[Continuing our series on deception in politics and public policy.]
It’s one of the ideas that Donald Trump gets wrong: He thinks of Political Correctness as an effort to avoid giving offense, one that is taken to such an extreme that it stifles debate. Yes, many people use the term in that sense, but that’s a watering-down of the original concept.
Political Correctness in not an extreme avoidance of offense; it is a form of deception. That’s the type of Political Correctness that today dominates politics, the academic world, and the news and entertainment media.
The term has its origin among Communists, who believed that truth was whatever served the cause of the party and its patron, the Soviet Union. Pravda— Правда, Truth—was, you may recall, the name of the Communist Party’s official newspaper in the Soviet Union. Everyone knew the paper was full of lies, yet, in the Communist sense, it was indeed truthful. It told the tales that advanced The Cause. (In the Islamic world, there’s a similar concept called taqiyya, under which deception is justified if it has a holy purpose such as bamboozling the infidels.)
Today, many people use the term ironically, arching their eyebrows when they say it or marking its use with air-quotes. The Communists didn’t mean it ironically.
Today, Political Correctness is the quote-truth-unquote that advances the cause of the Left.
On an utterly related note, there was more violence in Ferguson, Missouri overnight. Perhaps you saw the news accounts.
- The Wall Street Journal (http://www.wsj.com/articles/shots-fired-during-ferguson-protest-1439182161 ):
Man in Critical Condition After Alleged Shootout With Police in Ferguson
Shooting happened after mostly peaceful protest marking one-year anniversary of death of unarmed black 18-year-old Michael Brown
. . . The shooting happened after mostly peaceful protests to mark the one-year anniversary of the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old shot and killed by a white Ferguson police officer. Darren Wilson.
- USA Today (http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/08/10/ferguson-protest-shooting/31397841 )
. . . The protesters were gathered for the first anniversary of the shooting that rocked the nation and shone a spotlight on race relations in America.
Brown, 18, was unarmed when Darren Wilson pulled up in a cruiser and told Brown and a friend not to walk in the street. An argument ensued, spilling into a physical confrontation. Wilson said Brown attempted to take Wilson’s gun. Moments later Brown was fatally shot. Months of sometimes violent protests followed.
A grand jury and the Justice Department cleared Wilson of wrongdoing.
- The Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/08/10/shots-fired-during-protests-in-ferguson-mo-reports-say/ ):
FERGUSON, Mo. — A man was shot and critically injured by police here following a spasm of gunfire Sunday night, exactly one year to the day after Michael Brown’s death. The late-night shooting was a violent coda to a mostly peaceful day of protests and vigils marking the anniversary of the fatal shooting of Brown, an unarmed black teenager, by a white Ferguson police officer. . . .
The tension in the streets that preceded the shootout came after a day of peaceful demonstration, during which hundreds had gathered for vigils and silent marches in honor of Brown, the 18-year-old whose death last year sparked a national movement focused on police interactions with African Americans.
- The New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/11/us/shooting-ferguson-michael-brown.html ):
FERGUSON, Mo. —A man shot and wounded by St. Louis County police officers here remained in critical condition Monday as Ferguson braced for a day anticipated to be filled with continuing protests commemorating the killing of Michael Brown, a black teenager, by a white officer a year ago. . . .
The flashes of violence signaled a cruel end to a day that in many ways had seemed festive and hopeful, with activists from across the country descending on Ferguson to push for changes in the police treatment of blacks. Under the humid daylight, people spoke with renewed vigor of the movement that was started after Mr. Brown, 18, was shot and killed here by Darren Wilson, a white police officer.
- CNN (http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/10/us/ferguson-protests/ ):
A day of peaceful vigils to mark the one-year anniversary of Michael Brown’s shooting death turned ugly late Sunday when protesters threw rocks and bottles at officers, and police critically injured a man who they say fired at them. . . .
The details of what happened on August 9, 2014, and the days of protest that followed have become a polarizing topic in Ferguson and America as a whole.
Brown’s killing by Officer Darren Wilson sparked outrage and protests nationwide against what some described as racial bias by the police.
