Appalling ignorance, seething racial hatred, lurid sexual fears and grotesque violence once again swirl together in search of rough justice and bark out gunfire in the inky darkness, instantly altering so many lives forever.
William Faulkner’s South has long been destroyed by the invasion of well-paved roads, television and now the Internet. But the never-ending Great American Gothic Tragedy remains.
It has been 18 years since the O.J. Simpson trial and still nobody puts on a full-scale race drama like America.
Two decades since Rodney King pleaded, “Can we all get along?” and we’re still fighting. Or, at least, we are putting on an Oscar-worthy performance of it.
More than 10 years since The New York Times won a Pulitzer for its exhaustive series on race in America, Northeastern liberal white elitists remain fixated on the various human pigmentations.
And five years into “post-racial” America after electing our first black president, some of us still view crime subjects in terms of whether they would look like us — if we had a son.
All of our progress comes into stark question at times like this.
Is President Obama really black? Not according to The New York Times and others in the media. According to their pigmentation calculators, Mr. Obama has more in common with George Zimmerman than with Trayvon Martin.
Mr. Obama’s father was black, a native of Kenya. His mother was a white American. Similarly, Mr. Zimmerman’s father is a white American and his mother is Hispanic, a native of Peru. Which, according to these people, makes Mr. Zimmerman a “white Hispanic.” I wish I were making that up. We are left to assume that makes Obama a “white black.” Or a “white African-American” maybe?
The vast, vast, vast majority of Americans who have moved on and effortlessly integrate with others of different races in school, at work and on the street can be forgiven if we have a hard time keeping up with all this fixation on race that remains in some quarters.
So, who are the great producers, directors, actors and stunt men in these theatrical performances? Well, they are the very jackals who cry their disappointment the loudest that America has not moved on.
It’s East Coast media and West Coast Hollywood. They just can’t get past skin deep. There is no problem they have that a makeup artist cannot fix.
And it’s the usual race profiteers who flit from injustice to injustice, injecting racial motives into everything so that they can then become the expert aggrieved. The utterly shameless Al Sharpton wears two hats these days. A lifelong race profiteer, he is also now a member of the media thanks to the morally corrupt network MSNBC.
Slimiest of all is the national political class, wearing their hoodies on the House floor, fanning the flames of racial discord any way they can. They simply cannot let go of this racial spectacle that serves the Democratic Party so reliably at the polls.
All of it might be hugely entertaining, except for the aching tragedy that comes with it. The victims most brutalized are the very ones who are least equipped to deal with it.
Rachel Jeantel? Her testimony was an American carnival of mis-education and ignorance. She could not even read a letter that she had supposedly written. But she does know how to spell “creepy-ass cracka.” They set her out there to be laughed at by the entire world. Watching her struggle, you could hear the race profiteers slink out like hyenas in the darkness with glowing eyes in search of the remains of another shattered life for a quick meal.
There is, of course, Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old kid who paid a shockingly high price for being a hot-headed teenager with little regard for consequences. In other words, a teenager.
There is also George Zimmerman. Poor guy was just trying to keep the thugs and thieves away from his home, his family and his neighbors. That is a truly high calling for which he should be commended. But things went badly awry and he paid a heavy and irreversible price for it. He may never know a moment of peace again.
And then there are Trayvon’s parents, brave and heart-broken. They don’t belong with the professional race profiteers and all their high dudgeon about how they will not be silenced until a 28th Amendment to the Constitution is approved guaranteeing the right to bear a hoodie at night in a neighborhood not your own.
Honestly, Trayvon’s parents just wish they had their teenage son back. You can shove your stupid hoodies.
• Charles Hurt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @charleshurt.