Any regular viewer of CNN, MSNBC or Fox News has seen the videotape: A handcuffed black 16-year-old being body-slammed on the hood of a police car and punched in the face by a white cop.
Endlessly, the TV talking heads express outrage, as the tape rolls on, and few there are who defend what that cop did. But why are the media addicted to this story? The teen-ager is not dead. He does even not seem seriously hurt. As for that body-slam, yes, it was rough, but that is what happens every Sunday to NFL quarterbacks who fail to "read the blitz."
And, while you don't hit a man in handcuffs, that sucker punch was payback for something. What was it that ticked that cop off? Who put the gash in the side of his head? And why are the media milking this story, force-feeding us, scores of times a day, this vivid dose of street justice?
Clearly, if the cop had been black, the story would have died, or if that teen-ager had shot that cop, the story would have been old news by now. Here we come to the heart of the matter.
Many in the media are not at all horrified by that tape -- they are delighted. They cannot get enough of it. It is wonderful for ratings, and the tape is documentary evidence to buttress their argument that America is a racist country. These repeated showings of the tape provide progressives with endless opportunities to parade their moral outrage.
This one is a free kick. But beyond this lies a more serious story. America is balkanizing along the grounds of ethnicity, and racial loyalties are taking precedence over national loyalties -- a trend that does not bode well for America.
And, while the Inglewood story is a slice of the truth about America, it is being exploited to support a big lie about America. For the real truth about interracial crime, easily determined from Justice Department statistics, is that white males or white cops are not the primary problem. The truth is that African-American males, 16 to 35, are responsible for a vastly disproportionate share of individual and gang interracial assaults.
While these are not pleasant statistics, they are the truth, and most of us know it -- as we know that any network that ran a series featuring the stories of brutalized white survivors of interracial crime would be charged with ripping off the bandages of racial reconciliation. Again, fair enough. Yet, that is exactly what the media are doing with these constant re-airings of this raw footage.
Nor was this last week's lone contribution to racial harmony. Jesse Jackson called George W. Bush and John Ashcroft "the most threatening combination in our lifetime." Julian Bond accused President Bush of joining a "right-wing conspiracy." The NAACP's Kwase Mfume accused him of engaging in the politics of "divide and conquer when it comes to black organizations." Is anyone holding Jackson, Bond or Mfume accountable for their incendiary rhetoric?
Even self-proclaimed King of Pop Michael Jackson now claims to be a victim of the "devilish" racism of Tommy Mottola, head of Sony, who made hundreds of millions for Jackson, who made his charge while nuzzling up to the great healer Al Sharpton.
(Unlike Republicans, however, Sony's Mottola is apparently a fighter. And Sony unloaded a full retaliatory response: "Charges of pedophilia (against Michael) have really spooked lots of American record buyers," said a Sony exec. "There are a lot of parents who don't think (Michael's) a wholesome entertainer.")
More than anybody else, Booker T. Washington sought to raise his people up and bring them into the American mainstream. And that wise leader warned us to be on guard against the Bonds, the Jacksons and the Mfumes -- and all of the racketeers of race politics.
"There is a class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs and the hardships of the Negro race before the public," said Washington. "Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs -- partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs."
Right on the money. But, since Dr. Washington passed away, some white demagogues have learned to play the race card, as well.