A NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE COACH has a mediocre season and is released by the team. Jesse Jackson fires off a letter of protest. In Michigan, a thirteen-year-old murderer faces sentencing as an adult. Al Sharpton flies into the state and holds a press conference accusing racists in the criminal-justice system of trying to take "our children." (Shades of Decatur, Ill. where Jackson defends teenage thugs expelled from school in the same familial voice.) Hollywood launches a season where black characters rarely make the cut on the television shows on the big four networks. The NAACP threatens boycotts and two networks agree to racial quotas. The largest "civil rights" demonstration in nearly a decade is organized in South Carolina to protest the flying of a rebel flag.
These recent events have two features in common: From the perspective of the civil-rights movement they claim as their legacy, they are all laughable charades; and their only shared purpose is to keep alive the idea that whites are racists and are responsible for the problems of African Americans. The reality is quite different. The civil-rights struggle was won 30 years ago. What passes for civil rights these days is a political shakedown and a racial hustle.
From the bottom of the deck
Sixty-five percent of the millionaires on the Green Bay Packers, the team that fired coach Ray Rhodes, are black. Rhodes had presided over the first season in seven years that the Packers did not make the playoffs. Even Rhodes says he was embarrassed by Jackson's claim. Coupled with Jackson's attempt to turn a bunch of young gangsters in Decatur who nearly caused a riot at a football game into civil-rights heroes, this crusade makes him something of a public menace and, insofar as he is a role model, a threat to black achievement.
Of course, Sharpton notwithstanding, the fact that homicide is a prime killer of young black males is integrally connected to the number of homicides committed by young black males. (A black is six times as likely to die of homicide as a white, while 94 percent of the killers of blacks are also black.) Treating youthful black murderers as adults is about taking black life seriously. Sharpton has no interest in black children in the inner city, however, or in anyone, in fact, except himself.
Forget all the arguments about the Confederate flag. The question is this: Is the flag a symbol of regnant racism? Are the gubernatorial mansions or the legislatures of states where flags incorporate the Stars and Bars bastions of Confederate diehards who want to keep blacks down? Don't make me laugh. The holiday itself during which the rally against the Confederate flag was held—Martin Luther King Day—is the only day that Americans set aside to honor an individual. Elements of the Stars and Bars are incorporated into the flags that fly over many state capitols. Among them is Arkansas, which flew the dreaded symbol during the entire twelve years that Bill Clinton was governor. Yet he still enjoys 90 percent support among African Americans, despite his willingness to fly the rebel symbol when he was governor. The flag means a lot less, evidently, than meets the eye.
This is not about racism. It is about playing the race card.
A new kind of extortion
Hollywood gave the black actress Hattie McDaniel an Academy Award in 1939. Twenty years ago, network TV created Roots, the most-watched program in history—an eleven-hour epic that portrayed whites as uniformly evil and blacks as long-suffering saints. Throughout the 1940s (Pinky, Home of the Brave) and 1950s (Sergeant Rutledge, The Defiant Ones), and early '60s (Guess Who's Coming To Dinner), Hollywood pioneered civil-rights issues and the cause of black America. Anyone who believes that liberal Hollywood is a hotbed of racism and practices systematic discrimination against African Americans is either certifiable or—how shall I put this—somewhat loose with the facts.
Not too long ago, I was on Jesse Jackson's Both Sides Now CNN show with ER actor Eriq LaSalle. The two black men complained that African Americans are "locked out" of Hollywood and only get demeaning roles. Don't make me laugh. LaSalle plays a doctor on ER, and signed a three-year, $27-million contract. Yet, under NAACP threat, NBC and ABC signed quota agreements for black hires because—well, they were afraid of retaliation. Call it "trick or treat" if you want. It is extortion all the same.
Now Jackson has set up a shakedown shop in Silicon Valley, home to probably the most racially diversified industry in America. Jackson is demanding that technology firms go out of their way to help promote African Americans. If they do not, they risk being branded racists.
Why are the media silent about this (Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly and a few others excepted)? The reason seems obvious. Democrats and leftists run the media, and the race card is the ace-in-the-hole for Democratic and leftist politicians who need 90 percent black support to hold their power. That is why Bill Bradley and Hillary Clinton have rushed to kiss the ring of Sharpton, the anti-Semite, convicted liar and racist demagogue (without visibly holding their noses to do it). In fact, the race card is so important to Democrats that Bradley and Gore have even begun to use it against each other.
Whatever people say in public, no intelligent person really believes the charge of racism anymore. On the other hand, everyone is afraid to say so.
Tell it like it is
If the race card is power to Democrat politicians, it is money and power to race hustlers like Jackson and Sharpton. Once upon a time, Jackson would make demagogic harangues in inner-city communities about "racist" liquor distributors who were targeting the African American population. Budweiser is currently running commercials featuring black racial stereotypes. Ordinarily, this would be a Jackson two-fer. In the old days, Jackson attacked Anheuser-Busch for a lack of minority ownership among its distributors. But today Jesse Jackson's lips are sealed. Possible reason: Two of Jackson's sons were recently given the No. 1 Budweiser distributorship in Chicago, worth $33 million in annual revenues. And they got it, against all competitors, for almost no cash down.
Was the favor to the Jackson sons a form of protection money? You think?
It is time to wake up, America. The civil-rights scam is becoming a cancer on our body politic. The only cure is to adopt a single standard for all Americans and—to use a phrase of the '60s—tell it like it is.