Jon Stewart’s monologue tonight was an impassioned, frustrated meditation on the Charleston shooting and other recent tragedies. “I didn’t do my job today,” he said. “I’ve got nothing for you in terms of jokes and sounds, because of what happened in South Carolina.”
If Americans still insist on dealing cynically and apathetically with one of the country’s oldest and most infamous and painful problems, namely racism, why should we find their indifference regarding the tragic and mind-numbing developments in Syria, or any number of conflict zones around the world, surprising?
In the case of Charlie Hebdo, the facts were clear: Charlie was irreverent in its treatment of all that is allegedly holy. If some of its critics thought that its editors and cartoonists were motivated by hate and that they have singled out Islam, a close examination of Charlie’s coverage over the years unequivocally fails to bear out this claim.
The problem highlighted by the current riots in Baltimore and the earlier riots in Ferguson cannot be reduced to the casual observation that mostly black neighborhoods cannot be effectively policed by a mostly white police force. Due to its more intimate knowledge of the local communities, a mostly black police force can be as equally oppressive in its tactics if not more so, unless the real problems are addressed.