By Ben Stein on
7.22.13 American Spectator (excerpt)
The Trayvon Martin case is worrying me.
“I had a tough time
sleeping last night. The Trayvon Martin case is worrying me. I’ll tell you a
First of all, the
media have made this case into the lynching of Zimmerman supposedly because he
murdered an innocent sweet little black child. But according to what I read,
Zimmerman — while a fool — was attacked by Mr. Martin, who was far from
unarmed. He was armed with his skills as a martial artist and his strength and
size. He wasn’t the sweet altar boy shown on the cover of magazines and on TV.
He was a big, strong kid with a history of drug use and a bit of bragging
online about his fighting skills. He didn’t start a conversation with Zimmerman
when Zimmerman got out of his truck. He attacked Zimmerman, who possibly would
have been killed if he had not defended himself.
This is the story the
jury heard. This is the story that made the jury unanimously acquit Zimmerman.
The media have been telling a fairy tale designed to whip up race hatred.
It horrifies me that
the media has tried to turn this sad case into an occasion to make black people
hate white people. It horrifies me that Mr. Obama has joined in. His assertion
that he could have been Martin is breathtakingly dishonest. If Obama had been
Martin, he would have talked Zimmerman out of his watch and his wallet and then
gotten a scholarship to college for writing about it. Martin was a dangerously
violent kid. Obama was and always has been a politician.
But it’s worse than
this: the black community in this nation is in crisis. It has a disastrous
situation in terms of education, lack of work habits, complete collapse of the
family, wild overuse of drugs, violence, and generally behavior that is
destructive to itself and far too many other people. (Obviously, this applies
only to some black people. I work every day and you work every day with black
people who are in fine shape, much better shape than I am in.)
The least of the
problems that black people face in the USA right now is attacks
by heavy set volunteer watchmen in gated communities. That’s not even on the
radar screen as a serious problem. For Mr. Obama and other “black leaders” and
media people to pretend that it is is simply nonsense.
There is real anarchy
in many parts of the black community in the USA. For Mr. Obama and
others to act as if the real problem is white people locking their car doors at
stop lights when black people approach them is just plain poppycock. The black
community is not in danger from white people: it is in danger from itself.
The number of black
kids killed by white people is minute — although any is too many. The number of
black kids killed by the Crips and the Bloods and the Black P-Stone Rangers is
enormous. Why no rallies led by “black leaders” against the Crips and the
Bloods? The number of black kids whose lives have been ruined by irresponsible
parents is immense. Why no rallies against crack-smoking moms and dads?
The answer is sadly
easy to see: white people have pretty much given up racism as a factor in their
lives. They have to worry about jobs and education and families. Thus, there
are none, not any major white leaders of any kind whose stock in trade is
whipping up race hatred. That movement simply does not exist.
But among “black
leaders,” who really can no longer make credible claims about racism now that
we have a black President, who really have no answers to the crisis in the
black community, a chance to distract people from their own powerlessness is a
Among the liberal
media, who have really been missing someone to hate for a long time, the
Zimmerman case is heaven-sent. They take this poor soul, trying to patrol his
community, who is getting beaten to within an inch of his life by a black kid
and who saves his own life — and they make him into a Klansman. Into a whole
posse of Klansmen.
Black people have a brutally painful history of suffering in this country. It
is a shameful story. It is in the past as far as being caused by white people
as a day by day matter. It definitely is not in the past in the black
consciousness. They have every reason to feel angry about it. But things have
gotten so incredibly, unbelievably better in the last generations in terms of
white attitudes that to seek to whip up old animosities while ignoring the
present catastrophe in the black community is a disgraceful distraction by the
President and “black leaders.”
Many years ago, I
ghost wrote an autobiography for a famous black civil rights leader and
charismatic speaker. I accompanied him to several gatherings. One of the
standard remarks that he made at black events went roughly like this: “Complain
about racism all you want. March against police brutality and I’ll be right
there with you. But if you really want to do something to feed your family,
learn how to fix a clogged plumbing line or how to wire a house with
electricity or how to teach math, and then you’re actually getting something
These lines ring in my
ears. It terrifies me that we are pretending that the likes of George Zimmerman
are a problem when we have real problems. It terrifies me that a man with the
power of Eric Holder can use an explicitly racist, anti-white approach to a
complex case that is itself a sideshow.
We have real problems
in America. We cannot pretend
they will go away if we focus on sad, even tragic, peripheral events. Yes, one
Trayvon Martin death is one too many. Thousands of deaths of blacks from black
violence and drugs are in a different world of hurt.
Race has always been
the main problem in America, at least since World
War II. We had a spectacular triumph in ridding ourselves of white racism at
all but the most trivial levels (like excluding me from a country club). For
the President and Eric Holder and the liberal media and the “black leaders” to
turn up the heat under a new evil cauldron of racism is terrifying. The only
solution is a spiritual solution. Let’s pray for it to come in our lifetimes.
If you really try to love your neighbors, you can. It is not easy but it can be
done.” American Spectator
Labels: Obama, Society in General