Perspectives on Race Relations

 

“…this country, despite its sins, also is a country for the last sixty years has truly transformed itself morally. And, Americans today are a different people in regard to all these issues [discrimination, oppression] …” Shelby Steele, How America’s Past Sins Have Polarized Our Country

 

Parallel Perspective

April 1968. I was sixteen when I heard of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. I read the Chicago newspapers and watched the local news.

In the days after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., in more than 130 cities, hundreds of thousands of black Americans let their anger and grief boil over into collective rage. In Chicago, more than 48 hours of rioting left 11 Chicagoans dead, 48 wounded by police gunfire, 90 policemen injured, and 2,150 people arrested. Some two miles of the commercial heart of Lawndale on West Madison were little more than charred rubble.

West Madison Street, 1968, Encyclopedia of Chicago

 

Chicago is my home. I have lived here during the 60 years of fundamental transformation that Shelby Steele describes in the epigraph. Prior to that tragic day in 1968, I was aware of strife in the country. The civil rights movement began during my childhood as did the Vietnam war. I watched the nightly news reports with my father. Both were covered.

In high school social studies class, I read Black Like Me and Cry, the Beloved Country. Civil War history was also taught. I was given excerpts of the Lincoln-Douglas debates to read (Essentially, Douglas, a Democrat, wanted states to be allowed chose slavery if they so desired. Lincoln, a Republican, wanted a nation without pockets of slavery. I would later learn that a higher percentage of Republicans than Democrats voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and for the Voting Rights Act of 1965.) Later, in the 1980s, I read Stephen B. Oates’ Let The Trumpet Sound: The Life Of Martin Luther King, Jr. after the book came out. I wanted to gain insight into MLK’s life.

From my various readings I understood why Martin Luther King and black Americans were protesting. I also understood, from my visits with my grandparents, that there was something in the human heart that was prejudicial and could act to discriminate against another human being.

My father and mother would take my brother and me to see his Dutch parents. My grandparents lived in a small house in Bellwood on Chicago’s west side. They prided themselves on their perfectly manicured landscape which included a rose garden in the backyard. The frontroom’s (a Chicagoism) sofa and chairs were covered with plastic slipcovers. Having lived through the depression, everything they owned was protected and meant to last.

On the drive over to their house, my father warned us kids that grandpa (definitely an Archie Bunker archetype) had issues with black people (and other ethnic groups). We would hear grandpa talk about the “niggers” moving into the neighborhood. Grandma would try to shoosh him with “little ears!” I heard my dad trying to move grandpa beyond prejudice, but grandpa, a gruff truck driver, was set in his ways.

My Dutch father was like my Dutch grandparents in that he loved order and cleanliness. But he was not like them in his attitude toward black folk. From what I could gather from my visits, the antipathy that my grandparents held toward blacks seemed to circulate in the attitudes of those who attended their local Dutch Christian Reformed Church. I listened to the conversations when the members gathered outside the church after the service. As a young man, my father attended a different church, dated my mother, discovered Jesus and rejected his father’s ways in the process. That fundamental transformation made the difference for his children’s understanding of race relations.

Now, I don’t pretend to know what it is like to be black. But over 67 years I did gain perspective on black American life. I empathized with the black American’s anger over Jim Crow laws. I empathized with their loss of MLK who called out the injustice. But I did not then and do not now sympathize with the rioting, looting and violence of protestors. These acts are the antithesis of MLK’s non-violent approach to protesting. Such “mindless mimicry of anger and resentment” (Shelby Steel) and destruction only sets back the cause of race relations. Such behavior comes from a very dark place. MLK exemplified Proverbs 16:32:

He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty,
    and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.

 

Progressive Perspective

Anyone who has watched Monty Python’s Flying Circus will remember the Dead Parrot sketch. Mr. Praline comes into the pet shop to complain that his recently purchased parrot is dead. The owner of the shop denies any of Mr. Praline’s claims with exasperating excuses.