A grand jury didn’t indict Wilson, and the U.S. Justice Department also declined to bring criminal charges, but the feds did issue a report that found the Ferguson Police Department and the city’s municipal court had engaged in a “pattern and practice” of discrimination against African-Americans, targeting them disproportionately for traffic stops, use of force and jail sentences.
Brown’s killing sparked weeks of protests that at times intensified into street fires and looting of businesses. Police fired tear gas in response, sparking more tensions.
National Public Radio, the government-funded propaganda outlet, reported (http://www.npr.org/sections/I-way/2015/08/09/430760774/a-year-after-ferguson-obama-tells-npr-he-feels-great-urgency ):
A year after Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old, was fatally shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., sparking weeks of often violent protests in the city, the country is still struggling to deal with the issues the shooting, and others like it, have brought to the fore.
. . . In the Aug. 10 issue of The New Yorker, Officer Darren Wilson speaks out on the incident for the first time since November, when a grand jury declined to indict him in the shooting. Wilson says he has never read the Justice Department report that was issued in March, which found his actions are not “prosecutable violations” but nonetheless pointed to practices within the Ferguson Police Department that “both reflect and exacerbate existing racial bias, including racial stereotypes.”
Where’s the story of what actually happened that day?
Read a few dozen newspaper stories about the anniversary of the Ferguson incident or watch or listen to a few dozen stories in the broadcast media on the topic, as I have, and, if your experience is like mine, you won’t find any indication that Brown was in the wrong.
Michael Brown robbed a convenience store, roughing up an Indian-American clerk less than half his size. Within 10 minutes, a police officer spotted him, and, when the police officer confronted him, Brown, who weighed almost 300 pounds, attempted to take the officer’s gun. During the struggle, the gun went off in the police car. Brown ran away, but turned and charged the officer, who said later that he feared for his life—a very reasonable fear, given Brown’s size and the fact that about 10 percent of police officers who are shot to death are killed with their own guns.
Excluding witnesses whose stories changed or whose stories were contradicted by the physical evidence, every single witness backed up the officer’s account of the incident. (Witnesses were African-American or “bi-racial.”) The police officer’s innocence was confirmed in a report issued by the Obama administration’s Department of Justice. Nevertheless, the officer, whose wife was pregnant, lost his job.
From the beginning, the Obama administration attempted to shape the story to its own ends. The Justice Department tried to block release of the tape showing Brown committing the robbery, presumably to preserve the myth that he was just a gentle soul minding his own business when the officer confronted him. The administration sent three White House representatives to Brown’s funeral, and sent Justice Department community relations staffers to Ferguson where they blamed the incident on “white privilege.” Racist hate-preacher Al Sharpton, whom Politico (http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/08/al-sharpton-obama-race-110249.html) called “Obama’s go-to man on race,” was sent there to organize the protests. Yet, in the end, even the Obama administration had to admit that the officer was innocent—or, as NPR propaganda put it, “found that his actions were not ‘prosecutable violations.’” (How’s that for a euphemism?)
Wilson, it was reported by The New Yorker, attempted to get his job back after he was found to be innocent, but was told that he would constitute a danger to other officers, and worked at a boot store for two weeks, but quit because reporters had tracked him down and were calling the store.
Business Insider reported on the fate of Officer Wilson (http://www.businessinsider.com/what-life-is-like-for-darren-wilson-after-ferguson-shooting-2015-8 ):
That cop, Darren Wilson, has gotten thousands of letters from supporters including cops, but he can’t find work as a police officer and lives in a house where his name isn’t on the deed.
Despite the civil unrest that occurred in Ferguson after his acquittal, Wilson still contends what happened was “not a race issue.” . . .
Wilson shot Brown in August last year after stopping him and a friend for walking in the street. Wilson claims he shot Brown in self-defense. He told investigators there was an altercation in his police vehicle and Brown grabbed his gun. However, other witnesses have told a different story and said Brown had his hands up in a sign of surrender and was running away when he was shot.
Note the smarmy effort to suggest without logical basis that somehow Wilson got what he deserved. “Despite the civil unrest that occurred in Ferguson after his acquittal, Wilson still contends what happened was ‘not a race issue.’”—as if the ensuing violence somehow made a liar out of Wilson. “However, other witnesses have told a different story and said Brown had his hands up in a sign of surrender and was running away when he was shot”—as if those witnesses hadn’t turned out to be liars. (The original source for that story was Dorian Johnson, Brown’s accomplice in the robbery, who ran away during the struggle over the gun and didn’t see the fatal shooting, and who didn’t come up with the hands-up-don’t-shoot story until later, apparently after conferring with members of Brown’s family.)
