Barack the Healer
In an increasingly multiracial society, black elites still play the race card.

President Obama campaigns in Clifton, Va., July 14, 2012.


Victor Davis Hanson

What is clear is that the blue-state model is failing worldwide. Greece is to Germany as California is to Texas or Illinois is to Indiana. The Obama statist paradigm is now bankrupt, whereas the Reagan and even the Clinton paradigm led to spectacular prosperity. And I do not speak just in an economic sense. The therapeutic school curriculum leads only to dismal test scores and poorly educated students. The logical dividend of a Byzantine system of racial politics is the self-constructed “Cherokee” Elizabeth Warren. The radical green model predictably results in billions of dollars in failed Solyndras, as trillions of cubic feet of new, clean-burning natural gas go neglected. Detroit and Houston are no longer just different cities, but emblematic of two different economic choices. In other words, the contradictions in these models are apparent even to their adherents, as they lose the public’s trust and support and turn ever more desperate.

In the case of race relations, the public — of all races — is moving beyond race and, in an increasingly multiracial, intermarried society, with a half-century of affirmative action and the Great Society behind it, transcending racial awareness. That evolution terrifies a race-based elite that cannot survive in its present privilege if there are no white dragons to slay. Without Trayvon Martin gunned down like “a dog,” there can be no more associate vice provosts for diversity affairs. Those who warn us about blacks hanging from trees, of a new poll tax, of white clinging yokels clutching their Bibles, have to warn us of these “demons” to ensure the survival of their lucrative old system of big government programs and set-asides, which often enriches themselves while leaving their constituents impoverished. Without a supposed  Klan everywhere on the march, Al Sharpton would be left to his self-explained role as community activist dealing with the Afghanistan-like daily carnage in Chicago, far away from both cameras and lucre. Without dastardly “cowards,” there can be no more “my people,” as the race of African-Americans, as of other racial groups, becomes incidental, not essential, to Americans’ identity — and Eric Holder becomes notable not, as he boasts, for being the first African-American attorney general, but for being the first to be held in contempt for withholding documents and stonewalling congressional inquiries.

Crying wolf about white evil-doing is predicated on the ossified notion that, given the history of slavery and racism in this country, there always must be two standards of public comportment, in which African-American public figures are given a pass for what would end the careers of others. Yet I think that pass is ending amid a growing cynicism and weariness among the multiracial public at large. When a pampered multimillionaire like Morgan Freeman or Chris Rock goes off the deep end, we yawn; when the insular Black Caucus resorts to yet more racially inflammatory accusations, we sleep; when the Washington careerist Eric Holder labels yet another of his critics a racist, we snore. Even Al Sharpton’s liberal supporters are embarrassed by his charade. In short, no one believes any more; the currency of racist accusation has become so inflated that it has lost its purchasing power.

Barack Obama promised to make race itself incidental in our lives; so far all he has succeeding in doing is making charges of racism irrelevant.

NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author most recently of The End of Sparta, a novel about ancient freedom.


Sign up for free NRO e-mails today:

NRO Polls on LockerDome

Subscribe to National Review