By Alan Caruba
When I look back at the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 60s, I marvel at how naïve I was that the passage of major legislation was going to “solve” the problem of discord between the white and black race.
On May 3, the Wall Street Journal reported on a survey regarding racial disturbances around the nation such as those that wracked Baltimore. “A resounding 96% of adults surveyed said it was likely there would be additional racial disturbances this summer…” To nobody’s surprise, blacks and whites “viewed the situation differently.”
“Asked to choose between two possible explanations for recent events, 60% of blacks said they reflected ‘long-standing frustrations about police mistreatment of African-Americans.’” Some 27% of black respondents said they thought the disturbances were caused by people as an excuse “to engage in looting and violence.” I favor the latter explanation because I doubt that our nation’s police forces engage in deliberate harassment and mistreatment of blacks.
Indeed, Baltimore has a back Mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, a black police chief, and many blacks among his force. If the issue was the police, then no city in America is safe and that is just not so. Unfortunately, the foolishness of Baltimore’s Mayor, who told the force to stand down and let the rioters have their way, was then demonstrated by her request that the Department of Justice (DOJ) launch an investigation of the city’s police force.
The problem with that is that the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division has only fifty employees responsible for handling labor-intensive ‘pattern or practice’ investigations among the nation’s 18,000 state and local forces. There is no way the Baltimore investigation will produce anything of useful information. It is far more likely that the outcome will be more political than demonstrative of trends.
What is generally not being noticed is that the Obama administration, as reported in Politico.com on May 8, “has opened more than twenty such investigations into local law enforcement agencies “most of which result in either a settlement agreement with local officials or a lawsuit that pushes legally binding reform.”
I have come to the view that the most racially divisive leader in America is our first African-American President. Why else has Rev. Al Sharpton become his most widely recognized “adviser” and why are administration figures are less likely to be found honoring fallen police officers than the alleged black victims? Three were sent to Freddie Gray’s funeral and none to the funeral of the slain police officers. The First Lady, too, has been stirring up racial discord.
Referring to the Baltimore riot, he said that “we as a nation have to do some soul-searching” when as William McGurn of The Wall Street Journal noted the trillions spent on liberal programs, personified by LBJ’s “War on Poverty”, have not succeeded in reducing poverty and have contributed to creating whole populations that live off of government handouts of one sort or another.
“While the Great Society’s billions were creating a culture of dependency,” said McGurn, “South Korea—with its emphasis on trade and global competition—rose from the ashes of a terrible war to become the world’s 12th largest economy.” This occurred over the same time period the liberal dependency programs and liberal governance of many U.S. cities created the problem we are addressing and discussing today.
Nor is the answer for the federal government to take over the management of the nation’s police forces. We have already seen how it has ruined the educational system and is now doing the same to our health system.
Are their differences between whites and blacks? Yes, but they are economic. Middle and upper class blacks share the outlook of their white counterparts. They look at the inner cities and they understand that decades of liberal governance has driven out businesses large and small, along with anyone who could afford to leave. Yes, there was “white flight”, but they were joined by blacks who saw there was no future to be had there for their children. The rest are trapped.
So, will there be more riots and disturbances in our cities this summer? Yes, that would appear to be the case. So long as police are not allowed to take action against the instigators and perpetrators, that is a given.
Not until this nation returns to the high levels of respect for the men and women who put their lives on the line every day will we see a cessation of such events. My experience and the nation’s over the past six decades is an indication that some pundit will be holding forth on this topic six decades from now…only it will be worse.