Racial Double Standards


Back in 2009, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said we were “a nation of cowards” on matters of race. Permit me to be brave and run a few assertions by you just to see whether we’re on the same page. There should be two standards for civilized conduct: one for whites, which is higher, and another for blacks, which is lower. In other words, in the name of justice and fair play, blacks should not be held accountable to the same standards that whites are and should not be criticized for conduct that we’d deem disgusting and racist if said or done by whites.

You say, “Williams, what in the world are you talking about?” Mitt Romney hasn’t revealed all of his fall campaign strategy yet, but what if he launched a “White Americans for Romney” movement in an effort to get out the white vote? If the Romney campaign did that, there’d be a media-led outcry across the land, with charges ranging from racial insensitivity to outright racism. When President Barack Obama announced his 2012 launch of “African Americans for Obama” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BdjoHA5ocwU), the silence was deafening. Should the same standards be applied to Obama as would be applied to Romney? The answer turns out to be no, because Obama is not held to the same standards as Romney.

Liberals won’t actually come out and say that criticism of Obama is in and of itself racist, but they come pretty close. Former President Jimmy Carter said that criticism of Obama shows that there is an “inherent feeling” in America that a black man should not be president. Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC’s “Hardball,” said that critics of Obama are crackers. Morgan Freeman said that the campaign to see that Obama serves one term is a “racist thing.” Former Obama czar Van Jones said that Romney’s campaign sign “Obama Isn’t Working” implies Obama is a “lazy, incompetent affirmative action baby.”

Racial double standards also apply to how crime is reported. I’m betting that if mobs of white youths were going about severely beating and robbing blacks at random and preying on black businesses, it would be major news. News anchors might open, “Tonight we report on the most recent wave of racist whites organizing unprovoked attacks on innocent black people and their businesses.” If white thugs were actually doing that, politicians would be demanding answers. Such random attacks do happen, but it’s blacks preying on whites.

On St. Patrick’s Day in Baltimore, a 19-year-old white man was viciously attacked by a mob of black thugs. He broke loose, but a second mob of black thugs attacked him, taking all of his belongings. Baltimore County Delegate Pat McDonough demanded the governor send in the Maryland State Police to control “roving mobs of black youths” at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and other activists demanded that McDonough apologize for talking about “black youth mobs.”

Similar episodes of unprovoked violence by black thugs against white people chosen at random on beaches, in shopping malls and at other public places have occurred in Philadelphia, New York, Denver, Chicago, Cleveland, Washington, Los Angeles and other cities. Most of the time, the race of the attackers, euphemistically called flash mobs, is not reported, even though media leftists and their allies are experts in reporting racial disparities in prison sentencing and the alleged injustice of the criminal justice system.

Racial double standards are not restricted to the political arena and crime reporting; we see it on college campuses and in the workplace. Black people ought to be offended by the idea that we are held accountable to lower standards of conduct and achievement. White people ought to be ashamed for permitting and fostering racial double standards that have effects that are in some ways worse than the cruel racism of yesteryear.

Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University.

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