1. Watching Al Sharpton speaking where Martin Luther King Jr. once spoke one sees a stark example of Marx’s observation that history repeats itself, but first as tragedy and then as farce.
2. I understand the political and fundraising reasons for claiming that America remains a country suffused in racism, but that has to have an enervating effect on African Americans’ willingness to seek out opportunities. So isn’t this sort of hyperbole (to put it mildly) irresponsible?
3. What’s at stake with voter ID, let alone Obamacare, is just not what was at stake in 1963 Mississippi.
4. Liberals and conservatives ought to be able to disagree about issues without insisting on a racial dimension to every disagreement. Jim Crow politicians used to do that; now the Democrats are the worst offenders.
5. Likewise, we don’t have to insist on the significance of race in every economic or social disparity.
6. We also don’t have to have a law or a lawsuit for every problem.
7. Maybe one problem is that the various organizations in the civil-rights establishment (e.g., the NAACP) are set up to lobby and litigate, and so it is institutionally hard for them to admit that laws and lawsuits are no longer what’s needed for the advancement of colored people. If all you have is a hammer then every problem looks like a nail and all that.
8. Part of this institutional inertia may be rooted in human nature, too. It’s hard to admit that your glory days are over and that you need to fight some other battle. And it’s worse if you have to admit that, this time, the battle will be to overcome problems largely of your own making.