Apparently other Americans also recognize that the sources of racism are different today from what they were in the past. According to a recent Rasmussen poll, 31 percent of blacks think that most blacks are racists, while 24 percent of blacks think that most whites are racist.
The difference between these percentages is not great, but it is remarkable nevertheless. After all, generations of blacks fought the white racism from which they suffered for so long. If many blacks themselves now think that most other blacks are racist, that is startling.
The moral claims advanced by generations of black leaders -- claims that eventually touched the conscience of the nation and turned the tide toward civil rights for all -- have now been cheapened by today's generation of black "leaders," who act as if it is all just a matter of whose ox is gored.
Even in legal cases involving terrible crimes -- the O.J. Simpson murder trial or the charges of gang rape against Duke University students -- many black "leaders" and their followers have not waited for facts about who was guilty and who was not, but have immediately taken sides, based on who was black and who was white.
Among whites, according to the same Rasmussen poll, 38 percent consider most blacks racist and 10 percent consider most whites racist.
Broken down by politics, the same poll showed that 49 percent of Republicans consider most blacks racist, as do 36 percent of independents and 29 percent of Democrats.
Perhaps most disturbing of all, just 29 percent of Americans as a whole think race relations are getting better, while 32 percent think race relations are getting worse. The difference is too close to call, but the fact that it is so close is itself painful -- and perhaps a warning sign for where we are heading.
Is this what so many Americans, both black and white, struggled for, over the decades and generations, to try to put the curse of racism behind us -- only to reach a point where retrogression in race relations now seems at least equally likely as progress?
What went wrong? Perhaps no single factor can be blamed for all the things that went wrong. Insurgent movements of all sorts, in countries around the world, have for centuries soured in the aftermath of their own success. "The revolution betrayed" is a theme that goes back at least as far as 18th century France.