(/sites/default/files/uploads/2012/04/matthew-owens.jpg)Saturday night in Mobile, Alabama, a white man named Matthew Owens became the most recent target of black attackers seeking retributive “justice” on behalf of Trayvon Martin. The trouble began at approximately 8:30 p.m., when Owens asked a group of black youths to stop playing basketball in the middle of Delmar Drive, the street directly in front of his home. Apparently perceiving this request as a racial affront, the youngsters headed off to recruit a number of adults to accompany them back to Owens’ home shortly thereafter. Armed with brass knuckles, bricks, chairs, bats, and steel pipes, some 20 African Americans stormed the house and brutalized Owens on the front porch. According to one witness, “He was laying on the ground full of blood. I mean, it was horrible. His head, everything. Blood was pouring from his head, both sides. And his whole body was drenched in blood.” As the assailants left the scene, one of them looked back at the helpless victim and shouted: “Now that’s justice for Trayvon!”
The assailants who beat Matthew Owens had clearly swallowed—hook, line, and sinker—the left’s disingenuous depiction of Trayvon Martin’s killing as the latest in a long line of racially motivated atrocities targeting black victims. To be sure, no leftist has pushed this egregious lie more loudly or more passionately than Jesse Jackson, who, in the immediate aftermath of Martin’s death, proclaimed that “blacks are under attack”; that “targeting … and ultimately killing [blacks] is big business”; that the Martin case “gives us insight into just how hard it is to be black in America”; and that the 2008 election of President Obama had “triggered [a] tremendous backlash” of the kind of racism that allegedly caused Martin’s demise.
And yet, neither the actions of Owens’ assailants nor the comments of Jesse Jackson make the slightest bit of logical sense when considered in proper context. Reflect upon this remarkable fact: The attack on Matthew Owens occurred precisely 55 days after the shooting of Trayvon Martin. Extrapolating from annual homicide statistics in the U.S., approximately 1,191 African Americans had gone to their graves as a result of homicide during those 55 days. And 1,119 of them (i.e., 94% of them) had been killed by other blacks. Does it not seem odd, then, that a statistical rarity like the Martin case has been turned into the centerpiece of a national referendum on racism in America? Does it not seem odd, as well, that self-anointed black vigilantes, like those who attacked Matthew Owens, have chosen to impose their own brand of “justice” on Martin’s behalf, while turning a blind eye to the thousand-plus black victims who have been killed by fellow blacks in just the few short weeks since Martin’s death? And most importantly, does it not seem odd that a so-called “civil rights leader” like Jesse Jackson, characterizing Martin’s “cold blood[ed]” killing as an emblem of “the classic struggle of our time,” has vowed to “turn [the] moment” of the teen’s death “into a movement”—much as the 1955 slaying of Emmitt Till helped galvanize the early civil-rights movement?
Actually, the word “odd” does not nearly suffice as a description of such actions and comments. “Ridiculous,” “absurd,” and “asinine” are much closer to the mark.
Hoover Institution Senior Fellow Shelby Steele has observed that “Trayvon’s sad fate clearly sent a quiver of perverse happiness all across America’s civil-rights establishment,” which is steeped in “nothing less than a stubborn nostalgia for America’s racist past.” That nostalgia will not dissipate anytime soon, however, because the contemporary civil-rights establishment is dominated by the left. And the left is unwaveringly committed to a worldview that divides society into two permanently hostile and competing camps: the dominators and the dominated; the oppressors and the oppressed; the devils and the angels. Notwithstanding its pained protestations against all manner of “injustice,” the left desperately needs those so-called dominators, oppressors, and devils. For without them, the left’s core mission—to radically transform our hopelessly flawed society—suddenly loses its urgency. Thus are leftists ever-reluctant to acknowledge that white America has made any appreciable progress against racism in recent decades. And thus do exceedingly rare events like Trayvon Martin’s killing take on such monstrously disproportionate significance as emblems of continued black victimization, the linchpin of the leftist worldview on race.
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