Posts Tagged ‘African American’

Racism and Intelligence

April 26, 2016

I wish that I could say that I was much surprised  by this article in the Christian Science Monitor titled The Surprising Relationship between Intelligence and Racism, but while the results of the survey mentioned were somewhat interesting, the conclusions drawn by the the author are entirely predictable. Smart people do not seem to be as overtly racist as less intelligent people, because they are better at hiding their racism.

Are smart people less racist than their less-intelligent peers?

That was the question asked in a new study that examined the relationship between verbal intelligence and attitudes on race and racial policies.

The findings may surprise some: While people who score higher on intelligence tests are less likely to hold racist stereotypes (such as imagining that people of another race are lazy or unintelligent), they’re no more likely to support government policies that aim to reduce racial inequality. For example, while 95 percent of study participants who scored higher on the intelligence test said that black and white children should attend the same schools, only 22 percent support school-busing programs.

By highlighting the disconnect between Americans’ attitudes on race and their support for policies that remediate inequality, the study, published in the Oxford University Press, may reveal how deeply entrenched certain forms of racism actually are in society.

For Lori Brown, professor of sociology at Meredith College in Raleigh, N.C., the findings aren’t surprising because race is a complex issue that involves more than intellect.

“Prejudice involves what we believe to be true, affective feelings [like] likes and dislikes,” and instinctive needs, whereby “some people ‘need’ to be prejudiced [because] they feel so bad about themselves it makes them feel better to hate others,” Prof. Brown explains. “So, better educated or ‘smart’ people may know facts but may still not like people who are different.”

For the study, Geoffrey Wodtke, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Toronto, examined three decades of data from the General Social Survey, which has periodically measured Americans’ attitudes on a wide range of topics since 1972. The survey includes a short vocabulary test, considered to be a good indicator of verbal intelligence. Prof. Wodtke isolated the results of some 45,000 Caucasians and compared their verbal intelligence with their attitudes on race.

He found that the group that scored higher on the test were less likely to hold racist beliefs than their lower-performing counterparts. For example, among those who did well on the verbal test, 29 percent said blacks were lazy and 13 percent said they were unintelligent. By contrast, among those who performed poorly on the intelligence test, 46 percent described blacks as lazy and 23 described them as unintelligent.

 

The conclusion that Wodtke draws is that both the high and low scorers on the tests may have racist attitudes, but the high scorers “are simply more sophisticated racists.”

Why are whites judged to be more intelligent than their peers – who research has shown, are more likely to support liberal politics and policies – no more likely to support policies designed to improve racial equality?

Racism is defined as:

1. a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usu. involving the idea that one’s own race is superior.
2. a policy, system of government, etc., based on such a doctrine.
3. hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.
In other words, racism is the belief that race matters most in human affairs and that what you are, in terms of race, is more important that who you are as an individual. A person who believes that Blacks are inherently inferior in intelligence than Whites is a racist. A person who believes that Blacks should be held in an inferior place in society is a racist. However, a person who is opposed to “policies designed to improve racial equality” is not a racist just because they oppose such policies. One may agree with the idea that racism is a bad thing, but believe that policies designed to improve racial equality are not an effective means of reducing racism, and by promoting division and race consciousness, may actually make the problem worse. In any case, if the goal is to create a color blind society in which race doesn’t matter, making race matter more is a strange way to go about it
You see the rhetorical trick that is being played here. The writers are defining racism not only as an overt belief that a certain race is superior to another, but also as opposition to policies that they suppose fight racism. In this way, they do not have to defend the policies they seem to favor, but can simply label any opposition as based on racism.
The article concludes:

The findings reveal how entrenched some forms of racism and white privilege are in society, says Wodtke.

“More intelligent members of the dominant group are just better at legitimizing and protecting their privileged position than less intelligent members. In modern America, where blacks are mobilized to challenge racial inequality, this means that intelligent whites say – and may in fact truly believe – all the right things about racial equality in principle, but they just don’t actually do anything that would eliminate the privileges to which they have become accustomed,” he said in a statement.

