Shelby Steele Nails It Again

From “The Decline of the Civil-Rights Establishment: Black leaders weren’t so much outraged at injustice as they were by the disregard of their own authority,” by Shelby Steele:

al_sharpton2Today’s black leadership pretty much lives off the fumes of moral authority that linger from its glory days in the 1950s and ’60s. The Zimmerman verdict lets us see this and feel a little embarrassed for them…

This would not be the first time that a movement begun in profound moral clarity, and that achieved greatness, waned away into a parody of itself—not because it was wrong but because it was successful…

In the Zimmerman/Martin case the civil-rights establishment is fighting for the poetic truth that white animus toward blacks is still such that a black teenager—Skittles and ice tea in hand—can be shot dead simply for walking home. But actually this establishment is fighting to maintain its authority to wield poetic truth—the authority to tell the larger society how it must think about blacks, how it must respond to them, what it owes them and, then, to brook no argument…

And here, precisely at the point of this verdict, is where all of America begins to see this hollowed-out civil-rights establishment slip into pathos. Almost everyone saw this verdict coming. It is impossible to see how this jury could have applied the actual law to this body of evidence and come up with a different conclusion. The civil-rights establishment’s mistake was to get ahead of itself, to be seduced by its own poetic truth even when there was no evidence to support it…

One wants to scream at all those outraged at the Zimmerman verdict: Where is your outrage over the collapse of the black family? Today’s civil-rights leaders swat at mosquitoes like Zimmerman when they have gorillas on their back. Seventy-three percent of all black children are born without fathers married to their mothers. And you want to bring the nation to a standstill over George Zimmerman?

If there is anything good to be drawn from the Zimmerman/Martin tragedy, it is only the further revelation of the corruption and irrelevance of today’s civil-rights leadership.

Read it all here.

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