The Magazine

Appeasing the Race Hustlers

A year after the riots, Cincinnati rewards rioters.

Apr 22, 2002, Vol. 7, No. 31 • By HEATHER MAC DONALD
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Cincinnati's politicians should confer authority on men like Jones and Gaines. But contemporary race politics grants authenticity only to incendiary victimologists such as Damon Lynch and Al Sharpton. The costs of this mistake keep mounting. Over the last decade, Cincinnati lost 10 percent of its population, critically eroding its tax base. The "problem in Cincinnati is not that white and black people do not get along, but that white and black people are not sticking around," says former councilman Phil Heimlich. The perception that the city has caved into the rioters will accelerate suburban flight and discourage greater contacts between regional residents and downtown, Heimlich predicts.

Fittingly, Charles Ogletree Jr., the legal director of the reparations campaign and a Harvard law professor, has praised Cincinnati's rioters. Speaking at an NAACP dinner last October, he compared the vandals and assailants to the American revolutionaries of 1776. Ogletree undoubtedly feels an affinity for these blackmailers, and must be taking heart from their victory in Cincinnati. The best way to defuse the reparations movement before it gathers more steam is to start granting equal time to those legions of black Americans who stand up for personal responsibility, hard work, and education as the keys to American success.

Heather Mac Donald is a contributing editor at the Manhattan Institute's City Journal and the author of "The Burden of Bad Ideas: How Modern Intellectuals Misshape Our Society."