Will Eric Holder ever learn to be careful what he asks for?

Thomas Lifson
Eric Holder, perhaps the worst, most corrupt attorney general in history, famously demanded Americans stop being cowardly and have a conversation about race. Well, in the aftermath of the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Christopher Lane, and now World War II hero Delbert Belton, I don't think he likes the frankness he is starting to get from whites and other nonblacks*.

I sense that a broad reconsideration of the role of race is underway, and that the end result will be that the taboos are crumbling surrounding discussion of the actual behaviors that lead to problems commonly ascribed to racism. See for example this excellent essay by Christopher Orlet, who, unlike progressive social engineers, actually went to live in an inner city ghetto for two years. He writes:

When I moved into the inner-city, I hoped to gain some insight and understanding of the poor and their situation. Two years later I left feeling the situation is intractable. Everything the professional uplifters do for the poor is but pruning the branches, instead of hacking at the roots of the problem. For the underclass to escape the culture of poverty they would have to cease doing most if not all of the above, and I don't see that happening.

Besides, as I have written before, too many of the underclass enjoy the culture of poverty. They would feel horribly out of place in a tony subdivision where they would have to work to make a house and car payment, instead of drinking beer all day on the stoop - they don't even have stoops in the suburbs. They would have to cut their lawns and keep the trash and noise to a minimum. What fun is that? In the inner-city you can do whatever the hell you want. You can even shoot somebody, and chances are no one will rat you out, because that is the code of the inner-city streets, and people there hate the cops more than they hate the drug dealers.

Or consider Jonah Goldberg's delightful evisceration of the racial hypocrisy of MSNBC:

...conservatives are bringing race into this discussion because they are simply doing what has been asked of them by Reid and countless others, including the president and the attorney general: They're trying to have that coveted "national conversation about race." Of course, the conversation that the conversation-mongers want is entirely one-sided; they only want to talk about why their ideological enemies are racists. Any other discussion is an incomprehensible and unjustifiable tangent distracting us from what they want to hear and say.

But the truth is, that's not what is going on. To the extent that people are bringing up race it is to turn the tables, rhetorically at least, on people like Reid and her MSNBC colleagues for their relentless - some might say shameless and disgusting - effort to exploit the George Zimmerman murder trial.

Recall that there was no evidence Zimmerman was motivated by racial animus, a fact so inconvenient to NBC News that it unethically edited Zimmerman's 911 call to make it sound like he was racist. (NBC later apologized and Zimmerman is rightly suing.) This inconvenient truth was also why numerous news outlets insisted on describing Zimmerman as a "white Hispanic" - to bend the facts to fit the preferred narrative.

Australian and British newspapers - which do not care about imposing a monolithic liberal narrative on race - are reporting that Lane's alleged murderers may have been driven by motives other than boredom. But even if the initial reporting proves accurate and these thugs were just trying to break the monotony of the dog days of summer, the lesson for the MSNBC crowd should be the same.

From Obama down to his cheerleaders in the press, liberals have declared unremitting war on their ideological opponents, cynically polarizing the country along racial - and, when possible, gender - lines. They, not conservatives, have been the ones dragging race into any and every political dispute they can. This disgusting strategy has worked well for them, galvanizing minority voters and tarring the Republican brand. I don't particularly welcome the fact that conservatives are fighting fire with fire, but you can hardly blame them

I don't think it is necessary to descend to the dishonesty employed by the left, but it is necessary to apply their own standards for others to themselves. And to actually judge people on the content of their character, not on the color of their skin. As the nation marks the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's Dream speech on the Washington Mall, the opportunity is here to capture the high ground on race. This requires a willingness to shame those who spread lies and hatred. I think enough people are appalled enough at the demagoguery surrounding Trayvon Martin's life and death, and enough nonblacks are alarmed at vengeance-seeking "at risk" "youths" attacking them that we have some momentum.

*I am indebted to John Derbyshire, who first noted that effectively there are only two races in the United States: blacks and nonblacks.

