What is it with those on the right, that either they argue with no passion or they simply cede ground to the left, as if engaging in the arguments is distasteful? Case in point - James Taranto's article in WSJ stating lukewarm disagreement with Ann Althouse that the right should not be pointing out white on black violence in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting.
In the Trayvon Martin shooting, the race hustlers of the left saw an opportunity to argue to the black community that white racism was still alive and their greatest enemy. To say that they grossly overreached is an understatement.
There is a backlash now to that from many on the right who see the canard - and indeed, are its targets. And the most obvious response is to point to outrageous acts of black criminality against whites, asking the civil rights community to address it. It is a trap of course, as to address this violence, they would open up the entire can of worms on the ills of black society. Thus it is something both the left and Ms. Althouse would studiously ignore. She labels such acts as "counter Trayvoning." According to her, as quoted in the WSJ:
Conservatives have rested on the principle of colorblindness for a long time, and they've taken abuse for it. Look at how left liberals abuse Chief Justice Roberts for writing, "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race." They consider that kind of talk naive (at best). They push the perceived sophistication of what Justice Blackmun said back in the first affirmative action case: "In order to get beyond racism, we must first take account of race. There is no other way."
Those are the 2 well-defined and socially presentable opinions in this country, and decent, sincere Americans have argued from these positions for decades. Now, we're seeing some conservatives who seem frustrated by this taking account of race that's been done on the left. They seem to think it's a good time to spotlight violence committed by black people. This is not a good idea! It's fine to mourn Shorty, but these candlelight vigils are intended to stir hearts the way hearts were stirred at the Trayvon Martin demonstrations.
. . . To stir hearts counter-Trayvonistically is to nurture feelings that white people are oppressed by black people. This alternative to colorblindness is profoundly stupid. 1. It abandons the easy to express, principled position that many people perceive as the high ground. 2. It steps into the arena of taking account of race, where the left liberals would love to take you on. And 3. It gives air to the white supremacists among us. These people have been outcasts for a long time, but they exist, perhaps not quite yet recognizing what they are.
One, while a color blind society is absolutely what we should all strive for, that will not happen by conservatives ignoring race out of distaste for the argument. Ms. Althouse fully misperceives what is moral in this case. In all cases, facing problems and facing them with honesty defines the moral highground. When the left interprets everything through a racial lens and regularly makes outrageous charges of racism, then following Ms. Althouse's prescription would mean we cede the argument to the left. It is being in a war where only one side is allowed to fight.
Two, her claim that it steps "into the arena of taking account of race, where the left liberals would love to take you," is simply ridiculous. The left wholly ignores problems in the black community because they do not want to have to address them. Indeed, the left attacks any attempt by the right to raise address these problems by anyone on the right as ipso facto racism. The absolute last thing the left wants is an honest conversation "into the arena taking account of race." Indeed, as James Taranto points out in his WSJ article, "counter Trayvoning" has provoked liberals into dismissive responses, and thus might not be such a bad thing.
Lastly, her claim that to raise issues of color would give succor to white supremacists is a non-sequitur. White supremacists are and should always be outcasts. But demanding changes in and for the benefit of the black community in order to finally realize equality is an entirely different animal. At some level, doing so might provide temporary succor to supremacists, but the moral imperative to help black society is far and away more important, and in the end, wholly contradicts the goals of white supremacists. Ms. Althouse's argument seems to be analogous to the argument that children should not be inoculated against disease because some small portion of them will become very sick from the inoculation, irrespective of the fact that many more will be helped.
Indeed, Ms. Althouse's argument is taking a tack precisely opposite that followed by Martin Luther King Jr. His most powerful speech, given those fifty years ago, honestly addressed the problems of race, stated the moral imperative, and shamed white America into agreement that equality should be an overriding goal in America. As he said, blacks had come to Washington to cash the check that said "that all men are created equal." I concur, but we won't get there by following the advice of Ms. Althouse and ignoring race.
America should indeed be a land of colorblind equality where racism should not be tolerated. Fixing the plight of blacks in America today is every bit the moral imperative it was in 1963. There should not be massive, cyclical poverty for over 25% of blacks. Blacks should not have the worst jobless rate in America. Black children should have the same educational opportunities as whites. Black families should not be dysfunctional, with almost 3 out of every 4 children born to single mothers. And crime should not be disproportionately a problem of the black community, with blacks far more likely to commit violent crime, including murder and robbery. This state of black America is obscene in the 21st century. But, but, but . . . those problems are not the work of conservative white racism.
The idealists of the 60′s, JFK, Patrick Moynihan and their ilk, were deeply concerned and doing what they thought best to truly help the black community. Well, they shot their bullets and, while some of what they did helped spectacularly – the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act – other things that they did failed equally spectacularly – welfare and public education.
If the left could find a way out of this that would not result in their own weakening – or even perhaps demise – they would, I am sure, jump on it. Their catch-22 is that such a solution does not exist.
For the far left to truly address the problems plaguing the black community today would mean addressing failures of left wing programs. It would mean taking on the teachers unions (the group that underwrote the MLK 50th anniversary race hustler palooza a few days ago). It would mean taking a stand on traditional morality. The mortal danger to the left in doing so is that it would fracture the blacks as a monolithic voting block. And in an age where only a few percentage points of votes are what separate Republicans from Democrats, that could well be catastrophic for the left. They are quite happy to leave the black community to wallow in horrendous dysfunction so long as they can make money and gain power off their backs.
So the left continues to beat the drum of imaginary racism as the only true ill of black society. At the same time, they studiously ignore all the problems of the black community. The only way to address this issue is to do what Martin Luther King Jr. did. To raise the problems continuously, to do so with utter honesty, and to refuse to be cowed into silence, whether by the left or Ms. Althouse.