The confirmation hearings of Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, President Donald Trump's nominee for attorney general, provided plenty of drama that can help explain why racial tensions never seem to go away in America.
This was particularly evident in the concluding panel of the hearings, which consisted of six black men, three opposing Sessions' nomination and three supporting him.
The three in opposition were all members of the Congressional Black Caucus. The three in support were all black legal professionals with long personal histories working with Sessions.
Testifying in support were a former assistant U.S. attorney who worked with Sessions when he was U.S. attorney in Alabama, a former U.S. marshall who worked with Sessions in the attorney general's office of Alabama and the first black general counsel of the senate judiciary committee, on which Sessions serves.
Striking about the testimony of these three black professionals was that all of them knew and worked with Sessions for 20-plus years. Each had personal stories about his professional and personal integrity. Clearly all three of these men testified because of their gratitude and affection for this man.
Judiciary committee general counsel William Smith captured the views of all three saying, "After 20 years of working with Jeff Sessions, I have not seen the slightest indication of racism because it does not exist..."
In contrast, the three Black Caucus members, Sen. Cory Booker, Rep. John Lewis and Rep. Cedric Richmond, went on about their opposition to Sessions because of his alleged weakness on civil rights — a polite way of suggesting he is a racist — while bringing virtually no evidence to support their allegations.
As Smith noted in his testimony, "We have seen people who have never met Senator Sessions claim to know him and know his heart."
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Unfortunately, politics has come to be conflated with racism. That is, those on the black left who have dominated black politics for so many years now brand anyone who does not share their political views as racist.
This could not have been more evident than in the haughty and pretentious observation by Richmond, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, that "....if he (Sessions) were, in fact, a champion of civil rights, wouldn't the civil rights community support his nomination, rather than speaking with one voice in near unanimous opposition?"
I have been fighting for civil rights for over 30 years. But for a black leftist like Richmond, the many black conservatives who share my views don't exist.
According to the black left, a black who believes that abortion should not be legal, who believes that black parents should have the right to decide where to send their children to school and who believes that marriage is the sacred bond between a man and woman is not part of the "civil rights community."
Similarly, based on these beliefs, because he is a conservative, Sessions must be racist.
Let's think for a minute why racism is so horrible. Racism is about denying a person's unique humanity and thinking you know who they are based a few external characteristics. It is sadly ironic that this is exactly what those on the black left, who claim to bear the standard for civil rights, do.
The three black men who testified to support Sessions' nomination are evidence of the diversity of black opinion nationwide.
We're not going to get out of our racial rut until everyone starts seeing and respecting people as individuals.
Philosopher longshoreman Eric Hoffer once wrote, "Every great cause starts out as a movement, then becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket."
The problem the Black Caucus has with Sessions is not that he is a racist but that he is a conservative, and that is not good for their racket.
Star Parker is an author and president of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education. Contact her at www.urbancure.org.