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Trayvon Martin and the Politics of Racial Guilt

Posted By Daniel Greenfield On March 26, 2012 @ 12:55 am In Daily Mailer,FrontPage | 153 Comments

When at the beginning of March, Allen Coon, a thirteen-year-old boy, was set on fire by two black teenagers who told him, “You get what you deserve, white boy,” this did not prove to be an occasion for national soul-searching. But the shooting death of Trayvon Martin by a Hispanic neighborhood watch captain after a scuffle between the two men has led to hysterical media coverage, state and federal investigations, civil rights marches, lynching threats from the Black Panthers and a statement from Obama urging Americans to search their souls for some unspecified reason.

The latter took time out from the trivial business of nominating a World Bank president to interfere in a local law enforcement matter and join his good friend Al Sharpton, who specializes in racist rhetoric, in throwing some racebaiting gasoline on the flames.

To Obama, the significance of the whole event was that Trayvon Martin looked like his hypothetical son, which presumably Allen Coon did not. The insufferable egotism of that statement suggests that shooting victims only matter if they look anything like the head cheese. It’s racial feudalism and personal politics at its ugliest even as it once again confronts us with Obama’s inability to talk about anything without shining it through the narcissistic lens of the self.

Even Trayvon Martin only matters because he is in some hypothetical sense linked to Obama, and every trending topic from Jeremy Lin to the million hoodie march must be commented on by him in some way to demonstrate his own relevance in the mobius strip of fame. There can be no 2012 election without the race card, and so Martin was posthumously drafted into the Obama family portrait that appears on campaign ads to remind the rest of the country that they still need to feel guilty and vote the left’s ticket.

“All of us have to do some soul searching,” Obama urged, as somehow a local shooting had become a national matter and then a burden of guilt staining the souls of an entire nation. With the dexterous agility of the practiced race huckster, a Hispanic man shooting a black man had become another reminder of our endless burden of racial guilt. A burden that only our pope of the race card could briefly lift from us in a climactic moment of electoral hope and change.

If Obama had enough time to spare in between playing golf, campaigning, wasting money and race-baiting, he might have taken a seat by the window, put his famous abbreviated chin on one skinny fist and searched his soul for all the people killed in Mexico by his own Attorney General’s plot to wreck the Second Amendment. But the soul-searching never seems to happen on the right side of the Oval Office window. It is a duty handed down to us from our betters, like schoolmarms urging us to “think about what you’ve done” until eventually you decide that you must have done something.

Obama said that it was “absolutely imperative”  that the shooting be investigated at “federal, state and local”  levels and praised the Florida governor for forming a task force to investigate the incident. From the overload of rhetoric, an outside observer might have been forgiving for assuming that this was the first time anyone had been shot in the country this year.

The Trayvon Martin case was far from the worst shooting death this year. Or even the worst shooting death involving an African-American victim. That honor might belong to Delric Waymon Miller IV, a nine-month-old boy killed in Detroit when his house was peppered with an AK-47 assault rifle just last month. The investigation on that one is still ongoing and could presumably benefit from federal assistance, which it won’t receive because there is no political payday from highlighting black on black violence. Or from helping to solve a crime instead of stirring up racial hate.

There is a major payday in playing up white on black violence, and though George Zimmerman proved to be Hispanic with African-American relatives, the media which clings to a racial narrative like a hungry bulldog to a dead rat, is still forging ahead hoping that no one will notice.

The same Justice Department which saw no basis for charging Black Panther thugs with voter intimidation at the polls despite a video showcasing their antics, is flirting with bringing hate crime charges against Zimmerman based on an indistinguishable muttered word on a recording. Even though there is eyewitness testimony that Trayvon Martin attacked George Zimmerman, that the latter was bleeding and on the ground, the grievance lynch mob has reached its conclusion. No more evidence needed, thank you very much.

Like the lynch mobs of old, the facts are already known. All that is needed is a fig leaf of judicial procedure to give them what they want. A lynching.

To read the media is to witness the inerrant and inescapable conviction of George Zimmerman in the press. Every article cries out that he is guilty and strongly suggests that racism is the only possible explanation why he isn’t on death row. From the White House on down, the baying hounds are determined to put him there, not based on the evidence, but on the narrative.

It’s not really about a Hispanic neighborhood watch captain, who may have been overzealous, but whose vigilance had likely saved lives and certainly prevented crimes in the past. It’s about the narrative in which we are all George Zimmerman. We are Zimmerman and he is us. We are all guilty of racism, and the only way to atone for it is with Two Minute Hates by morality mobs that find a deserving victim, drag him out and lynch him to exonerate ourselves of the charges.

The original sin of racism can never be shaken. We can only buy a temporary stay of execution by voting for Obama or indicting George Zimmerman. The consequences of the act don’t really matter, only the abnegation, the temporary easing of the burden of racial conscience with a moment of peace, a brief glow of Hope and Change that promises things will be different, only to point its finger at us again and demand that we search our souls and scourge ourselves to atone for the slave ships and plantations.

Obama knows better than most how the game is played. As a descendant of privileged Africans and American whites, he has no skin in the game; he is an outside observer of the dysfunction of Americans of both colors and an expert at manipulating their tensions for his own benefit. Having played out hope, he has fastened on guilt, a primal emotion that promises nothing, but takes everything. Much as he has done. To complete the great work, he will work the power of guilt and promise once again to lift the sin of racism from us, if we only shut down our minds, forget about our jobs and businesses, and blindly push the lever once more.

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