Black Skin Privilege: To Be Above the Law
The high cost of treating blacks better than non-blacks in the criminal justice system.
Editor’s note: The following is the second article in the FrontPage series “Black Skin Privilege,” based on the Freedom Center pamphlet “Black Skin Privilege and the American Dream” by David Horowitz and John Perazzo. To read the first article in this series, click here.
It is true that black Americans are not treated equally by the nation’s police forces – far too often they are treated better than members of other races because police are quite properly terrified of being accused of race-based discrimination.
This preferential race-based treatment of African-Americans fuels violence and social media-driven reigns of terror. It encourages today’s race-baiting lynch mobs that troll the Internet to satisfy their unquenchable desire to be offended and outraged. When the cranks and low-rent bigots of the so-called Black Lives Matter movement target an enemy, they get plenty of support from the media, and in many cases, from politicians. Black liberation theology and critical race theory no doubt helped the nation get to this unfortunate place.
America is now at the point where those with dark complexions enjoy what David Horowitz has dubbed “black skin privilege.” As Horowitz explained to me recently:
I coined this term because it encapsulated the facts that are indispensable to understanding our national crisis over race and also politically incorrect to so much as mention: racism – race privileges and race preferences – are now the “civil rights” cause of the progressive left. As soon as the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960s outlawed racial categories in governmental regulations and laws, the civil rights left began to reverse this historic victory by reintroducing racial categories and privileges into every aspect of public life from job applications to college admissions, to presumptions of innocence and conclusions of guilt. The term “black skin privilege” – which is an indubitable fact of our social life – hoists the racial hypocrites on their own petard. You want to talk about racism? Let’s talk about the racist attitudes and policies of progressives and lynch mobs of color that they inspire.
(Horowitz and John Perazzo co-authored the David Horowitz Freedom Center pamphlet, “Black Skin Privilege and the American Dream.” The PDF version of the pamphlet is available here.)
Nowadays police coddle blacks, refusing to hold them to the same standard of behavior expected of everyone else. This cosseting of a large segment of the population encourages misbehavior because would-be perpetrators know they can get away with a lot. For example, this policy of deliberately going easy on black suspects helps to explain the rise of the so-called knockout game in which young black men viciously prey on unsuspecting white bystanders, violently knocking them to the ground for fun. It also helps to explain why police and their civilian commanders are extremely reluctant to shut down rioting black mobs.
Thumb-twiddling police officers forced to stand down in a crisis lose their own sense of self-respect as they are made to justify their inaction in their own minds. Their superiors claim to be worried that cracking down on black crime might infringe on the rioters’ right to express themselves politically. They routinely give blacks the benefit of the doubt and then some as bleeding-heart judges slap African-American criminals on the wrist after listening to the obligatory sob stories that may as well have come out of dusty sociology textbooks.
No matter how adamantly left-wingers may deny it or try to rationalize it away, black youth, in particular, are incredibly violent, according to studies.
“[Y]oung black men do commit about 50% of the murders in the U.S.,” African-American John McWhorter, a self-described liberal Democrat who is also a professor at Columbia University noted in 2013.
Hardly uncommon are cases such as the two black guys who doused a white 13-year-old with gasoline and lit him on fire, saying “You get what you deserve, white boy’ (Kansas City, Mo.) or 20 black kids who beat up white Matthew Owens on his porch ‘for Trayvon’ (Mobile, Ala.).
[I]t’s just fake to pretend that the association of young black men with violence comes out of thin air. Young black men murder 14 times more than young white men. If the kinds of things I just mentioned were regularly done by whites, it’d be trumpeted as justification for being scared to death of them.
And as Colin Flaherty, author of White Girl Bleed A Lot, has documented, black-on-white violence has become increasingly commonplace in recent years, despite the best efforts of the media, politicians, and left-wing activists to ignore it or deny its existence. America’s major urban centers, cities like Chicago and Philadelphia, have been plagued by black race riots in recent years. Few people know about these often deadly melees because they rarely get reported, and if they do make the news, the race of the perpetrators is almost never stated.
Black skin privilege emboldens and empowers blacks to commit crimes without having to fear prosecution. It is what allowed the dangerously incompetent gangster-loving mayor of Baltimore, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (D), to get away earlier this year with giving “space” to the largely black mobs of violent protesters whom she admitted “wished to destroy.”
