I wrote a post yesterday that I had to take down because of all of the ‘you’re a racist!’ comments I received. I also heard very positive things about the post, but reception aside, the purpose of the blog was fourfold:
- Africa sucks compared to the USA and today’s generation of blacks might be better off for being here than in Africa.
- Government intervention into ‘helping’ blacks doesn’t help, it hinders. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton know nothing of public policy and helping the people they claim they support.
- The poor Irish in Boston had the second worst situation in the history of this country (second only to blacks), and they dragged themselves out of their sad situation to become a great contribution to society. If blacks want to overcome cyclical poverty and economic instability, since racism is no longer systemic and actively hindering that goal, they need to pull themselves out of it. What I mean by this is that social programs by the government do not certainly act to end certain cycles of economic disparity, there is a necessary internal locus of control that rights such situations that government programs cannot simply push through.
- There is a huge double standard in this country when it comes to race.
First, I want to say that someone ‘corrected’ me last night and said that saying ‘black people’ is wrong, for the proper word is ‘African American’. I vehemently disagree. I am not a European American. I have no relation to my ancestors that came here. I am an American. So is each and every person who was born here or who has naturalized or citizenry-ed into the country. I think it is offensive to call blacks ‘African Americans” as if they are some kind of outsider. It is a word-crafting by the media that I think backfired. That point aside (so I don’t get any more PC patrol regulating on how I talk), let’s continue…
First off, Africa’s current situation is a direct result of several centuries of rape, enslavement, and colonization. The disease, poverty, and political instability you allude to are the products of European capitalist exploitation. It wasn’t all candy and puppies before the White folks with guns showed up, but there were CIVILIZATIONS (people living and thriving) there without AIDS, genocide, Sickle Cell, and starvation. Your analysis misses this fact completely.
Secondly, to skip over the Post Bellum/Pre-Civil Rights period of American cultural history in an attempt to connect slavery with current Black social condition all but nullifies any conclusions you attempt to draw. Whether or not you intended to, your argument reads as follows: Yeah slavery was shitty, but why haven’t Blacks in America overcome that initial shortcoming and began to succeed at the level of other immigrants (like the Irish) who have been here as long or shorter? Your argument posits that the institution of slavery was the sole catalyst for Black social immobility and lack of success. However, even after slavery was made illegal, Blacks (we’re talking men, women, little boys, and little girls, old people, everybody) were still constantly the victims of lynchings, beatings, vehement segregation, and disenfranchisement. Just because they suddenly owned their own bodies did not mean that they were living in a different country. Similarly, after the Civil Rights Act was passed, it did not mean that discrimination in the workplace, political arena, or street corner ceased.
In reply, I said:
I do have a few things to address though about your response. The ‘fact’ that the colonization of Africa let to the rampancy of several things like AIDS, Sickle Cell, and starvation is in truth not a fact as much as a hypothesis of one of multiple causes. Even then, it is weak at best and another example of the white guilt I was talking about. Simplifying a whole continent’s problems to ‘the white man’ is a shameful argument, and you, as a soc professor, should know that. What about other civilizations that enslaved Europeans for hundreds of years? What about the same practices in Asia, that lasted 1000 years and had over 10x the amount of slaves? And even further, you attribute things that are not even results of western culture. AIDS is rampant because of male dominated societies with rape being as commonplace as friendships, widow inheritance as a common practice, polygamy everywhere and various pagan religious beliefs. How did AIDS start? We don’t exactly know, but I would venture a guess and say that white colonials didn’t engineer it… Sickle cell is an evolutionary trait developed by blacks in Africa to protect against malaria. I am not sure why here you attribute it to the colonialists, because in Africa it can be an advantageous thing to have… Another reason disease is rampant is bc the medical care system is so poor there, which is also tied into the poverty. This poverty is not a result of any one colonialist effect. The existence of tribal wars for thousands of years eventually ends in a tribe gaining power and oppressing the others. It happened in almost all of the countries in Africa at one point, and is the reason that things are so bad in some countries (one party gets the power and then gets the money that goes with it and keeps it to themselves). In the meantime, we have Ghana and the Ivory Coast, which have taken in government structures given them by colonialism (socialism and capitalism, respectively, plus semi-a democratic nature) and surpassed their neighbors, despite a smaller landmass, in many ways. The effects of colonialization (is that a new word?), despite what your textbooks have told you, are not as bad as you seem to portray them. I did not mention anything of colonialism in my argument, because I didn’t want to write a book. But despite there being some horribly negative effects of colonialism on Africa, it is a real ignorant and weak argument to say that it sustains the cyclical nature of poverty in Africa today…
