All these verbal games grow out of the notion that complexion tells you who is to be blamed and who is not.
It is a dangerous game because race is no game. If the tragic history of the old Jim Crow South in this country is not enough to show that, the history of racial and ethnic tragedies is written in blood in countries around the world. Millions have lost their lives because they looked different, talked differently or belonged to a different religion.
In the midst of the Florida tragedy, there was a book published with the unwieldy title, “No Matter What … They’ll Call This Book Racist.” Obviously it was written well before the shooting in Florida, but its message — that there is rampant hypocrisy and irrationality in public discussions of race — could not have been better timed.
Author Harry Stein, a self-described “reformed white liberal,” raised by parents who were even further left, exposes the illogic and outright fraudulence that lies behind so much of what is said about race in the media, in politics and in our educational institutions.
He asks a very fundamental question: “Why, even after the Duke University rape fiasco, does the media continue to give credence to every charge of racism?”
Harry Stein credits Shelby Steele’s book “White Guilt” with opening his eyes to one of the sources of many counterproductive things said and done about race today — namely, guilt about what was done to blacks and other minorities in the past.
Let us talk sense, like adults. Nothing that is done to George Zimmerman — justly or unjustly — will unlynch a single black man who was tortured and killed in the Jim Crow South for a crime he didn’t commit.
Letting hoodlums get away with hoodlumism today does not undo a single injustice of the past. It is not even a favor to the hoodlums, for many of whom hoodlumism is just the first step on a path that leads to the penitentiary, and maybe to the execution chamber.
Winston Churchill said, “If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost.” He wasn’t talking about racial issues, but what he said applies especially where race is involved.
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