“In many cases, they have become so accustomed to these privileges that they become ‘invisible,’ and any effort to point these privileges out or to eliminate them strikes intelligent whites as a grave injustice.”

People on the left are emotionally invested int he idea that America is an irredeemably racist country, as if they are caught in some time warp in which George Wallace is forever standing on the courthouse steps shouting, “Segregation forever!!!”. We have made considerable progress in race relations since those days. Racism of the old kind is all but extinct in our public discourse. Certainly there are prejudiced people still around, and many Blacks do not have all the opportunities they should, but the fact that we have to search for invisible White privilege says something about the vast changes in society over the last few decades. In the good old days, the privileges that Whites held over Blacks was obvious to everyone, and few believe that it should be otherwise. Liberals are always talking about having a great discussion on race, by which they mean they get to hector the rest of us and call us racists, but I think that the best thing we could do for race relations would be to stop talking about race and just try to be good to one another.  At least we should stop wasting time and money on worthless studies like this one.

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The President Speaks

July 19, 2013

And I wish that he would just shut up. Here is a full transcript of his remarks. I was going to copy them here but they are rather long, so I will only put in excerpts that I wish to comment upon.

First of all, I want to make sure that, once again, I send my thoughts and prayers, as well as Michelle’s, to the family of Trayvon Martin, and to remark on the incredible grace and dignity with which they’ve dealt with the entire situation. I can only imagine what they’re going through, and it’s remarkable how they’ve handled it.

What about the family of George Zimmerman? They are living in fear because of the large number of death threats they have received. Does the president have nothing to say to them? What about George Zimmerman? Can he not affirm that he was acquitted and should not be terrorized?

The second thing I want to say is to reiterate what I said on Sunday, which is there’s going to be a lot of arguments about the legal issues in the case — I’ll let all the legal analysts and talking heads address those issues. The judge conducted the trial in a professional manner. The prosecution and the defense made their arguments. The juries were properly instructed that in a case such as this reasonable doubt was relevant, and they rendered a verdict. And once the jury has spoken, that’s how our system works. But I did want to just talk a little bit about context and how people have responded to it and how people are feeling.

You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago. And when you think about why, in the African American community at least, there’s a lot of pain around what happened here, I think it’s important to recognize that the African American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn’t go away.

There are very few African American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me. There are very few African American men who haven’t had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me — at least before I was a senator. There are very few African Americans who haven’t had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. That happens often.

If President Obama had a son, he would not be Trayvon Martin. He would be attending an exclusive private school, just as the President’s daughters are attending and he would have many opportunities that other Americans, White or Black, do not have. Barack Obama spent much of his young life either abroad, or being raised by his White mother and his White grandmother in predominantly White and well off neighborhoods. He has led a life of privilege. Trayvon Martin was not attending a private college-prep school, like Obama did, and it is very unlikely that he would have been able to attend Harvard Law School, no matter how bright he might have been. Barack Obama’s life experiences have not been typical of most African-Americans, no matter how much he would like to pretend they have.

And so the fact that sometimes that’s unacknowledged adds to the frustration. And the fact that a lot of African American boys are painted with a broad brush and the excuse is given, well, there are these statistics out there that show that African American boys are more violent — using that as an excuse to then see sons treated differently causes pain.

It is not an excuse. It experience teaches us that African American boys are more likely to commit a violence crime, then it is sensible to be wary of African American boys. If Asian girls or Native American transvestites committed a disproporionate share of the crimes in the US, people would be wary of them. The question must be, what are we going to do about this, besides blaming racism.

I think the African American community is also not naïve in understanding that, statistically, somebody like Trayvon Martin was statistically more likely to be shot by a peer than he was by somebody else. So folks understand the challenges that exist for African American boys. But they get frustrated, I think, if they feel that there’s no context for it and that context is being denied. And that all contributes I think to a sense that if a white male teen was involved in the same kind of scenario, that, from top to bottom, both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different.

If a White male teen had knocked an armed man to the ground and was pummeling him, the outcome might have been much the same. The only difference is that the race hustlers and the Left would have had nothing to work with and the case would never have gotten national attention.

