One of the more irritating aspects of what passes for civil-rights activism in this country is the constant clamoring for a "national conversation on race." In practice, what this amounts to is blacks accusing and whites apologizing. About a dozen years ago, President Bill Clinton explicitly called for this sort of "dialogue." Now President Barack Obama has jumped into the fray. At the close of his press conference this evening, Obama denounced Cambridge, Massachusetts police for acting "stupidly" in arresting Harvard African-American Studies Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. on July 16 for disorderly behavior.
The resolution, sponsored by Senator Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, passed on a voice vote. It now moves to the House, where it may meet an unlikely foe: members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Several Caucus members expressed concerns about a disclaimer that states that "nothing in this resolution authorizes or supports any claim against the United States; or serves as a settlement of any claim against the United States." Those caucus members say the disclaimer is an attempt to stave off reparations claims from the descendants of slaves. "Putting in a disclaimer takes away from the meaning of an apology," said Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss. (pictured)