Seeing No Evil

Gaming the Blame Game

Shelby Steele

Shelby Steele

Old news: When Syrians kill Palestinians, America’s radical left neither notices nor cares—even when hundreds, even thousands, are killed.

When an Israeli kills one Palestinian, the left becomes apoplectic with rage.

Man-bites-dog: When blacks kill blacks, America’s radical left has little to say—even when the death toll is tragically high and many victims are children. When a policeman kills a black, the left erupts in anger and indignation.

The left’s selective on-off protest switch, so evident regarding the Middle East but largely ignored in the American context, was recently highlighted by veteran black conservative writer Shelby Steele (Wall St Journal, September 23).

Steele, a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, recalls the enormous media interest in Ferguson, Missouri after a white policeman fatally shot Michael Brown, a young black man, in 2014.

Ferguson occurred during Barack Obama’s second term as president, a four-year period in which, Steele notes, “thousands of black-on-black shootings took place in Chicago, hometown of the then-president, yet they inspired very little media coverage and no serious presidential commentary”. Two years earlier, after Trayvon Martin had been shot to death, Obama commented that “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”

While Chicago suffers an unusually high number of black-on-black shootings, many other American cities are plagued by similarly high murder rates in black communities. The problem is national in scope.

See some evil

Although Steele draws no parallels to the Middle East, they are evident. For the left, the crucial factor is not the level of suffering but the identity of the individual causing the suffering.

The left indulges in this selectivity, Steele believes, because it “gets power from fighting white evil, not black despair. Today’s left lacks worthy menaces to fight.” Its new menace: Hatred of America. It is supplemented, I would add, by hatred of Israel.

Due to its selective hatred, and resulting callous disregard of suffering occurring on a vast scale, the left does a disservice to American blacks and Palestinians alike. The movement also betrays its own fundamental values concerning racism and compassion.

And if Steele is correct, the left is paying a steep price for its own bigotry: “the voices that speak for the left have never been less convincing.” ###

Shelby Steele, Wall St Journal (paywall)

Photo of Mr Steele: Rita Steele

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