from Kevin Williamson in National Review, Black Lives Matter


The reality is this: Black men, especially young black men, die violent deaths at appalling rates in these United States. But they do not die very often at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan, thugs reminiscent of characters from American History X, police officers of any race or motivation, lynch mobs, the Koch brothers, Karl Rove, Walmart, the Tea Party, Goldman Sachs, carbon dioxide, or any other bogeyman currently in vogue among so-called progressives. As Giuliani noted, blacks die violent deaths almost exclusively at the hands of black criminals. But attempting to accommodate that reality in any serious way does not pay any political dividends for the Left. It does not put any money in Jesse Jackson’s pockets or create any full-time jobs for graduates of grievance-studies programs.

And thus we have the very peculiar situation in which “Black Lives Matter!” but black perpetrators don’t. Only white perpetrators matter. And if, as in the case of George Zimmerman, they are not exactly white, then they can be declared white by the New York Times. Only white perpetrators matter to the people behind the Ferguson protests because only white perpetrators are politically useful.

The overwhelming majority of violent deaths suffered by black Americans are the result of simple crime, and crime is, as an issue, of no use to the Left. But when a black man dies at the hands of a white man — especially a white police officer — then that breathes life into the ghost of “white supremacy,” the infinitely malleable, endlessly useful set of imperial robes detectable only by the finest sensibilities on MSNBC. Actual white supremacists represent a dwindling and (metaphorically and, more often than you might expect, literally) toothless tendency restricted mostly to hillbilly precincts and anonymous Internet cowards. But if one already wants to boycott Walmart, and a white cop shoots a young black man, then — abracadabra! — the Left is boycotting Walmart because of . . . white supremacy, or something. Agitating for a $40 minimum wage? “Justice for Mike Brown!” Looking for even more generous solar-power subsidies? “Justice for Mike Brown!” Anointing AFL-CIO boss Richard Trumka president-for-life? “Mike Brown would have wanted it that way!”

If you believe that black lives matter, then you should be working for school reform, economic growth, and — yes — more effective law-enforcement and crime-prevention measures to protect black communities, which suffer an enormously disproportionate share of crime and violence. Never mind the stagecraft: That’s what you actually do if you think black lives matter.

And the drama that’s going on in Ferguson right now? That’s what you do if you think black lives are merely useful to you — and, in the end, expendable.