The greatest hope that most Americans — including Republicans — had when Barack Obama was elected president was that the election of a black man as the country’s president would reduce, if not come close to eliminating, the racial tensions that have plagued America for generations.
This has not happened. The election, and even the reelection, of a black man as president, in a country that is 87 percent non-black — a first in human history — has had no impact on what are called “racial tensions.”
In case there was any doubt about this, the reactions to the George Zimmerman trial have made it clear. The talk about “open season” on blacks, about blacks like Trayvon Martin being victims of nothing more than racial profiling, and about a racist criminal-justice system has permeated black life and the left-wing, i.e., mainstream, media.
I put quotation marks around the term “racial tensions” because the term is stated as if whites and blacks are equally responsible for these tensions, as if the mistrust is morally and factually equivalent. But this is not at all the case.
The notion of “racial tensions” is a lie perpetrated by the Left. For a superb example, we can go to the New York Times, which blamed the 1991 black anti-Semitic riots in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, on “racial tensions.”
For those who do not recall, or who only read, viewed, or listened to mainstream-media reports, what happened was that mobs of blacks attacked Jews for three days after a black boy was accidentally hit and killed by a car driven by a Hasidic Jew.
A Brandeis University historian, Edward S. Shapiro, who wrote a book on the events, described those black attacks on innocent Jews as “the most serious anti-Semitic incident in American history.” Black rioters stabbed a Jewish student to death, injured other Jews, and screamed “Heil Hitler!” and “Death to the Jews!” while carrying signs with messages such as “Hitler didn’t finish the job.”
And how did the New York Times report the most serious anti-Semitic incident in American history?
As “racial tensions.”
One of the Times’s reporters who covered those riots was Ari Goldman, now a professor of journalism at Columbia University. Last year, eleven years after the riots, this is how Goldman described his former newspaper’s reporting of the events:
In all my reporting during the riots, I never saw — or heard of — any violence by Jews against blacks. But the Times was dedicated to this version of events: blacks and Jews clashing amid racial tensions.
A New York Times editorial wrote of the attacks by black rioters: “The violence following an auto accident in Crown Heights reminds all New Yorkers that the city’s race relations remain dangerously strained.”
That was the entire Left’s take: “strained relations” between blacks and Jews. “Racial tensions.” Both sides equally at fault.
Once one understands that the term “racial tensions” is a euphemism for a black animosity toward whites and a left-wing construct, one begins to understand why the election of a black man as president has had no impact on most blacks or on the Left.
Since neither black animosity nor the Left’s falsehood of “racial tensions” is based on the actual behavior of the vast majority of white Americans, nothing white America can do will affect the perceptions of many black Americans or of the leftist libel.
That is why hopes that the election of a black president would reduce “racial tensions” were naïve. Though a white person is far more likely to be murdered by a black person than vice versa, all it took was one tragic death of a young black man to reignite the hatred that many blacks and virtually all black leaders have toward white America.
Let’s put this in perspective. Ben Jealous of the NAACP, Al Sharpton of MSNBC, Jesse Jackson, and the left-wing media compete with one another in inciting hatred of America generally and white America specifically. Over what? A tragic incident in which a Hispanic man (regularly labeled “white”) said, with all physical evidence to support him, that fearing for his life he killed a black 17-year-old (regularly labeled “a child”).
The very fact that George Zimmerman — who has one white parent, as does Barack Obama — is labeled “white” bears testimony to the left-wing agenda of blaming white America and to the desire of many blacks to vent anger at whites.
And that is why the election of a black president has meant nothing. Indeed, to those whose lives or ideologies are predicated on labeling America and its white population as racist, it wouldn’t matter if half the Senate, half the House, and half the governors were black.
— Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and columnist. His most recent book is Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph. He is the founder of Prager University and may be contacted at dennisprager.com.