The grand jury in Ferguson issued a searing indictment last night.
No, not against Police Officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of an unarmed African-American teen, Michael Brown. In that racially inflamed case, the nine white jurors and three blacks found no grounds to indict.
But their decision nonetheless was itself an indictment — against all the racial hucksters and victimhood-mongers that are doing untold harm to the nation in general, and to blacks in particular.
From the very beginning of this case last summer, there seemed to be sufficient doubt that would make it difficult, if not impossible, to convict Wilson. There were conflicting reports, for starters, about what happened in the confrontation between the police officer and Brown. There was the video from the store, where it surely appeared Brown had committed a crime, shoving the store’s manager.
That not only raised questions about Brown’s mood (if not his character), but also what might have been on his mind when confronted by Wilson shortly thereafter: He might be arrested for his actions in that shop.
Since then, other information leaked out casting more doubt on Wilson’s “culpability.”
And yet, the Rev. Sharptons of the world flooded in, insisting, in effect, that Wilson was indeed guilty, and never mind the facts. (Even President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder encouraged resentment of the “injustice” perpetrated by a white police officer.)
These flame-throwers told folks to take the accusations against Wilson as fact and to protest until the day he was thrown in jail. Protest, you see, was essential — merely because a white cop had shot and killed a black teen. No other facts were needed.
Indeed, the accusations themselves were incontrovertible evidence of nationwide racism that is to this day rampant and holding blacks down. If the African-American community hoped to get ahead — indeed, if it hoped to survive — it would have to conquer this debilitating racism.
It’s hard to think of a more destructive, self-defeating and untruthful message. Start with the fact that Officer Wilson did not kill Brown out of any racist motives — or, at least, the grand jury found no evidence of that. And even if he had, it would not prove widespread racism among police departments, let alone the rest of America.
And then, too, fighting racism is not even necessarily the best route upward for even groups that are true victims.
Think of the long history of hatred and discrimination in this country against Catholics, Chinese, Jews, the Irish, Italians, Muslims, those with physical disabilities and countless others. As a Jew, I know plenty of anti-Semitism exists today. But like me, many Jews (and probably many other persecuted sects) look at America as their last, best hope. The opportunity offered to individuals of any race, creed or color in this country is absolutely boundless. Jews and others have prospered not by having spent their days focused on protesting anti-Semitism, but by taking advantage of the opportunities.
Too often, blacks have taken a different approach. Rather than look at the high crime rates in their communities, for example, and crack down on the perpetrators, there’s too often a tendency to blame others — “racist” cops, a “racist” system. This tendency is fueled by race-mongers and racial arsonists like Sharpton. It’s tragic, because there is no reason blacks can’t succeed in America. President Obama himself is testament to that.
Of course, racism in America continues to be a stain. But last night, 12 ordinary citizens in Ferguson said you can’t blame racism this time.
Then again, you can’t entirely blame the racial mischief-makers either for misleading African-Americans. Like the scorpion who stings the frog, it’s in the instigators’ nature. Rather, it will take the community itself, and well-meaning leaders within, to tell the truth about racism. And encourage a better path for their people than protesting a wholly innocent tragedy.