Now, the question for me at least, and I think for a lot of folks, is where do we take this? How do we learn some lessons from this and move in a positive direction? I think it’s understandable that there have been demonstrations and vigils and protests, and some of that stuff is just going to have to work its way through, as long as it remains nonviolent. If I see any violence, then I will remind folks that that dishonors what happened to Trayvon Martin and his family. But beyond protests or vigils, the question is, are there some concrete things that we might be able to do.

I know that Eric Holder is reviewing what happened down there, but I think it’s important for people to have some clear expectations here. Traditionally, these are issues of state and local government, the criminal code. And law enforcement is traditionally done at the state and local levels, not at the federal levels.

I think Eric Holder should leave George Zimmerman alone. The constitution forbids double jeopardy for a reason

Number one, precisely because law enforcement is often determined at the state and local level, I think it would be productive for the Justice Department, governors, mayors to work with law enforcement about training at the state and local levels in order to reduce the kind of mistrust in the system that sometimes currently exists.

If he wants to reduce the mistrust that currently exists, how about reining in Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

When I was in Illinois, I passed racial profiling legislation, and it actually did just two simple things. One, it collected data on traffic stops and the race of the person who was stopped. But the other thing was it resourced us training police departments across the state on how to think about potential racial bias and ways to further professionalize what they were doing.

And initially, the police departments across the state were resistant, but actually they came to recognize that if it was done in a fair, straightforward way that it would allow them to do their jobs better and communities would have more confidence in them and, in turn, be more helpful in applying the law. And obviously, law enforcement has got a very tough job.

And I’m doing my best to make it tougher.

I know that there’s been commentary about the fact that the “stand your ground” laws in Florida were not used as a defense in the case. On the other hand, if we’re sending a message as a society in our communities that someone who is armed potentially has the right to use those firearms even if there’s a way for them to exit from a situation, is that really going to be contributing to the kind of peace and security and order that we’d like to see?

And for those who resist that idea that we should think about something like these “stand your ground” laws, I’d just ask people to consider, if Trayvon Martin was of age and armed, could he have stood his ground on that sidewalk? And do we actually think that he would have been justified in shooting Mr. Zimmerman who had followed him in a car because he felt threatened? And if the answer to that question is at least ambiguous, then it seems to me that we might want to examine those kinds of laws.

We ought not to allow people to defend themselves. To answer the question, if Mr. Zimmerman had assaulted Martin, then certainly Martin would have had the right to stand his ground and defend himself.

And then, finally, I think it’s going to be important for all of us to do some soul-searching. There has been talk about should we convene a conversation on race. I haven’t seen that be particularly productive when politicians try to organize conversations. They end up being stilted and politicized, and folks are locked into the positions they already have. On the other hand, in families and churches and workplaces, there’s the possibility that people are a little bit more honest, and at least you ask yourself your own questions about, am I wringing as much bias out of myself as I can? Am I judging people as much as I can, based on not the color of their skin, but the content of their character? That would, I think, be an appropriate exercise in the wake of this tragedy.

The truth is that you can not be honest about matters of race in this country. But if we want to have that conversation, why don’t we start with the fact that many Blacks are prejudiced against Whites?

And let me just leave you with a final thought that, as difficult and challenging as this whole episode has been for a lot of people, I don’t want us to lose sight that things are getting better. Each successive generation seems to be making progress in changing attitudes when it comes to race. It doesn’t mean we’re in a post-racial society. It doesn’t mean that racism is eliminated. But when I talk to Malia and Sasha, and I listen to their friends and I seem them interact, they’re better than we are — they’re better than we were — on these issues. And that’s true in every community that I’ve visited all across the country.

And so we have to be vigilant and we have to work on these issues. And those of us in authority should be doing everything we can to encourage the better angels of our nature, as opposed to using these episodes to heighten divisions. But we should also have confidence that kids these days, I think, have more sense than we did back then, and certainly more than our parents did or our grandparents did; and that along this long, difficult journey, we’re becoming a more perfect union — not a perfect union, but a more perfect union.

