Jim Morrill pretty much nutshells what went on at the Westin yesterday:

Juan Williams, a journalist who chronicled the civil rights movement, challenged African Americans on Monday to reject the “culture of failure” and grievance that he said characterizes today’s black popular culture.

And he challenged all Americans to level the playing field of opportunity for everybody, regardless of race.

Williams drew a prolonged standing ovation from a racially and politically diverse audience at a Charlotte luncheon. Around 250 people attended the event, sponsored by the conservative John Locke Foundation.

Too often, Williams said, popular culture, through everything from hip-hop music to media images, glorifies violence, aggression and sex, and denigrates education. He called acceptance of such standards a “poisonous message.”

“We are locked in a tradition now where people put down those who are striving for success in the black community,” he said.

And success was the theme of the day, what with a room full of very successful people all dedicated to notion that a successful, happy life is the birthright of every American. Victimhood? A four-letter word.

Williams’ message also reflected what any local teacher will tell you, that somehow, in the last 10 years especially, being disruptive and positively anti-education has become the litmus test for “being black” in the public schools. Otherwise bright kids strive not to be more educated and accomplished, but to be more “ghetto.” Dare to start down a different path and withering teen-age peer pressure, which knows no racial or economic barrier, is there to cut you down.

All of America has been incredibly reluctant to face these kinds of hard facts, Charlotte, it would seem, especially so. Williams’ unflinching look at race in America should help bring that sorry track record to a close.