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Some Small Victories Over Racial Whinerism

One of the most important challenges facing those who demand respect for law is Racial Whinerism.  This is a subset of General Whinerism, in which the thug victim of adverse social forces purports to show that serious punishment Draconian mean-spiritedness flows from society's refusing to indulge phony excuses understand his difficult childhood.  One favorite item in the inventory of Whinerism Excuses is racism.

Now before any liberals reading this go ballistic, let me say that we all know racism still exists.  We all know it has had an appalling history in this country, including but hardly limited to rampant unpunished murder.  We all know that dramatic steps were needed, and were undertaken, to overcome it.

We also know that the same liberals who understand all that likewise, although very quietly, understand that minority group (mostly black) criminals in this day and time wind up in court for exactly the same reason that whites do:  Greed, wanting to make a fast buck, a quick trigger, severe lack of empathy, dishonesty, refusal to grow up, and me-first thinking.  If you're looking for the "root causes" that people wind up as criminal defendants, I just listed them.  The race in which these characteristics "disproportionately" appear is well known.  It's the human race.   
The idea of Racial Whinerism, beyond its obvious and cynical, if quite loud, enlistment by black defendants, is wonderfully clever, and has proven difficult for those of us on the other side to rebut.  The idea is that, because racism has been a long and ugly fact of American history, the moral confidence America needs to deal unapologetically with crime (or Jihad, for that matter) stands on a shaky footing. 

Only it doesn't.  Our moral confidence  --  and in particular our confidence to be resolute in dealing with terrorists and criminals  --  stands on solid ground.  It goes well beyond that we provide freedom, opportunity and social and economic mobility beyond that found in virtually all of human history.  It goes beyond our efforts, enormous if still incomplete, to drive out racism.  As respects criminal law, it's more specific and basic than that:  It's that our law recognizes only individual, not group, responsibility.  This is the opposite of racism, and it is, in a nutshell, why race isn't going to get you convicted, and shouldn't get you acquitted.  What gets you convicted is evidence of how you behaved, not how you look.

It was thus encouraging, even if only mildly so, that yesterday and today, the Supreme Court decided three cases in which, very broadly speaking, Racial Whinerism lost and looking more carefully at individual facts won.  The cases are the racial preferences case (Fisher v. University of Texas), the Voting Rights Act case (Shelby County v. Holder) and the adoption case (Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl).  In the wake of these decisions, the dead hand of long-ago racial grievance seems to have loosened its grip very slightly.  This is good news for the those of us looking to reduce its influence in debates about criminal law. 

It's especially good news, I might add, because Justice Kennedy was in the majority in all three, and the author in Fisher.  It's probably too much to hope that this betokens a change in his thinking about racially-charged criminal law issues (it didn't in the Fair Sentencing Act case, Dorsey v. United States), but one can always hope.  

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