In recent days, here for example, I have criticized the reigning theory of Political Correctness. The theory takes root in what is called "white privilege." The main idea, in the abstract at least, is that white males have spent almost all of American history pushing everyone else around. The result is that women, minorities and, most recently, (domestically) smaller religions such as Islam have suffered discrimination.
The criminal law implications of this theory are clear and important. One specific manifestation is the argument that crack cocaine offenses, committed disproportionately by blacks, have been penalized with excessive harshness borne of racism. Another is that our reaction to Jihadist attacks, on 9-11 and in Ft. Hood and at the Boston Marathon, has unfairly targeted the huge majority of American Muslims who, like everyone else, want only to live in peace and safety. Thus we need to be, uh, careful about what we say.
The most ambitious goal of Political Correctness as applied to criminal law goes a great deal farther, however. It is, by ginning up guilt, to erode the moral confidence we need to remain resolute in dealing with violent and dangerous people, whatever their race or religion. It is in no way to dismiss or diminish the cruel abuses of Jim Crow or of religious bigotry to understand that it is no favor to minorities to be timid in confronting crime -- crime that, it should be noted, disproportionately and grievously injures them.
But the PC crowd is in a sense correct in pointing out that white males have shoved their way to the front of the line. Today, June 6, is an apt occasion to remember yet another place where they are over-represented.