In the important City Journal column “A window into a depraved culture,” Heather Mac Donald turns to the kidnapping and torture of the disabled white man by four black men and women in Chicago last week. Heather may be our foremost public intellectual on current controversies involving race and crime. Everything Heather writes on the subject is must reading, yet this column merits special attention.
What is the cultural context of this heinous crime? Heather places it in the setting created by Black Lives Matter. Heather also takes up — for the first time, I believe — the celebrated books of Ta-Nehesi Coates, author of the National Book Award winner Between the World and Me, and Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow.
These influential books are key manifestos of the Obama era. As for Obama himself, Heather observes, “President Obama has insisted, even up to his last days in office, that blacks are the victims of a racist criminal-justice system. The press routinely disseminates phony statistics that purport to demonstrate a police war on blacks. These ideas matter.” Richard Weaver put it this way: Ideas have consequences.
We move ever more deeply into the cultural and intellectual sewer that feeds our racial controversies. Coates and Alexander are influential contributors to it. President Obama champions it. Heather’s column begins the long job of remediation.
A PERSONAL NOTE: I wrote about Coates’s book for City Journal in “An updated racial hustle.” Drawing on Heather’s work, I wrote about Michelle Alexander’s book on Power Line in “Deep secrets of racial profiling (4).”