It turns out that Barack Obama might have been on to something with his bitterness speech. In case you’ve forgotten, he said:
You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, a lot of them — like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they’ve gone through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. So it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, and they cling to guns, or religion, or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them, or anti-immigrant sentiment, or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.
Where Obama got it wrong was that he focused on the wrong bitter people. Down in Los Angeles, in the gun-ridden, crime-ridden, gang-ridden communities that taught that sprawling City, people are indeed getting increasingly bitter, although it’s a liberal government’s refusal to enforce the law that’s raising their ire:
When Jamiel Shaw Sr. stood up last week to call for a change in Special Order 40, it touched an already raw nerve in the black community. Shaw’s son, 17-year-old star football player Jamiel Shaw II, was gunned down within shouting distance of his house. The suspect, 19-year-old Pedro Espinoza, is an alleged gang member and an illegal immigrant. Special Order 40 has prevented law enforcement from probing the immigration status of some suspects and deporting criminals with dispatch. Even if Special Order 40 were modified, there’s no guarantee that Jamiel would still be alive, but to a community convinced that Latino-on-black racial violence is on the upswing, it’s still a matter of simple justice.
And that’s true despite the statistics Police Chief William Bratton (seconded by the Los Angeles Times) piled on the public table in recent weeks, numbers that back up the claim that, with the exception of young Shaw and a handful of other cases, the majority of the killings of blacks are by other blacks, not Latinos. That won’t ease black fears that some Latino gangs are bent on wiping them out.
The author of the above op-ed goes on to say that African-Americans are right to feel that this is all a racist thing, with the Hispanics trying to kill them because they’re black and the City government ignoring them because they’re black. As to the first point, when one considers that gang warfare has been a fixture of American urban life practically since there were American urbs, I doubt that’s the case. That is, the Hispanic gang members are gunning blacks down, not because they’re black, but simply because they’re the other gang, and this is a pure turf battle.
I also doubt that there is racism in the City’s response. Instead, I suspect the City’s unwillingness to acknowledge black concerns this has more to do with a City wedded to a stupid liberal policy that makes it a haven for illegal immigrants (because liberals know that “no person is illegal.”) To me, this snotty liberal attitude is evidenced by the fact that Bratton assured blacks that the policy is not a problem, since blacks are killing each other faster than Hispanics can. In other words, what you’re seeing here isn’t racism run amok; it’s liberal politics and identity politics run amok.
In any event, I think the African-Americans in LA have the perfect right to be bitter that the City of Los Angeles does nothing about an influx of criminals into their communities, criminals who should be deported instantly before they get guns in their hands and victims in their sights.