Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Exploitation of Trayvon Martin

Shelby Steele wades into the Trayvon Martin quagmire to opine that agitators for justice--vigilante, if not kangaroo--are appealing to poetic truth, a deviation from actual truth.

Rather than correspond to reality, poetic truth is crafted to preserve an effect.  The poetic truth at stake is that white America is ferociously bigoted.

The civil rights community and the liberal media live by the poetic truth that America is still a reflexively racist society, and that this remains the great barrier to black equality. But this "truth" has a lot of lie in it. America has greatly evolved since the 1960s. There are no longer any respectable advocates of racial segregation. And blacks today are nine times more likely to be killed by other blacks than by whites. 
If Trayvon Martin was a victim of white racism (hard to conceive since the shooter is apparently Hispanic), his murder would be an anomaly, not a commonplace. It would be a bizarre exception to the way so many young black males are murdered today. If there must be a generalization in all this—a call "to turn the moment into a movement"—it would have to be a movement against blacks who kill other blacks. The absurdity of Messrs. Jackson and Sharpton is that they want to make a movement out of an anomaly. Black teenagers today are afraid of other black teenagers, not whites.
This story bears all the earmarkings of today's politicized, Leftist media milieu.  From President Obama's comment that his son would look like Trayvon, to the media's parsing of whether Hispanics consider themselves Hispanics, this spectacle has played out like a Tom Wolfe novel.

Why should the looks of a dead victim elicit Presidential comment?  Did Trayvon's resemblance make his death more personal to the President than the other 44 murders committed that day in the US?

Twenty one other corpses would also have looked like his son, as long as one only looks skin deep.  The US average is 45 murders per day; 49% of the victims are black.

On skin basis alone, his son would also look like the killer 52% of the time.  Does he identify with them, too?

White, asian and other-race victims might have had big ears, long creased faces, deep voices, Statist beliefs, Alinsyite training, or some other mark of similarity to the President.  Why did he not feel affinity with them?

I can't even imagine President Bush making a similar comment.  I can, however, imagine the media's outcry if he had.

President Obama benefits not only from the double standard that protects Democratic politicians.  He benefits from a triple standard that additionally justifies any comment made by a Liberal, black public figure.

The President has achieved his political objectives.  The black community is lathered up; the agitators are inciting violence; the media is strumming familiar chords of white guilt; Liberals are on the offensive against stand-your-ground laws; his base has been reenergized.

All it took was the exploitation of a teenager's violent death, and a little help from his friends: Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan and Jesse Jackson.  I wonder if adding Jeremiah Wright and Barack Obama to that hand would make it a Full House, or Five of a Kind?

The President's gamble has not addressed actual truth, however.  The Trayvon Martins of the world--black teens from broken homes, with too-quick of fists and too little respect for rules, authority or convention--are still exposed to violence at the hands of others just like themselves.

The George Zimmermans of the world--gun-toting busy bodies too quick to give up on the police's ability to protect homes, preserve public safety and capture predators--are still frustrated by society's inability to deal with threats to life, liberty and property.

This time, Trayvon died at George's hand.  By any standard, it's more often the other way around, which is why legislators adopt stand-your-ground laws.

Trayvon was staying at the home of his father's girlfriend (in George Zimmerman's neighborhood) because he was on suspension from school for possession of marijuana.  He'd been found with a screwdriver and jewelry, which he said a friend gave him.

It wasn't his first suspension.  He'd also recently taken a swing at a bus driver.

Trayvon doesn't sound like the kind of person I would like to know, or have my children go to school with.  While he took a bullet at too young an age, his violent end was not completely unpredictable.

Instead of urging calm as he did a year earlier when Major Nidal Malik Hasan opened fire on fellow soldiers, killing 13 and wounding 32 others, President Obama fomented discord, rancor, division and violence.

He may consider that fair.  I don't.  Neither do I trust his sense of fairness.

I'm not surprised at President Obama's actions given his background in community organizing and familiarity with Saul Alinsky's handbook for revolutionaries.  I am disgusted, however, that there is still non-negligible support for an Alinskyite President.
Change means movement.  Movement means friction.  Only in the frictionless vacuum of a nonexistent abstract world can movement or change occur without that abrasive friction of conflict.  In these pages it is our open political purpose to cooperate with that great law of change..." (Rules for Radicals (1971), p. 21)
Move over Occupy Wall Street.  This quarter's poetic truth goes by the name of Trayvon.

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