If, like me, you didn’t know the title of Joan Walsh’s last book when you began reading this overly-over-over long missive on New York City’s profound racism, you should be able to guess it just from enduring the same. But just in case, it’s listed at the end: “Joan Walsh is Salon’s editor at large and the author of What’s the Matter With White People: Finding Our Way in the Next America.”
New Yorkers like to feel superior to Southerners and Red Staters when it comes to race relations, but they don’t have the right. Just as Dr. King said Chicago could teach Mississippi how to hate, after he tried to challenge segregation there, New York shows what happens when fear of crime turns good people into frightened authoritarians, who’ll trade security for occasional police misconduct, as long as they don’t have to watch it on video.
In fact, paragraph after paragraph of Walsh’s latest at Salon seems to ask the very same thing: what’s the matter with white people?—well, except for Joan Walsh, of course, for she alone seems to have emerged untarnished by New York’s hotbed of racism. That apparently includes many of her own family members, by the way.
I saw that polarization personally this year, on Facebook, where I’m in touch with family and childhood friends. Some of them are Long Island Republicans I love very much. We have an unspoken pact: we stick to commenting on one another’s kids and pets and leave politics alone. But recent headlines about police killings eroded that agreement, with a few people cautiously, respectfully, disagreeing with my posts. And even apolitical people — even a few Democrats — posted news stories defending police and attacking protesters, whether in Ferguson, Mo., or here in New York.
Walsh seems to fancy herself to be Martin Luther King, Jr., Ghandi and, lest we be accused of sexism, Mother Teresa all rolled into one, to read her telling of it. As to why Salon would let her take up so much column width going on about it—well, perhaps she’d accuse them of some form of “ism” if they didn’t. That seems a fair guess given what we know of her.
You see, for the allegedly open-minded, equality-embracing, free-thinking white person Walsh fancies herself to be, she has absolutely no problem labeling people—and broadly, at that—so long as they are conveniently white. Take, for instance, the police, which, however diverse nowadays, clearly have an ultimately white identity in Walsh’s world. And said police don’t actually serve and protect with communities; no, they prey, according to Walsh.
As I got older, I learned the police weren’t seen as protectors, especially in black communities. They were sometimes viewed as predators, in New York, and across the country.
Somehow the notion that murdered NYPD officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu could be seen as predators, despite reports that officer Ramos was a day or two away from being ordained and described the streets as his ministry, gets lost on Walsh. Maybe it’s just that whole religion thing, in her uber-liberal worldview.
As for the nation’s now-infamous protests and protesters, many of whom have called for violence against the police, if not their outright murder? Oh, that’s mostly the white protesters, don’t you know?
Most protests against police abuse are peaceful. Sure, there are a few saboteurs smashing windows and punching cops, but you’ll also see a whole lot of protesters trying to stop them – and it seems most of the violent folks are white.
Sadly, in the final analysis, what Joan Walsh can’t seem to understand is that, out of any alleged racism among elitist northeastern whites, Walsh’s brand of racism may be the most prevalent and dangerous of all. There’s no room in her thinking for facts like those NRO recently pointed out that shows blacks killing blacks in such incredibly high numbers—or that they kill whites and cops well out of proportion to the demographics. Also, there’s no room in Walsh’s worldview for the many and growing number of black voices calling for the black community to begin reforming, thus healing itself through a rediscovery of the value of the family and a turning away from crime, most of which is perpetuated against other blacks. That’s even before addressing issues of drug abuse and domestic violence, epidemics in too many black communities today.
The racism of Joan Walsh is the racism of diminished—if not, perhaps, no—expectations at all for blacks simply as human beings. Walsh’s racism believes that certain troubled black communities can’t and shouldn’t be held accountable to begin taking responsibility for themselves. Instead, they must always be looking for this or that other bad guy to blame, with Walsh making bank by helping to point them out.
In Joan Walsh’s world, blacks are apparently either unwilling, or unable to think, or manage for, let alone govern themselves without the help of self-professed white saviors such as she. And that, sadly, may be the unkindest cut of all which blacks in America have had to endure at the hands of white liberals like Walsh for decades. In reality, they see blacks as little more than whatever white people will or won’t make of them—and, that, frankly, is about as racist a worldview as one can have.