Barack Obama is not just our first biracial president, he was supposed to be our first post-racial president. Instead, he joins forces with race hustler Al Sharpton and escalates a tragic shooting into an inflamed, full-blown national race fight. What happened? Not everyone in the president’s family is so inclined toward knee-jerk racial profiling. Through the grace of marriage and the miracle of adoption, our family - the president’s and mine - boasts a rich ethnic diversity: European, American Indian, black, Chinese, Korean, Latino and Asian Indian. Only in America would a family look like ours.
Yet sadly, President Obama, rather than celebrating this fact, embraced those who prey upon our demons rather call on our better angels. For 20 years, the president faithfully sat in pews absorbing hate-filled messages from the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, such as how the “U.S. of KKK A.” lied about “inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color.”
Is it any wonder, then, that Mr. Obama’s knee-jerk reaction to the recent shooting of Trayvon Martin was very similar to his knee-jerk reaction to the disorderly-conduct arrest of black Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates? In both cases, without having the facts, the president somehow just knew that the lighter-skinned participants were racist.
The mainstream media’s disgraceful attempts to manipulate the public rather than inform them of the events surrounding the Trayvon Martin shooting have been well-documented and are too numerous to detail here. A few highlights include ABC News using on-screen graphics to hide injuries to the head of alleged shooter George Zimmerman, which at least partially corroborate Mr. Zimmerman’s account that he shot Trayvon in self-defense. NBC News doctored a recording of a 911 call attributed to Mr. Zimmerman to falsely indicate racism.
Perhaps most egregious, though, is the media’s manipulative use of outdated photos to portray Trayvon as an innocent baby-faced boy and Mr. Zimmerman as a criminal. That a 17-year-old died unnecessarily is a tragedy whether Mr. Zimmerman acted justifiably or criminally, but Trayvon’s tragedy did not begin on Feb. 26, the night he was shot.
Recent photos of Trayvon - the ones the media don’t want you to see but those Trayvon chose to identify himself - tell a sad story. The once-smiling, baby-faced boy adopted a street “gangsta” persona with gold teeth and tattoos. Tweeting under a racially inflamatory handle, Trayvon boasted of his descent into violence, misogyny, prostitution and drugs.
It is thoroughly heartbreaking to see so many young black men in America adopt this destructive lifestyle rather than pursue the American dream, and it’s time we find the courage to ask ourselves why. Mr. Obama piously declared, “All of us have to do some soul-searching.” He’s right, but not for the reason he thinks. Racism, real or imagined, cannot explain why the black teenage unemployment rate is a staggering 40 percent and the American dream seems hopelessly out of reach.
Complex problems rarely have simple solutions, and this is no exception. Moreover, decades of failed social engineering prove there is no government program that can replace a loving mother and father who teach their kids to respect themselves and others. While this problem certainly is multifactorial, there are two areas in particular where our government is actively sabotaging our young black men: (1) forcing them into woefully inadequate education and (2) erecting prohibitive barriers to gainful employment.
The federal experiment in education is an abject failure. Established in 1980, the Department of Education is a relatively new entity in American history. Since its founding, federal spending on education has risen “stratospherically,” as the Cato Institute describes it, and still standardized test scores remain flat. The money can be replaced, but the lost lives of young victims cannot. Shift those dollars to the states (and from the states to school boards) and let your kids’ principal and teachers call the shots rather than Washington bureaucrats.
The federal minimum wage law effectively has removed the bottom rungs from the ladder of success. The black teenage unemployment rate of 40 percent is roughly double that of white teens. In the 1940s and 1950s, when in some quarters a black man couldn’t sit at a lunch counter, let alone sit behind the desk in the Oval Office, black and white teen unemployment were both around 10 percent. The difference? The essential absence of minimum-wage laws enabled teens to get their first jobs - and skills - without the government pricing them out of the job market.
Meanwhile, where is our president as America erupts into yet another unnecessary race fight? Race hustler Al Sharpton screams that protests should “escalate” and the same New Black Panther Party to whom Mr. Obama gave a free pass for obvious voter intimidation against whites offer a $10,000 reward for Mr. Zimmerman - “dead or alive” - and still there’s deafening silence.
America deserves a president who will calm nerves and channel our passions rather than inflame them, a president who has the courage to challenge destructive forces in America even if they are politically popular, a president who celebrates that America produces families like his own. America deserves the post-racial president Barack Obama promised he would be.
Dr. Milton R. Wolf, a Washington Times columnist, is a radiologist and President Obama’s cousin. He blogs at miltonwolf.com.