Chris Rock has been getting a lot of flak for agreeing to host the Oscars, even though there were no black actors nominated this year. Rock has been taking even more incoming over his jokes, which raised the question of why there was a protest this year.

Could it be that today we tend to focus on the trivial when there are far more things about which we should care?

Jason Riley notes in today's Wall Street Journal that Rock said that in the 1960s, when basic civil rights were the issue, blacks didn't protest over trivial things such as Oscar nominations. Riley observes:  

Mr. Rock’s Oscar riff was meant to poke fun, and it did. Yet wittingly or not, he also touched on serious themes that conservative commentators have been sounding for decades. The disconnect between the agenda of liberal black elites and the needs of the people they claim to represent is as wide as ever.

Blacks will likely, as Riley notes, hand the Democratic nomination to Hillary Clinton. This is arguably more important than the Oscars. What do blacks want for helping Mrs. Clinton make history?

Judging from what we’ve seen in the debates and what we hear from the Democratic candidates on the campaign trail, not much more than lip service. Regular recitations of “black lives matter” and vague promises to address “systemic racism” seem to suffice.

The Democratic candidates have gone out of their way to reassure black voters that white oppression explains racial disparities, and that more government is the solution. The black underclass is being told in so many words that they bear little or no responsibility for their circumstances. They are being told that black incarceration rates are a bigger problem than black crime rates. They are being told that white racism, not antisocial behavior and counterproductive attitudes toward work, school and marriage is the more significant barrier to upward mobility in America today.

The political left’s ultimate objective is to strip blacks of their capacity to make choices and act on their own. The only thing more disconcerting than watching liberals pursue that agenda is watching black leaders play along in an effort to stay relevant. Bernie Sanders is promising free college tuition. But the average black 17-year-old has the reading and math skills of the average white 14-year-old, and the achievement gap in science is even wider. For blacks, the bigger problem would seem to be college readiness, not affordability. Someone with an eighth grade education is going to struggle as a college freshman, even if the tuition is free.

Democrats know that #BlackVotesMatter, but the programs that they put forward don't really convince me that they believe that the lives of young blacks matter. Blaming slavery of discrimination doesn't fix the education system that turns out so many young black people who are unprepared for productive lives and lucrative jobs. We live in a time of serious problems and trivial pursuits.