The question is why this is considered such a transgression. Over the past two weeks, countless reporters and commentators have documented that COVID-19 is hitting black people harder in many areas nationwide and that this is due to entrenched race-based disparities in our society. Why, then, is so appalling that Adams did not flag this as his main message, when the message has been made so resonantly clear elsewhere?

Members of a certain highly educated cohort consider it sacrosanct that those speaking for or to black people always and eternally stress structural flaws in America’s sociopolitical fabric past and present as the cause of black ills. To mention that there are more concrete and local solutions to various things ailing black America, regardless of their origin, is traitorous—even blasphemous. Whatever the volume and rhetorical brilliance of this ideology, it is indeed an ideology. Specifically, it represents a way of thinking that has become especially popular among, for example, the black intelligentsia over the past decade or three, but has much less purchase among black people in general. The writers and thinkers give an impression that their take is simple truth, when it has actually devolved into a reflexive, menacing brand of language policing.