Does the name Rodney King ring a bell? It probably does. King, an African-American, was the victim of a brutal assault by Los Angeles police in 1991. The 1992 acquittal of the police officers charged in the beating sparked riots in Los Angeles accounting for
53 deaths, 2,383 injuries, more than 7,000 fires, damages to 3,100 businesses, and nearly $1 billion in financial losses. Smaller riots occurred in other cities such as Las Vegas and Atlanta. (Statistics from Wikipedia).
Now, does the name Kenneth Gladney register? No? Well, Gladney is an African-American, who, this past August, was allegedly beaten by a group of mostly white attackers outside a town hall meeting held by Congressman Russ Carnahan in St. Louis. Gladney, a conservative, was handing out "Don't Tread On Me" flags to attendees when the alleged attack took place.
The following account appeared on the Weekly Standard website.
...David Brown (is) a friend of Gladney's who was an eye-witness to the event. A St. Louis attorney, he plans to represent Gladney in civil action against the SEIU (Service Employees International Union) members he claims assaulted him. Brown confirms that the video above is of the fight in question. Brown has also written a letter recounting the incident, reprinted at Hot Air.
"There's three independent witnesses that don't know Ken at all that are in the police report. I'm pretty sure that they corroborate each other's stories," Brown said.
This is his description of the incident:
"He was handing out flags to anybody who wanted them...The SEIU guy came up to him and said, "Why is an n-word like you handing out these flags?"
"Kenneth didn't say anything to the guy. Before Kenneth could even say anything or act in any way shape or form, the SEIU representative punched him in the face."
"He went to the ground. Subsequently, two other SEIU representatives or members, however you want to say it, jumped on top of him, yelled racial epithets at him...kicked him, punched him."
Brown said Gladney told him he was also kicked by a woman, but Brown didn't witness that part. Gladney then went to the hospital, Brown said.
Here's a link to the complete post, which includes a video taken by a bystander.
It's been more than three months since the alleged attack occurred. The reason I'm bringing this up now is that a few days ago on the Fox News channel there was some mention of charges being brought against the alleged perpetrators. I was only half listening but something was said about the severity of the charges being less serious than a misdemeanor. (I did a cursory search of the Fox News website, but could find no reference to the story).
The King case was a gross miscarriage of justice. (Though in a subsequent federal trial, two of the four police officers involved were convicted and sentenced to 30 months in prison). That said, the response to the verdict was wildly disproportionate, even taking into account the pent-up racial resentment that set it off. But well before the verdict, beginning with the release of the video of the incident, there was an immediate, widespread outpouring of intense rage and calls for swift and certain justice.
The attack on Gladney appears to have been of a less brutal nature than the one on King. The video of the latter is much more graphic than that of the former, which is inconclusive. The eyewitness evidence does seem to indicate that Gladney was assaulted by whites and at least one black. He did suffer injuries serious enough for him to be treated at a hospital.
Is there incontrovertible proof that Gladney was viciously attacked by a group of racially motivated whites? No. Does the evidence exceed the recent historical threshold for eliciting outrage in the black community and among liberals? As Sarah Palin would say, you betcha!
To cite just a few instances where that threshold was crossed - The allegations of rape (ultimately proved to be false) made by a black woman against white members of the Duke lacrosse team. The players' and their families' lives were disrupted, some permanently, and reputations were ruined as a result.
Don Imus' disparaging comments about Rutgers black women basketball players which got him fired.
And of course there was President Obama's reaction to the alleged disrespectful treatment of his friend, Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates by a Cambridge, MA police officer. Gates is black, the police officer is white and Obama, though knowing nothing about the circumstances of the incident, called the police officer's actions, "stupid". Then, in an attempt to mitigate his paux pas, he arranged a photo shoot for himself, Gates, Sgt. James Crowley, the police officer involved, and VP Joe Biden. The four guys sat at a picnic table, drank beer, and pretended to discuss the country's racial divide while photographers stood fifty feet away recording the contrived scene.
In the case of Kenneth Gladney's alleged assault there's been no reconciliatory talk. No outrage. Not even an acknowledgement that he may have been attacked due to resentment that he was an African-American demonstrating for a conservative cause.
(The black conservative organization Move-on-up.org protested outside the NAACP St. Louis site for its non-response to the case).
There exists a hypocritical double standard in the progressive grievance industry. Gladney is black, but conservative. His attackers, mostly white, but union members. More to the point, Gladney was at the town hall meeting to protest the Democrats' spending frenzy and their assault on individual freedom ("Don't tread on me"). Thus the reaction from the left, which is usually hypersensitive to matters with even the faintest of racial connotations - no problem here folks. (Incidentally, in the video, notice that the white SEIU members are sloppy, scruffy, obese cigarette smokers. Liberals might call them "white trash", the derogatory, condescending term they use to describe low class right wing caucasians).
A similar double standard exists with respect to gender. Sexist verbal assaults from the left were (and continue to be) launched at the aforementioned Ms. Palin. These are justifiable since Palin, being a conservative, doesn't qualify as a woman. "Her greatest hypocrisy is in her pretense that she is a woman" - as Wendy Doniger, a columnist for Newsweek put it. (A fine periodical, that one). A recent tasteless Keith Olberman diatribe (a redundancy, I know) conducted in a falsetto, Valley Girl inflected voice, was directed at conservative columnist/blogger Michelle Malkin. The irrepressible Ms. Malkin, responding gleefully, remarked that the M in MSNBC stands for misogynist. Speaking of misogyny, there's Bill Clinton, who despite being a serial sexual harasser and accused rapist, is adored by feminists simply because he is (or was) a powerful Democrat.
Back to the Gladney episode. Reverse the situation. Say that an African-American supporter of President Obama was handing out literature and was physically attacked by a small group of mostly white anti-Obama protesters. What are the chances that Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton would hold vigils, rallies and demand justice? Might Attorney General Eric Holder lecture us that the incident shows again that we're "a nation of cowards living in race-protected cocoons"? Would President Obama say that the incident provides us with another "teachable moment"? Maybe Howard Dean would weigh in with a comment along the lines of, "This reminds us that racism hurts us more than a hurricane"? (As he did in the aftermath of Katrina). Or would the incident be completely ignored?