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No Getting Past Race In America

September 9, 2009

IBD: 2 Sept. 2009

Civil Rights: Eric Holder’s Justice Department plans to hire more than 50 new civil rights lawyers to ferret out racism in American society. And you thought you were getting a post-racial presidency.

At his inauguration, President Obama said, “because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself.”

Who could not be moved at hearing a newly sworn-in president note that “a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.”

Indeed, one of the most alluring aspects of his campaign was the frequent message that putting him in the White House would be part of America’s departure from its ugly racist past.

In his much-celebrated speech on race in Philadelphia in March of last year, he spoke of “my unyielding faith in the decency and generosity of the American people.” He accused his former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, of having “a profoundly distorted view of this country — a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America.”

And he added: “Reverend Wright’s comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems.” He complained that Wright “spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country .. . is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past.”

In an attempt to allay the concerns of some white voters, candidate Obama even said that “to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns — this too widens the racial divide, and blocks the path to understanding.”

This election was going to be different, he said, “this time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag.”

The closest he came to suggesting that an Obama administration would mean a new army of civil rights lawyers at the Justice Department was one well-buried line about enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system.”

If Rev. Wright had been named attorney general instead of Eric Holder, maybe he would try to hire 100 new predatory lawyers, instead of 50-something of them as Holder is planning.

The idea is still the same: America “is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past” — the very opposite of what the president said he believed about “the decency and generosity of the American people” — so we need the federal government to police our ingrained, intractable racism in every nook and cranny of society.

Holder, with the president’s blessing, will now set out to undo the Bush administration’s altogether proper emphasis on individual cases of obvious, intentional discrimination, and return the federal government to a 1970s race-war mentality.

The thinking behind this was exemplified by Joseph Rich, a career lawyer at Justice’s civil rights division for nearly four decades. Testifying to a House Judiciary subcommittee in 2007, Rich complained that “in a five-year period the department brought no voting cases and only one employment pattern or practice case on behalf of African-Americans. And no voting cases on behalf of Native Americans.

“At the same time,” Rich added, “there were several reverse discrimination employment cases brought and the first-ever case on behalf of white voters alleging discrimination by African-American Democratic Party operatives in Mississippi.”

To the entrenched legal establishment of the federal government, racism is ever and always a one-way street — as well as a problem that never diminishes without the bullying of government lawyers. That is “a profoundly distorted view of this country,” and the president last year assured us that he did not subscribe to it.

source: http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article.aspx?id=505054

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