When I awoke on Friday morning, I picked up the copy of the Cleveland Plain Dealer delivered to my house and read the headline on the front page, above the fold: "Killing of black men 'troubling.'" The article referred to President Obama's comments in Poland on the police killings of two black men in Louisiana and Minnesota. There was, of course, no need for Obama to interrupt a foreign trip to comment on local law-enforcement matters. Those shootings will be investigated by prosecutors and courts in Louisiana and Minnesota, and if President Obama is dissatisfied with the results of those investigations, he can always ask his Justice Department to investigate to see if the shootings violated federal civil-rights laws. But Obama did not keep quiet: He charged that the shootings were "symptomatic of a broader set of racial disparities that exist in our criminal justice system." In other words, white cops are gunning down black suspects because they are black. Obama has been down this road before. He injected himself into the shootings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and of Trayvon Martin in Florida, and he asked the Justice Department to investigate those shootings as well. But even Obama's Justice Department could not find any violation of the law.
Unfortunately, the exoneration of Darren Wilson and George Zimmerman has done nothing to deter the Obama administration and its media allies from pushing the story that trigger-happy white cops are intent on gunning down innocent, unarmed black men. Just as the prosecutors in Tom Wolfe's masterful Bonfire of the Vanities were always on the hunt for the Great White Defendant, the American Left is always on the hunt for the Great Evil Cop, preferably a white one. The falsity of this story has not diminished the zeal with which it is promoted. The facts were ably set forth by Heather MacDonald in an interview with Rush Limbaugh on Friday. As MacDonald noted in that interview, a police officer is over 18 times more likely to be shot by a black male than an unarmed black male is to be shot by a police officer. And to the extent that police officers take race into account when making the split-second decision of whether to shoot or not, black suspects benefit: A recent study by Washington State University, cited by MacDonald, showed that police actually hesitate longer in deciding to shoot armed black suspects than armed white suspects and are less likely to shoot unarmed black suspects than unarmed white suspects.
Of course, by the time I was reading about Obama's tendentious comments on Friday morning, the nation had turned its attention to Dallas, where Micah Johnson had decided to do something about those racist cops by killing five of them in cold blood. Johnson told Dallas police that he was intent on killing whites in general and white police in particular. Although Johnson's murderous spree received ritual denunciations from all corners of the political spectrum, his racist motives were downplayed. Many news headlines identified him as a veteran, a fact that had something to do with his shooting skills but nothing to do with his motives. Certainly, Johnson's motives received far less attention than they would have if he had been white, professed a desire to kill blacks, and done his shooting in the context of a "White Lives Matter" protest. The horrific murder of innocent black churchgoers by Dylann Roof inspired a very successful media campaign against the Confederate battle flag, a campaign that still continues. Nothing comparable has resulted from Johnson's murders, nor will it.
Indeed, the anti-white racism of Black Lives Matter has done nothing to dent its respectability. Early in the Democratic primaries, former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley was forced to apologize for his "insensitivity" after he responded to Black Lives Matter "activists" by saying, "Black lives matter. White lives matter. All lives matter." In the Alice in Wonderland world of today's Democratic party, saying "All lives matter" was deemed racist. Before the Black Lives Matter march in Dallas that gave Micah Johnson his chance to murder policemen, a Dallas Black Lives Matter leader, United Church of Christ minister Jeff Hood, told marchers, "God damn white America." In cursing white America, Hood invoked Obama's mentor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who meant exactly what Hood did when Wright offered his own "God damn America" curse. Hood, by the way, is white.
He has learned the same lesson learned by prominent Black Lives Matter supporters such as George Soros and Mark Zuckerberg: "White America" does not mean Hood, or Soros, or Zuckerberg. "White America" means those unfashionable middle Americans who might consider voting for Donald Trump and whom everyone else in America is allowed to view with disdain. Nor has the atrocity in Dallas slowed Black Lives Matter down; it was back in action on Saturday, staging protests aimed at preventing innocent motorists from using the highways. Thousands of Black Lives Matter "activists" are expected to descend on Cleveland for the Republican Convention, intent on sowing chaos and on making my hometown synonymous with violence, the same way leftist activists succeeded in making Chicago synonymous with violence in 1968.
The reality is that white racism is the sin that will not be allowed to die. The ascendancy of Barack Obama is just one of many signs that white racism is no longer a potent force in America. Yet race relations are more tense than they were when Obama was elected. The reason for this is power. As Steve Sailer has pointed out, what keeps the Democrats' coalition together is a shared belief that white racism will again stalk the land unless the Democrats win the next election. In Sailer's memorable phrase, this is the "KKKrazy Glue" holding together the Democrats' "coalition of the fringes." But Democratic politicians are not the only ones who gain power from a belief in the eternal potency of white racism. So do bureaucrats whose jobs involve promoting "diversity" and academics who prattle on about "white privilege" and plutocrats like Soros and Zuckerberg who can use Black Lives Matter and similar movements to promote their own interests, whether it's Soros' quest to tear apart Western nations or Zuckerberg's desire to divert attention from the paltry number of blacks employed in Silicon Valley. More broadly, the Left has gained enormous prestige and power from the narrative that emerged from the civil rights battles of the 1960s, and it is in no hurry to disabuse anyone of the fear that Bull Connor is just waiting to loose his German shepherds in Selma. By contrast, the victims of the sort of anti-white racism displayed by Micah Johnson are largely invisible and powerless. No one with power in America cares about or identifies with victims of inner city crime, much less with the whites too poor to move away from inner city crime, and victims of such crime are in fact carefully watched to make sure that any outrage they express is carefully modulated. Today, there is a lot of public grief over Dallas, but by the time Americans vote in November, the powers that be will have done their best to make us forget that a black racist murdered five innocent policemen in Dallas and refocus our attention on the supposedly intractable problem of white racism.
Thomas Piatak is a contributing editor to Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He writes from Cleveland, Ohio.