It is what allowed former Attorney General Eric Holder and Thomas Perez, the former Assistant U.S. Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division and current Labor Secretary, to refuse to prosecute “hate crimes” committed against white Americans. (Note: Although the motive of a criminal might in some situations be relevant in the sentencing process, it is this writer’s opinion that hate crimes laws are “thought crime” laws. They are pernicious and smack of totalitarianism. They should not exist. It is enough to punish wrongdoers for committing the actual crimes themselves. Punishing them specifically for their thoughts and beliefs, which are presumably protected by the First Amendment, ought to be considered abhorrent in a free society.)
Perez was reportedly instrumental in the Justice Department’s dismissal of a case involving two members of the New Black Panther Party who intimidated white voters in Philadelphia on Election Day 2008. The two men openly brandished nightsticks at a polling station in order to intimidate white voters.
Perez played a major role in enacting the Church Arson Prevention Act, which was based on the false premise that black churches were being targeted with disproportionate frequency by arsonists. He targeted Maricopa County, Ariz. Sheriff Joe Arpaio, for legal harassment because he didn’t approve of Arpaio’s tough-on-crime approach.
A desire to more deeply institutionalize black skin privilege in the legal system was manifest in President Obama’s ultimately unsuccessful nomination of race-obsessed radical lawyer Debo Adegbile to succeed Perez as the nation’s top civil rights enforcer. Adegbile, former head of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, is a staunch affirmative action supporter who doesn’t seem to believe that white Americans are entitled to civil rights protection.
While Adegbile was at the helm of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the organization became increasingly radical, opposing criminal-background checks by employers and pushing extreme racial-hiring quotas. Adegbile lost a case before the U.S. Supreme Court (Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder) in which he argued that large swaths of America are racist hellholes that maliciously prevent minorities from voting. President Obama calls NAACP LDF “simply the best civil rights law firm in American history.”
Under Adegbile the fund acted in several legal proceedings for unrepentant cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, the black leftist folk hero who has parlayed his 1981 murder of white Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner into a career behind bars. Born Wesley Cook, the former Black Panther often referred to affectionately in radical circles as simply “Mumia,” was sentenced to death but years later the punishment was commuted to life imprisonment. He enjoys celebrity status on the Left and through the wonder of modern technology is a frequent guest speaker at college commencement ceremonies.
As Officer Faulkner tried to arrest the perpetrator’s brother during a traffic stop, Abu-Jamal shot the policeman once in the back and then stood over him and shot him four more times at close range, once directly in the face. Multiple eyewitnesses were present during the crime. So naturally Adegbile did everything in his power to permanently free the beloved Mumia, whom the Left views as a sincere political activist whose murder of a police officer was a legitimate expression of political beliefs.
Many states collect data on the race of drivers pulled over by police. In today’s hyper-sensitive racial climate, this chills law enforcement. If “too many” blacks are being pulled over, it is treated as prima facie evidence of race-based discrimination regardless of the circumstances under which the individual drivers were stopped.
Simply put, these data collection programs function as a shield or an informal right to break the law. If police constantly have to worry their actions will be interpreted as racist, they are understandably going to be more reluctant to do their jobs. A cop transformed into a bureaucrat isn’t going to be effective as a cop.
Racial demagogues like Al Sharpton denounce policies based on the broken windows theory. This criminological theory holds that paying attention to minor crimes such as vandalism, public drinking and urination, public transit fare evasion, and toll-jumping promotes social order and respect for the law which in turn prevents more serious crimes from being perpetrated. New York City’s “stop, question, and frisk” policy, which is based on a reasonable suspicion standard that is weaker than the usual probable cause standard police follow, has had a demonstrably positive effect on crime rates but it is attacked by the Left because “too many” blacks are subject to it. Whether the blacks searched are behaving suspiciously is irrelevant, according to left-wingers.
The idea that blacks routinely and unfairly get a break in their dealings with police may be counterintuitive to many. This is because the entertainment-mainstream media-academic complex has been saturation-bombing Americans for decades with politically correct propaganda about the supposed racism inherent in law enforcement. Of course it is undeniable that there is some anti-black racism in police departments but to suggest that it is somehow systemic is laughable in an age in which blacks have risen to the pinnacles of power and prestige in politics and government, nonprofits, the arts, medicine, science, law, sports, and the corporate world. America is the least racist nation on earth and it has been for a long time.
This is not to suggest that African-Americans always get away with everything because they most certainly do not. In the early years of this nation’s history the vile institution of slavery held them down. But Americans fought a bloody Civil War to actualize the promises woven into the Declaration of Independence. Jim Crow, a Democratic Party creation, was a shameful setback but it too was overcome and it is beyond question that in modern America blacks are full and equal citizens of the United States. Or at least they were before the race-obsessed Barack Obama crossed his fingers behind his back as he took the oath of office.
