How does one explain liberals’ relentless obsession with race? Democrats and left-wing activists clutch the notion of racism as America’s defining characteristic just as streetcorner drunks cling to their fifths of cheap booze. No matter what, neither community can unhand those bottles.
In fact, this debilitating liberal addiction deserves a name: raceaholism.
Raceaholics like President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, New York mayor Bill de Blasio, overexposed circus barker Al Sharpton, Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson, their allies, and their media enablers cannot stop talking about race. They refract almost every issue through that prism. According to them, we shall not overcome our long history of racial injustice — or at least no time soon. If you believed these people, you would think “whites only” and “colored” water fountains were just one roll-call vote away in the GOP House of Representatives. The raceaholics want Americans to fear that the burning crosses and lynchings will return as soon as the evening sun goes down.
Raceaholics wear fact-proof vests, which facilitate their addiction.
Less than a month after becoming this country’s first black attorney general, Eric Holder harshly scolded the American people: “Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards,” Holder told Justice Department employees on February 18, 2009. He claimed that “we, average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about race.” He added, “If we are to make progress in this area, we must feel comfortable enough with one another, and tolerant enough of each other, to have frank conversations about the racial matters that continue to divide us.”
Holder’s comments echo those of then-President Bill Clinton, who, in June 1997, said he wanted to start a “national conversation on race.” Likewise, Mayor de Blasio, on ABC’s This Week last Sunday, said, “We have to have an honest conversation in this country about a history of racism.”
Have these men been fast asleep? When have Americans not conversed about race?
The national conversation on race began no later than 1787, when the Constitutional Convention debated the Three-Fifths Compromise. Abolitionists and slavers spent the first half of the 19th century conversing about the morality of white Americans’ owning black human beings as property. Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas famously debated this question as the United States slid toward disunion. America fought the blood-soaked Civil War, largely over this matter. The Emancipation Proclamation and the defeat of the Confederacy, which stirred millions of discussions, soon yielded to talk of Reconstruction, followed by the Democratic party’s obstruction of Republican efforts to protect recently freed slaves and integrate them as full citizens.
The national conversation on race soon turned to Jim Crow laws and segregation. It continued through the decades with Plessy v. Ferguson, anti-lynching efforts, D. W. Griffith’s film The Birth of a Nation, President Truman’s desegregation of the U.S. military, Jackie Robinson, Brown v. Board of Education, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, President Eisenhower’s deployment of federal troops to integrate Little Rock’s schools, Motown Records, Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Watts riots, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, President Nixon’s creation of racial-preference programs, forced busing, President Reagan’s signing of the MLK national holiday into law, rap, the Clarence Thomas hearings, the Rodney King riots, O.J., the election of Obama as America’s first black president, and much, much more.
Americans have not stopped talking about race for at least 227 years. Yet the raceaholics consider Americans too weak and self-doubting to address the topic.
The raceaholics seem incapable of recognizing America’s tremendous progress in this area. Obama and Holder speak as if white-sheeted bigots are just yards away from grabbing them and burying them in a bog for being “uppity.” Never mind that those imaginary platoons of the prejudiced would have to slip past Secret Service agents to pry Obama from the Oval Office. They also would have to overcome the well-armed men and women who surround Holder as he leads the entire U.S. Department of Justice.
Senator Tim Scott (R., S.C.) just got elected with 61 percent of the vote and 84,000 more ballots than his Republican Palmetto State colleague, Senator Lindsey Graham. (In 2010, interestingly enough, Scott defeated the son of former segregationist Strom Thurmond in a Republican primary.) Utah’s Mia Love and Texas’s Will Hurd also are black Republicans just elected to Congress. The far-left Congressional Black Caucus boasts 43 members, all Democrats.
#page#America has a black Supreme Court justice and, under Republican President George W. Bush, enjoyed the service of not one but two black secretaries of state: Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice. The latter previously was provost of Stanford, one of America’s most prestigious universities, with whose Hoover Institution I am a media fellow.
Kenneth Chenault has been CEO of American Express since 2001. Richard Parsons was chairman of Citigroup and CEO of Time Warner. E. Stanley O’Neal, the grandson of a slave, was CEO of Merrill Lynch.
Oprah Winfrey is one of America’s most wealthy, successful, and beloved women. Denzel Washington is among America’s most revered actors. Until rape allegations recently engulfed him, Bill Cosby was a sort of second father to legions of adoring fans. Black musicians, dancers, athletes, comedians, and other personalities beyond enumeration dominate their fields. Hundreds of millions of Americans line up to attend their performances, applaud their creativity, and acquire the products that they endorse.
