While I probably should have a strong opinion about the Trayvon Martin-Zimmerman verdict, I’m coming up short. I barely paid attention. Steve Sailer, who watches such things, pointed to media clues that a non-guilty verdict was coming–especially the Times‘ hand-wringing that “race” wasn’t a part of the trial. And so it happened. Last summer I had feared (pointlessly) that the verdict would come just before the election, provoke riots, and lead to a Romney victory (and a war with Iran). Fred Reed, a smart guy and TAC contributor who used to be a DC police reporter, predicted riots more recently. But Fred hasn’t lived here since the ’90s (he’s an expat in Mexico, and invariably speaks highly of the place), and I think he’s out of date. We can hear and mouth ritualistic evocations of Emmett Till till the cows come home and continuous media intimations that “race” underscores everything in American society. But that’s an exaggeration, once at least arguably true, less and less so with each passing year.
I’ll go out on limb—there won’t be large riots; America’s black communities are not, generally speaking, dry tinderboxes of racial resentment. The people who might want to provoke or lead riots way are less influential in black America than during the ’90s or ’60s or any other time when there were riots. Problems in black America are legion, as black leaders know better than anyone—but there are fewer people who want to blame racism for everything. Obama’s election has made a difference—one being there now seems to be, proportionally, a far higher percentage of highly agitated “race men” among conservative Republicans than there are among left-leaning blacks. But the conservative Republicans won’t riot either.