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‘White Nationalism’ Isn’t American Minorities’ Biggest Problem

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‘White Nationalism’ Isn’t American Minorities’ Biggest Problem

The Wall Street Journal February 23, 2021
OtherMiscellaneousCulture & Society

Racial paranoia and taboos feed crime against Asians and black distrust of Covid-19 vaccinations.

“End the violence toward Asians,” said the promotional fliers. “Let’s unite against white nationalism.”

Demonstrators gathered in New York on Saturday in the wake of a spate of unprovoked violent attacks on Asian-Americans. Earlier this month, Noel Quintana, a 61-year-old native of Manila, was slashed in the face with a box cutter while commuting to work on a crowded subway car. He survived but required about 100 stitches to close his wounds. Other victims have been less fortunate.

In Milwaukee last September, a 36-year-old Hmong American named Ee Lee was sexually assaulted in a city park and died at a hospital from “blunt force trauma to her head.” The suspects fled on bicycles.

In San Francisco last month, Vicha Ratanapakdee, 84 and originally from Thailand, was on his regular morning walk when a passerby knocked him to the ground and ran away. Ratanapakdee died from his injuries a few days later. Across the Bay, in Oakland’s Chinatown, police have documented an uptick in assaults, particularly on the elderly. On Jan. 31, a man was caught on camera in separate incidents approaching a 91-year-old man and 55-year-old woman from behind and shoving them to the pavement. The woman lost consciousness.

“It’s not unique to Chinatown or to the Asian community, the increase in crime we’ve seen across the city and across the county,” said the district attorney for Alameda County, which includes Oakland, at a news conference earlier this month. “But we have seen in the last several weeks and month a very specific increase in crimes committed against Asians.”

Some have attributed these attacks to the previous administration’s coronavirus rhetoric, while others see them as part of a broader increase in crime rates during the pandemic. Maybe it’s both. What’s harder to demonstrate is that these attacks stem from a rise in “white nationalism,” as that New York flier claims. Despite efforts to shoehorn such incidents into the left’s favorite political narrative, all the suspects in the attacks described above are black. There have been white-supremacist attacks on Asians, such as the 2012 shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, which killed six. But are white nationalists responsible for blacks committing crimes against Asians?

Liberals continue to pretend that racism and prejudice are one-way streets—that only whites can be perpetrators, while blacks can only be victims. But criminals and victims come in all colors. Surveillance cameras have caught young black men playing the so-called knockout game, which involves sucker-punching random white pedestrians for amusement. And federal data have long shown that while in most cases the victim and perpetrator of a violent crime are of the same race, black-on-white violent-crime rates far exceed the reverse scenario.

Liberals skirt these plain truths out of a belief that it helps them politically, and perhaps it does. Racial paranoia helps civil-rights activists raise money, and it helps Democrats get elected by scaring black voters to the polls. But it also comes with a downside for blacks: It undermines trust in American institutions and society.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of Feb. 16, blacks were only 6% of Covid-19 vaccine recipients, even though they are 13% of the U.S. population. “Across the 34 states reporting data on vaccinations by race/ethnicity, there is a largely consistent pattern of Black and Hispanic people receiving smaller shares of vaccinations compared to their shares of cases and deaths and compared to their shares of the total population,” explains an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Some point to a general and longstanding lack of trust in government among many blacks. Often invoked is the infamous Tuskegee experiment begun in the 1930s, in which black men were promised but never given treatment for syphilis. But my creeping suspicion is that something more sinister has taken place. 

In recent years, and at a much louder volume than before, black Americans have been encouraged by liberal elites to hate their country and to distrust others based on race and ethnicity. This is the message that undergirds everything from the New York Times’s “1619 Project” to workplace “diversity” training and critical race theory. Now it’s working to undermine public health. Blacks aren’t going to fight the virus any differently than other groups. We’re in this together, and the newfangled racial separatism that now operates under the guise of wokeness does no one any good, especially black Americans.

This piece originally appeared at The Wall Street Journal (paywall)


Jason L. Riley is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a columnist at The Wall Street Journal, and a Fox News commentator. Follow him on Twitter here.

Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images