Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., not only believed black and openly gay actor Jussie Smollett’s tale of being attacked by two N-word-spouting homophobic Trump-supporters, she — and many other big-name Democrats — knew exactly whom to blame.
Waters said: “I know Jussie. I love him. His family’s a friend of mine. I know his sisters, I met his mom and I called already to Jazz, one of the sisters, to talk to her about what’s happening, what’s going on. … I’m pleased that he’s doing okay. But we have to understand this is happening for a reason. Why, all of a sudden, do we have people unable to study while black, unable to mow a lawn while black, unable to have a picnic while black, and being attacked? It’s coming from the President of the United States. He’s dog whistling every day. He’s separating and dividing, and he is basically emboldening those folks who feel this way.”
The Rev. Al Sharpton, who became famous by falsely accusing an assistant district attorney of raping a black teenage girl, weighed in. He said: “(The Smollett attack) is only a reminder of the times that we are living in, that people feel empowered to express their hate and feel there will be no accountability. … The President should have said, ‘My brand shouldn’t stand for that.’ This hate-filled climate is set by … the President of the United States, who gets the award for climate setting, if he is not at fault for a direct act.”
The Rev. Jesse Jackson released a statement: “Hatred against another simply because of who they are is like acid rain. It falls from the top down and pollutes the environment.” Former Vice President Joe Biden tweeted: “What happened today to @JussieSmollett must never be tolerated in this country. We must stand up and demand that we no longer give this hate safe harbor; that homophobia and racism have no place on our streets or in our hearts.” Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., in a tweet, called the alleged attack “a modern day lynching.”
Isn’t it good news that the story is alleged to be false? Isn’t it good news that Trump-supporting goons are not patrolling the streets at night, armed with bleach and a noose, to find, attack, whitewash and lynch black and gay Trump-bashers? A PeopleTV host actually said she was “hoping” and “praying” that Smollett’s story was true.
Why did so many uncritically buy Smollett’s story? One reason is that an Axios poll last November found that 61 percent of Democrats believe Republicans are “racist/ bigoted/sexist.” Thirty-one percent of Republicans feel that way about Democrats. And most Democrats and members of the media believe Trump is a racist. So why doubt such a juicy story that falsely advances two narratives? Trump is Exhibit A that racism remains a major problem in America. And if Trump is a “racist,” therefore so are his supporters.
But what does it say about America’s alleged “systemic,” “structural” and “institutional” racism when, in 2019, the cupboard is so bare that “racist attacks” have to be manufactured? Last year, in a span of a few weeks, three black motorists claimed they were victims of racism by the white cops who pulled them over. One, a reverend, was the president of a local branch of the NAACP. He posted on social media a long, detailed description of the alleged interaction with the cop whom he claimed racially profiled him and made harassing comments. A black female motorist took to social media to say she had a “traumatic experience” in Virginia when she was pulled over for speeding and “threatened” by a “white cop, who “degraded” her “as an African-American.” And a viral post by a civil rights “activist” claimed a Texas trooper sexually assaulted another black woman following a traffic stop and then arrested her for DUI. But they were all unaware that they were being recorded. The tapes show all three were lying. The cops involved were courteous, polite and respectful. The black motorists lied about the white cops. But if not for the recordings, who knows what might have happened to the careers of the officers.
As to the belief that racism remains a serious problem in America, can we agree that nirvana is not an option? In a nation of 330 million people, bad actors abound. After all, one survey in 2017 found that 7 percent of adult Americans believe chocolate milk comes from brown cows. That works out to over 17 million adults. And a 1997 Gallup poll found that 4 percent of Americans believed Elvis was still alive.
But today’s definition of “race relations” pretty much comes down to this: how black people feel about white people and how white people feel about how black people feel about white people. Racism has so receded as an impediment to progress that new terms became necessary to describe offensive “racist” behavior, such as “microaggressions.” This means whites are racist, even if they don’t think they are, because of their “white privilege.” If white people spent as much time thinking about how to oppress black people as black people think they do, white people wouldn’t have enough time to oppress black people.
Larry Elder is a best-selling author and nationally syndicated radio talk show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an “Elderado,” visit www.LarryElder.com. Follow Larry on Twitter @LarryElder. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.