Mr. Praline: Look, I took the liberty of examining that parrot when I got it home, and I discovered the only reason that it had been sitting on its perch in the first place was that it had been NAILED there.

(pause)

Owner: Well, o’course it was nailed there! If I hadn’t nailed that bird down, it would have nuzzled up to those bars, bent ’em apart with its beak, and VOOM! Feeweeweewee!

Mr. Praline: “VOOM”?!? Mate, this bird wouldn’t “voom” if you put four million volts through it! ‘E’s bleedin’ demised!

Owner: No no! ‘E’s pining!

Mr. Praline: ‘E’s not pinin’! ‘E’s passed on! This parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! ‘E’s expired and gone to meet ‘is maker! ‘E’s a stiff! Bereft of life, ‘e rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed ‘im to the perch ‘e’d be pushing up the daisies! ‘Is metabolic processes are now ‘istory! ‘E’s off the twig! ‘E’s kicked the bucket, ‘e’s shuffled off ‘is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisible!! THIS IS AN EX-PARROT!!

This hilarious satire of customer service works because of the two opposing perspectives: the real versus the absurd. Bring these two perspectives into any serious discussion of societal or economic matters and it becomes glaringly obvious that there can be no resolution or reconciliation. (In the sketch, the shopkeeper, after repeatedly responding to Mr. Praline’s protests with nonsense, goes off on an absurd tangent, declares that he always wanted to be a lumberjack and begins singing the lumberjack song.) I have had similar back-and-forths when I was on Twitter.

Engaging activists and their Progressive followers on a Twitter thread, I would ask “What is racist about America?” These ‘shopkeepers’ of racism would respond that “America is racist” or “there is injustice” or “there is unfairness”. I would ask again and again for examples – proof of life that racism was alive in America. I would receive the same blanket replies: “America is racist”, “there is injustice”, “there is unfairness”. They were trying to justify what they thought by parroting the same things over and over again. Emotions flared and words were written, but nothing was said to prove that America was a racist country.

(The latest generation of Americans seem to have come out of “How do you feel about that?” therapy. They are hot-wired for emotional response. Hence, the “safe space” mentality that is meant to protect them from emotional overload when confronted with realities beyond the existential.)

Thomas Sowell, like Shelby Steele, has consistently contended against the race narrative posited by the Left. And, like many other blacks who disagree with the Left, is labeled “Uncle Tom”. Sowell is a ninety-year old black American economist and social theorist who is currently a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. Here are just a couple of his rejoinders to the Left’s hype of racism:

Racism does not have a good track record. It’s been tried out for a long time and you’d think by now we’d want to put an end to it instead of putting it under new management.

The word ‘racism’ is like ketchup. It can be put on practically anything – and demanding evidence makes you a ‘racist.’

It’s been my experience on social media, with its “safe space” anonymity, that there is more than just stonewalling buzzwords repeatedly being stacked up. The ad hominems also pile up. The pejoratives “racist” and “bigot” are used on social media and in print for anyone who does not comport with the narrative proffered by the ‘shopkeepers’ of race. Saul Alinsky’s Rule #5 in his Rules for Radicals handbook is put to use:

“Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions.”

(What makes any discussion about race relations (or any relationship) even more bizarre and destructive is Progressivism’s identarian politics: dividing people into boxes with labels to pit “victims” against the “oppressors”. This dissection of society is the opposite of reconciliation. And it is rank Marxism.)

“Black votes matter to many politicians — more so than black lives. That is why such politicians must try to keep black voters fearful, angry and resentful. Racial harmony would be a political disaster for such politicians”. Thomas Sowell

Despite what is parroted on social media and in the ‘news’ media, things have changed with regard to race relations in the last 60 years. But the Black Lives Matter cabal denies the reality of that change as do those who buy the BLM propaganda and bring it home.

