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Insisting that the police be better — and they can always be better — is all well and good, if you aren’t under the mistaken impression that the biggest problem black Americans face is their treatment by the police. Because that isn’t even close.
No, the biggest problem black Americans face is that they’ve been told for too long that they’re victims of institutional racism and that none of their personal choices will change that. And, believing that, too many black Americans have sensibly enough decided that there’s no point in participating in an American experience that they’ve been convinced is rigged against them. And so they’ve been cheated out of prosperity and success by people who pretend to be their allies, who pretend to have their backs, and to have their welfare at heart, but who really just want their votes.
The current protests are a very costly distraction and worse than meaningless. They’re part of the lie that’s sold to black Americans every day, part of the fiction that ours is an oppressor country that wants black Americans to fail and suffer. That lie is a self-fulfilling prophecy because it sets black Americans up for failure by encouraging them to drop out of the American experience that they have every right and ability to enjoy.
So yes, the peaceful protesters may have their hearts in the right place, but they’re fighting the wrong battle, duped by those who find it much more useful to sell a tale of oppression and injustice than to embrace our shared heritage of opportunity and success. The problem isn’t the police. The problem is that black Americans have been told that they shouldn’t participate because they can’t win, and have been saddled with institutions and policies that leave them weaker and less able to achieve what they could achieve on their own.