“A Welcome End to American Whiteness” was The Washington Post headline for columnist Dana Milbank’s contribution to U.S. racial harmony, heralding a study finding that whites will no longer be the U.S. majority in 2043, followed immediately by the Post’s Richard Cohen’s article concluding that Republicans are an aggregate of “bigots and fools.”
A few days later columnist Eugene Robinson observed that a “paranoid myth of victimhood” haunts whites especially “whenever Obama comments on race.”
This mainstream media wisdom preceded — preceded — by just a few days the Ferguson shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by white police officer Darren Wilson and the subsequent riots by African-Americans in retribution. Where would the protesters get the idea race was the motivation for it all?
Milbank and Robinson were moved to comment by Alabama Republican Congressman Mo Brooks’ complaint that the mainstream media treatment of Republicans opposing immigration reform was “part of the war on whites that’s being launched by the Democratic Party . . . claiming that whites hate everybody else. It’s part of the strategy that Barack Obama implemented in 2008, continued in 2012, where he divides us all on race, on sex, greed, envy, class warfare.”
He might have been more articulate but he just might have stumbled on to something. Cohen in fact had described all modern politics as beginning with Republican President Richard Nixon adopting a “Southern strategy” in 1968 as an appeal “to racism against African Americans . . . The Democratic Party showed racists the door. The GOP welcomed them and, of course, their fellow travelers — creationists, gun nuts, anti-abortion zealots, immigrant haters of all sorts and homophobes.” And that same division “fouls our politics to this very day.”
A half century of fouling paranoid racism and very soon a welcome end to whiteness is presented as the mainstream progressive history of modern American politics — where could the rioters have gotten the idea there was some kind of ideological war tinged by racism coming from a political party composed of white bigots and fools?
Blacks follow the media too, although some are perhaps just as influenced by what Juan Williams called the “drug dealers, the gangbangers, the corrupt unions defending bad schools, and the musicians and actors who glorify criminal behavior among black men” who rot the whole culture. But these “forces feeding the racial fear among young black men” get their legitimacy from mainstream progressive media columnists who really believe that anyone who disagrees with them is a bigot.
It is not merely Democrats, of course. Former George W. Bush staffer and professed “moderate,” Post columnist Michael Gerson, gratuitously attacked factional opponent Sen. Rand Paul for a “disturbing history” on race and the social safety net for the poor.
Paul was charged with using “political trickery” to win support by criticizing what he labeled as the “militarization of law enforcement” in Ferguson and the general “erosion of civil liberties and due process that allows the police to become judge and jury” using “national security letters, no-knock searches, broad general warrants, pre-conviction forfeiture,” and for concluding, “Given these developments, it is almost impossible for many Americans not to feel like their government is targeting them.”
Paul’s supposedly first “discrediting baggage” was his “discomfort with federal civil rights law” but “moderate” Gerson’s primary target was his opponent’s second “belief in a minimal state incapable of addressing poverty and stalled mobility.”
Were the Ferguson riots an improvement on those in 1960s Watts-Los Angeles, Cleveland, Detroit, and Newark? Did these laws fulfill Lyndon Johnson’s promise to end poverty much less for “most poor people [to] become more productive, independent, and middle class”? Certainly the fate of average blacks has improved but their unemployment was the lowest under the minimum state policies of Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton/Newt Gingrich but is still twice the white rate after six years under Barack Obama.
Why has the leading cause of death among black men between the ages of 15 and 34 become murder, 90 percent by other black men? Why after a decade of Gerson’s centralizing education policies is there even worse schooling in today’s central cities with fewer African-Americans even seeking work?
Why was there only one elected black councilman to protect minority interests in a Ferguson with such a large majority of blacks? Did they expect that the attorney general or president or governor would protect them? Where would they get the idea Washington would save them?
The best remedy is to read black Wall Street Journal editorialist Jason Riley’s new book, whose title says it all: "Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed."
Donald Devine is senior scholar at the Fund for American Studies, the author of "America’s Way Back: Reconciling Freedom, Tradition and Constitution," and was Ronald Reagan’s director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management during his first term. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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