The Corner

Shelby Steele Explains Trent Lott

There’s a powerful column by Shelby Steele in today’s Wall Street Journal (if you’re not an Opinion Journal subscriber, you have to register, but it’s well worth it). The gist: “Today America supports a racialist value system for minorities while demanding a democratic expansion of the white imagination. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus can embrace ‘blackness’ and demand government preferences exclusively for their race. Remove the double standard and Trent Lott looks perfectly innocent by comparison. But in the end a man cannot be redeemed by a moral equivalence. … A vacuum of white guilt as wide as the Grand Canyon has opened in him, and he will never again see civil rights, welfare, judgeships or education with a clear eye. He will now live in a territory of irony where his redemption will be purchased through support for racialist social reforms that make a virtue of the same segregationist spirit that has now brought him low.”