When Trayvon Martin’s killer, George Zimmerman, was recently released from Florida’s Seminole County Jail on a $1 million bail arrangement, Al Sharpton—the same man who helped foment the deadly 1991 Crown Heights riots and the the deadly 1995 boycott of a Harlem clothing store—felt compelled to condemn Zimmerman for allegedly showing “no remorse over the loss of human life.” From the moment the Martin shooting became a headline story, to be sure, Sharpton and a host of other leftists nationwide have weighed in with their thoughts about the case and its overall significance. Among the most noteworthy of these individuals is a 40-year-old Indiana University history professor —Khalil Gibran Muhammad—who is by no means a household name. But his reflections on the Martin case illuminate, with uncommon clarity, the very heart of the Left’s bedrock beliefs regarding racism in America.
Asserting that “we all share a little bit of George Zimmerman in our relationship to young black men,” Dr. Muhammad says that to “think and talk about African-Americans as criminals is encoded in our cultural DNA.” Viewing racism as the very cornerstone of Western civilization, Muhammad derides Thomas Jefferson and his fellow American founders as men who “failed miserably” at the task of “building what would become American democracy.” The founders’ belief in the “racial inferiority” of blacks, says Muhammad, has filtered its way through all subsequent generations of Americans and into the collective consciousness of present-day whites. That inherited mindset, Muhammad explains, underpins not only the unfounded paranoia that supposedly caused an armed George Zimmerman to follow Trayvon Martin on that fateful night last February, but also all contemporary policies that use “punitive methods based on distrust”—such as police stop-and-frisk practices—to fight crime in black communities.
Muhammad asserts that such practices represent a stark contrast to the way in which political and law-enforcement authorities dealt with the crime-infested communities of immigrants from Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Rather than imposing “more law enforcement,” he explains, yesteryear’s authorities instead launched “a national progressive movement” that sought to “en[d] police corruption and brutality in those communities” and flooded violent white neighborhoods “with social workers, police reformers and labor activists committed to creating better jobs and building a social welfare net.” This was entirely appropriate, says Muhammad, because the era’s urban criminality was largely a result of “severe economic inequality and social marginalization,” not personal choice. By Muhammad’s reckoning, evil originates outside of, and not within, the individual. Thus the individual is not to blame for his own criminality; instead the blame falls chiefly upon a corrupt and inequitable society, which should utilize the aforementioned “social workers” and “social welfare net” to help compensate the unfortunate people whom its injustices have allegedly driven into lives of crime. This, too, is an article of faith for the modern Left.
Pages: 1 2