Every week on Monday morning , the Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week’s question: How Would You Improve Race Relations In America?
Wolf Howling :To improve race relations, you first have to understand why race relations are problematic today, and why, by all metrics, are black Americans worse off than other races? It can all be summed up in one picture:
This picture is from one of Rev. Al’s protests a few years ago. The sign the woman is holding up says everything. Racism is no longer a real issue in society, but the left must maintain the canard that it is. Blacks must be made to see themselves as permanent victims of racism and as being championed by the race hustlers of the left. Moreover, it’s important to note the poor grammer used on the sign. It screams out that the woman who wrote it has been failed by whatever schools she attended, thus limiting her opportunities to thrive in America.
So with that in mind, the first thing to understand about race relations is that the left are invested in seeing that the “racial divide” remains as wide as possible. This is political, as it has been since the early 60’s, when the Marxist “new left” — our modern left — made common cause with the heirs of Martin Luther King’s civil rights movement. They morphed that movement from an effort to build a color blind society with equality of opportunity for all into a color centric, unified block of people who are fed daily a tautology that they are, and will ever be, permanently victimized by white conservatives. While quite literally everyone I know on the right would like to heal the “racial divide,” for the left, their very political survival depends on using it to “divide and conquer.”
The second thing to understand is that blacks have paid a heavy price indeed for their Faustian bargain with the left. By virtually every metric, while the lives of blacks have improved, and while many black individuals have been able to embrace the opportunities this country has to offer, a very substantial portion of blacks have not. In America today, some 25% of blacks live in poverty; over 70% of children are born to unwed mothers; 30 to 40 percent of inner city kids don’t graduate from school, and a very substantial number who do graduate are functionally illiterate. These problems are cyclical. Nothing the left has done for blacks has broken this cycle.
The third thing to understand is that the left takes blacks for granted. In the pantheon of left wing victim groups, perhaps no group gets more attention and ink, but falls lower on the scale of importance. When it comes to blacks, the left feels no need to balance their needs against those of left wing economic interests because they have the only thing they need from blacks — their votes — already locked up.
So, how to improve race relations? The answer in today’s post-racial America starts and ends with politics. Conservatives must convince blacks that they have their best interests at heart and that the solutions they propose will, in the long term, work to their advantage. When conservatives call for the end to teacher’s unions, no single group of people would benefit more from that then blacks. When conservative call for an end to, or at least a lowering of, the minimum wage, no single group of people would benefit more from that then blacks. When conservatives call for altering laws that decrease the stability of the family unit, no single group of people would benefit more from that then blacks. Conservative must make their case, both that they have black Americans interests firmly at heart, and that blacks have been sorely used by the left.
But to do that, conservatives have to break through a wall of lies and propaganda from the left, at the national level, but most importantly, at the local level. They need to appear at every black forum to make their case, from the NAACP to Howard University to the inner city schools and the local black churches, despite the fact that they will be buried under an avalanche of race cards. And they need to become vociferous in immediately responding to the race card whenever it is played. All of that requires determination, money, and conviction. Rand Paul has flirted with it, and my hat is off to him for at least making some efforts in this regard, but it needs to become a focus for conservatives and Republicans alike, at all levels. That and only that is how you will improve race relations in America.
Mister Chambers : I’d impeach Obama, then exile him to Devil’s Island with Sharpton, his advisor Jarrett, and most of the so-called Muslim leaders in the country. I’d kick out all Muslim prison chaplains from U.S. prisons until they passed a thorough background check. And then I’d rehaul the education system to make it easier for inner city kids to attend charter schools, while simultaneously making it harder to receive welfare benefits. Supplement with a dose of positive reinforcement from mentors, who preached family values and the importance of two parents, faith, and hard work.
Not sure it would work completely, but taken together, but taken together it would be a step in the right direction. And not all that expensive.
The Right Planet : The first thing I’d recommend is to run all of the Marxists and their sympathizers in government out on a rail. At the heart of Marxism is the strategy of pitting one against the other–divide and conquer. What I observe from the leftists in government these days is a constant assault on our culture, turning it upside-down and inside-out (see Antonio Gramsci). I have never in my lifetime seen anything like the racial division between white and black like I am seeing now. And a lot of this division is coming down from the top–meaning, the Obama Administration. I’m convinced the administration wants racial strife. This is evidenced by the fact that the White House and DOJ keep inflaming and inciting the situation in Ferguson, Missouri, and elsewhere. One has to ask themselves, to whose benefit? It appears the only people who benefit from a racially-charged atmosphere is the administration. They create the problem (alleging racism), make the people scream, and then come in and say they have the solution to fix everything, i.e., more draconian legislation and regulations that does nothing but solidify and increase their own power–the people be damned.
