Commenter Harry Baldwin at ISteve sums up nicely my own reaction to Obama’s presser following the Zimmerman verdict:
“One of the most notable elements in Obama’s remarks on the Zimmerman case, as well as in his 2008 race speech, is that he always puts the anger of black people in context, i.e., justifies it, while as far as he’s concerned the concerns of white people have no context outside of racism. Thus, he understands why blacks are angry that a woman would clutch her purse when they walk by or that a shopkeeper would follow them in his store, but sees no justification for the woman’s fear of black street crime or the shopkeeper’s concern about black shoplifting. But shouldn’t the entirely reasonable fear of black criminality carry more weight than the wounded amour-propre of young black males? And anyway, aren’t black handbag-holders and shopkeepers just as wary as white ones of those young black males (dubbed by police ‘suspect: usual’)?
“Why have we sacralized black anger? Who cares what black people are complaining about this week? Why must they be taken any more seriously than spoiled children?”
Well, why indeed?
For literally decades, now, I’ve watched (certain) black males gnash their teeth and rend their garments about how awful it is to be the object of white fear* – while never once showing the least interest in or understanding of the reasons for that fear.
Limitless self-pity plus zero empathy makes for a singularly unattractive combination of traits.
And there really is a better way to approach these things, as I can testify from long personal experience. Strange to tell, I have fairly regularly, over the course of many years, been the object of unwarranted fear. But I never took offense, I always sympathized, and whenever I noticed the problem, I took immediate action to defuse it. I strongly recommend that the young coulda-been-Obama’s-sons of the world take note:
I’m a fast walker. Always have been – it just comes naturally to me. I’m also (or, at least, used to be) a bit of a night owl, and more than a bit of a loner. So I’ve often found myself out, walking fast, here and there, by myself, late at night. So I’ve often found myself approaching people, on foot, from behind, late at night. Sometimes older people, sometimes women. Sometimes older women.
So here I am, striding along, minding my own business, contemplating Aquinas’ First Way, or Nietzsche’s Parable of the Lambs, and suddenly I realize that the person a little ahead of me on the sidewalk is showing distinct signs of nervousness – hesitating, glancing furtively from side to side – possibly even clutching her handbag.
Do I get offended? Am I outraged by this undeserved suspicion? Well, um, no. On the contrary: I kick myself for being so insensitive as not to have noticed earlier. And I take steps.
I’ve heard that in such situations it can be helpful to whistle a cheerful tune. But, unfortunately, I can’t whistle. So usually I just cross the street. A little more trouble for me, but I’m happy, ’cause I’m no longer causing anybody any unnecessary anxiety.
So what’s wrong with that? Is that too much to ask?
* * * * *
*And, for about the same length of time, I’ve watched (certain other) black males positively glorying in the same phenomenon. Funny, that.