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Obama’s Criminal Silence


Today, I spoke briefly with a liberal member of California’s education establishment (forgive the obvious tautology), who told me that his home had recently been broken into while he was out of town. It’s been a wake-up call, he said. We were too lax. We’ll be putting in a security-alarm system. And then came the clincher: “This is a very diverse neighborhood.”

Now what would possibly be the relevance of that euphemism to the likelihood of getting burgled, I wonder?

Unlike California’s intelligentsia, the police actually don’t practice such blatant racial profiling — overwhelmingly, they use observed behavioral and locational cues and witness IDs to decide whom to stop. 

President Obama seems to think that, after having aped Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s inflation of his trivial encounter with a police officer into a national symbol of ubiquitous racially biased policing, he can put his reckless involvement in the episode behind him by deflating it back into an incident of significance (if any) only to its two participants. His post–beer summit statement was silent on the only question of importance to come out of Cambridge-Gate: Do the police in “fact” stop blacks and Hispanics for “no cause,” as Obama charged in his July 22 press conference? Beer summit behind him, Obama has let that false allegation stand unchallenged in the record; even Gates showed more graciousness towards the police by acknowledging the dangers they face every day.

Obama’s Oval Office endorsement of the myth of racial profiling is the real legacy of this strange sequence; the damage from that endorsement will live on long after the press loses interest in whether it was racist to call 911 about a possible burglary in Cambridge and racist of the police to respond to that call.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This item has been amended since its initial posting.


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