The Ignorance of Shelby Steele

When it comes to stupid, ignorant, and completely clueless, there are so many pundits and academics and flim-flam artists to choose from. In the academic world, you have your Victor Davis Hansons and your various think tank academics who skew to the margins and don't seem to live amongst regular folk. Shelby Steele is angling for that crowd, and is trying to present himself as a man who doesn't understand anything about America or American society.

He must live in a tower made of ivory, and he must lower these missives down to the scum that edits his columns on a rope made of silk. Documenting his atrocities against common sense and decency would eat up the entire day. 

1. The hoodie is not a "costume of menace." The hockey mask is the costume of menace, and the hoodie is what millions of law-abiding Americans wear every day. A few law-abiding people wear hockey masks, but not the ones swinging machetes while covered in pig blood.

2. "Here is the rub" means something is an "irritant." I did not know having dark skin was an irritant.

3. Steele switches from "hoodie" to "hood" because "hood" has a second connotation, that of the hoods worn by the Ku Klux Klan. Steele hits that several times, reinforcing this image in the mind of the reader for psychological reasons, adding the fact that an overwhelming number of blacks are in prison as an aside. Really, was that a slip? A mistake? Someone should have caught that and taken it out because it is an unfortunate and clueless thing to equate a 17 year old boy with someone who wears a "costume of menace" and a "hood." Really? This is the not-too-subtle way in which Steele equates Trayvon Martin with a hooded, beastly criminal. Uh, what the hell? Martin is not the one with the criminal record. Martin is not the one who assaulted a police officer. Martin is not the one who assaulted a woman. Martin is not the one who had a restraining order taken out against him by a woman. George Zimmerman is the stalking, law-enforcement attacking assailant who had a gun.

4. Polo shirt with an alligator logo? Really, is it 1988? Thus we see how disconnected Steele is from current culture. Even though this was Florida, it was February. The hoodie makes sense. The Izod shirt most emphatically does not.

5. Two young males? Bullshit. George Zimmerman was a man in his late twenties who has failed at everything he has ever tried. He is a failure as a security guard and he is a failed candidate to be a police officer. He is a violent failure with a criminal record. Trayvon Martin was a boy of 17, physically a man but still too young to vote in the United States of America. To equate them is intellectually dishonest.

6. Trayvon "apparently got the drop?" Bull fucking shit. Trayvon was stalked. George Zimmerman was told not to pursue Martin but he did it anyway because "they always get away." He had no knowledge that a crime was being committed but he, as an amateur neighborhood watch person, took it upon himself to stalk Martin. While screaming for help, Trayvon Martin was shot by George Zimmerman. How the hell does a young man screaming for help and about to be shot "get the drop" on someone?

Just those six things--and there are more, trust me--are enough to reduce me to despair. But there's more. And these things I cannot leave out. They are breathtakingly ignorant and unctious:

If that doesn't make your head spin, nothing will. "Stubborn nostalgia for America's racist past?" Holy mother of God. And then, to follow that up by impugning the honor of the people who certainly hold no nostalgia for terror, beatings, dogs, water cannons, shootings, burnings and fear unrestrained is one of the most tragically ignorant utterances you will ever read. This is just unbelievable. Jesse Jackson may be a lot of things, but I doubt he sits around waxing nostalgic for the days when he or his family could have been murdered at the drop of a hat. And, as if it needs to be said, thank God for the Civil Rights movement, and the whites and the liberals and the college kids and the brave people who stood up to hate. Thank God for them.

Okay, one more.

That may be true, in some deranged way, but I would tend to think that black teenagers today are more afraid of guns being pointed at them than anything else, and those guns can be held by cops, parents, adults, or other teens. This trivializes the fear they have, and the fear that their parents have.

The real fear in America is that my child is going to be murdered for no good reason. When it comes right down to it, Trayvon Martin was murdered for no good reason. Shelby Steele's ignorance casts shadows on something that should be as clear as daylight.