"I don't like what George Zimmerman did, and I hate that Trayvon Martin is dead."
If you feel you need to clarify that as a precursor to your commentary, you should probably reconsider what you're writing. Alas, the Washington Post's Richard Cohen did not, and left his audience with yet another racist piece.
His latest column argues that Zimmerman and the public are understandably afraid of young black men. He regards this as an unfortunate truth, but a truth nonetheless, and one that must be recognized to combat the violence problem in the United States. Never mind that statistics show that this "violence problem" has actually been decreasing, even amongst the young black male demographic which Cohen finds so frightening.
No doubt that Cohen thought he was being anti-politically correct, and courageously telling the truth that no one else would share. As he says, "Crime where it intersects with race is given the silent treatment. Everything else is discussed — and if it isn't, there's a Dr. Phil or an Oprah saying that it should be. Crime, though, is different. It is, like sex in the Victorian era (or the 1950s), an unmentionable but unmistakable part of life. We all know about it and take appropriate precaution but keep our mouths shut."
Yet as anyone with a Facebook newsfeed discovered after the verdict was announced in the Zimmerman case, people have had no qualms in voicing such opinions. The intersection of crime with race is discussed all the time.
Cohen's piece is not groundbreaking or brave; it is simply a rehashing of racist views to justify racial profiling. He does this under the guise of concern for gun violence in the United States, but had this sincerely been his motive, he would have thoughtfully explored causes and possible solutions. Instead, he glazes over these issues, just saying, "For want of a better word, the problem is cultural, and it will be solved when the culture, somehow, is changed."
It's pretty clear to which culture he is referring.
On a final note, since Cohen is such a fan of statistics: most of the shootings perpetrated by young black males in New York are part of gang violence or personal disputes. Average citizens therefore have comparatively no need to fear attacks from random black men on the street — public mass shootings actually seem to be more of a white guy thing.
Cohen also fears the hoodie, as it is the uniform of thugs like this one.