Next, you are right, it is a leap to skip the PostBellum era in America, but in totality I agree with you. Slavery is NOT the reason for social immobility in this country. And of course people were racist to a degree that is more hateful than Nazism in many circumstances. And you are also right that it still persists in many ways. But I do not see it in the pervasive way that the liberal academia do. It often isn’t the blacks now that seek all of the help that government gives them. This is key, because the government and our liberal elite, in trying to help blacks in this country, are doing much more harm than good. There are several programs we can discuss if you think I am somehow mistaken in this estimation (minimum wage, welfare, new deal era legislation, affirmative action and other quotas, etc.). This isn’t even to mention the social aspects of what had become black culture that are keeping the blacks down from within the race. Rap is not helping promote education. It promotes gang violence and disrespect of women, perpetuating not only cycles of poverty and prison time, but stereotypes that ignorant whites have. Accordingly, I was not blaming the underachievement of an entire race on two men. I was saying that they are not helping the situation, they are hindering it. I thought I made that clear, but perhaps not. Paying reparations and admitting students to schools that they are underqualified for based solely on race is not helping blacks. It is keeping them down. I don’t like that at all.
It is precisely that I am not racist that drives this. A racist would easily fit in the ranks of some of the constituents of some of these programs. We are not doing the race a favor by treating them with kid gloves. As much as people don’t want to hear it, You and I cannot help another community become great. The community needs to do it for itself. And with a lack of great leadership teaching a sexual ethic that will lower the great proportion of black teenage pregnancies, and an educational ethic (so damn complicated in the first place) that will teach people to value there education, blacks and many other minorities will be stagnant on the ladder of economic equality. But it is sad that that can’t happen without some people handicapping. Just the other day, I heard a speech by a black activist who slammed Obama because Obama is “a white man who was born with black skin” because he does not walk or talk a certain way. Tell me that isn’t the most self-handicapping thing you’ve ever heard…
The government did need to ensure all of its citizens are seen as equals. But this is not done with equality of results, it is done with equality of starting points. And the government has failed in many circumstances to help blacks get on their feet, because they cater to the victimhood of blacks. It is not empowering to treat someone like a victim their whole lives. It makes you smaller and it makes the world see you as a victim. That is the jist of that I am saying…
One failing system within government is the public school system, as you say. But this is not solely an issue of race, as I am sure you would agree. It is much more complicated than that, even though socioeconomic status often does correlate with race for many areas of our culture. And it is an entirely different issue, and a good one to discuss at that, but I don’t have time either. Voucher system is the key. Capitalism, baby!
I also never said racism doesn’t exist bc I am a white guy blah blah whatever you said. I am saying it is not systemic. It is episodic. I said it is not an issue in most cases out there where two different races are interacting. That is all. I think it is a cop-out excuse not to think when we see a statistic that says the infant mortality rate is 12% higher in blacks than whites. It is easy to call racism looking at those two statistics. But what about the fact that asians’ infant mortality rate in the US is 8% lower than whites and mexicans’ and latinos’ is 6% lower than even asians? Are we now racist against whites, too? No, there is something more entailed in this, but looking at the first two statistics, one would think an issue is race. And that conclusion is almost always the wrong one to jump to. But the media and even our judiciary jump to that conclusion all the time, because it is what we have been trained to do.
There is still one area I think is saturated with racism, and it is the criminal justice system, especially concerning areas of drug prohibition. That could all be changed easily in one respect, with the legalization of all drugs. Crazy as it may sound, it is an interesting discussion…
S, if you get a chance, do respond. I dig it. Thanks for taking the time, I love this shit,
I didn’t address the double standard, which is another issue that I felt was self-explanatory and I can get into if the masses demand it…
[Edit: A Note on Colonialism
People hold this deep and visceral (albeit mistaken) assumption that colonialism is bad in and of itself. I think it stems from the multiculturalist way we are taught to think nowadays. Namely, ‘no country is better than any other country and all countries have the same inherent worth.’ People ask: ‘Why should we impose our values on others?’ The problem with this type of thinking is that is undermines just what it purports to promote: freedom to choose.