When I first heard of the Michael Brown shooting back in August, I knew two things: 1. The media and so-called minority leaders would milk this for all its worth and 2. I would wait to see what evidence would come up over the next few weeks and months. Of course, I also knew that, partially because of #1, a lot of people weren’t going to do #2. What happened next was extraordinarily predictable: A lot of African Americans (though of course not at all) jumped to the conclusion based on headlines that “White cop shoots unarmed black teenager” that this was yet another example of white policemen targeting black males for no reason other than racial hostility. Many non-blacks on the left, in order to show their great racial sensitivity and care for the every-man, joined in this outcry. Any dissent was interpreted as closet racism, even if the dissent was in the form of, “We don’t know what happened yet, just wait for more evidence to come out.” Any African-Americans who disagreed with this general chorus was deemed an “Uncle Tom.”
It is utterly mysterious to me why people cannot wait and have to have some sort of emotional reaction to everything. What is worse is that they cling to this first impression even if evidence comes up that shows that their first response was misplaced or even downright wrong. A great example of this is the Duke lacrosse case. It was a headline that media outlets dream of in order to gain viewership: Rich white boys sexually assault poor black female. An overzealous district attorney saw this as his way to gain votes and knowingly withheld evidence as he proceeded with the case. Minority leaders such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton decried criticism of the girl’s story or character and insinuated that that was racist. A group of Duke professors, the Group of 88, voiced their displeasure in a written document over the whole incident, including one Houston Baker, who blasted athletics and the lacrosse team in particular for being troublemakers who had no accountability. “Racism!” “Class injustice!” “Sexism!” Progressives were primed and ready to use the event as a baseball bat to hammer home their message.