No matter how often activists and public officials promise progress to the black community in low income urban areas, race politics guarantees failure. A dependent black community keeps the money flowing and the votes coming in. The cost to society is excusing the failure of responsibility, both personal responsibility within the black community and government responsibility to not create need.
We have sunk to new lows recently. America watched marchers in Washington inspired by race-baiting over a handful of incidents with the police, but no march over violence by black community members directed at their own residents, something we hear about every day. Why?
Race politics means pardoning crime
The politics of race means sending the message that if you are part of a disadvantaged community then you deserve a pardon for your actions, whether those actions are racking up debt, living off of public assistance, selling crack cocaine, or shooting a child while aiming at another gang member. We discourage crimes like looting and burning businesses, but we don’t prosecute them as hate crimes even when race is the motivator. Meanwhile, protests against police violence that, ironically, often turn violent are encouraged.
Does pardoning crime teach responsibility? The crack vs. powder cocaine argument rankles the Obama administration. The president issued year-end pardons on December 17, begging the question of what comes first, race or crime? He had these words for the Congressional Black Caucus:
Too many young men of color feel targeted by law enforcement, guilty of walking while black, or driving while black, judged by stereotypes that fuel fear and resentment and hopelessness. We know that, statistically, in everything from enforcing drug policy to applying the death penalty to pulling people over, there are significant racial disparities. That’s just the statistics.1
He never said what kind of racial disparities he was talking about, whether it was the number of crimes or the number of unwarranted charges. That’s a job for the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics. Homicide trends over a 10-year period released in December 2013 showed a peak homicide rate for black males 9 times higher than for white males,2 averaging 6.3 times higher overall.3 The government’s numbers show that black on white murders were more than twice the rate of white on black killings. That’s not the race problem we are hearing about from the White House or liberal Democrats on Capitol Hill.
President Obama thinks the issue is how to build trust between communities and the police:
And to that end, we need to help communities and law enforcement build trust, build understanding, so that our neighborhoods stay safe and our young people stay on track.4
How do we do that? We go easier on crime:
He’s [Eric Holder] also been working to make the criminal justice system smarter and more effective by addressing unfair sentencing disparities, changing department policies on charging mandatory minimums, promoting stronger reentry programs for those who have paid their debt to society. (Applause.)5
Will these reforms matter if we run out of criminals to charge?
Is the black community responsible for killing off its future?
Violence within the black community was not the focus of the PR campaign for Obama’s 21st Century Policing Task Force:
The task force will examine how to strengthen public trust and foster strong relationships between local law enforcement and the communities that they protect, while also promoting effective crime reduction.6
With two police officers shot and killed in New York City that trust is going to be harder to come by. While the politics of race raged on in Washington, in Chicago’s black community high school student Demario Bailey was killed in the Englewood neighborhood. By all accounts a good kid who deserved to succeed, the Chicago Tribune reported that his high school principal called for martial law,7 if necessary, to stop the violence.
Proposing martial law is probably the farthest we can stray from the liberal values that politicians, activists, and organizers use to manipulate the black community. They are not going to push a value like personal responsibility because their liberal politics is based on race-baiting and dependence, reinforcing the belief that if you don’t get what you want it’s because of the color of your skin. The stubborn refusal of activists like Al Sharpton to move on from Civil Rights era rhetoric doesn’t help. It refuses to place responsibility for the future on the shoulders of the black community.
No one would suggest that greater trust between the public and the police wouldn’t be a good thing in any community, but the simple fact is that in too many places the black community is killing off its own future, both literally through violence and figuratively by refusing to chart its own course. Too many residents in these communities act irresponsibly because we’ve given them no reason not to and too many reasons to keep doing what they’re doing, including killing each other.
Links revised June 11, 2016.