I’m afraid there will always be bigotry to some degree. Haters gonna hate. There is no one-step solution that can “solve” the problem of hate entirely. But there are some things we can focus on that would go a long way in fostering racial harmony. One big factor at play here, in my opinion–and one I don’t hear discussed enough (but kudos to those who do)–is bad behavior. And let me be clear, bad behavior is no respecter of race or ethnicity. It’s not a white or black thing. There are badly behaved individuals from every race–white, black, red, yellow and brown. By focusing on behavior, as opposed to skin color, it really wrecks the whole leftist race narrative that we are all constantly bombarded with every single day. Addressing behavior removes race from the equation, and, instead, puts the focus where it belongs.
JoshuaPundit : I think the answer to this question depends on what we’re talking about. And if we’re being honest, here in America we’re obviously talking about black and white relations. I personally take it a step further, and would say we’re not talking about race at all, but mentality and culture.
I speak specifically about the slave mentality. Generally speaking, anyone whom observes blacks from the Caribbean or from many African cultures will notice a distinct difference in the way they approach life, achievement, family life and education. That’s because the slave mentality, again, generally speaking, was eliminated in those cultures some time ago.
The slave mentality is not one of personal initiative. You look to the Massah for direction, and for everything you get. And whatever it is, you always expect more, and with as little personal effort as possible, because after all, you’re entitled to it, aren’t you?
As someone whose people also endured a particularly painful slavery (something we revisit in a few weeks) The history of what happened then and the behavior of many of the Israelites as related in the Book of Shemos (Exodus) is a perfect example of this mentality at work, as anyone who reads it will immediately recognize. That’s exactly why G-d had them wander in the wilderness for 40 years after the fiasco with Canaan and the spies, to allow a new generation to take over who were capable of being a free people.
Changing culture is no easy thing, especially when certain aspects of that culture encourage just the the mentality I’m talking about. The current regime is pretty egregious about using this mentality to stay in power, but that’s the Tammany model Democrats have used for years.It’s difficult and even counterproductive in the short term to entertain fantasies of removing them by anything but legal means, and even if you did it would only exacerbate the problem.
It would be necessary to completely retake education back from the Left and the unions, eliminate the entire government bureaucracies and roll back decades of entitlements and race based preferences. It would be necessary, I think, to eliminate the diversity industry and the accompanying legislation entirely. Dealing effectively with illegal migration so that black unemployment between 18-30 could ramp down from the 25% it is today would also help, along with restoring Welfare reform. I could even envision a sort of CCC for young men regardless of race to be taught useful trades and socialized with moral education…something the public schools used to do but haven’t since teaching became just another union gig.
Many of the traditional black churches could be allies in that moral education if they wanted to, encouraging the salvaging of black youth and the black family.Between 1940 and 1965, blacks were more likely to be married than whites and black out of wedlock births were a fraction of what they are today.
Above all, it would be necessary for America to declare an end to the entire circus of ‘white guilt’ and to focus on the simple goal of equality before the law. This would involve a measure of honesty I’m not sure we’re capable of today, but we should be. Ultimately, this is a question for Black America to decide. The changes I suggest would benefit all Americans, but I reject utterly that ‘saving black America’ is someone else’s responsibility. Creating mechanisms that allow people to help themselves is one thing, but taking the onus for any failure or the credit for any success is merely a continuation of the old mentality.
Frankly, I’m not even sure much of this could be done given the current legal/political climate, and anyone whom tried would face massive opposition from the usual suspects. But that’s what it would take.
The problem with combating this, for most normal Americans at least, is psychological. Because the professionally offended load their “discourse” with emotionally powerful concepts and terms, the average American who sees this happening and realizes how ridiculous and stupid it all it nevertheless is tempted to shy away from opposing it lest they be term “racist” or “bigoted.” All this does is enables the racemongers to go further and further with it.
Are race relations and the state of affairs for racial minorities in America really worse than they have been for decades? Especially with respect to black-white relations, are black Americans really more oppressed, more held down, than at any time since Jim Crow?