For his part, raging raceaholic Bill de Blasio told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos Sunday that, when it comes to tense relations between black New Yorkers and the NYPD, “there’s been, as I said, not just decades of problems, a history of centuries of racism that undergird this reality.”
How does de Blasio square his city’s socio-politics with the idea that Gotham is merely Selma on the Hudson?
De Blasio won 73 percent of the vote. These New Yorkers did not seem even microscopically bothered that he lives with Chirlane McCray, his black wife; Chiara de Blasio, their biracial daughter; and Dante de Blasio, their splendidly named, ethnically mixed son who sports a huge Afro that recalls Michael Jackson in the 1970s. Indeed, a TV commercial in which Dante — big hair and all — praised his father helped the latter escape a primary-election scrum and, thus, easily capture the Democratic mayoral nomination in the fall of 2013. Dante’s Afro was his father’s secret weapon.
Obama won 79 percent of the vote in New York City in 2008 and 81 percent in 2012. Way back in November 1989, New Yorkers elected David Dinkins as the city’s first black mayor. According to Ben Max of Decide NYC, New York’s City Council includes 13 blacks among its 51 members, all of whom are elected. This almost perfectly matches blacks’ 25 percent share of New York City’s population.
And, perhaps most important to this exercise, the New York Police Department is not the lily-white force that its detractors hallucinate. The picket signs that decry “racist killer cops” are lies.
As of June 2014, NYPD statistics show that its roughly 35,000-officer force is only 51 percent white. It also is 26 percent Hispanic, 16 percent black, and 6 percent Asian. Racial bean counters may complain that these numbers do not correspond exactly with Gotham’s demographics. However, the NYPD is, in fact, far more iridescent than its critics claim.
And when it comes to today’s two hottest flashpoints, the raceaholics’ screams about racism are beyond hollow.
In Ferguson, Mo., a grand jury that correctly reflected St. Louis County’s racial make-up concluded that then–police officer Darren Wilson did not act illegally when he fatally shot Michael Brown, an 18-year-old, unarmed convenience-store robber. While people may disagree with that decision, no one has offered even a speck of evidence that Wilson acted with any racial animus or that the 28-year-old harbored any ill will toward black Americans. If there is proof that Wilson is a racist, let’s see it.
Likewise, in the more troublesome case of Eric Garner — who died of a heart attack after NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo put him in a headlock and ignored him as he pleaded, “I can’t breathe!” eleven times — no one has shown that Pantaleo did this because of racism. Indeed, like other officers on the scene, Pantaleo was supervised by Kizzy Adoni, a black female NYPD sergeant. If there were a white-supremacist conspiracy to kill Garner for being black, the entire effort was overseen by a black woman.
#page#As Gateway Pundit recalled, Adoni told WPIX-TV in July: “The perpetrator’s condition did not seem serious and he did not appear to get worse.” Make of that what you will.
Not even Garner’s widow and daughter consider this a racial matter. While Esaw Snipes believes her husband was “murdered unjustly,” she said Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press, “I really don’t feel like it’s a black-and-white thing.” Garner and Snipes’s daughter concurred. Asked by CNN’s Don Lemon if racism played a role in her father’s death, Erica Garner replied, “I really doubt it. . . . This is not a black-and-white issue.” She added: “It was about the officer’s pride. It was about my father being 6′4″ and 350 pounds, and he wants to be the top cop that brings a man down.”
Machismo? Maybe. Rampant careerism? Perhaps. Racism? Evidently not.
Those ethnically exculpatory facts do not deter the raceaholics. Then again, nothing ever does. Raceaholics are not just misguided or confused. They are cruel, destructive, and un-American.
Raceaholics include the liberal activists who published fliers implying that the defeat of Senator Kay Hagan (D., N.C.) would bring back lynching. New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, a black Democrat who won 83 percent of the vote in 2013, said this October that GOP gubernatorial nominee Rob Astorino “reminds me of Bull Connor in the 1960s.” As the Democratic commissioner of public safety in Birmingham, Ala., Connor used snarling German Shepherds and fire hoses to terrorize peaceful civil-rights protesters. Astorino, in contrast, campaigned with his black running mate.
Such communications seek political advantage at the expense of racial healing and reconciliation. This is as immoral as walking up to a recovering alcoholic, opening a bottle of tequila, pouring two shots, and saying, “Join me in a swig?”
This is no way to treat a loved one who is trying hard to do better after years of not doing well. And this is no way to treat a country that one purports to love.
Real racism — such as the comments and actions of former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling or the anti-white rants of Louis Farrakhan — deserves to be fought with passion and vigor. But ignoring the fact that America has come light years forward in its quest for racial equality and then inventing racism where it does not exist is no less disgusting and evil than yanking a struggling AA member off the wagon and dragging him to happy hour.
— Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University.