I wasn’t thinking about skin color when I heard about the plans to shut down Chicago’s Michigan Avenue shopping district on one of the busiest consumer spending days of the year. I was thinking about misguided stupidity.
Given the racist, anti-white rhetoric currently in vogue with activists and Black Lives Matter, it was a surprise that many of the protesters we watched in news footage shuffling down city streets and blocking businesses in response to the Laquan McDonald police shooting were not African American. They were white.
That wasn’t the stupid part.
Activism for the stupid: stop the flow of cash?
What was so idiotic about the scene unfolding on the Magnificent Mile was that the protesters directed their anger at businesses and commerce, a bad choice given that whatever the cause, the ultimate goal of community activism is cash.
Where do agitators think the money in a depressed city like Chicago comes from?
Chicago’s continually shifting sales tax rate is now 10.25%. Everyone and everything is taxed to the hilt, including the spending protesters are trying to stop. This creates quite a conflict for aggressive agitators targeting businesses. They should know that their city is starved for cash and that many of the residents they claim to represent depend on some form of public assistance.
Why choke off a public revenue stream? Left-wing ideology seems so confused that protesters can’t separate the feeding frenzy over a police shooting from punishing the Democrat Party’s accursed 1%.
Skin color is the last refuge of the real racists
Reducing race relations to black vs. white no longer makes sense. It’s not about black and white or skin color anymore. It’s about how communities meet the challenges of living in this country.
Hispanics are now the largest minority in America. While the overall unemployment rate for black Americans was 9.2% in October 2015, the rate for Hispanics and Latinos was 6.3% and for Asians 3.5%.1 While other groups make advances, the black community’s loudest protagonists continually reduce the dialogue to anti-black racism at the hands of the white establishment. If you doubt this for even a moment, visit the Black Lives Matter website and consider the kind of newly-enlightened dialogue helping to fuel controversy.
Nowhere was the fantasy about the unfairness of skin color more evident than in Chicago, where the same day that protesters tried to shut down shopping because of a killing by a white police officer an African American was arrested in the murder of 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee.
Both incidents made national headlines. Only one was deemed worthy of protest.
When the long holiday weekend is over, we will still have a police shooting to contend with. We will also have the usual list of shootings and homicides not committed by white people or the police, but by members of the black community directing violence inward.
The neighborhoods hosting the violence are not where the anger and outrage will be found.
The real fear is taking responsibility
When it comes to race relations, Democratically-enlightened thinking has brought us a train wreck mixture of hate, dependence, and endless reasons to excuse violence in the community protesting anti-black policing.
No one wants to speak the truth.
With progress stalled in the war between left and right because the rhetoric is too disparate to make advances on any front, activists have retreated to where we were a century ago: skin color. While Black Lives Matter preaches hate and fear that do nothing to solve the black community’s problems, the truth about who and what is doing the killing is shunted aside.
The Chicago Police Department will ultimately accept responsibility for what happened to Laquan McDonald. Will the African American community take responsibility for Tyshawn Lee, or write off the murder of a child to the city’s violence instead of labeling it what it is?
What we learned this weekend is that black lives don’t matter when no one is watching. Neither activism nor protest will fix what happened to Tyshawn Lee or Laquan McDonald. Ignoring the obvious must be less frightening than addressing the real problem: self-hate within a community defining itself by skin color and pointing fingers while refusing to accept responsibility for its members.