Back in March, Microsoft got a bit of free — if unwelcome — publicity when they released the chatbot Tay into the wilds of Twitter. In a matter of hours it picked up some pretty politically incorrect habits; it was shut down promptly thereafter. Microsoft, of course, then did exactly the wrong thing and apologized for the whole episode. For reasons discussed elsewhere, this is always the wrong response to those left-wing schoolmarm scolds who are always quick to condemn the merest hint of ThoughtCrime. This charge-ahead-when-you’re-right attitude is why the name Donald Trump is on everyone’s lips, and why there is every chance he will become the next Leader of the Free World, while Bill Gates — with an order of magnitude more money — most assuredly is not and will not.
But like the innocent child in the Hans Christian Andersen’s tale, Tay was on to something. Of the many things attributed to that chatbot, one phrase sticks in my mind in the wake of recent events: “Race War Now.” In quick succession, we’ve had Micah X. Johnson and Gavin E. Long — two Black veterans of the U.S. armed forces — put their military training to work ambushing mainly White police officers, killing them simply for being mainly White police officers. If that doesn’t count as the beginnings of a race war, what does?
The funny thing is, the hard-core Black Lives Matter folks will look at it the other way: They seem convinced that police officers in general are already singling out Black men simply for being Black men, wantonly inflicting fatal violence upon them out of sheer malice. Targeting police officers, in this view, would not be an act of aggression kicking off a race war, but simply meeting force with force in a war that has already been declared — and therefore a justified response.
This is pernicious gobbledygook, of course, as the story of every recent supposed young Black male martyr whose death has been fully investigated has ended in Narrative Collapse (Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray…). And I must say that the latest candidates — Alton Sterling and Philando Castile — don’t look like very promising saintly martyr material either, with their lengthy police records and, in the latter’s case, an uncanny resemblance to an armed robbery suspect. The police may or may not be trigger-happy, which may or may not be a problem that calls for some sort or reform, and from time to time they may shoot someone without adequate justification… but they certainly aren’t ambushing ordinary Black citizens for the joy of it.
Yet that’s the narrative that’s taken hold, and now we’ve got a race war on our hands. We can thank none other than our brave President Obama, too, for reinforcing this outlook, and for implicitly encouraging these military men to strike back at our police officers. Great job, Mr. President! I’m sure this out-of-control race-baiting will help Hillary loads in November.
But one last question: Now that we have a race war going, who’s side are you on?