr. Benjamin knows that he was shot “in cold blood.”  You get the impression that while they may see themselves as progressives, they haven’t allowed themselves to progress very far from the bad old days of Jim Crow.

What if it turns out that George Zimmerman, the shooter, committed no crime?  Will the people yelling loudest for justice accept such a finding – or is “guilty” the only permissible verdict for a “cold-blooded” shooting?