I see “woke” Americans placing a “Black Lives Matter” sign on the well-manicured lawn of their far-west suburban Chicago homes. Apparently, they want to signal to others that they are down with the manufactured cause. I do not share their token empathy for dead parrot racism, no matter how many times agitators and rioters rattle cages to make it appear to be alive.

We laugh at the Dead Parrot Sketch. It makes perfect sense to us that Mr. Praline is exasperated to no end with the shopkeeper. Likewise, we are exasperated when anyone or a group maintains fixed false beliefs (2 + 2 = 5, 50+ genders, people are poor because of the rich, Progressive Woodrow Wilson was not a racist, “Defund the Police”, white privilege, critical race theory, America is inherently racist, etc.)  even when confronted with facts. We become even more exasperated when we learn that a person or a group grapples for political power to establish fixed false beliefs as truth. The inordinate craving for power comes from a dark place, as philosopher Leszek Kolakowski notes in his essay Politics and the Devil:

“To the extent that politics is the sheer struggle for power, it is bound, in Christian terms, to be the realm of the devil by definition; it then simply releases our libido dominandi as a drive that expands, as it were, for the sake of its own expansion and has no objective beyond itself. As in all other areas of human life, however, the devil distorts and poisons the good natural order.” [i]

Progressivism’s delusional perspective can be summed up as ”Dead Parrots Matter”. It can be applied to any cause it raises, including racism and socialism, as both these ‘causes’ have been dealt with definitively in the past.

Racism is not dead, but it is on life support — kept alive by politicians, race hustlers and people who get a sense of superiority by denouncing others as ‘racists’. -Thomas Sowell

 

Professor’s Perspective

In the 80s I came across Thomas Sowell in a series of Free to Choose videos, including Frances Fox Piven vs. Milton Friedman and Thomas Sowell and Milton Friedman  and Thomas Sowell on the Welfare System. Today, one does not come across the discussion and debates shown in these videos. (See Delusional Perspective above for the reason why.)

I have always enjoyed Professor Sowell’s down-to-earth perspective regarding economics, social issues and government. He provides great insight into the problems affecting blacks. Sowell deals in reality and not in the fallacies, myopia or the jejune foot-stomping responses of the Left. The video below, Myths of Economic Inequality affirms this. Therein, his perspective and some of the wealth of his comprehensive understanding of the matters that affect society. The video presents Sowell’s background and his early bent toward Marxism. You will also hear about his book A Conflict of Visions. This was the first book of his that I read. I consider it a primer to understanding the “unconstrained vision” and the “constrained visions” so prominent and at odds in America today.

 

Here are just a few of the videos offering Professor Sowell’s perspectives:

The Real History of Slavery

Intellectuals and Society

The Ethnic Flaw – Economics and Race, culture as a variable in success and failure

Discrimination and Disparities

 

Penetrating Perspective

With this post and my previous post, I am offering counterpoints to the delusional thinking of the race shopkeepers. I presented Shelby Steele’s and Thomas Sowell’s perspective and my own which parallels theirs of the last sixty years. These perspectives run counter to the populist notion that America is inherently racist and whites should be guilt-ridden about it. Yet, along with Steele and Sowell and many others, I have witnessed the fundamental transformation of America. And it happened long before Barack Obama came along with his Marxist Liberation theology/Jeremiah Wright version of “fundamental transformation”.

I would advise staying clear of broadcast media and op-eds with their myopic flash-point inducing ‘journalism’. Their version of racism is not worth your time. Rather, read to gain a new perspective and a comprehensive understanding of the issues facing America today and how they can be resolved. Below is a recommended list of books, an article and a link to begin with.

 

A Conflict of Visions by Thomas Sowell

The Thomas Sowell Reader by Thomas Sowell

The Courthouse Ring: Atticus Finch and the limits of Southern liberalism, by Malcolm Gladwell

Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness and, Reconciliation, by Miroslav Volf

Watershed at the Well    -A short story of Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman at the well. The Jews and the Samaritans are at odds. Jesus challenges their ethno-centric understanding of God and worship that provokes hostilities between the two groups.

