hite Hispanic.” That’s how the New York Times, Reuters and other media outlets have opted to describe George Zimmerman, a man who would simply be Hispanic if he hadn’t shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. The term, rarely if ever used before this tragedy, is necessary in telling the Trayvon story in a more comfortable way.
What’s the comfortable way? It’s the way the blame for the teenager’s death belongs squarely at the feet of “the system.” And “the system” is a white thing, don’t you know?
For instance, in a remarkably uncritical interview with the Los Angeles Times, the Rev. Jesse Jackson explained that with the election of President Obama, “there was this feeling that we were kind of beyond racism.” He continued: “That’s not true. His victory has triggered tremendous backlash.” Indeed, “Blacks are under attack.”
Mr. Jackson apparently includes in this racist Obama “backlash” record home foreclosures for African-americans and black unemployment. It would have been nice if the L.A. Times had asked Mr. Jackson to work a little harder to connect those dots.
Mr. Jackson also laments that “targeting, arresting, convicting blacks and ultimately killing us is big business” in America.
On the saner end of the liberal spectrum, Reniqua Allen of the New America Foundation writes in The Washington Post that it’s harder to talk about race now that we have a black president. (Note: It’s not a “white AfricanAmerican president,” a la the new Zimmerman standard, although both men have a white parent.)
Ms. Allen is surely right that having a black president makes it hard to talk about race, particularly if you want to have the hackneyed monologue that hustlers such as Mr. Jackson and the Rev. Al Sharpton want to have. Weaktea Marxist rants about a system that parasitically feeds off black men sound absurdly antiquated when that system is run, at the top, by black men. (Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., let’s not forget, runs the Justice Department.)
But the aging race industry that continues to see the world through a half-century-old prism of Jim Crow, and still wants you to see it that way, too, is determined to bumrush Mr. Zimmerman into his assigned role, heedless of facts or the lack of them.
Meanwhile, Mr. Obama, who promised a new conversation on race, seems happier in an election year to lend heft to the old one. He called for soul-searching — but absent a full set of facts, why does this killing of all U.S. killings require it? Mr. Obama’s comments mostly seem aimed at adding credence to liberal conventional wisdom.
Mr. Zimmerman may well deserve to go to jail. Or this may just be a confluence of horrible mistakes with no criminal intent whatsoever. That’s what a Justice Department probe and a Florida grand jury will determine. But for the forces demanding action, that isn’t good enough. Mr. Jackson, as