Funny how things worked out. Democratic Party cries for Ralph Northam’s resignation during the blackface scandal have diminished to a barely audible murmur. Now the establishment media is taking notice of the fact, stating out loud what everyone knows: The scandal has passed. Northam is off the hook. Virginia’s governor has purchased absolution by advancing the racial agenda of the party’s progressive wing.
As the Wall Street Journal notes today in its national news coverage, Northam recently vetoed two mandatory-minimum sentencing bills he claimed would disproportionately affect African-Americans, created a director-of-diversity position, and launched a review of how public schools address black history. And that’s just the headline news. Of greater import, his appointees are injecting progressive priorities into the public school system.
I don’t doubt that the outrage of Democrats, liberals and progressives over Northam’s blackface offense was genuine at the time. But at the end of the day, power trumps outrage. By threatening Northam with the end of his political life, the Left pushed the politically moderate governor into advancing a progressive victimhood-and-grievance agenda.
The tragedy is that the progressive agenda on race is profoundly destructive to African-Americans. The Left is very selective about which victims matter. Wife beaters in jail for domestic abuse warrant consideration as victims on the grounds that sentencing guidelines disproportionately impact African-Americans, but the women they hurt, also disproportionately African-American, receive no such consideration. Kids from disadvantaged backgrounds who disrupt school, disproportionately African-American, are deemed victims, but their classmates, also disproportionately African-American, are not.
But the impact of these policies is even more insidious than those examples would suggest. The never-ending message is that American society is endemically racist, the system is stacked against African-Americans, African-Americans are victims, and African-Americans must turn to the political system for redress of their grievances. A consequence is that many African-Americans draw the not illogical conclusion that playing by the rules is a waste of time. What’s the point of striving? What’s the point of “acting white” (a phrase that should be updated these days to “acting Asian”), studying hard, graduating from high school, learning a trade, performing well on a job, getting married and raising kids?
In truth, the “system” is not racist. Opportunities abound. A handful of white supremacists — marginalized whites with no economic or political clout whom Leftists have magnified into a tidal wave of Nazism — have zero power to oppress black people. But progressives have no desire to encourage African-Americans to become strivers bent upon self improvement. The progressive path to power needs victims obsessed with grievances.
Virginia can build an opportunity society for all or it can build a victimhood-and-grievance society. Sadly, Ralph Northam has chosen the the latter vision, and that is how he will be remembered.There are currently no comments highlighted.