Shameful, but compared to what? Yes, African-Americans suffered horribly during slavery, reconstruction, and Jim Crow. Yes, slavery and the treatment of African-Americans is a stain on our history. But African-Americans never were the group suffering the worst treatment.
To get an idea of the scale of the inequity involved, do a couple of Web searches, one for “how many slaves in the US” and the other for “how many native americans died”. Academics’ best guess is that around 130 million Native Americans died, through disease or murder, while the number of African slaves as counted in the 1860 census is just under four million. What happened to Native Americans is generally understood now to be a genocide; plus they lost possession of the entire continent of North America. The change in ownership is my nomination for ‘greatest wealth transfer ever’, symbolized by the purchase of the island of Manhattan for $24.
Hispanic Americans are now more numerous in the US than African-Americans. Hispanics did not suffer genocide but they did suffer military conquest and lose their sovereignty. Do some research on the Mexican-American War of 1846. You can make a case that California and the American southwest were stolen from Mexico with the loss of political and cultural heritage to all the residents of that area. Without compensation.
Regardless, African-Americans are the favored community of the progressive left and big media. A casual survey of media coverage on the weekend before Martin Luther King Day in the year 2020 showed the following: Martin Luther King is featured on the cover of the 1/20/20 New Yorker magazine, he’s featured in a front page article in the Seattle Times newspaper, and dawn-to-dusk broadcast of a memorial program on the local PBS channel; plus of course he gets his own Federal holiday.
What kind of recognition do Washington and Lincoln get on President’s Day? Close to zero. What standards justify giving more recognition to Martin Luther King than Washington and Lincoln? The justification is simple political expediency: African-Americans vote in great numbers, and they tend to vote as a bloc. For example, according to the Roper Center, in the 2016 Presidential contest African-Americans voted in greater numbers than Hispanics, and gave a greater share of their vote to the Democratic candidate than Hispanics.
The crisis progressives face now is that their great project to elevate African-Americans to parity is failing. See two recent articles: African-American Students Lagging Far Behind, and Five Bleak Facts on Black Opportunity. Increasingly desperate measures are called for. Objective performance measures of performance and intelligence are now labeled as inherently racist. We’ve gone from ensuring fairness in employment (equal employment), to ensuring extra access to higher education (affirmative action), to a recent proposal to simply pumps tens of billions of dollars into African-American communities. Social credit scoring is now used in hiring university faculty.
Fairness is no longer the goal, because fairness doesn’t achieve equality. The goal is equality, using main force where needed.
The Bottom Line
There are great moral errors here. First, as a matter of political expediency one abused group is moved to the front of the line for preference over others more deserving. Second, American ideals of fairness and equality are honored less often. As a citizen, your key attribute now is gender and ethnicity, not your personal ability and achievements.