What do we talk about when we talk about race in America?
We begin as if we're talking about all of us, together, as if we're earnest, as if we care about solutions. But it ends up being about what it's always been about:
We talk of what we want and how we want it. We demand that others see things the way we see them. If they don't, we shame them in the hopes of correcting their vision and beating an enemy into the ground.
That's how we hold our conversations about race in America.
We've had them before and we're having one now, mourning the nine poor souls, African-Americans killed in a historic black
If you scanned the news about the horror in the
You've read about the victims' families, Christians, turning the other cheek to forgive the suspect.
But I know you've paid attention, so you've seen something else: The language of factions, of tribes, the use of symbols, code words and assumptions to fix political rivals like insects pinned to a board.
Some Southern whites couldn't help but cling to the Stars and Bars, the battle flag of the Confederacy flying on the grounds of the South Carolina Capitol. Many said it wasn't about race, but tradition. They're wrong. It is about race.
"One hundred and 50 years after the end of the Civil War, the time has come," said
Some African-Americans and most of the Political Left didn't want to consider a lone racist madman pulling a trigger in that church.
They saw what they wanted to see, the racist's connection to other haters on the Internet as evidence of some larger, continuing, organized oppression.
Naturally, the government response historically has been, perversely, a continuation of race-based preferences, or if you prefer, affirmative action, in contracting, hiring and promotion.
Blacks don't see race-based preferences as racism. They see it as fair for making up for what was done in the past.
Yet that's not how many whites see it, particularly those whites who weren't here in America's past. But to speak up -- at least in the corporate, academic and political worlds -- means you could easily be denounced as a racist.
Many bite their lips and seethe rather than commit career suicide.
So what conversations about race in America do we have, really? We talk past each other.
Predictably, liberals relied on their old standby, gun control, securely using the First Amendment to obliterate the Second Amendment.
And with so many taking advantage of the tragedy to push their political agendas,
She used the killings to bludgeon
"The people who do this kind of dastardly, horrible act are a very small percentage," Clinton said about the
"A recent entry into the Republican presidential campaign said some very inflammatory things about Mexicans. Everybody should stand up and say that's not acceptable," Clinton said.
I refuse to defend the ridiculous yet wealthy Mr. Trump, a carnival barker and sideshow geek who belongs on a reality show, not in the Oval Office.
But Mrs. Clinton's eagerness to bundle racial mass-killing with the immigration debate is despicable.
So don't tell me what difference, at this point, does it make. It makes a difference. And it proves my point.
Just how low will some go?
As low as it takes, even if it means reanimating the dead.
In a recent interview about the killings, Obama said that racism continues. "And it's not just a matter of it not being polite to say n----- in public."
West, perhaps concerned he hasn't received enough attention lately, appeared on
West described such a N-word-ized person as a black who is "afraid and scared and intimidated when it comes to putting a spotlight on white supremacy and fighting against white supremacy."
It's clear that Obama, the first African-American president subject to cruel and boorish white racism, is not black enough for cruel and boorish black racists.
Take the blue pill, Professor West. Go back to sleep.
A conversation is about dialogue, an exchange of ideas. But too often when we talk about race in America, we forget about listening. We're about telling.
And that's not conversation. That's a speech.