Of course, if you follow the so-called “mainstream media”—the news media dominated by extremists, kooks, and morons—you know that the real story is of poor Michael Brown, not that policeman who, while risking his life to protect the people of Ferguson, encountered the robber Michael Brown. No, Darren Wilson deserves the fate of George Zimmerman, that guy who, it turned out, defended himself in a potentially deadly case of (mistaken) gay bashing.
Michael Brown’s father: ‘I think of him every single day’
[Large photo of Michael Brown in a cap-and-gown]
Ferguson, Missouri (CNN) Michael Brown Sr. steps out of a white Yukon at the Top Notch Barber and Beauty salon on Chambers Road. He’s here for his weekly trim.
Everyone knows him, including the customers, and even if they didn’t, they’d recognize him instantly. He cuts an imposing figure, tall like the 6-foot-4 son whose death propelled him unwittingly into the headlines. . . .
Michael Brown Sr. has not cut his beard since the day his son died in Ferguson, August 9, 2014. This is a photograph from late April. Recently, he said he would cut it when he sees signs of justice.
. . . Last month, Michael Brown Sr. visited his barber – but not to have his beard cut.
“My strength is in my beard,” Brown says. “It’s almost 1 year old.”
He stopped cutting it on August 9, 2014 – the day his son died.
“Every strand of hair means something,” he says, settling into the barber’s chair.
. . . The question takes Brown back to that August day when it was hot and sticky as it is this evening, the haze so thick that the air-conditioning vents are blowing puffy clouds. . . . He was there for four hours and 32 minutes [at the crime scene] before the sheet was lifted and he saw his son, and what he did not want to believe was confirmed. His 18-year-old boy, named after him, had been shot dead by Darren Wilson, a white police officer in Ferguson.
One year later, Brown utters the same words he uttered then: “I should have been there to protect him.”
Michael Brown was just 18 when he was killed.
. . . No more jokes. No more smiles. No more tussling with his big, burly son. No more talk of the future.
That’s how every day has been since. Empty.
Empty through the months of anguish and protest and violence in Ferguson, through a grand jury decision not to indict Wilson, a scathing Department of Justice investigation report and the deaths of other black men across America. Empty as he led marchers on the streets and watched a movement blossom around the memory of his son.
He is thankful his son’s death was not in vain, that Mike launched a discussion for the ages that perhaps will lead to the change he thinks is needed in America. Perhaps one day, black parents won’t have to have difficult talks with their sons – like he did – about how to behave in front of police.
. . . As vocal as he has been in the year since his son was killed, he tells me there are lots of things he can’t say. Things that stem from the anger and sorrow.
“Everything I can’t say is here,” he says, grabbing his beard with his right hand.
He’ll cut it, he says, when he sees signs of justice. His prediction: That his beard will grow longer.
I have written about the many abuses that African-Americans suffered at the hands of racist policemen in the past century and a half, from the framing of black men for crimes in order to enslave them as prison labor, to the acts of “Itchy Trigger Finger” Nash, an Atlanta cop honored by the Ku Klux Klan for killing blacks. And I had a great-uncle who, when I was a child, was killed in a shootout with police. I do not treat lightly people’s fears and concerns about police abuse. I have great sympathy for Michael Brown Sr.; I certainly don’t look down on a father for mourning his son and attempting somehow to find meaning and hope in his young son’s death. I don’t blame him for any of this.
For the latest violence, I blame those who shot at the police, of course, and I blame the activists who spread the lies that created a cycle of hate and revenge in Ferguson.
I blame the people in the news media who are too cowardly to deal with the truth of Ferguson—and who, by refusing to call out the liars, instill in many young African-American men a level of fear and a sense of victimhood that will handicap them throughout their lives.
Oh, and here’s the level of discourse among many of the Ferguson protesters: a roasted pig representing the innocent cop, Darren Wilson. (See Wilson’s name scrawled on the side.)
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