The aftermath of the tragic Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman affair has once again borne witness to calls for America to engage in more “conversation about race.”
Americans have been having that “conversation” since the Constitution was debated in 1787. More than 600,000 Americans died fighting over that issue in the Civil War 150 years ago. After a long struggle, the promise of the great 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments was finally fulfilled 50 years ago by passage of bipartisan-supported, substantial civil rights legislation, added to and vigorously enforced by every successive administration.
Black Americans and members of other minority populations have since been elected to the high federal offices of president, senator and congressman. They have been nominated and confirmed to head numerous Cabinet-level posts, including the departments of State, Justice, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Labor and Education. They have served with distinction on the Supreme Court and as ambassadors. They have headed states, large cities and major corporations.
There’s no denying that a disproportionate number of black Americans are poor, criminally violent and incarcerated. Those facts, however, are a result much less of any vestigial remains of racism than to the culture of victimization and dependency fostered by career race hustlers and acceded to by guilt-ridden politicians lusting for electoral support.