“It’s a terrible idea to go looking for incidents where the killers are black and the victims are white and to exploit them in what seems like an effort to undo the distortions. I saw this happening earlier this week over the Christopher Lane murder, I labeled it “counter-Trayvonistic,” which was a too-subtle way to say: Don’t fight skewing with skewing in the opposite direction….Trayvon Martin — an individual human being — was used by demagogues to score points about the suffering of black people in America, but this is not a game, and it is delusion to imagine that there is a need to score points on some imagined other side. This is not a game. There is no score. And we are all on the same side.”
—–Law prof/ blogger Ann Althouse, reacting to the effort in conservative circles to assert that recent high-profile black-on-white incidents of violent crime were racially motivated, as a “tit-for-tat” response to the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman distortions.
Prof Althouse is exactly right. Tit-for-tat is always an unethical and ultimately destructive response, abandoning the moral high ground and lowering ethical standards so that the good guys and villains are indistinguishable. In this case, it is especially wrong-headed, because the tactic also exacerbates the racial divisions that the Martin-Zimmerman lies and misrepresentations were cynically designed (by some, at least) to widen.
Althouse goes on to say,
“To paraphrase the Chief Justice: The way to stop skewing public opinion based on race is to stop skewing public opinion based on race. To stir hearts counter-Trayvonistically is to nurture feelings that white people are oppressed by black people. This alternative to colorblindness is profoundly stupid. 1. It abandons the easy to express, principled position that many people perceive as the high ground. 2. It steps into the arena of taking account of race, where the left liberals would love to take you on. And 3. It gives air to the white supremacists among us. These people have been outcasts for a long time, but they exist, perhaps not quite yet recognizing what they are.”
“Counter-Trayvonistically might be the most awkward adverb I’ve ever read in my life, but her point is wise and ethical. I hope it prevails.