Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Far from a "post-racial" society: Dredging up the past forever

With the current administrators of the Department of Justice promising to beef up its focus on civil rights complaints, thereby spotlighting pending cases tied to racial grievances, and the call for the return of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights back to the domain of the liberals, along with the potential passage of the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act, what might these three cases infer for the future of race relations in this country? Might there be less racial hostility or more of it?

Do these signs of the times tell us that we are definitely not living in that "post-racial" era promised by Barack Obama's enthusiastic acolytes during the 2008 election? [See "The end of identity politics?"] Is it more likely that we can expect a continued emphasis on ethnic victimology?

Following is an updated version of a section originally part of our post, "Black Crime."
• • •

In 2007, bills were introduced into both the House of Representatives and the Senate “to provide for the investigation of certain unsolved crimes, and for other purposes.” This potential law is called the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act (H.R. 923 and S.535).

The bill's sponsors, led by Rep. John Lewis, aim to set up an “Investigative Office” in the civil rights units of both the Department of Justice and the FBI, granting authority to agents to plow through old alleged crimes that were committed against blacks prior to December 31, 1969, supposedly during what is known as the “civil rights” period.

On the one hand, a general statement within the bill claims that said past crimes had to result in a “death.” On the other hand, the stated purpose in the introduction of the bill says nothing about death, and adds the vague wording, “and for other purposes,” implying that the law could be used as a catch-all for various kinds of infractions of the law that we cannot conceive of at the moment.

The question is, if these seekers of belated "justice" do not find enough murders to prosecute, will they seek to ferret out half-century old alleged assaults, robberies, larcenies? Might they go back, find an atrocity that had occurred on which a town's white police force failed to act, and today make that town's government complicit and hold it accountable? Does the “civil rights” period mentioned mean only the recent past, i.e., 1950s through 1960s? The use of the term “civil rights” goes back a long way.

If this law is passed, we can expect the country to be subjected to yet more black victimology, as the media grooves on the resurrection of old crimes that can unnecessarily stir up animosities. Of course, it's only whites who are bound to come out on the short end of the stick. If a hunted suspect of an old crime is found, then what? As with the septuagenarians and octogenarians accused of Nazi war crimes, can we expect the media to delight in sending us images of sick, elderly men, handcuffed and forced to do the perp walk?

So much of the details of such prior events are lost in the mists of time and in dimmed, undependable memories, but no matter. There's bound to be some stories out there that can be milked and exploited. During this period when so many crimes committed by blacks against whites are virtually ignored or under-reported by the media, or rationalized away as justifiable, blacks are being primed to dig up crimes from the past, and make somebody pay.

There are other questions about this law. Just as Congress gradually extended the power of the EEOC to implement the 1964 Civil Rights Act, inadvertently giving us affirmative action and quotas, so too might the Emmett Till law be modified or reinterpreted, in order to carry out agendas not explicitly cited in the original bill. Just as the Brown vs. Board of Education court decision was “misinterpreted” to eventually justify forced busing and the crippling of school systems around the country, so, too, this law, if passed, could bring unexpected consequences.

Might we be looking at a law that opens the door to crafty mischief makers, to plod through a couple of centuries worth of real and imagined “crimes?” While whites are urged not to make a fuss about black-on-white crimes, black leaders are gearing up, or as they put it, “beefing up investigations” of old crimes against blacks, for what might conceivably be ad infinitum.

See follow-up: Dredging up the past: Part 2

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