What would you do?

I found myself in the car yesterday afternoon listening for perhaps the 30th time to an episode of Avatar being played on the car DVD. I happen to think that Avatar is a rather unusually good kids’ show. Since this was routine car pooling, with the same passel of tired and cranky kids getting shlepped down the same stretch of freeway for the millionth time, I had no problem with stopping the bickering by directing their attention to the small DVD screen hanging from the car’s ceiling. For me, though, never having seen the show, but just having heard it over and over and over again, the whole experience was somewhat mind-numbing.

A numb mind is a wandering mind, and that’s what mine started to do. I started to think about the charges Wright made against America and white Americans — charges that many, many blacks seem to believe are true. The response white America has had to the revelation about these charges is that they are, in fact, not true. That while black Americans might once have been the victims of systemic government discrimination, that is no longer the case. Instead, America is, in fact, a land of opportunity for blacks as well as everyone else. Indeed, everything I’ve since Wright’s attitudes went public has basically said to blacks: “You’re wrong, so get over it.”

My thought experiment went a different way: What if, instead of saying to blacks that their underlying premise is wrong, we instead said that they’re right — That it’s absolutely true that, despite more than 40 years of Johnson’s Great Society, everything they complaint about is true? America does still systematically discriminations against black America, and it is accurate to call it the US of KKK. You — American black citizens — are also right that, more than 40 years after the Civil Rights movement, ordinary Americans are seething with racial hostility to blacks. (Keep in mind that I don’t agree with these statements; this is a thought experiment.)

In this universe, which embraces the belief that the USA is irremediably hostile to blacks and that nothing she has done has operated to their benefit, African Americans nevertheless continue to demand that the American government keep funding and expanding the same programs that the blacks insist have failed. For example, in his race speech, having accepted as true Wright’s complaint that African Americans are still getting the short end of the stick, Obama again demands government intervention:

In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination — and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past — are real and must be addressed.

Not just with words, but with deeds — by investing in our schools and our communities; by enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system; by providing this generation with ladders of opportunity that were unavailable for previous generations.

Of course, Obama’s speech does not acknowledge one fact:  Americans have been investing in school and communities, have been enforcing civil rights laws, have been making the criminal justice system more equal, and, through 40 years of quotas, affirmative action, anti-discrimination rules and public education, have been providing generations of black Americans with ladders of opportunity. In other words, for the past 40 years, Americans have been doing the opposite of saying, “Hell, no! We’re not going to pass any laws or do anything that might theoretically benefit African Americans.”

Nevertheless, despite more than 40 years of passing laws that are intended to affect American blacks, the same laws that Obama continues to demand we pass, Wright and other African-Americans have concluded that we’ve failed dismally in all these efforts. No matter what we do, we’re so deeply tainted and racist that nothing changes. I mean, countries rise and fall in 40 years, but we still haven’t been able, as a nation, the fix the black communities’ problems.

Given what black Americans see as America’s pathetic failure to correct the intrinsic problem of anti-black racism, which translates into black failure, what do you think black America should do? As I noted above, the current attitude from the Left now (and that is the side most black Americans embrace) is that black problems are America’s fault, so it is up to America to continue to try to fix them with more government problems. To date, however, by the blacks’ own testimony, America has proven woefully inept at fixing them.

It seems to me that, in the real world, if you give someone responsibility to fix a problem, and they fail repeatedly and overwhelmingly, then you start looking for new solutions. You don’t just say, “Well, I’ll just sit here in a mess of your making and wait for you to figure it out while I suffer.” Wouldn’t it make more sense to say, “You created the mess, but you’re obviously incapable of fixing the mess. I’d better do it myself.” I do not understand why the black community, having weighed us (white America) and found us wanting, continues to demand that we save it. Even conceding that everything wrong with the black community is indeed our fault, it’s become pretty apparent that we (that is, white Americans) are not fixing the problems.  The profound irony, of course, is that the lack of fixes doesn’t affect us very much at all — but it affects black Americans terribly.

