July 28, 2010
Eric Holder and Race PrivilegeBy J.R. Dunn
The very belated legacy media reports on the Black Panther intimidation story have overlooked one critical aspect. Concentration on the antics of the two Black Panthers at the polling station -- whom careful examination shows to be officers of the New Black Panther army's specialized "Midnight Slob" unit -- has led to a failure to address the Justice Department's response. Namely, the contention by former DoJ attorney J. Christian Adams that he was ordered "not to bring any other cases against blacks and other minorities."
There is no reason to doubt Adams, who told Commentary that he's willing to testify on the matter under oath. But if true, it raises extraordinarily serious issues concerning the Obama Justice Department's dedication not to only equality under law, but just to execution of the law on any level. If Eric Holder is guilty of putting any such policy in place, then the Department of Justice is manipulating the law, is refusing to fulfill its charter, and is in a deep state of corruption.
The "hands off minorities" attitude expressed by the current Justice Department has roots going back generations. Black dissatisfaction with the legal system is nothing new. Blacks distrusted law enforcement, with good reason, during the segregation period, where it was utilized in large part to enforce the prevailing apartheid system. An overreaction to earlier abuses during the civil rights era led to lax enforcement and sentencing, allowing black criminals to run riot in black neighborhoods with minimal interference from the justice system. It is often forgotten that blacks suffered the most from this country's crime explosion of the late 20th century.
Eventually, of course, the situation was turned around (though it required a quarter-century to even start responding to the policy errors that triggered the great crime wave). Part of the solution was more prisons to hold all the bad boys being bagged by revitalized law enforcement. Demographic realities being what they were, a lot of the cons filling the new cells were black. Almost immediately, this became an "issue," with claims that the United States was imprisoning more people that the USSR under Stalin (untrue -- as much as 10% of the Soviet population went through the Gulag). White liberal commentators put considerable effort into attempts to construe the reason why crime was so low while prison populations were so high. (Fox Butterfield of The New York Times established a substantial career-within-a-career on this basis.) Among black intellectuals -- most of whom did not live in black neighborhoods -- the response was an ideological construct called Black Legal Scholarship (BLS).
The basic premise of BLS is that no universally applicable form of law exists, and that the American legal system, having evolved from British common law, is a "white" structure, racist to the core, that cannot be fairly applied to blacks. As practiced today, law is a system of "oppression," the law enforcement establishment its tool. Along with assorted minor filigrees (e.g., the contention that black scholars need not read or cite previous work since the basis of black thought is "narrative" -- that is, all you need to do is come up with a good story), that's BLS for dummies.
It's clear that, if actually put into practice, BLS would simply comprise a U-turn back to the '60s, with hoodlums ruling the streets unchallenged. While this might have appealed to upper-middle-class blacks residing in Highland Park or Berkeley, its attraction to the rest of black America was minimal.
But BLS had its adherents, even within the oppressive white-controlled legal system. One of its leading exemplars, who had practiced BLS even before it was formalized, was Judge Bruce Wright, who achieved the status of legend as "Turn 'em loose Bruce."
Wright was appointed to the New York City criminal bench in 1970 by that prince of RINOs, John Lindsay. Wright was motivated by three distinct concepts: that blacks were legally defined solely as victims of racism, that bail was consistently set too high, and that police forces were the enemies of mankind. He wasted no time in putting these contentions to the test. In 1972, he set a bail of $500 for a man accused of murdering a cop. (Some sources, perhaps seeking greater credibility, assert that it was $5,000, but that's not the case.) Two years later, he released a man accused of kidnapping and trying to murder a cop. These and similar decisions set him at sword's point with the Police Benevolent Association, which hounded him mercilessly. Ed Koch, in his role as exemplar of common sense, refused to renew his appointment, after which Wright ran for and won a seat on the civil court. This being New York state, he was eventually appointed to the State Supreme Court.
Wright appears to have been a victim of what may well come to be called BHO syndrome, a personality disorder in which certain blacks exhibit a compulsive need to demonstrate their "blackness" in the most extreme manner conceivable to offset the fact that they actually have no black American ancestry to speak of. Wright's mother was an Irish immigrant, his father an immigrant from the Caribbean island of Montserrat. (Recent events have revealed yet another sufferer: Benjamin Jealous of the NAACP.)
Wright's theory of jurisprudence was BLS in action, his attitude toward whites quite similar to that of his namesake, the renowned preacher Jeremiah Wright. Matters at last came to a head in 1994, when Wright publicly refused to hear any cases involving blacks and drugs on the grounds that these were the product of a massive conspiracy against black Americans, while encouraging other judges to do the same. He was shortly afterward hustled into retirement. (Wright, who fancied himself an intellectual, appears not to have realized that removing black judges from the equation would leave all sentencing decisions in the hands of white devils.)
Wright is held in high esteem in a number of quarters. Evidently, the Justice Department is one of them. Through Holder's "hands off minorities" rule, a fringe viewpoint once limited to academia and the occasional crank judge has now been emplaced at the very center of the American legal system.
Holder is, of course, notorious as the man who accused America as a whole of "moral cowardice" on the subject of race, and afterward hiding in the closet when the cowards roared back at him. But we can discuss race without him.
Part of the problem in dealing with racism is that the concept has, through rhetoric and ideology, been reversed over the past half-century. Most people today would define racism as prejudice against a particular ethnicity. But it is in fact a conviction that one's own race is superior and holds a privileged position in regard to others. The Southern backwoodsmen who constituted the Klan were insistent on their superiority to black Americans. The Nazis were equally sanguine concerning their position vis-à-vis the Jews (and just about everybody else, apart from some scattered ethnicities here and there). It is racism in the pure sense that Eric Holder has introduced into the Justice Department by attempting to place blacks beyond the law, a privilege denied other ethnicities.
Viewed from this angle, the relationship between Holder's policy and other forms of black racism -- that of Jeremiah Wright, the various Black Muslim cults, or the New Black Panthers -- becomes apparent. The shadow concept behind each -- and for that matter, the core doctrine of BLS -- is identical. Holder has simply made it an official policy.
Removing racial privilege goes a long way toward defanging racism. The United States has had considerable success in carrying this policy out since the 1950s. In officially reinstating racial privilege, Holder is playing a very dangerous game. Barack Obama has often boasted of his status as a post-racial president. The actions of Eric Holder, his select attorney general, give this statement the lie, and threaten to push the country right back into the discriminatory muck it began to shake off in the '60s.
Organized black racism will meet the same fate as other varieties. But it needs to be exposed. J. Christian Adams has done the country a service by doing exactly that. His efforts should not be overshadowed by the more lurid aspects of the story (or, for that matter, dismissed by Abigail Thernstrom and Linda Chavez).
Irresponsible black leadership has made life difficult for blacks in general for decades. That's the tradition that Holder is following. It is a foul, worthless tradition, a disservice to black Americans and the country as a whole. If Obama wanted to live up to his post-racial rhetoric, the best move he could make would be to publicly repudiate it through a thorough cleansing of his Justice Department. But I wouldn't hold my breath.
J.R. Dunn is consulting editor of American Thinker and editor of the forthcoming Military Thinker.