To the larger point made by Gates and the president about blacks disproportionately singled out for stops and arrests because of their race. The media have some responsibility in this. Most news reports show blacks as the perpetrators or victims of violent crime. Most news interviews with black mothers (and many TV commercials) have no man in the picture, because in far too many cases there isn't one. He is either the absent father, deceased or in prison.
Much of the violent crime in America occurs in low-income neighborhoods. Race isn't the cause of these crimes; a social system put in place by liberal Democrats is to blame. That system does not encourage minorities to succeed. It enables them in their victimhood and sense of impoverishment. Liberal Democrats refuse to allow poor black children to escape failing government schools. The welfare system, revised by a Republican Congress and reluctantly signed into law by President Bill Clinton, has doomed several generations of African-Americans to misery, complacency and despondency. Black children who do succeed are accused of "acting white" and urged to fall back into the cycle of failure experienced by many of their friends.
President Obama properly apologized to Sgt. Crowley and his department for suggesting they acted "stupidly." He is also doing the right thing by inviting Professor Gates and the officer to the White House for what one hopes will be a moment of reconciliation. He thankfully has begun (at the recent NAACP convention) to attack the underpinnings of an attitude that still reigns in much of the black community: that failure is someone else's fault. Black people who have succeeded by playing according to race-neutral rules are testimony to the lie behind that claim.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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