The disappointment expressed by some on the left about Jussie Smollett’s hoax reveals their commitment to black victimhood.

If Wishing Could Make It So

“To a degree, black America’s self-esteem is invested in the illusion that we live under a cloud of continuing injustice,” Shelby Steele wrote in the Wall Street Journal last year. The “victim-focused approach to racial inequality,” he said, “causes whites to retreat into deference” toward blacks for fear of being seen as racist. Steele was writing in reference to NFL players kneeling in protest during pregame performances of the national anthem, but his analysis applies broadly—and it certainly seems relevant to the explosive, if cartoonish, allegations made by actor Jussie Smollett, and how those allegations were accepted uncritically by journalists, politicians, and other public figures.