Afterward it could be seen in various stark guises.
There was Madonna musing about blowing up the Trump White House: “Here hatred was a vanity, a braggadocio meant to signal her innocence of the sort of evil that, in her mind the White House represented.”For others hatred of the nation had become “a self-congratulatory lifestyle”—reflected in New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s recent statement that “America was never that great.” For radical groups such as Black Lives Matter, hatred of America had become “a theme of identity, a display of racial pride.” For campus radicals, it was “a license.” And some leaders of the Left (he specifically cites Representative Maxine Waters here), seemed to view hate as a call to “power itself.” Steele steps back here and seeks to assess where this is coming from.
But he seems particularly anguished about how it harms America’s blacks.
“The menace of black victimization becomes the unarguable truth of the black identity,” he writes.
“The Achilles’ heel of the left,” writes Steele, “has been its dependence on menace for power.” As long as it can raise the call against such things as “systemic racism” and “structural inequality,” it can leverage those evils for power, as it has been doing for half a century. The left has used hate to transform President Trump into a symbol of the new racism, not a flawed president but a systemic evil.
But now a mortal threat to this power formula has come into view: “The left’s unspoken terror is that racism is no longer menacing enough to support its own power.” Hatred is a transformative power. And he must be opposed as one opposes racism, with a scorched-earth absolutism.“It did rescue America from an unsustainable moral illegitimacy,” he writes.It also established “the great menace of racism” as the country’s “most intolerable disgrace.” But now the Left is in crisis because it is running out of menaces to fight.As indicates, the legal debates turn on whether such racial preferences fall afoul of the Equal Protection Clause (and also the Due Process Clause) of the Fourteenth Amendment.But there are also social and psychological arguments about the benefits and harms of affirmative action, both to the broader society and to the presumptive beneficiaries of the practice.It was, wrote Steele, an example of “so many public moments now in which the old weapon of stigmatization shoots blanks.” To bolster her attack, Warren read from a 30-year-old letter by Coretta Scott King on racial justice.Wrote Steele: “There it was with deadly predictability: a white liberal stealing moral authority from a black heroine in order to stigmatize a white male as racist.” Reacting to the aftermath of National Football League players refusing to stand for the national anthem before games, Steele considered the protests “forced and unconvincing…if they were mimicking the courage of earlier black athletes who had protested.” In contrast to those earlier protesters, he wrote, these new ones demonstrated “no real sacrifice, no risk, and no achievement.” Steele welcomed the backlash to that frivolous protest and wondered if white Americans had finally “found the courage” to “judge African-Americans fairly by universal standards.” entry, on Monday, entitled “Why the Left is Consumed With Hate.” The provocative subhead: “Lacking worthy menaces to fight, it is driven to find a replacement for racism. ” Steele opens the piece by noting that hatred had begun to emerge on the American Left even before Trump’s election.A big question that emanates out of what Steele is talking about is what kind of damage all this will wreak on the American republic before it finally dissipates, if indeed it ever does. One of the most vexing questions about American race relations concerns the wisdom and fairness of our programs of affirmative action, practices that, in the name of justice and fairness, give one form or another of preferential treatment to blacks (and other victims of prior discrimination), in order to help them overcome the handicaps incurred as a result of prior injustice and deprivation.What is the effect of affirmative action on racialist attitudes and discrimination?What form of affirmative action does Steele believe will truly contribute to black empowerment and progress?