I have long thought that all Americans would benefit from the establishment of better race relations in our country.  I still believe this, but with a small caveat.  There are some Americans who stand to lose if race relations improve.  Notable members of this group include Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. Unfortunately, there are many others.  Jackson, Sharpton, and crowd stand to lose because they are race hustlers. A race hustler is someone who exploits a racial situation for his own self-interest.  Synonyms for race hustler include manipulator, opportunist, user, and cynic. The mainstream media—race hustlers themselves—do more than aid and abet racial hustlers, they empower them.  What they should do is ignore them.

It is a sad commentary that prominent people posing as leaders would purposefully encourage, promote, and foment racial tension.  It is an even sadder commentary that organizations ostensibly established to improve conditions for black Americans—organizations such as the NAACP—endorse and support race hustlers.  But when your wallet and your relevance depend on disharmony among the races, better race relations are the last thing you want—particularly if you are a self-serving charlatan with no conscience, no morals, and no good will in your heart.

Perhaps the saddest thing about the concept of race hustling is that purveyors of the practice actually hurt the very people they claim to represent.  For example, I was no fan of Trayvon Martin but I felt a twinge of sadness for his parents the minute Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton inserted themselves into the debate over his death.  The minute they appeared on camera, the credibility of Martin’s parents and their cause went through the floor.  What is even worse is that race hustlers don’t even care about the plight of grieving parents such as Trayvon Martin’s mother.  To them she and her dead son represented nothing more than an  opportunity to foment the kind of racial strife that keeps them relevant and keeps the dollars flowing in their direction.

This is how the OP-ED page of the Los Angeles Times (September 18th) responded to the victimhood message and charges of white bigotry of race hustlers in the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin tragedy: “What is so insidious about this message of victimhood and division is its dishonesty.  Despite the tragic death of Martin under circumstances that no one will ever know the true nature of, there is no “big business” of killing blacks in America (as claimed by Jackson).  There is no wave of bigotry directed at blacks.  All this talk is demagogic posturing, and it’s dangerous.  Young people will absorb this message and view the ‘other’ with suspicion and fear.  These leaders know, even if many of their adherents might not, that the biggest threat to the lives of young blacks is other young blacks, not white bigots.”

The logic is clear concerning how to improve race relations in America:  If you don’t want race to count, stop counting by race.  But we won’t stop counting by race until race hustlers like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are simply ignored—by the media and by people of all races.  When the Jacksons and Sharptons of the world become irrelevant because they are ignored, race relations will improve but not until then.