Obama Exposes Institutional Racism--on the Left and in the Media

Obama’s recent comments on the George Zimmerman verdict expose once and for all the radical worldview that lies beneath the Obama agenda. In speculating that the Zimmerman verdict might have been different if Trayvon Martin had been white, Obama revealed the inner world of a man steeped in the cultural Marxist theories that have for decades shaped the thinking of leftists, from professors in elite universities to community organizers in the streets. And his comments highlight the struggle between two world views that is at the root of the current political tension in America.

For Americans who see the world through a Judeo-Christian worldview, it is the content of one’s character and not the color of one’s skin that matters. For the political mainstream, it would not have mattered if Martin had been white or if Zimmerman had been black. When the question is self-defense, we are at a loss to make sense of it when the left raises issues of race that we see as irrelevant. 

But the political theorists who shaped the thinking of the American left long ago rejected the Judeo-Christian worldview and its emphasis on personal responsibility and the value of the individual over the collective. The cultural Marxists of the Frankfurt School in Europe, and later in America’s northeastern universities, developed Critical Theory--the relentless criticism of every cultural institution of free societies--as a tool for undermining the Judeo-Christian barriers to the Marxist agenda. Formal religion, the traditional family, and even national borders have all come under attack from the left as vestiges of an outmoded way of thinking about the world. The Judeo-Christian goal of a color-blind society has not been spared in the assault. 

In Critical Race Theory, racism is so embedded in America’s cultural institutions, including our legal system, that minorities can never get a fair shake, even if individual Americans are consciously well-intentioned on matters of race.  In order to overcome this deeply embedded--and largely unconscious--institutional racism, it is necessary, according to the theory, for those in power to use a different set of standards in dealing with minorities. 

Thus, through the lens of Critical Race Theory, Eric Holder is justified both in detecting the subtle outline of racism in laws that merely require proof of identity for voting, and also in failing to see it when members of the New Black Panther Party wield nightsticks outside of a Philadelphia voting place. What mainstream Americans call “reverse discrimination” is not, in the left’s worldview, a failure to see the unfairness in cases of differential treatment; it is an insistence on the part of the left that differential treatment is not unfair. 

According to this view, Holder would be justified in pursuing Zimmerman on civil rights charges because, by definition, Zimmerman’s acquittal would have been tainted by institutional racism. And in speculating that the outcome might have been different if Trayvon Martin had been white, Obama was no doubt opening the political door for such an action.

But, leftist theory aside, what would really have happened if Martin had been white? Based on the pattern of bias we have seen from the liberal media, we can predict that the nation would have heard a very different story about the shooting, one in which a Hispanic man who has lived without problems in a racially diverse community was forced to defend himself against a white man who was beating him mercilessly. We can predict that the liberal media would have described George Zimmerman simply as Hispanic, not as “white” or as a “self-described Hispanic” or as a “white Hispanic.” 

If Martin had been white, Zimmerman would have been portrayed in the media as the minority victim. Obama might have even said, “If I had a son, he would look like George Zimmerman.”

Pushing the speculation ever further, we can see that the case would not have been newsworthy to liberals if both men had been black. In the theoretical underpinnings of identity politics, race decides who is the hero and who is the villain of any story. When one black man shoots another black man, Critical Race Theory finds no oppressor and no victim, and so there is no story.

By the mainstream definition, when someone dies in a shooting, it is racist to value that life differently depending on the race of the shooter or of the person who was shot. But that is just what the left is doing in the Zimmerman case, and the practice is part and parcel of their worldview. 

The left constantly challenges America to have a soul-searching and honest conversation about race, and it is finally time. Instead of working from the assumption that mainstream America is deeply and profoundly racist, however, perhaps we should begin by admitting that there is institutional racism in America, but that it thrives primarily in institutions controlled by liberal ideology.

Dr. Tim Daughtry is a conservative writer and speaker.  He is co-author of Waking The Sleeping Giant: How Mainstream Americans Can Beat Liberals At Their Own Game.


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