Dredging Up the Past

With the current administrators of the Department of Justice promising to beef up its focus on “€œcivil rights”€ complaints, thereby spotlighting pending cases tied to racial grievances, and the call for the return of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights back to the domain of the Left-liberals, along with the potential passage of the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act, what might this country have in store in terms of race relations?

Might there be less racial hostility or more of it?

Do these signs of the times tell us that we are definitely now living in that “post-racial” era prophesized by Barack Obama’s acolytes during the 2008 election? Are we witnessing the “€œend of identity politics”?

Or is it more likely that we can expect more of the same ethnic victimology?

In 2007, bills were introduced into both the House of Representatives and the Senate “€œto provide for the investigation of certain unsolved crimes, and for other purposes.”€ This potential law is called the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act (H.R. 923 and S.535).* The bill’s sponsors, led by Rep. John Lewis, aim to set up an “€œInvestigative Office”€ in the civil rights units of both the Department of Justice and the FBI, granting authority to agents to plow through old alleged crimes that were committed against blacks prior to December 31, 1969, supposedly during what is known as the “€œcivil rights”€ period.

On the one hand, a general statement within the bill claims that said-past crimes had to result in a “€œdeath.”€ On the other hand, the stated purpose in the introduction of the bill says nothing about death, and adds the vague wording, “€œand for other purposes,”€ implying that the law could be used as a catch-all for various kinds of infractions of the law that we cannot conceive of at the moment.

The question is, if these seekers of belated “justice” do not find enough murders to prosecute, will they seek to ferret out half-century old alleged assaults, robberies, larcenies? Might they go back, find an atrocity that had occurred on which a town’s white police force failed to act, and today make that town’s government complicit and hold it accountable? Does the “€œcivil rights”€ period mentioned mean only the recent past, i.e., 1950s through 1960s? The use of the term “€œcivil rights”€ goes back a long way.

If this law is passed, we can expect the country to be subjected to yet more black victimology, as the media grooves on the resurrection of old crimes that can unnecessarily stir up animosities. Of course, it’s only whites who are bound to come out on the short end of the stick. If a hunted suspect of an old crime is found, then what? As with the septuagenarians and octogenarians accused of Nazi war crimes, can we expect the media to delight in sending us images of sick, elderly men, handcuffed and forced to do the perp walk?

So much of the details of such prior events are lost in the mists of time and in dimmed, undependable memories”€”but no matter. There’s bound to be some violent tales of the civil rights out there that can be milked and exploited. During this period when so many crimes committed by blacks against whites are virtually ignored or under-reported by the media, or rationalized away as justifiable, blacks are being primed to dig up crimes from the past and make somebody pay.

There are other questions about this law. Just as Congress gradually extended the power of the EEOC to implement the 1964 Civil Rights Act, inadvertently giving us affirmative action and quotas, so too might the Emmett Till law be modified or reinterpreted, in order to carry out agendas not explicitly cited in the original bill. Just as the Brown vs. Board of Education court decision was “€œmisinterpreted”€ to eventually justify forced busing and the crippling of school systems around the country, so, too, this law, if passed, could bring unexpected consequences.

Might we be looking at a law that opens the door to crafty mischief-makers to plod through a couple of centuries worth of real and imagined “€œcrimes?”€ While whites are urged not to make a fuss about black-on-white crimes, black leaders are gearing up, or as they put it, “€œbeefing up investigations”€ of old crimes against blacks, for what might conceivably be ad infinitum.

* Much of this section is taken from my 2007 essay “Black Crime.”



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