This is an uncomfortable conversation, Chuck and Brooks both admit. I suppose it's because two white guys, with absolutely no idea what it's like to live with the institutionalized racism that plagues our society, are offering their assessment of a situation they don't really care to discuss.
Listen, we all have to have a new social compact on this. Whites especially have to acknowledge the legacy of racism and have to go the extra yard to show respect, understand how differently whites and blacks see some of these police issues. And whites can't just say, "Does this look right to me?" But, "Does this look trustworthy in the African American community?"
That has to be the standard. At the same time, we have to understand that we're no longer in the civil rights era. This is not a question of good versus evil, right versus wrong. Racial inequality has become entangled in all sorts of domestic problems of disappearing jobs, family structure, and this is mostly a question of good-intentioned people trying to do the best they can with very naughty social problems, which now overlap with racial problems.
Naughty social problems? I didn't know that discussing race issues is naughty and unpleasant. I suppose he feels it doesn't matter what color people are, as if society has no institutionalized racial-disadvantages and racial discrimination is a figment of all of our imaginations. Chuck later asks Brooks, the new race guru,
How does this conversation continue next week?
So it's not a threat Chuck? It's a promise, we'll have more David Brooks next week?
Yeah, I really don't believe in the conversation about race. If we're going to be friends, we don't sit around saying, "Oh, we're such great friends, let's talk about our friendship." We don't need a conversation, we need a project. And a friendship is about something else. It's outward looking. So the project has to be about social mobility.
It's about early childhood education, all the things that failed Michael Brown. Family formation, jobs, if we have a common project about the Harlem Children's Zone, about KIPP schools, then we'll have something to do together. And that will unite us obliquely.
Thanks David Brooks, for reminding us of everything that is wrong with the GOP when it comes to helping our children. They have no use for early childhood education (or any education that they don't profit from), they cut funding for poor minority youth programs and scholarships for disadvantaged youth. The GOP is the worst offender when it comes to financing the very same programs that Mike Brown wasn't privileged enough to enjoy. They ignore the simple unpleasant truth that the Republican party has destroyed education funding, across the board, since Nixon. Institutionalized disadvantages for poor minority youth, thy name is the GOP.
One thing's for certain, race relations, naughty as they may be, are certainly not going to improve if we seek the sad ravings of a well-paid, GOP-apologist like David Brooks.
Addition: In what's perhaps "the best f*&king typo this year" naughty should have been knotty. So I will post what Driftglass had to say on the matter.
First of all, I'm pretty sure the NBC transcription algorithm meant to say "very knotty social problems" but kudos to you, NBC transcription algorithm, for the best f*cking typo this year.
Second, no...no...and no.
Certainly " disappearing jobs" and "family structure" are problems, but a much deeper and more dangerous problem is that one of our two major political parties has gone violently insane, And as a result of relentlessly and successfully using racism and the welfare queen and "young buck" boogiemen to literally scare up votes and money and ratings ans stockpiling weapons for the Big Race War that their leaders are always implying is just around the corner, Mr. Brooks' Republican Party is definitely not run by "good-intentioned people trying to do the best they can".
It is run by very, very bad people who firmly adhere to a "Rule or Ruin" view of America, and have a long and ridiculously well-documented history of playing to the lowest and ugliest instincts of its angry, paranoid base as their truest path to prosperity and power.
Of course, if Mr. Brooks was being interviewed by, say, a journalist on, say, a news show, this subject might have been pursued further. But as luck would have it he was, instead, interviewed by Chuck Todd on "Meet the Press".