What country are Gates and Obama living in? The truth is that while both Gates and Obama paint themselves as moderates seeking a bright new future, they are relics of a racial past that has largely disappeared. Institutional racism is no longer a shadowy backdrop to law enforcement – it is a bogeyman, a windmill at which whites are supposed to tilt, and for which unsuccessful African-Americans can blame their lack of advancement. Gates and Obama are both examples of black men who have taken advantage of white guilt to their advantage; now they seek to perpetuate white guilt out of their own guilt over their ill-gotten success. As Gates put it in a speech in 1996 about affirmative action, "For me, someone who has benefited so much from the opportunities of affirmative action, to stand at the gate and try to keep other black people out would be as hypocritical as Clarence Thomas.”
Obama and Gates have a stake in pushing their vision of the universe. It benefits them -- they make fame and fortune from whites who seek to appease them by providing them opportunities vastly exceeding their qualifications. Their success, however, brings with it a certain cognitive dissonance: While Obama and Gates recognize that they have been successful through preferential treatment, they wish to see their success as a product of their own hard work. The obvious way to resolve this dissonance is to blame white society for its continuing racism. If America is a racist country, any handout is an entitlement rather than an act of charity. Thus, according to this logic, Obama and Gates deserved their success after all.
There are many victims in the Gates case. Most of them are, ironically, black. Joseph Crowley and the police departments of the country will survive intact. Many African-Americans, however, will continue to think that they are entitled to resist police, to blame "white society" for their problems, to peg shortcomings on "institutional racism" rather than personal irresponsibility.
Obama and Gates have benefited from white largesse. It is time for them to stand up and help African-Americans achieve success without preying on unwarranted white guilt.
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