With its conservative viewpoint, National Review magazine is often the source of controversy.
This time, the hubbub has arisen around an editorial written by Victor Davis Hanson in response to Eric Holder’s comments about the talk that Holder said he was forced to have with his son.
Years ago, some of these same issues drove my father to sit down with me to have a conversation — which is no doubt familiar to many of you — about how as a young black man I should interact with the police, what to say, and how to conduct myself if I was ever stopped or confronted in a way I thought was unwarranted. I’m sure my father felt certain — at the time — that my parents’ generation would be the last that had to worry about such things for their children….
…Trayvon’s death last spring caused me to sit down to have a conversation with my own 15 year old son, like my dad did with me. This was a father-son tradition I hoped would not need to be handed down. But as a father who loves his son and who is more knowing in the ways of the world, I had to do this to protect my boy. I am his father and it is my responsibility, not to burden him with the baggage of eras long gone, but to make him aware of the world he must still confront. This is a sad reality in a nation that is changing for the better in so many ways. (source)
Hanson, who writes a weekly column for the magazine, said that he has had to have a similar second-generation conversation with his son. The difference is, Hanson’s conversation, unlike Holder’s, was seen as racist and offensive. The editorial was entitled “Facing Facts about Race” and bears the tagline, “Young black males are at greater risk from their peers than from the police or white civilians.”
Yet I fear that for every lecture of the sort that Holder is forced to give his son, millions of non-African-Americans are offering their own versions of ensuring safety to their progeny.
In my case, the sermon — aside from constant reminders to judge a man on his merits, not on his class or race — was very precise.
First, let me say that my father was a lifelong Democrat. He had helped to establish a local junior college aimed at providing vocational education for at-risk minorities, and as a hands-on administrator he found himself on some occasions in a physical altercation with a disaffected student. In middle age, he and my mother once were parking their car on a visit to San Francisco when they were suddenly surrounded by several African-American teens. When confronted with their demands, he offered to give the thieves all his cash if they would leave him and my mother alone. Thankfully they took his cash and left.
I think that experience — and others — is why he once advised me, “When you go to San Francisco, be careful if a group of black youths approaches you.” Note what he did not say to me. He did not employ language like “typical black person.” He did not advise extra caution about black women, the elderly, or the very young — or about young Asian Punjabi, or Native American males. In other words, the advice was not about race per se, but instead about the tendency of males of one particular age and race to commit an inordinate amount of violent crime.
It was after some first-hand episodes with young African-American males that I offered a similar lecture to my own son. The advice was born out of experience rather than subjective stereotyping. When I was a graduate student living in East Palo Alto, two adult black males once tried to break through the door of my apartment — while I was in it. On a second occasion, four black males attempted to steal my bicycle — while I was on it. I could cite three more examples that more or less conform to the same apprehensions once expressed by a younger Jesse Jackson. Regrettably, I expect that my son already has his own warnings prepared to pass on to his own future children. (Read the rest of the editorial HERE)
It’s interesting that the media is not offended by Holder’s warnings but Hanson’s are causing a tidal wave of rage and finger-pointing across the mainstream. Have we become so politically correct that it’s acceptable to demonize white people but not black people? Is it only okay to generalize about white people? Why is it race-baiting if white people do it but socially acceptable if black people do it?
If everyone is looking for equality, shouldn’t we all have the same set of rules?
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