The tragedy of Barack Obama is that he could have done much to promote racial healing in this country. Being half White and half Black he could have been a sort of bridge bring people together. Most Whites were happy to see a Black man being elected president. Barack Obama chose not to play that role. He decided to embrace the politics of division, of envy, of class hatred and racial animosity. His country is the worse for it.

 

 

Jesse Jackson is a Human Leach

July 18, 2013
English: Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr. discusses ...

Human leach

In a column that appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times, Jesse Jackson called for a United Nations investigation into the racial context behind the death of Trayvon Martin.

If Trayvon Martin were not a young black male, he would be alive today. Despite the verdict, it’s clear that George Zimmerman would never have confronted a young white man wearing a hoodie. He would, at the very least, have listened to the cops and stayed back. Trayvon Martin is dead because Zimmerman believed that “these guys always get away” and chose not to wait for the police.

Trayvon Martin’s death shatters the convenient myths that blind us to reality. That reality, as the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board wrote, is that “black men carry a special burden from the day they are born.”

Both the prosecutor and the defense claimed that the trial was not about race. But Trayvon Martin was assumed to be threatening just for walking while being young, black and male.

That is the reality that can no longer be ignored. Through the years, gruesome horrors — the murder of Emmitt Till, the shooting of Medgar Evers in his front yard — have galvanized African Americans and public action on civil rights. Trayvon Martin’s death should do the same.

I do not know if the Rev. Jackson is ignorant of the actual events of the shooting or if he is a liar. Considering his past history of using real or imaginary racial grievances to extort corporations and enrich himself, I am going to go with liar. The truth is that Martin’s skin color was irrelevant to the question of whether he would have died that night. Here is the transcript of the 911 call that George Zimmerman made.

Dispatcher

Sanford Police Department.

Zimmerman

Hey we’ve had some break-ins in my neighborhood, and there’s a real suspicious guy, uh, it’s Retreat View Circle, um, the best address I can give you is 111 Retreat View Circle. This guy looks like he’s up to no good, or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.

Dispatcher

OK, and this guy is he white, black, or hispanic?

Zimmerman

He looks black.

Dispatcher

Did you see what he was wearing?

Zimmerman

Yeah. A dark hoodie, like a grey hoodie, and either jeans or sweatpants and white tennis shoes. He’s here now, he was just staring.

Dispatcher

OK, he’s just walking around the area…

Zimmerman

looking at all the houses.

Dispatcher

OK…

Zimmerman

Now he’s just staring at me.

Dispatcher

OK-you said it’s 1111 Retreat View? Or 111?

Zimmerman

That’s the clubhouse…

Dispatcher

That’s the clubhouse, do you know what the-he’s near the clubhouse right now?

Zimmerman

Yeah, now he’s coming towards me.

Dispatcher

OK.

Zimmerman

He’s got his hand in his waistband. And he’s a black male.

Dispatcher

How old would you say he looks?

Zimmerman

He’s got button on his shirt, late teens.

Dispatcher

Late teens. Ok.

Zimmerman

Somethings wrong with him. Yup, he’s coming to check me out, he’s got something in his hands, I don’t know what his deal is.

Dispatcher

Just let me know if he does anything, ok?

Zimmerman

(unclear) See if you can get an officer over here.

Dispatcher

Yeah we’ve got someone on the way, just let me know if this guy does anything else.

Zimmerman

Okay. These (expletive) they always get away. Yep. When you come to the clubhouse you come straight in and make a left. Actually you would go past the clubhouse.

Dispatcher

So it’s on the lefthand side from the clubhouse?

Zimmerman

No you go in straight through the entrance and then you make a left, uh, you go straight in, don’t turn, and make a left. (expletive) he’s running.

Dispatcher

He’s running? Which way is he running?

Ambient sounds are heard which may be Zimmerman unbuckling his seat belt and his vehicle’s “open door” chime sounding. The change in his voice and the sound of wind against his cell phone mic indicate that he has left his vehicle and is now walking. The dispatcher seems to pick up on these changes and sounds concerned when he later asks Zimmerman if he is following Martin.

Zimmerman

Down towards the other entrance to the neighborhood.