If things are as bad as Wright and his fellow travelers say, African Americans should be rejecting the Obama message of more government, rather than embracing it. After all, by their own testimony, the government is a failure. It has not done what it set out to do. African Americans should be demanding an entirely new approach, rather than more of the same. That they’re not making such demands can lead us to a couple of entirely different conclusions. The first is that, when it comes to the subject of government programs and race, African Americans fall within the jocular definition of insanity, which has one doing the same thing over and over, but expecting a different result. The second, alternative conclusion, is that things have, in fact, improved under the government’s aegis, and that African Americans are worried that, if they concede that this is true, white America will say “Great, the job is done,” and then turn off the spigot.

The one thing I can say with absolute certainty is that, if blacks are correct that America has been incapable of correcting the horrors it visited upon them, despite more than 40 years of trying, blacks must start taking care of themselves, rather than waiting another 40 years for us to get it right. What they’re doing right now, with a vengeance, is cutting of their collective noses to spite their collective faces. It may be all our fault, but they’re the ones suffering as they passively wait for us to figure out how to get it right.

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Comments

  1. oceanguy says

    Book, you’ve identified the great dichotomy that has crippled the left for the past 40 years. You also referred to the same point vicariously throgh your Trees Falling Silently Post yesterday. As Mamet put it:

    As a child of the ’60s, I accepted as an article of faith that government is corrupt, that business is exploitative, and that people are generally good at heart.

    Of course the main problem with that is the “corrupt government” and the “central government is bad” does not work well with the government run programs the Democrats put into place during the Johnson Years, and through the Democratic controlled Senate in most of the years since. Using a powerful corrupt government to run the lives of people who are good at heart, is a confusing, mixed up and unworkable idea. Only by playing to emotion and the feelings of those good people are the Democrats able to achieve power… well maybe Republican screw-ups help.

    The further we got into the Great Society and the more it’s faults were exposed, the tougher it got for the Democrats to win and hold power. Clinton got elected with promises to reform welfare but since the mid-Carter Presidency the Democrats have been in decline. There’s no reason to believe that will change. The plight of Black America is the pinnacle of the failures of Democratic social engineering… Giving an imperfect government more and more power to do more and more jobs, more and more poorly… but it FEELS good to believe you’re doing good.

  2. 11B40 says

    Greetings:

    One of the lessons of integration into the American mainstream that, in my opinion, is overlooked on an ongoing basis is the development of the Catholic parochial school system. I think that there are lessons in this history that are applicable to both our problems in education and civil rights.

    Catholics, especially Irish Catholics, were not received with totally open arms upon their arrival in America. While they weren’t enslaved, they were certainly denied full access to the benefits of their new country. They put their hands in their own pockets, and developed a school system that provided their future generations the wherewithal to advance socially and economically.

    I think that the civil rights industry and the public education industry are complicit in perpetuating the difficulties of the populations they were organized to serve by ignoring this history.

  3. Deana says

    Excellent, excellent post Bookworm! It really made me think.

    It also speaks to the article Suek linked to on The American Thinker in which the black American commented to the author that the reason you saw such different reactions to Katrina in the Vietnamese American and black American communities was because the Vietnamese Americans didn’t perceive themselves as being “owned.” They immediately understood that they held the keys to their own survival – they didn’t wait for others to fix their problems for them.

    I was thinking about this this morning. Out of all the terrible consequences of slavery, the very worst thing to stem from slavery was the creation of a dependent mind set among black Americans. So even when true systemic racism no longer exists, many remain mentally enslaved. And when mental enslavement happens, there is absolutely nothing that anyone or any government program can do to put an end to that enslavement.

    And yet, here is where liberals, particularly white liberals, step in and start advocating beliefs and practices that merely serve to INCREASE black Americans’ dependence on others!!! (And I’m convinced that while some whites do it because, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, they believe that government assistance works, many other whites do it because they suffer from misplaced guilt and they know that if they portray themselves as passionate advocates of these government programs that target black Americans, they will earn forgiveness and a “pass” for a sin they did not commit.)