The answer to that question is “no.” In fact, the situation is far, far different from that which is usually portrayed by your typical leftist demagogue. Race relations are continuing to improve steadily, despite the best efforts of the Left. The situation for black Americans is, in fact, getting better and better with each passing year (though the current plan to legalize and import millions of low-skill, low-wage foreign workers who will be directly competing with large chunks of the black community for jobs and patronage won’t do them much good). Black Americans enjoy legal parity with whites; they can live where they want, get the same jobs, enjoy the same legal privileges, and so forth. Indeed, in many ways (such as enjoying access to affirmative action and some would say preferential protections from hate crimes laws); blacks are a little more equal than whites in some areas – overcompensation for past injustices, you might say.
So no, despite the Left’s continued efforts to stir up hatred and wrath, the on-the-ground reality is that black and white Americans are more equal and less mistrustful that at any time before. Understand this baseline fact, and you will understand just why the Left’s arguments about continued, pervasive racial “injustice” and their incessant pot-stirring efforts are so wrongheaded and despicable.
Second, if we want to see the hard-fought gains of the past several decades remain, instead of being eroded by the acid vitriol of the Left’s propaganda, then we have to find a way to wrestle control of the discussion about race in America away from the crazies on both sides like the KKK, NAACP, and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Let’s think about it for a minute – who has the most to gain from continuing to set Americans against each other along racial lines? Who profits from this divide-and-conquer strategy that weakens America? How do you think “Reverend” $harpton can afford his flashy suits and his new high-maintenance girlfriend?
So why do we let these people continue to dominate the discussion? Why do we allow those with the basest motives to drive our national debate on this issue? More broadly, how do we wrestle back this discussion from the Left, in general, since the Left are the most motivated to have it, seeing as they profit from it politically and financially? After all – and let’s be honest here – the Left is largely responsible for racial tensions in this country. Left to themselves, most Americans of all races would note our differences and then proceed to work together to build this country. The fact that there is so much continued ill-will and agitation generating racial tensions is because the Democrats and the Left want it to be this way. Racial demagoguery scares people and gets their votes, donations, and most importantly, power over peoples’ minds. When you constantly tell people that they’re being held back by the mythical “Man,” instead of encouraging them to put away the past and look to the future, you make them dependent on you to “right the wrongs,” both real and (now mostly) imagined. You bring them into your power, and you can do whatever you want with them.
The starting point for taking back the discussion has to begin with honesty. We do need to acknowledge that there have been great injustices done in the past to people because of their race. Means more than admitting historical facts that we all know, but accepting that this past does color the way people look at the present, and ignoring or trying to minimize past injustices is not helpful to having an honest conversation. White conservatives need to stop bristling whenever someone mentions Jim Crow, slavery, the Tuskegee experiments, the repeated lies and backstabbing America did to the Native Americans, and so forth. Recognize that these are, indeed, legitimate historical reasons why people might be less than willing to accept a rosy view of America. But at the same time, emphasize that these are past events – and we live in the present. Living in the past destroys the spirit, living in the present with an eye to the future invigorates it. Honesty involves moving the discussion beyond the past.
At the same time, demand that honesty be a two-way street. The Left and racial minorities need to be willing to admit that the things that the average American observes are in fact real, and not just racist Republican constructs. The reason more black men are incarcerated than whites is because blacks commit a disproportionate share of crimes in America. If nothing else, the FBI’s uniform crime statistics tell us that. Pervasive poverty in the black community is not to due to “institutionalized racism,” but to systematic pathologies – welfare dependency, destruction of marriage, out-of-wedlock births, and so forth – that have crept into their community since the War on Poverty and the Great Society were inflicted upon them by the Democrats. Conservative opposition to increased welfare and other social spending is not “racist” and is not an attack on blacks in America. It is in fact quite the opposite – it is a rescue attempt that will ultimately help blacks (indeed all Americans) to get back on their feet and prosper. Until the Left can find it within themselves to accept these realities and face facts, a genuine conversation will be very difficult to pursue.
Further, we need to recognize and point out that most of what the Left calls “racism” is not. Things like systematically disadvantaging people before the law because of their race, lynching people because of their race, making people use different facilities because of their race – those are genuine racism. Most everything the Left calls “racist” today is not. The Left has succeeded in “moving the goalposts” on racism, a logical error which, ironically, highlights just how unnecessary continued fear of real racism really is anymore, beyond very isolated incidents. So now, the Left has to redefine “racism” to mean “promoting welfare reform” or “passing voter ID laws” or “demanding enforcement of immigration laws.” Basically, anything the Left doesn’t like becomes “racist,” because the Left needs racism to continue to exist so as to perpetuate its relevancy in fundraising and vote-wrangling.