Dispatcher

Which entrance is that that he’s heading towards?

Zimmerman

The back entrance…(expletive)(unclear)

This section of the recording has been the subject of much speculation. Some suggest that Zimmerman has just made a racial slur, but the audio is not clear.

Dispatcher

Are you following him?

Zimmerman

Yeah.

Dispatcher

Ok, we don’t need you to do that.

Zimmerman

Ok.

Dispatcher

Alright sir what is your name?

Zimmerman

George…He ran.

Dispatcher

Alright George what’s your last name?

A clicking or knocking sound can be heard here

Zimmerman

Zimmerman

Dispatcher

And George what’s the phone number you’re calling from?

Clicking or knocking sound is heard again

Zimmerman

[phone number removed]

Dispatcher

Alright George we do have them on the way. Do you want to meet with the officer when they get out there?

Zimmerman

Yeah.

Dispatcher

Alright, where you going to meet with them at?

For the remainder of the recording, Zimmerman sounds distracted. The knocking sound occurs several times during the final exchange with the dispatcher

Zimmerman

Um, if they come in through the, uh, (knocking sound) gate, tell them to go straight past the club house, and uh, (knocking sound) straight past the club house and make a left, and then they go past the mailboxes, that’s my truck…[unintelligible]

Dispatcher

What address are you parked in front of?

Zimmerman

I don’t know, it’s a cut through so I don’t know the address.

Dispatcher

Okay do you live in the area?

Zimmerman

Yeah, I…[unintelligible]

Dispatcher

What’s your apartment number?

Zimmerman

It’s a home it’s [house number removed], (knocking sound) oh crap I don’t want to give it all out, I don’t know where this kid is.

Dispatcher

Okay do you want to just meet with them right near the mailboxes then?

Zimmerman

Yeah that’s fine.

Dispatcher

Alright George, I’ll let them know to meet you around there, okay?

Zimmerman

Actually could you have them, could you have them call me and I’ll tell them where I’m at?

Dispatcher

Okay, yeah that’s no problem.

Zimmerman

Should I give you my number or you got it?

Dispatcher

Yeah I got it [phone number removed]

Zimmerman

Yeah you got it.

Dispatcher

Okay no problem, I’ll let them know to call you when you’re in the area.

Zimmerman

Thanks.

Dispatcher

You’re welcome.

Notice that Mr. Zimmerman did not identify Martin by race until the dispatcher asked him. Even then he seemed not to be certain at first. Perhaps the hoodie that Martin was wearing and the darkness made it difficult to be sure of his race. Notice that Zimmerman stated that the individual was acting in a suspicious manner, “on drugs or something”. It is clear that Zimmerman was not just following the first Black person he happened to see, nor did Martin appear to be just walking home.

It took me about 3 seconds to find this transcript via Google. What is Jackson’s excuse? Let’s go on.

What it dramatizes is what Michelle Alexander calls “the New Jim Crow.” Segregation is illegal; scurrilous racism unacceptable. But mass incarceration and a racially biased criminal justice system have served many of the same functions. Since 1970, we’ve witnessed a 600 percent increase in the number of people behind bars, overwhelmingly due to the war on drugs. Those imprisoned are disproportionately African Americans. The U.S. now imprisons a greater percentage of its black population than South Africa did at the height of apartheid.

Drug usage is not dramatically greater in the black community. But young black males are racially profiled, more likely to be stopped and frisked (something New York Mayor Bloomberg defends), more likely to be arrested if stopped, more likely to be charged if arrested, more likely to be jailed if charged. In schools, zero tolerance — once again enforced disproportionately against people of color — results in expulsions, creating a virtual pipeline to prison.

Why are so many young Black men in prison? Why are Black men more likely to be profiled? Black men are responsible for a disproportionate amount of the crime that occurs in the United States. It actually makes sense to profile Black men, even if the great majority of Blacks profiled are innocent of any crime. This is a deplorable situation, even if overall crime rates have been dropping in recent decades. This situation will not be resolved as long as influential people in the Black community insist on blaming “whitey” for all of their woes. We need to ask serious questions about why so many young Black men are attracted to criminal behavior. Until that happens the prison will continue to be filled with young Black men and young Black men will continue to be killed in self defense. The sad thing is that Jesse Jackson does seem to have some idea of what is going wrong.

