America and Race 2007

Back a generation or so ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said ” I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Sadly, it appears that most of the nation is working hard to prevent that from becoming reality. And that includes the government which is charged with ending such discrimination.

Let’s start with the government. Try to do anything with the government, and you will find yourself filling out paperwork. And what always shows up early in that paperwork, as soon as people are involved? That’s right, a demand to know the demographics, including the race of the person(s) concerned. Besides the obvious problem with demanding to know the race of an applicant or participant in a program before deciding on whether to accept them, there is also the poor consideration that not everyone has just one race. My wife and I, for example, are different races, so there is no neat simple box to check for my daughter, and I am personally offended by demands that we identify her by her race. Sure, they can say that they will not use race in their judgments, but the only real way to make sure there is no racial bias is to not ask that question. It simply has no virtue, and no explanation justifies the practice. I certainly understand statistics, and so I know that the bureaucrats will claim the race information is necessary to define demographic parameters. The problem, of course, is the Observer Effect – people change their behavior when they know they are being observed, which means that asking someone’s race, especially when it happens with every government action, influences people to believe that the government makes decisions based in large part, perhaps solely, on race. We also see programs designed to advance one race, preferential treatment which has no justification except by claiming that one race should be treated differently than others. The practice is long-standing and widely accepted, yet is unconscionable on its face.

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Society does this as well. Behavior which is unacceptable for one racial group and consequently penalized, may be tolerated and even promoted for another. A good example is language. In the United States, it is reasonable to expect someone to be able to speak English, or to ask for an interpreter. At the very least, someone who knows their command of English is not good, ought to have the good grace to recognize that fact and not become angry at an American for not speaking a foreign language. After all, if one were to go to France as a tourist, one should plan on speaking French or finding an interpreter. While there are many French merchants who speak English, it is a courtesy they extend if they do so, not something which should be expected. The same for traveling to any country; if you do not speak the language, expecting the host country to accommodate you is a bit boorish. Yet here in the United States, foreigners regularly demand that Americans address them in their native tongue, especially Spanish. Speaking bluntly, this is an unmentioned facet in the illegal immigration debate; the refusal of the new arrivals to even try to speak the language, choosing not to just retain their own culture but to superimpose it on the one already in place. And yet, if someone complains about Hispanics who refuse to speak English, they are likely to be called racist, and the people who are the actual offenders are given a pass.

Another societal example is vulgarity. Certain words are universally agreed to be so offensive, that no one can justify their use – unless you are the right race, of course. The notion that epithets should be tolerated if certain races use them is absurd on its face, and yet it is promoted as the civic standard in many towns. Entire sub-cultures have grown up with a confrontational attitude, hostile to all practices which defined courtesy for countless generations. Blatant exhibitions of violent. lewd, misogynist, or racist behavior are common in large portions of the under-30 population, that same demographic which refuses to assimilate to any demand for respect for others or civic ideals, then complains because the society they create is as vulgar and hostile as they are themselves. It’s as if the street gang persona has become pandemic, and the attitudes of race-based gangs permeates to the whole of the racial demographic at large.

Then there is the media. Look at what gets promoted, in the NBA for example. In the NBA, the shoe deals and media attention are focused on the likes of Alan Iverson and Ron Artest, gang-wannabe thugs who diminish the game. The NFL recently had enough of the behavior of its worst offenders, yet the media questions whether Adam “Pacman” Jones is being treated fairly; after all, he’s only up for felony indictments for an incident where someone got shot. I mean, Rae Carruth murdered his girlfriend and the NFL did not even fine him for that, so I can sort of see why the media got the idea that criminal behavior was a good thing for role models. And yes, it has to be said that there is a racial component in this; it’s not white athletes who are generally getting gun-crazy and toting drugs in their car, like Dexter Devon Reid, although the Colts show no interest in penalizing Reid for his behavior. It’s just the fashion you see, and it’s almost become expected for black athletes to have drugs and guns with them, so apparently that makes it something to excuse. Millions of kids see and hear this behavior, and what lessons do you think they learn, especially when they comprehend that you are not accountable if your skin is a certain color?

The root of the problem is hostility. Speaking bluntly, there is a vacuum of leadership where it is needed most. I quoted MLK Jr. early in this piece, but the plain fact is that no legitimate black leader of a stature anything like King’s has been seen since his death. Not that there are not qualified black role models, but the people who succeed on their own merits and refuse to play the victim, are attacked as somehow traitors to their own race. Dr. Bill Cosby, Dr. Condoleezza Rice, J.C. Watts, Justice Clarence Thomas, and many other brilliant blacks have been marginalized for not being radical and socialist, which perpetuates the vacuum, as those individuals deemed ‘worthy’ invariably prove quite the opposite, as the careers of Reverends Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson so sadly prove. Racism is quite alive and as venomous as ever. We see it when a Congressman is found with enough money to buy a luxury car stuffed in his freezer, but he keeps his job and privileges because of his race, while another Congressman is hounded out of office on charges which are dubious at best and based on a personal vendetta by a political enemy who hates Conservatives. We see it when a District Attorney willfully hides evidence, because he wants to pursue what he knows to be false charges, solely because the men charged are a certain race and culture, and the plaintiff a different and certain race and culture. We see it when we are told that only one race can possibly act in a ‘racist’ manner, and that another race is ‘entitled’ to lifelong, indeed multi-generational compensation and preferential treatment, solely on unproven accusations. We see it when people here illegally are able to march in public for “rights” they know full well they have no valid claim to, yet they know they will be untouched by the law, simply because they are a certain race. We see it when people who uphold the law are punished for it, because of their race and the race of the people they apprehend. We see it when one minority is refused its due consideration by other minority races, solely because that race practices assimilation and refuses direct confrontation with the majority culture.

And it is this same racism which keeps its own promoters down. Those who teach hostility and confrontation to their children, who urge a wholesale refusal of proven societal values in deference to behavior which even they recognize is futile and self-destructive. Sexual promiscuity destroys families, spreads disease, and leads to unplanned pregnancies and personal dismay, yet certain races promote the “right” to such behavior. Drug use leads to financial loss, penalties from the law and dismissal from employment, poor mental and physical condition and performance, yet certain races excuse or even glorify recreational drug use. Dishonest and confrontational behavior damages existing relationships and prevents development of healthy associations, leads to conflict with law enforcement, employers, and family, and can escalate to fatal consequences, yet again certain races excuse deliberately offensive behavior, even to the point of violence, as a social condition which cannot and should not be redirected to more positive choices. In short, many members of minorities are encouraged to pursue behavior which inevitably leads to loss and unhappiness in the long term, yet when that result occurs, the minority will blame the very culture it rejected, for its own self-created trouble.

Fortunately, the modern day seems to have more individual participation than in earlier years. More and more people refuse to accept the social pressure applied by special interest groups and political manipulators. Just as more people marry outside their race and raise mixed-race children, so too do more people work to escape the cycle of defeat imposed by con artists who profit by the game. The lesson is that neither government nor racial activism programs will help resolve the condition faced by individuals, but only the individuals themselves must choose to think, speak, and act according to their own character and ideals. And when they do so, such individuals generally find that other people share that same character and those same ideals, regardless of cultural heritage or superficial appearance. In my neighborhood, four races share a community with similar values. We all work hard and focus on raising our families, we all love our kids and want to build for the future. We all cooperate in common endeavors and we all ignore the sort of people whose only motives are based on hate and suspicion.

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