Monday, December 1, 2008

Racism 101

Many people are making the mistake of thinking an Obama presidency will put the race issue to rest, or at least soften the intensity of feelings. They are wrong..

The race hustlers have already staked out their turf, and lest anyone believe that Obama's election reflects racial progress, every black leader from the left is on the record trivializing the election's racial importance. According to them this shows only modest progress, but a lot more is needed. I disagree.

Black race problems are vastly overstated. What racial problems there are, are not much different than normal problems between any two different racial, ethnic or geographic groups. There are real bigots, but far fewer than the left and most black leaders would have you believe, and those bigots have lots of targets, not just blacks.

My children are more important to me than my brother's children. His children are more important to me than my next door neighbors children. American children are more important to me than European children. Does this make me bigoted towards my brother or my next door neighbor or European children? My point is that the more removed someone is from my life, the less concerned I am about him. This is human nature. There is nothing to be ashamed of, and nothing can change it. When we hear about ten Iraqis killed in a terrorist attack, we are less upset than hearing that one American soldier was killed. If a terrorist explodes a bomb in town near where we live and a dozen people are injured, we will be more distraught than if a tsunami kills 500 people in some far away country. These are examples of the human condition, not bigotry.

Lots of jokes are made about blacks. Lots are made about Jews, Irish and Italians. No group is spared. Snide comments are made which stereotype blacks, but Jews do the same to gentiles, and wasps make them about Jews. Every group makes them about every other group. It isn't nice and it isn't pretty, regardless of who is speaking. But it happens to everyone. We should never accept it, but neither should we act as if the only group that it happens to are black. Are blacks more abused than most? Perhaps, but that is no justification for the growth of the cottage industry of black victimization.

The industry leaders include Reverend Al Sharpton, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Reverend Louis Farrakahan and Reverend Jeremiah Wright. In reality they are themselves hate mongers. Listen to their message. The white enemy/ oppressor (Jews are especially guilty) caused blacks all manner of problems, has prevented their social and economic advancement, and continues to do so.

The hustlers claim to find bigotry everywhere. Harold Ford is a black Tennessee politician from a very successful political family. He ran for an open Senate seat in 2006 and lost by three percent. Every pundit and publication in America decided that he would have won were it not for his being black. It was the accepted wisdom. Of course it is patently silly. None of the facts support the conclusion. The last Democrat elected to the Senate from Tennessee was Al Gore. The state even went Republican when their home boy Gore ran for president. Ford is a very likable, skilled politician, ran in a year when Democrats did very well, and so he did better than any Democrat since 1988. He came closer to winning than any other Democrat since Republicans took over congress. So to suggest he lost because he is black flies in the face of common sense, and all of the evidence.

Obama won 97 percent of the black vote, and large percentages of the white vote. Certainly there is more evidence there that blacks voted just because of race (aka racism). I have no problem with why they voted as they did. Still, I have yet to hear any outcry of bigotry coming from this group of leaders.

In our everyday lives we can only make judgments on the evidence available to us, and sometimes there is very little of evidence to go on. If you were walking down a dark empty street late at night and a man appeared carrying a gun, you would be scared to death and try to get off the street. If you were in the middle of a street and on one side was a man in a coat and tie, and on the other was a man who looked drunk, dirty and threatening, you would cross over to the side with the well dressed man. Are you bigoted towards gun toting or shabbily dressed men? I don't think so. I'd say you have common sense. If a black and a white man are on this street and you have nothing to go on but the color of their skin, for the same reason you reacted as you did to in the prior two examples, you would cross over to the white man's side. The black man might be a high class gentleman, and the white man a rapist, but you don't have enough information to understand that or the luxury of time to find out. You can only act on the information you have.

Black men commit crimes at a higher rate than white men. That alone justifies your decision. Obama recounts a story about his grandmother where she says she was gripped by fear when a black man came near her when her surroundings made her feel vulnerable. He offers this up as racism. I would suggest it is another example of common sense.

Instead of the race hustlers making the absurd argument that this is bigotry, perhaps they should tell the black community that they may have been dealt a bad hand, but how they are viewed by others can only change when their behavior changes. Jews are stereotyped as being money hungry and cheap, Irish as drunks, Italians as mafia members etc. Looking at people as groups, the charges may or may not be true. Individually however they are not. As individuals people have to deal with their group's stereotypes. Such is life for everyone, not just blacks. In the meantime those who suffer most from the high crime rate by blacks are blacks themselves. If instead of blaming whitey for some real or imaginary transgression, the leadership pushed the community to improve itself, everyone would be better off.

Preaching blacks are victims has multiple effects, none good. Shelby Steele discusses one. He describes hypothetical black and white youngsters who go into business (individually). They both fail. The white boy picks himself up and thinks, what did I do wrong and how can I do it better. He then jumps back into the fray. The black boy says, I failed because I'm black. I failed because of whitey. He then decides trying again is hopeless. He thinks this way because that is this deadly message the race hustlers have given him all of his life.

The last thing anyone needs is an excuse for failure. If we provide enough such excuses to anyone, rest assured, he will fail. If however he receives the message that there is opportunity, he has the talent to succeed, and that it is up to him to capitalize on it, he has a chance. Perhaps one group has to try harder than another. So what? There are only two choices. Try to get over that higher bar, or don't try and be assured of failure?

One of the hustler's approaches is to argue that slavery is the cause of slower black social and economic development, the government was complicit in slavery, and therefore the government must do something to correct it. Our constitution protects individuals, not groups, and individuals, not groups, have rights, one being redress. There are no individuals alive who were slaves. Therefore no one is entitled to redress for slavery. Being born with less opportunity than someone else does not create an entitlement. If it did, anyone could find a reason to justify a petition for help. What every citizen is entitled to is equal treatment under the law, and we must be diligent to insure that.

Obama thinks differently. He says he does not support reparations (payment by the government to descendants of slaves) but he does say that special programs need to be set up for blacks because of slavery. What he means is that cash payments to blacks should not be made, but special services and programs for blacks should. It sounds like "in kind" reparations to me. But the scary thing is he doesn't understand the harm such a policy does to the very group it intends to help. It reinforces the fictional and hurtful idea that blacks are less qualified, they need and are entitled to help. Does anyone think affirmative action has helped anyone other than a very few individuals. I can't get into that here, but affirmative action is not only unconstitutional, but like reparations, like blaming whitey for black individual failures, like anything where the government treats people differently based on race, it hurts everyone, and especially the people it is trying to help.

The race hustlers make their living fanning the fire of racial discord. For those who think Obama's election will ease the problem, just remember, these professional agitators are at the core of his constituency.

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