 

The results are devastating. Young fathers are jailed. Children grow up in broken homes, in severe poverty, since those convicted never really leave prison. They face discrimination in employment, in housing, in the right to vote, in educational opportunities, in food stamps and public support. As Alexander argues, the U.S. hasn’t ended the racial caste system, it has redesigned it. 

 

As Trayvon Martin’s death shows us, the norm increasingly is to police and punish poor young men of color, not educate or empower them. And that norm makes it dangerous to be young, black and male in America. 

It is not just that young fathers are jailed. The public support that Jackson claims discriminates against Blacks tends to make young father superfluous. This might be part of the reason that around 70% of Black babies are born to a single mother. This high rate of illegitimacy has proven to be absolutely devastating. I suspect that the Black family was stronger during Jim Crow and even slavery than it is now. What is Jackson doing about this? Blaming others.

There are three possible reactions to this reality. African Americans can adjust to it, teaching their children how to survive against the odds. We can resent it, seething in suppressed fury until we can’t stand it anymore. Or we can resist, assert our rights to equal protection under the laws, and challenge openly the new reality.

We need a national investigation of the racial context that led to Trayvon Martin’s slaying. Congress must act. And it’s time to call on the United Nations Human Rights Commission for an in-depth investigation of whether the U.S. is upholding its obligations under international human rights laws and treaties. Trayvon Martin’s death demands much more than a jury’s verdict on George Zimmerman. It calls for us to hear the evidence and render a verdict on the racial reality that never had its day in court at the trial.

Or we could have an honest conversation about the causes of the problems that beset the Black community. We could teach young Black men to takes responsibility for themselves and not blame racism for every setback. But then, a community of confident achievers would have no use for the likes of Jesse Jackson. He is not and never will be part of the solution. He profits too much from the problem. He is a parasite, living off the misery of others.

 

Dr. Charles R. Drew

June 18, 2013
Charles R Drew

Charles R Drew (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dr Charles R. Drew was one of those rare individuals who was good at whatever he attempted to accomplish. He was an athlete, educator, inventor, and medical researcher. He did suffer from one failing however, which might have hindered the career of one less talented. He was Black, at a time and place where Black was decidedly not beautiful.

Dr. Drew was born in Washington D.C. on July 3, 1904. He attended Dunbar High School, a school for Blacks which had a high academic reputation. At Dunbar, he was a star athlete who played football, baseball and basketball He also was involved in swimming and track. Drew graduated from Dunbar in 1922 and attended Amherst College where he graduated in 1926. He took a job as a biology teacher at Morgan State University, but then he decided to attend medical school at McGill University in Montreal Canada. He obtained his MD in 1933 and then became the first African-American to get a Doctor of Medical Science degree at Columbia University.

Dr. Drew’s chief contributions to medical science were in the field of blood transfusion. He discovered that blood could be kept longer by separating the plasma from the whole blood. He also learned that while people of various blood types, (A, B, AB, O) may or may not receive transfusions from other blood types, depending on compatibility, blood plasma was always compatible and could be used in transfusions in the place of whole blood, if necessary. He encouraged Columbia University to set up blood banks and helped to organize blood banks during World War II.

Charles Drew died in an automobile accident on April 1, 1950 and the circumstances of his death are really the reason I am writing this post, although Dr. Drew does deserve more recognition than he has gotten. There was a rumor that his death was because a White hospital refused to admit him and by the time he could be taken to a Black hospital, he had bled to death. This rumor is simply not true. The actual fact was that he was admitted to a hospital as quickly as possible but his injuries were so severe that there was nothing that could be done for him. If you think about it, surely no medical professional would send a dying  patient away, no matter how prejudiced. They would surely wait until the patient was stabilized enough to be moved before transferring him out.

