Race-hus­tling re­sults: Part II

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - By Thomas Sow­ell

Bob Costas is one of the pre­mier sportscast­ers and a very smart guy, so it was some­what sur­pris­ing to see him join the cho­rus of those de­cry­ing the fact that the owner of the Wash­ing­ton Red­skins is re­sist­ing the pres­sures to change the name of his foot­ball team.

The ar­gu­ment is that Amer­i­can In­di­ans are of­fended by the name, though there is no com­pelling ev­i­dence that most Amer­i­can In­di­ans are worked up about it. Nor is there any ev­i­dence that any­one in­tended the name to be in­sult­ing, ei­ther by this team or any num­ber of other sports teams that have called them­selves some vari­a­tion of the name “In­di­ans.”

Af­ter all, nei­ther in­di­vid­u­als nor teams give them­selves names that they con­sider in­sult­ing, whether they are call­ing them­selves In­di­ans, Vik­ings or The Fight­ing Ir­ish.

Nev­er­the­less, Dart­mouth, Stan­ford and other col­leges that once called their teams In­di­ans suc­cumbed to the po­lit­i­cally cor­rect pres­sures and changed their names. But that is no rea­son why the Wash­ing­ton Red­skins should suc­cumb to those pres­sures.

Among the rea­sons why they should not is the fact that be­ing of­fended is one of the tac­tics of a race hus­tling in­dus­try that is do­ing more harm to In­di­ans and other mi­nori­ties than any name is likely to do. Some peo­ple are in the busi­ness of be­ing of­fended, just as Camp­bell is in the busi­ness of mak­ing soup.

Shelby Steele’s best-sell­ing book “White Guilt” pro­vides sharp in­sights into the many coun­ter­pro­duc­tive con­se­quences of white guilt that can be ex­ploited by race hus­tlers, to the detri­ment of blacks and whites alike. The sports team gam­bit is just one of many.

So long as the race in­dus­try — the Al Sharp­tons, Jesse Jack­sons, and their coun­ter­parts in var­i­ous mi­nori­ties — can get po­lit­i­cal or fi­nan­cial mileage out of be­ing of­fended, they are go­ing to be of­fended. The only thing that will put a stop to this racket is re­fus­ing to be taken in by it or in­tim­i­dated by it.

Looked at in iso­la­tion, Bob Costas’ opin­ion about the names of sports teams is one that rea­son­able peo­ple might agree or dis­agree with. But, un­for­tu­nately, this is­sue is not some­thing that ex­ists in iso­la­tion. It is part of a whole griev­ance-gen­er­at­ing cam­paign that poi­sons race re­la­tions. That cam­paign is con­ducted not only by the race in­dus­try but also by all too many in the me­dia and in the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem, from ele­men­tary schools to the uni­ver­si­ties.

Young blacks are es­pe­cially sus­cep­ti­ble to the mes­sage that all their prob­lems are caused by white peo­ple — and that white so­ci­ety is never go­ing to give them a chance. In short, they are primed to re­sent and hate in­di­vid­u­als they have never seen be­fore and who have never done a thing to them.

Dur­ing the same week when Bob Costas was crit­i­ciz­ing the name “Wash­ing­ton Red­skins,” the New York Daily News re­ported an in­ci­dent in which a gang of young blacks attacked a white cou­ple in a car, beat­ing the man se­verely and drag­ging the woman out of the car by her hair down to the pave­ment, and beat­ing her as well — all the while shout­ing racist ob­scen­i­ties.

Episodes like this have oc­curred re­peat­edly, in dozens of cities, all across the coun­try. The only thing that was miss­ing in this par­tic­u­lar episode were pub­lic as­sur­ances from po­lice au­thor­i­ties and the mayor that race had noth­ing to do with what hap­pened. Such dis­hon­est as­sur­ances have been com­mon in the wake of such plainly racist at­tacks. Of­fi­cials in var­i­ous cities are ob­vi­ously try­ing to keep the lid on this in­cip­i­ent race war.

But you can­not keep the lid on for­ever. In 1961, James B. Co­nant’s book “Slums and Sub­urbs” warned that “so­cial dy­na­mite” was ac­cu­mu­lat­ing in Amer­i­can cities. Just a few years later, ghetto ri­ots erupted all across the coun­try.

So­cial dy­na­mite can ac­cu­mu­late among whites as well as among blacks. White ex­trem­ist hate groups al­ready ex­ist, though they are a fringe, as the Nazis were once a dis­dained fringe in Ger­many. It was the peo­ple’s loss of con­fi­dence in the re­spectable in­sti­tu­tions of so­ci­ety that gave the Nazis their chance for power.

The blind and dis­hon­est po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness of our me­dia and ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions on racial is­sues to­day can even­tu­ally for­feit the con­fi­dence of Amer­i­cans and give sim­i­lar ex­trem­ist groups their chance to ig­nite a race war in the United States. And once a race war starts, it can be vir­tu­ally im­pos­si­ble to stop.

Thomas Sow­ell is a se­nior fel­low at the Hoover In­sti­tu­tion, Stan­ford Univer­sity, Stan­ford, CA 94305. His web­site is www.tsow­ell.com.

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