Facing Facts about Race

Two of my favorite writers tackle the subject:

Young black males are at greater risk from their peers than from the police or white civilians

By Victor Davis Hanson

Last week President Obama weighed in again on the Trayvon Martin episode. Sadly, most of what he said was wrong, both literally and ethically.Pace the president, the Zimmerman case was not about Stand Your Ground laws. It was not a white-on-black episode. The shooting involved a Latino of mixed heritage in a violent altercation with a black youth.

Is it ethical for the president to weigh in on a civil-rights case apparently being examined by his own Justice Department? The president knows that if it is true that African-American males are viewed suspiciously, it is probably because statistically they commit a disproportionate amount of violent crime. If that were not true, they might well be given no more attention as supposed suspects than is accorded to white, Asian, or Latino youths. Had George Zimmerman been black, he would have been, statistically at least, more likely to have shot Trayvon Martin — and statistically likewise less likely to have been tried.

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Our Race-Hack President

By Bruce Thornton

As protests against the Zimmerman verdict spread, along with the vandalism and shopping sprees that progressives call “demonstrations,” the President last Friday made some remarks that reinforced all the race-hack rhetoric keeping this country racially divided and most blacks mired in social and economic misery.

Not satisfied with his remark from last year that if he had a son he’d look like Trayvon Martin––thus injecting racial animus into a case where it didn’t exist––Obama said Friday, “Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago,” and went on to cite three examples of lingering racism in America, the first two of which he says he’s experienced personally: being followed in a department store, hearing car-door-locks click as he passed by, and seeing women clutch their purses when black men enter an elevator. I’m surprised he didn’t add the other two constantly cited signs of endemic racism: being ignored by cabbies, or “driving while black,” being pulled over by a cop for no other reason than race.

Obama’s first statement implying he could have ended up like Trayvon Martin is preposterous. Martin’s death is an anomaly among black youths, and the odds that any black man is going to get shot to death by a white man are miniscule. Getting shot by another black man, on the other hand, is 25 times more likely, based on 2011 murder statistics. But given the privileged environments Obama grew up and has lived in, even those odds would be longer in his case. Obama’s statement exposed the big lie at the heart of racial demagoguery––that no amount of economic or social privilege can insulate a black man from the relentless racial animus of white America.

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