    If you look at your average successful black American out in suburbia, almost without exception, you will find the same ingredients that led to success in all the other communities in America: reliance on family, a commitment to education, some sort of religious background, parents who were involved in their children’s lives, and so on. For the life of me, I can’t understand why liberals are just CONVINCED that somehow, blacks are different and need “special assistance.” NO! They simply need what we all need to be productive citizens.

    In the end, it makes the black American community look ridiculous to stand there and demand more of the same government programs that they insist have not worked. Why don’t they see this?

    Deana

  4. says

    And that’s an excellent, excellent comment, Deana.

    The sad thing is, the numbers show that, by the early 1960s, despite the heavy handicaps Jim Crow laws and genuine malevolent discrimination imposed on America blacks, they were beginning to develop a solid middle class and a strong economic infrastructure. They were aggressively working on being un-slaves — independent people who looked to themselves and their community to fulfill their needs.

    It was the Civil Rights movement that said forget everything you’ve learned in the last 80+ years about being strong and dependent, and come lean on Mama government so she can take care of you. Considering the hardships blacks had faced, that must have been some siren song, but look at the terrible damage it’s done.

  5. says

    Hi Deana,
    Maybe it’s just a typo, but the American Thinker article quote was “we’re owed” not “owned.” This means to me that the most damaging attitude in the black community is that it’s somebody else’s job to take care of them. Why should they do somebody’s else’s work? Plus, they already paid the price (slavery, discrimination, poverty) so let’s get on with the remuneration. A check will be fine. Cash works too.

    In no way am I suggesting that every person in the black community believes this. But the gentleman on the plane who offered “we’re owed” as the reason why so many people have failed to take their lives into their own hands, is an eye-opener. And it’s a very plausible explanation for why other groups coming to this country have made tremendous gains, while so many black people remain in the same awful conditions generation after generation.

    There are black preachers who talk about this and encourage their flocks to pull themselves up. I’m sure Barack could have found one of those.

  6. coffee260 says

    Bookworm–

    Great post! But I can sum up your whole synopsis like this.

    1. Liberals don’t think their ideas are failures. They just think they haven’t done enough of them.

    2. Liberalism always creates the exact opposite of it’s stated intent.

  7. Deana says

    Hi Judy –

    You are correct and thank you for bringing that to my attention.

    In a way, having an attitude of “being owed” makes the situation even worse. It’s not as if it is just a matter of getting people to see opportunity and teaching them to take advantage of it. When you believe you are owed or due something, then it won’t matter how many opportunities and advantages knock at your door or are even dumped in your lap – if it means you have to put forth some effort to move forward and achieve, you won’t do it. And the best part is that you’ll always be able to blame someone else for your failings.

    Deana

  8. says

    “And the best part is that you’ll always be able to blame someone else for your failings.”

    Yes, Deana. It’s a terrible, harmful, damaging (find your own adjective) philosophy to preach, and yet it’s so popular. I can’t believe preachers (and teachers) of this point of view are ignorant of what they are doing. So it’s about power – the power to keep people powerless and therefore, dependent. Great job security! That’s why I have thought that even though he campaigns for Obama, the last thing in the world Jesse Jackson really wants is for us to have a black president. Then he can’t say “the white man’s keepin’ us down.” There goes his job – right out the window. Who knows? Maybe Jesse leaked the Wright tapes.

  9. Ymarsakar says

    Airbender derived some of its uniqueness and family values from slice of life and martial arts anime.

    Certain themes and principles are shared between Airbender, Naruto, and Bleach for example. Naruto and Bleach are shown on Japanese tv, while Airbender is produced from Britain last time I checked.

    Synova clued me in on Last Airbender.

