Race and the Right
For years, the American Right has been claiming that it is “color-blind” and that the Left is race-obsessed. Frankly, when it came to certain issues, they even had a point – there really was something inherently poisonous about the tendency of some on the Left to enforce a view of political correctness in which anything a white person did that even remotely touched on race could be labeled as racist.
This tendency on the Left certainly hasn’t disappeared – it seems that just about any perjorative for President Obama leads someone on the Left to cry racism. However, while this tendency often goes completely overboard, it at least comes from an understandable place – it’s not as if there was no history of very real, widespread, and institutionalized racism in our country’s recent past, and many of the leading purveyors of this movement actually lived through those years.
On the other hand, I think we’ve reached a point where the American Right is as or more obsessed with racial victim politics than the American Left.
Exhibit A: The reaction on the Right to the story of bullies who happened to be black beating up a kid who happened to be white. The movement-oriented Right has almost universally decried this as a clearly racially-motivated attack despite a complete lack of evidence to support that conclusion, and despite the fact that the police officer who initially suggested that there was a racial motive has backed off of that claim (whether the police chief’s statement should have been considered evidence in the first place is another issue entirely). The sole evidence that this was a racially-based attack is that the attacker was black and the victim white. Maybe I’m wrong, but I can’t think of a single instance where there was a widespread claim of a racial hate crime from the Left where the sole evidence of a racial motivation was the races of the victim and the attacker.
What is even more troubling about this is that the Right isn’t just stopping at suggesting that there was a racial motivation here:
Racially motivated? Very probable. Provoked? We’ll find out soon enough. Justifiable? Absolutely not! All those that resorted to violence should be charged and the driver for doing nothing. Are white people covered under the same protection as blacks when hate crimes occur?
I wonder where President Obama will be. He turned his friend Henry Louis Gates’s anti-police temper tantrum into a “teachable moment.” What about this truly appalling incident?
Speaking of the Obama administration and tolerance for racial thuggery…
Moonbattery (linked approvingly by Stop the ACLU):
The feeling seems to be that since a black thug is now president, black thugs are in charge and have license to run riot. In light of the Injustice Department killing the investigation into intimidation at the polls by Black Panthers armed with clubs, the notion may not be far wrong.
Just disgusting. Yet it’s typical of Obama’s America. The beaten kid is white and according to the media, all white people are racist, so I guess he had it coming….Of course this is obviously a hate crime. Will CNN and MSNBC, so eager to declare any opposition to The One as racist, even report this?
And let’s not ignore that Limbaugh guy:
In Obama’s America, the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering.
The theme here is that this wasn’t just a racially motivated incident despite the lack of evidence that it was, it is emblematic of a larger problem – it is culturally acceptable for black people to hate white people and to commit racially-motivated crimes against white people without fear of punishment. Racism against white people is thus now very real, widespread, and institutionalized with government sanction. To read this commentary, you’d think that we’re living in a mediocre John Travolta/Harry Belafonte movie.
The thing is, this is just the latest in an increasingly long line of racial victimization claims emanating from the political Right in recent years and months. We have the obsession with decrying Justice Sotomayor is a racist because of the “wise Latina” remark, the obsession with the Black Panthers, the fixation on the Community Reinvestment Act, the obsession with ACORN, and so forth. The point is, the Right now seems to be flinging the “racism” charge around every bit as easily as the Left. In this case, frankly, the Right is flinging that charge around with less evidence than just about any charge of racism the Left has ever made on a widespread basis.
The thing is, this particular incident, while disturbingly common, could have formed a good starting point for discussion on a number of other issues that really are implicated by it. It could form the basis for discussing the problem of bullying in schools. Frankly, when I was a kid, I probably saw something like this incident play out several times while taking the bus to school – and it made no news because it was always a white kid beating up a white kid. Granted, the bus driver always intervened, but otherwise, it was identical to this incident. This is in fact exactly what this incident looks to be, too – if you watch the tape, you’ll notice that the primary divide on the bus isn’t racial, but between the front of the bus and the back of the bus. The kids in the front of the bus, some of whom appear to be white but most of whom appear to be black, pretty much look on in horror. The kids in the back of the bus, at least one of whom (and maybe more) appears to be white but most whom appear to be black all cheer the attackers on. Anyone who has ever ridden a public school bus ought to be able to attest to the fact that the kids who sit in the back of the bus are generally pretty nasty to the kids who are lower on the bus’ social hierarchy (and thus not permitted to sit in the back).
Still, bullying is hardly a new issue and we’ve been trying to solve that problem for years, to little avail. So if it really was appropriate to politicize this incident, movement conservatives would have been quite well-served to follow the Heritage Foundation’s lead, and use it as a springboard to discussing the value of school choice as a means of escaping school violence.