Lastly, we need to assert with the utmost vigor that actually using terms like “racist” and “bigot” in the discussion about race – unless you’re talking about a lynching – is an automatic deal-breaker. The Left has overused these terms to the point where they have no real meaning anymore. Their use is not indicative of someone who has the moral high ground, but rather of someone who is too stupid or conniving to engage in an honest, intelligent conversation about an issue that continues to exist in our nation. Screaming “racist” at someone trying to honestly deal with the problems facing America’s black community is like shouting at your plumber for “hurting” the fitting he’s trying to remove to fix your water leak. It’s stupid and counterproductive.
Ultimately, conservatives and liberty lovers need to be proactive and wrestle the discussion back from the Left. What we do not need to do – even though this is advocated by a lot of folks who like to say it because they think it makes them sound like some kind of rugged individual or something – is to simply ignore the discussion. Sorry, but race is not going away, and the conversation about race isn’t either.
This being the case, we can either continue to be cowed by it, or we can punch the Left in the face and take it from them. Vote for the latter. Doing so is going to require some fortitude on the part of people who love America, however. It means we have to be upfront about contradicting our neighbors and co-workers and family members when they make false assertions about race or start mindlessly slinging epithets around. It means we have to overcome the psychological barrier of “not being liked” or “being perceived as mean” and start forcing people in this country to face facts.
Do it, and we will see America get better. Don’t, and America will only continue to fragment into the balkanized nightmare that the Left would love for it to be.
Cap Black :After 48 years as a Black man, here’s my two-part. two cents on improving race relations:
1. DO NOT, hint, hint, DO NOT lower the bar for young Black men! Recent liberal mania to remove felony conviction check boxes on job applications and related reentry program fever provide perverse incentives for young Black men to consider serious criminal records as misguided proof of ethic authenticity instead of a matter of profound shame.
If it’s wrong for your kids, then guess what- it’s wrong for ours too!
Telling a group of often low income Black boys without political connections that it’s okay for them to destroy their lives through crime is the height of bigotry!
2. Refer to suggestion number 1 as often as possible until it sinks in culturally!
Raising the bar on personal responsibility for young Black men ( I type as a former one, btw, lol ) lowers the crime rate, number of fatherless households and other negative statistics being mass produced by very bad decision making enabled by liberalism!
Laura Rambeau Lee, Right Reason: In order to improve race relations in America, we have to start with the public education system. We need to restore the teaching of American and World History and present an unbiased and factual accounting of the history of humankind. Our history of slavery is not a black and white issue as some present it to be. We should assure all public schools deliver the best teachers and teaching environment to all children, whether they are in poor inner city districts or in suburban neighborhoods. As a society we have committed to the education of our children. We must give them equal opportunity so they can enjoy personal success in whatever they choose to do with their lives. The goal is to produce responsible, productive, and contributing members of society.
We need to demand personal accountability on the part of parents, both mothers and fathers, in providing for the support of the children they have chosen to bring into the world. It is not society’s responsibility to raise another’s child or children. Civilized society begins with the family unit. No matter how we try, we cannot get away from this fact.
Affirmative action and quotas should be eliminated. Everyone, no matter what race or sex, should be given equal opportunity based on their personal talents, accomplishments, desires and drive.
We cannot expect race relations to improve in America unless and until everyone understands where we came from and where we are today. It has taken fifty years of The Great Society and the race baiters to create a dependent, hopeless and bitter class of predominantly African Americans. It is going to take another fifty years to undo the damage done by the progressives under the guise of helping them. We need less government involvement and we need to demand more personal accountability and responsibility. We need to publicly call out the race baiters and expose them and their true intent.
The Independent Sentinel : When the Obama administration is gone, race relations will instantly improve.
Barack Obama has shown us everything not to do. The opposite should work well, starting with not blaming the police for crime caused by poor parenting and gang activity.
Instead of pouring money into programs to bring illegal immigrants into the country, we should pour money into education and job training for youth in crime-ridden areas. The unemployment rate for blacks is abysmal. It’s double that of whites. Race relations would improve dramatically if they could get jobs.
Race relations has been politicized by the left and as long as they exploit minorities to keep their support, improvements will be limited.
Well, there you have it!
Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. and every Tuesday morning, when we reveal the weeks’ nominees for Weasel of the Week!
And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council, and the results are posted on Friday morning.
It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere, and you won’t want to miss it…or any of the other fantabulous Watcher’s Council content.