I first encountered this story in an episode of MASH. There was a wounded soldier who requested that he not receive any “dark” blood, (actually blood was segregated during World War II, to Dr. Drew’s disgust) so the surgeons dyed his skin and pretended that he had been turned Black. When the soldier had had enough, Hawkeye, the one played by Alan Alda, explained to him what they had done and then recounted the story of Charles Drew’s death in his particularly smug and self-righteous fashion. The soldier learned his lesson.

It seems to me that even in those dark and primitive times before Al Gore invented the Internet and Google was available, the script writers might have done a little research and learned that the story was false. Perhaps that was too much trouble for them. Maybe, they were not inclined to let the facts get in the way of a story that portrays America as irredeemably and viciously racist.

Why are there no Dr. Drews these days? I suppose there must be some Black scientists and inventors but somehow I haven’t heard of them. Where are the Black entrepreneurs?  There don’t seem to be any African-American equivalents of Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg. Why is it that the only Blacks I do read of in the news are athletes, criminals, rap artists, and politicians? Some people might attribute this seeming lack to racial inferiority or oppressive racism but there seems to have been quite a few accomplished and successful Blacks in the bad, old days of segregation and Jim Crow. Dr. Charles Drew and George Washington Carver weren’ t the only Black researchers and inventors. There were a number of successful Black business men and there were even a few slave holders in the old South. There was even a thriving African-American cultural scene with talented artists far superior to today’s rap singers. The Black family was far more secure than is the case in today’s African-American community. Even under slavery, there were fewer Black children being raised in single parent households.

It may be heresy to suggest this, but I wonder if the Civil Rights movement was an unmixed blessing for the African American community. Obviously, it is manifestly unjust to deny basic civil rights to people based on their race and that is something that needed to be ended. Yet it seems to me that African-Americans of the pre-Civil Rights era were more willing to try to rise above the discrimination they faced. Of course, there are now Blacks at the highest levels of success nowadays and no one would argue that racism is worse today than a century ago. But there does seem to be that underclass which seems to be trapped and unable to improve itself.

I think, and I could be wrong, that a central message of the Civil Rights movement, at least after a certain point, has been that African-Americans have no chance of succeeding in a racist country like America. They need constant help from the government and the Democratic Party. Perhaps this message, repeated often enough and believed by all too many Blacks has done what slavery and segregation could not, break the will to succeed and turn people who should be proud into resentful victims.

If anyone does know the names of any first-rate Black inventors, scientists or businessmen, please let me know. I would like for this thesis of mine to be proved wrong. In any event, I would very much prefer that Black scientists and scholars get more recognition than thugs and rappers.

No Matter What… They’ll Say This Book is Racist

October 1, 2012

Early in his tenure as Attorney General, Eric Holder called his fellow Americans cowards for not talking candidly enough about matters of race. The reason for this supposed cowardice is obvious enough since any departure from liberal, politically correct orthodoxy results in immediate accusations of racism. In fact, any departure from liberal, politically correct orthodoxy on any subject may result in such accusations, as members of the Tea Parties, generally more concerned with fiscal matters than social or racial, have discovered.

Harry Stein is brave, or foolish, enough to start this conversation about race in his latest book, No Matter What… They’ll Call This Book Racist. Unfortunately, the title, which he adapted from a famous sign at a Tea Party rally, will turn out to be accurate, as one can see from reading negative reviews of this book. Undaunted, Stein examines the myths regarding such topics as affirmative action, the collapse of the family in the Black underclass, and other issues that need to be discussed openly and honestly, but almost never is.

It is all standard Conservative fare, and familiar to anyone who has read Thomas Sowell or Shelby Steele, though Stein makes the case better than most. The book has less of the humor of his two previous books, but this is a more serious subject. The problem is that the people who most need to read a book like this, the sort of guilt-ridden White liberals and up and successful African Americans who might agree with most of what Stein actually says, will simply dismiss it as racist without getting past the first page.

Still, there is cause for optimism. Charges of racism increasingly ring hollow as liberals have overplayed the race card to intimidate opposition. There is a growing number of Black Conservatives.  People across the political spectrum are more aware and more willing to admit that the old platitudes about race just don’t work anymore. Maybe No Matter What will make an important contribution to opening up a real conversation.


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