Some Race Activists Are Harming Their Own Cause
There was a mostly minority-on-minority bloodbath in Baltimore over the Memorial Day weekend, with 26 people shot and nine dead, and the main reaction we hear from the left is "racism."
How do perpetual race activists ever expect to be viewed as credible when they react to every incident, irrespective of the facts, as racially motivated?
Take Ferguson, Missouri, for example. Though a grand jury refused to return a criminal indictment against police Officer Darren Wilson in connection with what authorities concluded was his legally justifiable shooting of Michael Brown, racial activists continue to cite the tragedy as if it supports their case against racially motivated police misconduct. But is it honest for these activists to chant "hands up, don't shoot" concerning this case?
Likewise, objective observers surely can't help but notice the race-soaked atmosphere surrounding the prosecution of six police officers in the death of Freddie Gray. In her public announcement of the charges against these officers, Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby sounded more like a political activist than an officer of the court.
Rather than pledge her commitment to pursuing justice for all, she pointedly told the young black people in her city that she was seeking justice for them. More recently, we read that Mosby favorited a tweet calling the Baltimore police officers she is prosecuting "thugs," though she has claimed that her Twitter account was hacked and she didn't do it. No matter what her feelings about race, no matter what her background and experiences, no matter what the actual facts of the case are, she has a duty to seek justice for all the people she represents and for the legal system, not just certain groups.
Sadly, some people insist on viewing all incidents of black-on-black violence in the inner cities — or of blacks being injured or killed in encounters with police — through a racial prism, irrespective of the particular facts and circumstances involved and which individuals were actually responsible. It's a pattern of dehumanizing human beings, especially blacks, as it implies they are always victims, either of institutional racism or of specific racially driven mistreatment at the hands of certain cops.
Just as with Ferguson, the facts in Baltimore don't seem to matter to those thirsting for "justice" against cops. The state of Maryland and the city of Baltimore are run by liberal politicians, and the city has received a disproportionate share of federal monies. It has minorities on the City Council, a black mayor and a black prosecutor. Almost 50 percent of Baltimore police officers are black, and three of the six cops involved and charged in the Gray case are black. But none of that matters because the "cops are racist" and "institutional racism" templates must prevail, even before all the facts have come out.
When people approach these problems with a fixed mindset that prepares them to excuse all violence in minority communities as justified and individual perpetrators as victims of the system, there is no way to have a fair and productive discussion of these issues.
Sean Hannity recently interviewed a black Baltimore city councilman and a black political activist about the weekend (and other) shootings in their city. One of the gentlemen said, "The fundamental problem with the coverage of these stories is that it's mired with racist subterfuge, because to talk about the violence that's going on in Baltimore and not talking about the systemic inequalities in racist policing practices that have led us to this point, it posits a situation where we're talking about either high violence in our communities or racist police when ... the task should be to fix both."
He went on to argue, "Structural racism and white supremacy is the source of both inter-communal violence between black people ... and it's also the source of police brutality in Baltimore." The people involved, the gentleman explained, don't have access to the same capital and resources as other people do, so their violence is apparently justified — or at least mitigated.
It's one thing for him to talk about alleged racially driven police misconduct, but does he really believe that some blacks are shooting other blacks because of white-on-black racism? Is he saying that economic circumstances justify criminal violence or the $20 million in damage Baltimore rioters inflicted on their city without even knowing all the facts?
The black-on-black violence in Baltimore and other cities is running rampant, yet all the activists want to talk about is racism — systemic or individual — and they refuse to demand accountability from the perpetrators of the violence.
I am probably in the minority here, but I don't see how it helps the plight of the minority community to excuse violence on economic circumstances and to treat perpetrators of crime as victims. I don't understand how prejudging every unfortunate situation involving cops as race-motivated advances the cause of racial harmony or of calling needed attention to legitimate grievances.
It is not respectful of minorities to treat them like robots, incapable of responding to difficult economic circumstances or police misconduct without violence.
We should all be concerned about racism and actual cases of police misconduct, but we also should make sure that every human being in our society is treated with sufficient respect and dignity not to assume that he is a product of some sort of larger determinism and unaccountable for his actions.
David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney. His latest book is "Jesus on Trial: A Lawyer Affirms the Truth of the Gospel." Follow him on Twitter @davidlimbaugh and his website at www.davidlimbaugh.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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