Added 9-18-20:

“Go to the website for the Black Futures Lab, a venture of Black Lives Matter founder Alicia Garza, and click on the “Donate” button. It will ask you to send your money to an obscure organization, the Chinese Progressive Association, explaining that “Black Futures Lab is a fiscally sponsored project of the Chinese Progressive Association.”

This BLM Co-founder and Pro-Communist China Group are Partnering up

 

[i] Leszek Kolakowski, Modernity on Endless Trial (University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1990, 175-176

Racism: Not Worth Your Time This Time Around

 

There are plenty of media commentators and opinion columnists (NY Times, LA Times, Chicago Tribune and their ilk) that posit and promote the narrative of racial injustice and white privilege in America. We are told again and again that America is characterized by “systemic racism” and “systems of oppression”. But those are meaningless terms. Neither “systemic racism” nor “systems of oppression” can be measured or tested to be true. The specious 1619 Project published in the NY Times does not prove systemic racism. It proves that the writer is systemically myopic with regard to victim-focused identity. It was written to project racism onto American history and to produce white guilt. And, the “Black Lives Matter” taunt is also meant as a rebuke in order to generate white guilt. But has racial reconciliation come out of the manipulative 1619 Project? Has any good come out of the “Black Lives Matter” movement? Muhammad Ali’s son doesn’t think so, calling the movement “racist” and the protesters “devils.”

With this post and the next, I want to offer a counterpoint to the “mindless mimicry of anger and resentment” (Shelby Steel) so prominent in our country today. One of the great intellects of our time, Shelby Steele is a black conservative, as he himself defined: “A black conservative is a black who dissents from the victimization explanation of black fate”.

“Racism is not worth your time.” Shelby Steele

The People of the “White Privilege” Lie

What do you want? The Truth or a Lie? 

I am a Christian parent of four children. I post this because…

The new/old Jeremiah Wright preachers of hate and exclusion want you to join them in bashing Whites, Jews, Christians, Tea Party members, Capitalism, language and… the First Amendment:

The Annual White Privilege Conference in Madison, Wisconsin 2014.

As you listen to the video below you will hear the devotees of this ‘white guilt’ cult parsing language to reprogram your mind.

 “Some things are believed because they are demonstrably true. But many other things are believed simply because they have been asserted repeatedly,” Thomas Sowell

 …These are the people who will teach your children in public schools.

No Christian should take part in this evil. Christians, rather, must be alerted to the evil crouching at their child’s school door.

 As you will see and hear the White Privilege Conference gives meaning to Hannah Arendt’s once used phrase “the banality of evil.” ‘Normal’ everyday people within these conference walls are invoked to participate in acts of evil against humanity, even against their own humanity and against God-given human rights, human rights not based on the melanin content of your skin.

 All parents with school children must be informed as to the evil going on right under their noses in the class room.

 Here is part 2 of a 4 part series, “White Privilege Conference 2014 Part 2 of 4: Rape Is Not Intrinsically Bad” provided by the website Progressives Today (see below).

Much of what you are hearing today began years ago on college campuses:  “Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End American Debate” by Greg Lukianoff.  Buy this book and read the specifics of how this type of reprogramming of student’ minds with white guilt/white privilege propaganda could grow into a White Privilege Conference

 Here is a post offering quotes from the book:

 Closing the American Mind: Censorship

For more information on the Progressive’s “white privilege” movement, read these posts:

 Shelby Steele: Poetic truths work by moral intimidation – not reason

 Legal Insurrection (H/T for making me aware of this evil)

 Progressives Today

 The book by Shelby Steele:

“White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era”

Para-Steele: white liberals and their black enablers unleash moral relativism that is corrupting America.