Eric Holder, perhaps the worst, most corrupt attorney general in history, famously demanded Americans stop being cowardly and have a conversation about race. Well, in the aftermath of the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Christopher Lane, and now World War II hero Delbert Belton, I don't think he likes the frankness he is starting to get from whites and other nonblacks*.

I sense that a broad reconsideration of the role of race is underway, and that the end result will be that the taboos are crumbling surrounding discussion of the actual behaviors that lead to problems commonly ascribed to racism. See for example this excellent essay by Christopher Orlet, who, unlike progressive social engineers, actually went to live in an inner city ghetto for two years. He writes:

When I moved into the inner-city, I hoped to gain some insight and understanding of the poor and their situation. Two years later I left feeling the situation is intractable. Everything the professional uplifters do for the poor is but pruning the branches, instead of hacking at the roots of the problem. For the underclass to escape the culture of poverty they would have to cease doing most if not all of the above, and I don't see that happening.

Besides, as I have written before, too many of the underclass enjoy the culture of poverty. They would feel horribly out of place in a tony subdivision where they would have to work to make a house and car payment, instead of drinking beer all day on the stoop - they don't even have stoops in the suburbs. They would have to cut their lawns and keep the trash and noise to a minimum. What fun is that? In the inner-city you can do whatever the hell you want. You can even shoot somebody, and chances are no one will rat you out, because that is the code of the inner-city streets, and people there hate the cops more than they hate the drug dealers.

Or consider Jonah Goldberg's delightful evisceration of the racial hypocrisy of MSNBC:

...conservatives are bringing race into this discussion because they are simply doing what has been asked of them by Reid and countless others, including the president and the attorney general: They're trying to have that coveted "national conversation about race." Of course, the conversation that the conversation-mongers want is entirely one-sided; they only want to talk about why their ideological enemies are racists. Any other discussion is an incomprehensible and unjustifiable tangent distracting us from what they want to hear and say.

But the truth is, that's not what is going on. To the extent that people are bringing up race it is to turn the tables, rhetorically at least, on people like Reid and her MSNBC colleagues for their relentless - some might say shameless and disgusting - effort to exploit the George Zimmerman murder trial.

Recall that there was no evidence Zimmerman was motivated by racial animus, a fact so inconvenient to NBC News that it unethically edited Zimmerman's 911 call to make it sound like he was racist. (NBC later apologized and Zimmerman is rightly suing.) This inconvenient truth was also why numerous news outlets insisted on describing Zimmerman as a "white Hispanic" - to bend the facts to fit the preferred narrative.

Australian and British newspapers - which do not care about imposing a monolithic liberal narrative on race - are reporting that Lane's alleged murderers may have been driven by motives other than boredom. But even if the initial reporting proves accurate and these thugs were just trying to break the monotony of the dog days of summer, the lesson for the MSNBC crowd should be the same.

From Obama down to his cheerleaders in the press, liberals have declared unremitting war on their ideological opponents, cynically polarizing the country along racial - and, when possible, gender - lines. They, not conservatives, have been the ones dragging race into any and every political dispute they can. This disgusting strategy has worked well for them, galvanizing minority voters and tarring the Republican brand. I don't particularly welcome the fact that conservatives are fighting fire with fire, but you can hardly blame them

I don't think it is necessary to descend to the dishonesty employed by the left, but it is necessary to apply their own standards for others to themselves. And to actually judge people on the content of their character, not on the color of their skin. As the nation marks the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's Dream speech on the Washington Mall, the opportunity is here to capture the high ground on race. This requires a willingness to shame those who spread lies and hatred. I think enough people are appalled enough at the demagoguery surrounding Trayvon Martin's life and death, and enough nonblacks are alarmed at vengeance-seeking "at risk" "youths" attacking them that we have some momentum.

*I am indebted to John Derbyshire, who first noted that effectively there are only two races in the United States: blacks and nonblacks.