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Bernie's Latest Column: If President Obama Had a Son He Might Look Like...
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By Bernie Goldberg - Thursday, August 22, 2013

The three teenagers in rural Oklahoma said they were bored.  They needed something to do that would be fun.  They were sitting on a porch when a jogger ran by.  That’s when they got in a car and caught up with him on a country road.  When they got close enough, one of the boys, a 16 year old, aimed his gun and shot the jogger in the back.  He hit the ground bleeding.  And that’s where he died.  His name was Chris Lane, a 22-year old Australian who was a college baseball player here on a scholarship.

If Barack Obama had a son he might look like the alleged shooter, Chancey Luna – or maybe the 15 year old, James Edwards who was also in the car.  Michael Jones, 17, drove the car; he’s white.

But you’ll never hear the president utter those words.  It’s one thing to identify with a black teenager shot and killed by a white man (who was actually only half white; his mother is Hispanic).  But it’s quite another to link yourself, in any way, to a black kid who killed someone simply because he had nothing better to do.

And there’s no reason Barack Obama should say his imaginary son would look like the shooter.  But then, there was no good reason for the president to say if he had a son he would look like Trayvon Martin.  But he did, needlessly implying that it’s dangerous being a black kid in America when white people with guns are around.

When he heard about the shooting, Jesse Jackson tweeted that this was an example of “senseless violence” that should be “frowned upon.”

Frowned upon?  That’s the best that he could come up with?  When Trayvon Martin was shot to death Jackson said “blacks are under attack” in America, and “Killing us is big business,” and Trayvon was “shot down in cold blood by a vigilante.” Never mind that there was a fight right before Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin.  Murky details like that didn’t matter to Jackson or other members of the civil rights business. Now we hear that the Oklahoma shooting should be “frowned upon.” Where is the moral outrage Jackson was able to muster for Trayvon Martin?  Later, after he came under fire for his lame response to the murder in Oklahoma, Jackson issued a statement calling on all Americans to “resist all forms of violence in our society.”  Thanks for not much.

But at least he said something.  The rest of the civil rights establishment has been silent.  The Missouri NAACP wanted a rodeo clown investigated by the Department of Justice for making fun of President Obama.  On the Oklahoma shooting, silence. For black elites to speak out against violence committed by young black men apparently is tantamount to treason.

So far the president has been silent too.  The murder in Oklahoma will not get the attention that the Trayvon Martin case received — not from the president and not from the media or the civil rights industry.   Why not?  Because in Oklahoma the alleged shooter is black and the victim is white.  And that makes all the difference in the world.

It’s true that there is no evidence that the teenagers targeted Chris Lane because he was white.  But there is a tweet, allegedly sent by the youngest of the three that said:”90% of white ppl are nasty. #HATE THEM.”

Imagine if a white kid put out a tweet like that and then was picked up for killing a young black man.

But who knows, maybe they would have shot a black jogger if that’s who was out running that day.  Maybe.  But there was no evidence either that George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin because he was black.  That didn’t stop the president from chiming in.

Maybe that’s because Mr. Obama sensed Trayvon was shot because he was “guilty” of walking while black.  After all, we got a similar message from the civil rights industry, which painted a picture of an America where white people were out hunting down young black men. White liberal journalists on television listened to this nonsense and didn’t say a word.  They played the part of potted plants.

Who knows, maybe the president would have had something to say if the jogger was black and was shot dead by a couple of white thugs who were out for some kicks. Al Sharpton and the rest of the black civil rights industry certainly would have had something to say.

And Sharpton finally did have something to say.  “I protest when I’m called in and when there’s an injustice.,” he said on his MSNBC show days after the murder. “The three were arrested, there was nothing to protest. The system worked there, and racial? Not only did the police not say it was racial, one of the three were white,” Sharpton said

But the police in Florida said the Trayvon Martin case wasn’t racial either.  But that didn’t stop Sharpton.  And one of the three thugs in Oklahoma was white? So what?  Zimmerman mentored black kids and that didn’t stop Sharpton from screaming racism.

Which brings us to the president, who still hasn’t chimed in.  But there’s still time.  And here’s what President Obama still can say. He could use the tragedy to make some long overdue points.  Here’s what, in my most optimistic moments, I would like to hear President Obama tell the nation:

Recently I talked to the American people about what it’s like being a young black man in this country.  I said women clutch their purses on the elevator when a young black man gets on.  I said people lock their car doors at a red light when a black kid gets too close.  I said young black men are followed when they walk into a store.

I implied that their only “crime” was being black.

What I should have added is that there’s a good reason for all of that.  People – and not just white people – are suspicious of young black men because young black men give them plenty of reason to be suspicious.

I did note that black kids commit too much crime.  But I should have gone further. Much further. I should have said there’s something very wrong in black America when nearly three out of four black babies won’t have a father around when they’re growing up.

I should have said public schools are free yet black kids drop out at astronomical rates. I should have said, let’s stop blaming “crumbling schools” and everything else for their failure.  If you drop out – it’s your fault.  That’s what I should have said.  And I should have made very clear that without an education you won’t get a good job.  You’ll live in poverty.  And too many of you will try to find your manhood in a gun and wind up in prison.

And please Rev. Sharpton and the other members of the African-American elite … please don’t blame a racist judicial system for any of that.  You have been silent – just as I have – about the real problems plaguing black America … for way too long.

We are all co-conspirators.  Almost every murder in New York City is committed by a person “of color.” And how do we respond:  We scream about the racist cops who are profiling our poor, innocent black children. 

Enough!  

*****

Let me say it before you do:  I’m delusional. Still, it would be nice to hear something like that from the president.  After all, there’s no one in the entire country who could make the case better.  But when I told a friend about this he laughed.

Anyone who says anything like that, he told me, would be seen either as a racist – if he’s white — or an Uncle Tom – if he’s black. So no one, he said, will get any traction with that message.

Unfortunately, he’s right.

Then there’s John McWhorter, a black intellectual with guts, who wrote a piece in Time about the Oklahoma shooting. It ran under the headline: Don’t Ignore Race in Christopher Lane’s Murder.   “[I]t’s just fake to pretend that the association of young black men with violence comes out of thin air,” he writes. “Young black men murder 14 times more than young white men. If the kinds of things I just mentioned were regularly done by whites, it’d be trumpeted as justification for being scared to death of them.”  Black leaders from President Obama on down should take note.

As for the three teenagers in Oklahoma, they’ve all been charged as adults.  They may spend the rest of their lives in prison.  Let’s hope so.

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