Shelby Steele: Leaders Exploit Trayvon Case

Saturday, 07 Apr 2012 11:55 AM

By Shelby Steele

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There are two tragedies as a result of the Trayvon Martin slaying, case, Shelby Steele writes in The Wall Street Journal.

The first is the death of a teenager who at the time was unarmed and committing no crime, writes Steele, a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.

"Dressed in a "hoodie," a costume of menace, he crossed paths with a man on the hunt for precisely such clichés of menace," Steele writes.

The second tragedy is that even after the strides in civil rights during the 1960s, black Americans continued to base their group identity on the victimization by whites.

"We could not have made a worse mistake," Steele writes in the Journal.

"It has given us a generation of ambulance-chasing leaders, and the illusion that our greatest power lies in the manipulation of white guilt."

The story brought a storm of furious reaction -- and attempts to generate publicity -- from the White House and civil rights activists.  

"The Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, ubiquitous icons of black protest, virtually battled each other to stand at the bereaved family's side — Mr. Jackson, in a moment of inadvertent honesty, saying, 'There is power in blood ... we must turn a moment into a movement.' And then there was the spectacle of black Democrats in Congress holding hearings on racial profiling with Trayvon's parents featured as celebrities," Steele says. 




























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