    You can go here to watch Avatar free online

    If I accepted liberation theology concerning how blacks are oppressed and need to be taken care of via emergency methods, then whenever my hand would fall to catch a ball and embarrass me, I would cut it off.

    That’s exactly what minorities do to themselves and the greater American community when they see something as not being up to their standards. They see it as a failure, just not their failure. A person of moral and spiritual strength will take himself to task for dropping the ball; he would focus his energies on practicing to get it right the next time. The black race industry of extortion, however, says that if there is failure it is because other people owed you success and didn’t pay. Or that you are a failure not because of you, but because other people have done something to you.

    Like the Palestinians when they say it is the Jews fault the Palestinians and Arabs are backwards.

  10. Ymarsakar says

    That, if only Israel would stop occupying and oppressing the Palestinians, the Palestinians could go ahead with the business of being Allah’s chosen people.

    Of course, the interesting thing about blaming other people is that when those people stop “doing things to you”, nothing changes for the better. So then you have to come up or create a new reason why you are failing.

  11. Ymarsakar says

    That while black Americans might once have been the victims of systemic government discrimination, that is no longer the case.

    But blacks are still victims of systemic government discrimination, Book. It just so happens to be under Robert KKKleagle Byrd and the Democrats, as it has always been, Book. What is wrong is that such things are being done to blacks by Republicans or under Republicans (Reagan).

    (Keep in mind that I don’t agree with these statements; this is a thought experiment.)

    It’s more than a thought experiment, given the Democrats conduct in Iraq and Vietnam, they really are full of racists, Book.

    African Americans nevertheless continue to demand that the American government keep funding and expanding the same programs that the blacks insist have failed

    That’s because they believe if Democrats become their masters, things would be better than under Republicans. Why? Cause Democrats care, Book, while Republicans are heartless.

    For the life of me, I can’t understand why liberals are just CONVINCED that somehow, blacks are different and need “special assistance.”

    The answer is very simple, Deana. It is very hard and difficult to manipulate people with free will and economic security. Blacks need special assistance because without it, blacks would free themselves from Leftist manipulation. And we can’t have that, now can we.

    It is the same reason why Arafat refused to work towards peace with Israel. Because he needed the war to maintain control over the Pallys.

  12. Mike Devx says

    Victims of a large power structure do not believe they can make changes. To make changes, you have to not be a victim.

    One reason Obama is in trouble with his constituencies is that he does not seek to be a victim, nor to be a grievance politician. He plays around the edges, sure, but he’s not in that game.

    What does that mean for all the grievance politicians, who have based their entire careers on that game? They’ll NEVER give up the grievance game. Jesse Jackson, Malcolm Shabazz, etc, etc… even pastors of Black Liberation Theology will be incapable of giving up the game.

    That’s why I found Obama’s speech so interesting – it was a direct refutation of relying on the grievance politicians to solve the ill of residual Racism. (That’s “Racism with a capital R” as the remnants of our legacy of slavery and apartheid – not the more generic “racism”, which will never be obliterated anywhere on the face of this earth, not in any society.)

    Obama, quite frankly, is a threat to grievance politicians who have NOTHING else to stand on. Do you really think they’re going to go away quietly? It is actually in their interests to see him defeated.

  13. Ymarsakar says

    It may be all our fault, but they’re the ones suffering as they passively wait for us to figure out how to get it right.

    They want to suffer. It is only through suffering that you can make demands of the people for sacrifices. Sacrifices that enrich a particular family clique or political faction.

    Prosperous people don’t give their hearts and souls to people who promise the solutions to all your ills. No, con-artists prey on the weak, the disaffected, the poor, and the disheartened.

    The more they believe in government and the more power they give government, the more the black community will be hurt by government. This justifying every increasing orders of “unity”, “loyalty to traditional African customs”, and various other institutions designed to enslave mankind. Then when blacks see that they are still unequal, they will devote even more effort and action towards government.

    It is the unending cycle of serfdom where individuals have no choice but to do as they are told to do.

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