The Department of Justice has put bullies on notice: pick on racial minorities and the feds will come after you. Pick on white kids and the feds will look the other way.
A viral video of an Australian student body-slamming his bully sparked the Department of Justice to reiterate its opposition to bullying. “The Civil Rights Division and the entire Justice Department are committed to ending bullying and harassment in schools,” the department’s website states, “and the video highlights the Department’s authority to enforce federal laws that protect students from discrimination and harassment at school because of their race, national origin, disability, religion, and sex, including harassment based on nonconformity with gender stereotypes.”
The statement bewilders on multiple levels. Since when did camera-phone-shot YouTube videos drive pronouncements from the Department of Justice? Is bullying really an issue that calls for federal involvement? How did the bullied Aussie manage to fend off his assailant without government aid? Why does the pigmentation of the bullying victim’s skin determine the DoJ’s interest in a case?
On the campaign trail, Barack Obama benefitted from the widespread belief that he was a racially-transcendent figure. Even his twenty years listening to the sermons of the hatemonger Reverend Jeremiah Wright and his wife’s $300,000-a-year job as a diversity commissar didn’t shake the faith that Obama would become a post-racial president. From indelicately inserting himself into the Henry Louis Gates squabble with a Cambridge, Massachusetts policeman to appointing the quota-affirming self-described “wise Latina” Sonja Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, the president has reflexively sided with radicals beset by unhealthy racial tics.
The administration’s aggressive policy of legal favoritism toward minorities has been spearheaded by the attorney general. Justice, at least Eric Holder’s, is far from blind.
In Dayton, Ohio, the Justice Department forced the local police to redefine failure for a recruit examination because too many blacks had flunked the test. Previously, the minimum threshold for admittance was a 66 percent on the first part of the test and a 72 percent on the second part. The grading with the DoJ’s imprimatur now allows recruits to gain admittance to the police academy with a score of 58 percent on part one and 63 percent on part two. After being prevented for months from hiring new officers, and spending more than a half-million dollars to fend off the feds, Dayton finally has the DoJ’s permission to add new officers to its force.
DoJ’s heavy-handedness in Dayton should not come as a surprise. Last year, J. Christian Adams resigned from the Department of Justice after being ordered by political appointees to drop a voter-intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party. He alleged that DoJ attorneys were ordered not to bring voting rights cases against minorities. Around the same time, the DoJ sued Arizona after it had passed a law enabling local law enforcement to inquire into the immigration status of suspected criminal offenders and prohibiting local governments from impeding enforcement of immigration laws. Overwhelmingly popular among American voters, the state law provoked outrage among some civil libertarians, Hispanics, and the Obama administration.
Attorney General Eric Holder set the racially-obsessed tone in his first month in office. In an address to Justice Department employees, he labeled America “essentially a nation of cowards” on race. The attorney general advised that “to get to the heart of this country one must examine its racial soul.” He told his employees that they had “a special responsibility” on racial matters.
Holder’s Justice Department certainly isn’t the only part of the government pushing double standards for select ethnic groups. The Military Leadership Diversity Commission, established by the last Congress, urges the military to justify tests that have had the effect of excluding large numbers of minorities from leadership. “Racial/ethnic minorities are less likely to meet eligibility requirements than are non-Hispanic whites, and that gap is widening,” the panel’s recently-completed report notes. “The armed forces have not yet succeeded in developing a continuing stream of leaders who are as demographically diverse as the nation they serve.”
If there is something comical in the insertion of race into a governmental stance on bullying, there is something tragic in racial correctness trumping aptitude in the armed forces and law enforcement. Ill-equipped police and military officers are a life-and-death matter. Like 1978’s Bakke case, which inflamed public opinion against affirmative action because it involved racial quotas at a medical school, the Democrats’ overreach in pushing racial preferences for local cops and military leaders so greatly offends because it undermines safety.
Two patterns clearly emerge after more than two years of Barack Obama’s presidency. First, the Obama administration holds an omnipotent view of government that tolerates no limitations. Second, the Obama administration obsesses over race. If the government was not so hubristically intrusive, concerning itself with such distant matters as schoolyard bullies and the number of African Americans employed by a mid-sized Midwestern city, the racial preoccupations of the people running the government wouldn’t be so alarming. The monomaniacs would be powerless to rule us with the idea that rules them. The most dangerous bullies are those with an inflated sense of their own justice and no acknowledgement of an authority holding them in check.
Whoever said “don’t make a federal case out of it” never got around to telling the feds. From schoolyard bullies to the racial composition of local police forces, Uncle Sam has made its business that which isn’t its business. That’s what bullies do.
Daniel J. Flynn is the author of A Conservative History of the American Left (Crown Forum, 2008), Intellectual Morons (Crown Forum, 2004), and Why the Left Hates America (Prima Forum, 2002). He has appeared on Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, Sky News, PBS, CSPAN, and other networks. He writes a Monday column for Human Events and blogs at www.flynnfiles.com.