Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.
Last summer, Frederick Douglass Smith, a black Obama supporter, was accused of sexually harassing and then yelling racial slurs at an Asian woman at a Mexican restaurant.
Now the New York Times decided to blame this spectacular triumph of diversity on Trump.
After an introductory tweet blaming President Trump for all the attacks on Asians after the “president began calling the coronavirus the “Chinese virus”, the Democrat paper featured the case of Smith whom it describes as using “derogatory racial slurs and misogynistic terms”.
The Times understandably leaves out the slurs, not because it’s trying to spare the ears of its sensitive readers, but because what Smith allegedly said was, “I’m a contributor to the Obama administration you f***ing Asian c**t.”
Journalism is deader than chivalry so the mere fact that the paper’s second example of Trumpian hate consisted of a man named after a dead civil rights leader announcing his support for Obama before shouting an anti-Asian slur wouldn’t keep any Times editors up late at night.
They probably checked Wikipedia, found out that the actual Frederick Douglass had been a Republican, and decided to run with it because all Republicans are racists.
The story doesn’t fit into the MAGA Chinese Virus narrative with which the media and leftists have met the stories about the muggings of Asian people, not just because the perpetrator namechecked Obama rather than Trump, but because it wasn’t really a story about racism.
Nor was it about fear of the coronavirus.
The Democrat Douglass (as opposed to the original Republican Douglass) tried to ask his target out on a date, handed her his card, and then flipped out when she wouldn’t date him. That’s not a bigot worried about a virus, but a jerk who also happens to be a bigot. It’s not just race or politics that keeps Douglass from fitting neatly into the political narratives of the leftist media.
The media sees everything as being about race the way that the old Marxists saw the world in terms of class. Old reporters actually learned about the world while new reporters go to college to understand the philosophical framework in which they’re meant to classify every story. And even when the story, like Douglass, clearly doesn’t fit, they keep stomping on it until it does.
But race does an even worse job of explaining why things actually happen than class ever did.
Bigotry is not a first cause that explains why otherwise peaceful people like Brandon Elliot, out on parole after killing his mother, beat and kicked an older Fillipino woman in Manhattan. Sure, Elliot shouted slurs at her, but considering he murdered his mother, his primary character defect probably goes a long way beyond bigotry. And to anyone who really wants to understand why the violent incident that became a viral video happened, the truly relevant fact is that the De Blasio administration decided to stick a homeless shelter in the Four Points Sheraton.
The violent attacks against Asian people have almost universally involved criminals, homeless vagrants, junkies, and, very often, all three, being loosed by the Democrat establishment.
In another part of Manhattan, a Chassidic Jewish couple and a 1-year-old boy were slashed by Darryl Jones, who had 12 prior convictions, and had just been released after serving time in prison for attempted murder. Was Darryl a bigot? Possibly. But most importantly he was a violent criminal who should have stayed locked away behind bars instead of being set loose again.
When you see the world in terms of bigotry, as Democrats now do, then the only thing standing between utopia and our troubled world is injecting critical race theory into every single institution. Not only is that the problem posing as a solution, but it’s not even the right problem.
Democrats are much more comfortable talking about bigotry than crime. But few people commit crimes because they’re bigots, while many criminals have no problem shouting slurs while committing crimes. The most important thing about them though isn’t that they’re racists, it’s that they’re criminals. Criminality delineates that crucial dividing line between the people who will randomly slash your face or hit you with a brick and grab your wallet, and those who won’t.
Two decades of fighting crime made America’s cities safe enough that its increasingly upscale residents were able to imagine that the social contract should be defined by equity, instead of keeping those thugs ready to send you to the hospital on a whim from ever leaving prison.
Anyone whose character and values are poor enough to engage in a violent assault on someone’s grandmother won’t have too much of a problem also throwing some bigotry in there. While wealthy lefties view bigotry as horrifying and violent crime as a misunderstanding, in the real world it’s just the opposite with criminals more likely to be bigots than the other way around.
No mugging victim ever felt gratified because the man who broke three of his ribs just wanted his money, but had nothing derogatory to say about his race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.
Bigotry is ubiquitous in most societies, but restrained to varying degrees by codes of conduct. The most basic of those codes is a legal code that protects people from violent criminals. When unhinged thugs roam the streets then it’s a silly task to puzzle out whether their slashings, beatings, and stabbings were caused by drugs, greed, bigotry, or the voices in their heads. Especially when it’s usually all four. And that’s on a good day. A sane society locks them up.
A civilized society protects people irrespective of race, a tribal society protects people only based on their race, while our dysfunctional society protects no one while trying to figure out which races deserve more protection from the chaos unleashed by its radical leftist politics.
The dismantling of the criminal justice system, the revolving door prisons, and police defunding have hurt black people and any minority group, including Asians and working-class Orthodox Jews, who live in poorer areas. But when homeless shelters are planted in the middle of Manhattan, then the victim can be anybody. And the victim should matter when it is anybody.
Beyond crime, the old social codes of civility that protect women in public places were worth keeping. A half-century of feminist scolding in which all men are reduced to Frederick Douglass Smith has done nothing to make women safer or society a better place for all of us.
But what the gatekeepers of sexism, like the professional activists of racism, want is people convinced of their horribleness and guilted into joining movements to change a society that they have been told is irredeemable until its whiteness and masculinity have been eradicated.
Replacing social codes of conduct with ideology has never worked and will never work, but like Communism it’s not meant to work, but to provide a justification for endless social repression.
Declaring a perpetual war against a basic element of human nature, and warning that there can be no peace until it is eradicated, is a pretext for a perpetual state of social emergency. The miserable ugliness all around us is a wartime measure caused by a fundamental misdiagnosis of social problems and an even more profound misunderstanding of what makes us human.
Defining America around bigotry is the successor of the old Marxist project of defining it around class which was there long before the 1619 Project was a twinkle in the Times’ jaundiced eye. But bigotry will never disappear, nor are we to be defined by it except to the extent that tribalism, including anti-racism and critical race theory, are embedded into the heart of our institutions.
America’s biggest problem isn’t hate. Like the ugly clashes in the viral videos, hate is the symptom of a society that is coming apart and whose people have been taught to see no future except squabbling over the ruins of the glorious world that once was. So is radical politics.
In the nation’s blighted cities, we don’t need marches against racism. Instead, we just need to learn once again what we used to know. Progress won’t come by way of a bright future minted in a Silicon Valley skyscraper, but by relearning simple things like courage, decency, ethics, principle, kindness, and simple practices, like keeping violent criminals off the street.
We don’t need to chase the utopian leftist rainbow to a pot of sociological gold that never existed. America can become a better country by remembering how to do the things we forgot.