There are few things more patronizing than telling black people what they really should be worried about, and the Wall Street Journal's Jason Riley demonstrates this with uncommon clarity today:
The nation's unemployment rate is 9.6%, but it is 16.1% for blacks and an unconscionable 41% for black teens. Politicians continue to promote minimum-wage hikes that harm the job prospects of younger and less-skilled individuals, a disproportionate number of whom are black. Wal-Mart's attempts to open a store that would bring jobs and low-price goods to a depressed neighborhood in Brooklyn, N.Y., have been thwarted repeatedly by labor unions. And the NAACP is issuing studies on the tea party movement?
I'd buy Riley's argument a bit more if he simply argued or even presented evidence that the NAACP is wrong to be concerned, as it is, that the movement gives a "platform to anti-Semites, racists and bigots." Instead Riley dismisses the NAACP's report on the movement as a "smear" and moves to telling the organization what it should really be concerned about.
I know: Jason Riley is black, so of course this whole line of argument can't be patronizing, right? Maybe. But Riley's real purposes seem to be given away in his final paragraph.
It's hard to understand how an organization that says it's devoted to "end[ing] racial disparities" finds the time to rail against tea-party populism until you grasp that the NAACP is, first and foremost, a Democratic Party organ. The NAACP is pretending that the tea party threatens the interests of blacks because the tea party in fact threatens the interests of the Democratic left.
Remember, though, this critique is coming on the Wall Street Journal editorial page -- which is, first and foremost, a Republican Party organ. Kind of like the Tea Party movement itself. Which maybe is why it doesn't try to refute the NAACP's concerns about Tea Party racism and devotes its pages, instead, to what African-American organization should really be concerned about.