Racial Double Standards
6/27/2001 12:00:00 AM - Walter E. Williams
A measure of accommodation is accorded children because they are not adults and thus not to be held to the same accountability standards. But should that same accommodation be accorded to a race of people?
In the March 2001 edition of The American Enterprise magazine, there's an article titled "The Soft Bigotry of Double Standards." Author Jonah Goldberg's first observation is: "Here's one thing we learned from the post-election Florida folderol: Black 'leaders' can say anything, and the mainstream press will take it seriously."
Jesse Jackson said, "This is a replay of Selma all over again." He yelled that "Holocaust survivors have been disenfranchised." Jackson spoke of the "blood of blacks and Jews." Not one mainstream news media outfit challenged Jackson to substantiate his claims either at the time of the Florida recount or since. In the midst of the Florida folderol, despite Jackson's ranting, New York Times correspondent Lynette Holloway wrote, "Mr. Jackson has been careful not to be inflammatory."
Goldberg says that not one of Jackson's allegations -- about blocked polling places, "targeted" blacks and Jews, harassed immigrants -- was ever brought before an actual judge. Why? Because they're all lies. Ask yourself whether it is in any way conceivable that a prominent white conservative could invent lies about blacks and stir up white anger without a major investigation and attack launched by the mainstream press?
Some years ago, Al Sharpton tried to frame innocent men for a non-existent crime (the Tawana Brawley affair), ruining the lives of the accused. Goldberg says that, despite this, Sharpton is "treated like Gandhi with a Jerri-curl by many reporters because he's the 'authentic voice' of a 'disenfranchised' constituency."
During the presidential campaign, the NAACP ran despicable ads suggesting that then-Gov. George Bush favored the racist murder of James Byrd Jr., a Texas black man. The ad ignored the fact that Byrd's murderers had been sentenced to death. Only Fox News questioned the propriety of NAACP ads.
Peter Jennings of ABC News, suggesting that maybe Gen. Colin Powell was a GOP Uncle Tom, asked, "Do you ever feel that maybe this is the professional wing of the party trying to use you?" For white liberals, and unfortunately too many blacks, black people such as Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice -- two eminently qualified Bush appointees -- not to mention senior Bush Supreme Court appointee Justice Clarence Thomas, aren't sufficiently black. What might really bother white liberals is that Bush hasn't followed the tradition of appointing blacks to "black jobs."
"Unfortunately," Goldberg says, "it's almost impossible to exaggerate the degree to which the media have adopted the left-wing propaganda that (a) being black means being left-wing and (b) opposing left-wing blacks is racist." Much more racially insulting is the media elite's demeaning attitude toward black people by their failure to hold them accountable to the standards to which they hold whites.
I don't believe white liberals are racists in the sense that Klansmen and neo-Nazis are, but their paternalistic vision, preconception and attitudes are far more debilitating to black Americans than today's Klansmen and neo-Nazis. Black people know Klansmen and neo-Nazis are enemies, but liberals masquerade as trustworthy friends whose counsel is to be believed.
Since many white liberals are driven by guilt about slavery and discrimination, I've written a certificate of amnesty and pardon (available under gifts at: www.gmu.edu/departments/economics). My hope is that if white liberals can stop feeling guilty, they might stop behaving as fools in their relationship with black people.