Our Race-Hack President

Our Race-Hack President

By Bruce Thornton - July 23, 2013

As protests against the Zimmerman verdict spread, along with the vandalism and shopping sprees that progressives call “demonstrations,” the President last Friday made some remarks that reinforced all the race-hack rhetoric keeping this country racially divided and most blacks mired in social and economic misery.

Not satisfied with his remark from last year that if he had a son he’d look like Trayvon Martin––thus injecting racial animus into a case where it didn’t exist––Obama said Friday, “Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago,” and went on to cite three examples of lingering racism in America, the first two of which he says he’s experienced personally: being followed in a department store, hearing car-door-locks click as he passed by, and seeing women clutch their purses when black men enter an elevator. I’m surprised he didn’t add the other two constantly cited signs of endemic racism: being ignored by cabbies, or “driving while black,” being pulled over by a cop for no other reason than race.

Obama’s first statement implying he could have ended up like Trayvon Martin is preposterous. Martin’s death is an anomaly among black youths, and the odds that any black man is going to get shot to death by a white man are miniscule. Getting shot by another black man, on the other hand, is 25 times more likely, based on 2011 murder statistics. But given the privileged environments Obama grew up and has lived in, even those odds would be longer in his case. Obama’s statement exposed the big lie at the heart of racial demagoguery––that no amount of economic or social privilege can insulate a black man from the relentless racial animus of white America.

That’s the same point of the examples Obama cited of persistent racism. All these claims amount to anecdotal evidence, even if they’re true. But let’s consider these experiences and what they really tell us. First, if these are the only examples you can come up with to prove racism, then you are unwittingly admitting the enormous improvement in black people’s lives that has taken place over the last several decades. I’m old enough to remember when the evidence for racism comprised “Whites Only” signs on restaurants and drinking-fountains, segregated schools, a black man tied to a tree and tortured to death with a blow-torch, and black men knocked into the street and beaten for “reckless eyeballing” of a white woman. To imply that the slights Obama listed are “racist” is to drain the word of any meaning.

Next, Obama only glanced at the real reason for such behavior: the epidemic of crimes committed by black men. Many of those reactions are the consequence of that reality, the fruits in many cases of painful experiences. Remember when Jesse Jackson admitted that he felt relief when he discovered that the footsteps he heard behind him on a dark street belonged to white people? Is Jesse Jackson a “profiling” racist?

Or how about the old charge of being ignored by cab drivers? I think that meme faded because most of the big-city cab drivers aren’t white, and many are African immigrants. It’s a hard sell to argue that a Nigerian barely able to speak English has more privilege than an American black, or has somehow been conditioned into racism by whites. The more obvious answer is once you’ve been robbed and assaulted by blacks, you’re going to play it safe and not risk yet another attack, one that could leave you dead.

Or how about the racial profiling of drivers? Remember in the 90’s when the New Jersey state police were sanctioned by the Clinton DOJ for rampant profiling of blacks on the New Jersey turnpike? After all the race-industry bluster and media frenzy died down, a study showed that black were being stopped at a greater rate (23%) than their proportion of the drivers (16%) because they sped and drove recklessly at a greater rate (25%). In other words, blacks were being stopped at a rate less than their behavior would predict.

But two can play the grievance game. By Obama’s logic, isn’t it legitimate for white people to list the regular affronts they have experienced from black people in order to explain their sense of grievance against blacks? The times they have been cursed and threatened on the street by black thugs, the times they have been a victim of black crime (blacks commit interracial crimes 25 times more often than whites), the times a public space was polluted by noisy, rude, vulgar, rambunctious blacks indifferent to those around them? I know, saying that many people respond to blacks in certain ways because of black crimes or other bad behavior is indulging racist myths based on vicious stereotypes. But Obama’s catalogue––the standard one usually heard from educated, affluent blacks––is gospel truth, and to doubt it is racist. Here we see the logic of race-hackery: heads I win, tails you lose. Whatever a white person says or does that deviates from the race-hack dogma is racist.

But we all know what’s going on––the mechanisms that drive what David Horowitz calls “black skin privilege,” the institutional and social advantages and double standards that benefit mostly the race industry. These all depend on perpetual black grievance and perpetual white guilt. Without decrying those grievances elevated into the equivalents of Jim-Crow violent racism, without exploiting the misery and dysfunction of other blacks the roots of which lie not in race but culture, those advantages have no rationale, and people would realize that most of the hacks running the race industry live better than 90% of white Americans do.

Just look at our president. Even as his policies have benefitted the black upper class and intelligentsia, he has failed the rest. Black unemployment was 12.7% when he took office, now it’s 14%. Most black children are still trapped in dysfunctional schools. Black rates of illegitimacy, murder, and government dependence are still astronomical. Nothing much has improved, but Obama gets a pass because he mouths the black-bourgeois rhetoric of persistent racism even he has experienced, in order to justify his own privilege and to keep black Americans hostage to the Democratic party. That sordid fact smacks much more of racism than a woman nervously clutching her purse or locking her car-doors. 

Bruce S. Thornton is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and a professor of classics and humanities at California State University in Fresno, California.

This article is reprinted from FrontPage Magazine with permission from the Hoover Institution

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