Obama himself is the living embodiment of black skin privilege.
Throughout his life this half-black, half-white man has advanced not because of talent or intellect, but because he has used his perceived “blackness” to advantage. This is a man from the most racially harmonious state in the Union – Hawaii – where he grew up seemingly oblivious to the fact that he wasn’t white, or at least not fully white. When he was young he was known by his nickname Barry. It was only as he aged and became politically ambitious that he began to insist on being called Barack because it buttressed his claim to “blackness.” Although he didn’t have a drop of slave blood in his body, he set out to prove his black bona fides in Chicago politics by joining Jeremiah Wright’s over-the-top racist church in whose pews he sat for two decades soaking up his pastor’s virulent hatred of whites, Jews, and America itself.
Obama is also an ideologue who believes that the legal system should be used to dispense favors to blacks and other non-whites. White Americans, he feels, should be treated as second-class citizens in order to make up for America’s past racial injustices, real or perceived.
In 2009 Obama was preemptively enraged when a friend of his, Henry Louis “Skip” Gates Jr., a black Harvard professor, was arrested in Cambridge, Mass., after police mistakenly believed he was breaking into his own house. Although it seemed like an honest mistake and Gates was particularly belligerent in dealing with the arresting officers, without examining the facts Obama promptly declared that the police “acted stupidly.”
After Sanford, Fla., neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman killed black teenager Trayvon Martin in self-defense, Obama injected race into the matter by saying if he had a son he’d look like Martin. His Department of Justice sent taxpayer-paid community organizers down to Sanford to generate mobs to agitate against Zimmerman whom the press pointedly described as a “white Hispanic.” The dapartment did the same thing in the case of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black man shot dead after he tried to grab a white police officer’s gun in Ferguson, Mo.
Obama’s actions seem to support critical race theory, the multiculturalist Left’s race-obsessed spinoff of critical legal theory, which is one means of advancing and reinforcing black skin privilege.
The late Derrick A. Bell Jr., Harvard Law’s first black tenured professor, was the creator of critical race theory. Bell, an unrepentant racist, was also Obama’s Marxist mentor when he studied at that law school. Introducing Bell in 1991, Obama said the professor’s “scholarship has opened up new vistas and new horizons, and changed the standards of what legal writing is about.”
“Open up your hearts and your minds to the words of Professor Derrick Bell,” Obama told students. Obama described Bell as someone who spoke “the truth.” Obama later taught courses about America’s “Institutional Racism” at the University of Chicago Law School.
Critical legal theory contends the law is concerned with power, not justice. It sees the law as a fraud perpetrated on the people, an oppressive tool of capitalism, imperialism, sexism, and racism. Advocates essentially believe the legal system should be criticized endlessly as a means of tearing it down. Communists naturally have embraced critical legal theory as a way of changing American society. Judge Alex Kozinski of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals appropriately describes critical legal studies as “horse manure.”
Critical race theory incorporates critical legal theory and parlays it into what bestselling author and attorney Ann Coulter calls “a cult of anti-white resentment.” The theory holds that America is racist to its core, so it follows that its legal structures are necessarily racist and invalid.
Bell said that racial preferences in employment and higher education were essential to counter the bigotry of the whites who run the country. These whites try to “achieve a measure of social stability through their unspoken pact to keep blacks on the bottom.”
Black liberation theology has been another means of advancing and reinforcing black skin privilege. This lunatic-fringe school of thought was founded by white-hating racist James Cone, who is a more sophisticated version of Louis Farrakhan. Cone was a
Professor of Systematic Theology at the Union Theological Seminary in New York City.
He regards America as an irredeemably racist nation. Cone blames whites for everything bad. “This country was founded for whites and everything that has happened in it has emerged from the white perspective. What we need is the destruction of whiteness, which is the source of human misery in the world.”
Jeremiah Wright and other radical church leaders believe in black liberation theology, an Afrocentrist mix of Christianity, Marxism, and anti-white racial bigotry. Cone claims that “black values” – whatever those may be – are superior to American values.
“What we need is the divine love as expressed in Black Power, which is the power of Black people to destroy their oppressors here and now by any means at their disposal. Unless God is participating in this holy activity, we must reject his love,” Cone wrote.
If black skin privilege is good enough for God Himself, who are we to argue?