 Save your children: Home School, Home School, Home School!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What do you want? The Truth or a Lie?

added 5-18-2014:

Group think, collectivist hive mindedness:

“When present, these antecedent conditions are hypothesized to foster the extreme consensus-seeking characteristic of groupthink. This in turn is predicted to lead to two categories of undesirable decision-making processes. The first, traditionally labeled symptoms of groupthink, include illusion of invulnerability, collective rationalization, stereotypes of outgroups, self-censorship, mindguards, and belief in the inherent morality of the group. The second, typically identified as symptoms of defective decision-making, involve the incomplete survey of alternatives and objectives, poor information search, failure to appraise the risks of the preferred solution, and selective information processing. Not surprisingly, these combined forces are predicted to result in extremely defective decision making performance by the group.”
(Marlene E. Turner & Anthony R. Pratkanis, Twenty-Five Years of Groupthink Theory and Research: Lessons from the Evaluation of a Theory, 1998, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 73, 105–115.)

 Hannah Arendt’s Warning: the Violence of Hive-Mindedness, Groupthink

 

 

Think Progress?

Obama:

Fast and Furious cover up

Benghazi cover up

Solyndra bankruptcy

GM

Bail outs

Big Banks

Wall Street

Cronies

Golf Buddies

Cover Up

Chicago Politics

Drones

Higher Taxes

Less time with family

Division

Rancor

Class warfare

Racism

Obama

Obama:

Fast and Furious cover up

Benghazi cover up

Solyndra bankruptcy

GM

Bail outs

Big Banks

Wall Street

Cronies

Golf Buddies

Cover Up

Chicago Politics

Drones

Higher Taxes

Less time with family

Division

Rancor

Class warfare

Racism

Obama

Obama:

Fast and Furious cover up

Benghazi cover up

Solyndra bankruptcy

GM

Bail outs

Big Banks

Wall Street

Cronies

Golf Buddies

Cover Up

Chicago Politics

Drones

Higher Taxes

Less time with family

Division

Rancor

Class warfare

Racism

Obama

Obama:

Fast and Furious cover up

Benghazi cover up

Solyndra bankruptcy

GM

Bail outs

Big Banks

Wall Street

Cronies

Golf Buddies

Cover Up

Chicago Politics

Drones

Higher Taxes

Less time with family

Division

Rancor

Class warfare

Racism

Obama

The Denigration of Herman Cain by MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell

In this MSNBC interview (<< linked here) by their paid attack dog Laurence O’Donnell,  one can clearly see the progressive left’s blatant condescension toward a black man with a different point of view than that of the myopic and biased MSNBC. 

Is this interview part of the “LEAN FORWARD campaign of MSNBC?  If so, LEAN FORWARD is defined by haughtiness, hypocrisy, intra-racial profiling, as promoting segregation, racism and a complete unwillingness to consider another point of view.  MSNBC’s LEAN FORWARD campaign is just a relabeling of the Plantation Politics established by the Democratic Party to suppress Black Americans, keeping them dependent on government. In short, the campaign promotes the economic slavery of millions of Black Americans.

MSNBC’s constant personal attacks on Herman Cain, Sarah Palin and others reveal that these people on the Left have nothing to offer anyone except hatred and an insidious reneging on the promise of the civil rights movement.

Is Herman Cain not black enough for you Laurence? Is his character not sufficiently pasty liberal white?

America doesn’t deserve a man like Herman Cain or a man like Laurence O’Donnell and for two totally opposite reasons:  Cain is a man who has lived the American Dream. Herman wants to make that dream possible for everyone.  He is to be honored for this.  Laurence O’Donnell, on the other hand, is a man who has lived the American Dream and still wants to berate the man who has succeeded against enormous odds and in spite of the color of his skin. Herman has not relied on the liberalism’s pretentious altruism and largesse for his achievements.  O’Donnell deserves dishonor.

Where is the defense of Herman Cain by Jesse Jackson,  Al Sharpton and Maxine Waters?  Oh, that’s right. These three Democrats seek to benefit from the race card being played and Herman Cain, a Republican, does not.