Saturday, March 22, 2008

Obama, "Conversation on Race" and Steyn

Mark Steyn does an excellent analysis on Obama's problems with his "pastor." For the few people in the world who do not know about it (which incidentally includes my oldest who is a firm Obama believer) here is an example:

Obama's speech last Tuesday, was to open a dialog on race in America. While doing so, he threw his grandmother in with the likes of Bull Conner in order to explain why Obama has not said anything before about his "pastor." But it is interesting in that however you feel about his speech, it has opened a dialog that we have been forbidden to have, as Steyn has above.
Prior to the whole kerfluffle, White America was not allowed to address racism. That was the exclusive province of Black America. If a white person was to say "My God, the Black community is destroying itself with violence, out of wedlock births and drugs" that person would be considered a racist. If a black American addressed the same issues, it was usually in the context that it was all the result of racism. (See video above)
Fifteen years ago, I shared an office with the head of the Junior NAACP in Europe. We would often have wide ranging discussions, but I remember something that he said that essentially blamed all whites for some adverse impact on black Americans. When I pointed out that that was a racist statement, he corrected me by saying that blacks could never be racist. In other words, he used a racist statement to say that he could not be racist. Apparently the irony was lost on him. When you watch the video, you know that he was not alone in that assessment. I told him that it is hard to be considered an oppressor if I was to walk through Watts, or if your name was Reginald Denny. To be fair, the only reason that Denny didn't die that day was due to the courageousness of four black men who saved him from the mob and took him to the hospital.
Watching the news coverage of the Wright-Obama problems led me to see a member of the Black Panther Party who was explaining his party's support of Obama, support which was later taken off of his web page. During the segment, the interviewer asked the spokesman if what he was saying wasn't racist. The spokesman replied by again saying that blacks could not be racist because they never enslaved anyone, nor did they make up the KKK, nor pass Jim Crow laws.
Hmm, I have never owned slaves, find the KKK to be atrocious and have no understanding why the Democratic party would tolerate one in their midst and never passed nor relied on Jim Crow laws. Either I am black, or I am not a racist. But we are told so often (as shown by "Pastor" Wright) that all whites are racist. Again, assigning a quality to a whole people based on color is just another racists statement.
But even assuming arguendo that the travesties listed above by the BPP spokesman are the cause of all the evil in the black community, could someone please explain to me why in the 1950s, black high school and college graduation rates were three times what they are now. Or why out of wedlock births were only a fraction of what they are now.
Maybe the greatest thing about Obama's call to have a dialog on race is that we will actually have one, instead of saying "it's all whitey's fault." After all, there may be some benefit to people actually saying "Are you nuts?"


JKW said...

You will never get a discussion on race in America, because:

1. A minority of liberals, mostly young and mostly found in the universities, believes there is no such thing as race. They believe it is a “social construct” with no scientific basis. They disregard the lessons of history, common experience, and the evidence of their own eyes. They have invented an entire lexicon of euphemisms to avoid any references to race and are essentially incapable of discussing the subject in any meaningful or coherent manner.

2. Liberals have institutionalized racism. The majority of liberals do in fact recognize race, and a very large part of their agenda is concerned with maintaining or extending hundreds of laws that benefit minorities, not to mention themselves, since they very often end up managing the programs they invent. They have been doing this since Reconstruction. Unfortunately, they have very little to show for the tens of billions of dollars they have spent on their hobby. They are terrified someone will catalog their social program failures and hold them to account. Thus they tend to avoid discussing matters of race lest they jeopardize their agenda and their livelihood.

3. Liberals are the worst racists. Implicit in the liberal philosophy of race is that there is something defective about non-whites. The defect is nothing physical or scientific, of course. Rather it is always something unquantifiable in the non-white person’s environment that manifests itself as dysfunctional behavior in the individual, the neighborhood, or the whole city. This leads the observer to the erroneous conclusion that the person himself and everyone like him is defective. Be that as it may, what matters is that liberals are always looking at non-whites as people in need of constant attention and help, which is a form of racism that never ends.

Steve said...

jkw - Boy am I confused. In my opinion, race is an artificial construct. There are no personality or cultural predictors that go with melanin production. So, the first group while avoiding the issue are not to be disparaged.
The second, I can agree with you that Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are race baiters who thrive on creating division and dissension. That and blackmailing corporations for their personal aggrandizement. As to the issue of Affirmative Action, I think that I will be putting a post on that shortly.
I disagree with the assertion that liberals are the worst racists. the KKK, lynching, attacks by neo-Nazis are all going to have a more devastating impact than "soft racism of low expectations."
But even I have to admit that racism is endemic to me as well. If I am walking down the street in Missoula and see a black man approaching me, I will smile and say hello to him in order to make him not feel threatened because he is in such an overwhelmingly white world here. That is still racism. When I was in the Army, you looked to see the rank and whether or not you were going to salute first. The issue of race was always secondary.
We have a long way to go, but we have to be honest about where we want to go. When Obama says that his grandmother is a racist because she has fears of young black men, does that make Jesse Jackson a racists since he said much the same thing?
To disregard the idea that young black men dressed in hip hop gear are not a potential threat would be the same for a black person to disregard the Klan in their robes. It is unrealistic to ignore the potential for personal harm by those who have a history for unreasoned and unthinking violence.

jkw said...

If the concept of race were built solely upon physical characteristics, then you might have some slight leverage to advance your theory that race is an artificial construct. Of course, you would have to disregard a mountain of physical evidence besides skin color, which, I might add, is usually the single physical characteristic that liberals seize upon to refute the existence of race. Call it the melanin-doesn’t-matter argument. But you would still have to disregard, or explain away, differences in average height, weight, eye color, hair color and texture, facial features, cranial shape and capacity, and a host of other observable physical characteristics, including resistance or susceptibility to certain diseases. All such physical characteristics are indices of race.

However, you make your greatest mistake when you imply racial characteristics are not correlated to any other phenomena, such as “personality and culture.” It is an indisputable fact of history that certain races correlate with certain behaviors, such as a propensity to build and invent or to explore and conquer and so forth. Every indefinable civilization has an identifiable racial composition, no matter if it is a western or an eastern civilization, Roman or Chinese.

Therein lies the great embarrassment for those who would dismiss race as a factor in determining or predicting human behavior. They cannot explain the huge historical discrepancies in achievement among the various races of mankind. (Note, also, that they cannot explain the huge historical discrepancies in achievement among the various races within a nation, a state or a city for that matter.)

Given the insurmountable evidence of history that refutes their thesis, desperation drives liberals to alter history, usually by emphasizing the historical achievements of one race while deemphasizing the achievements of their own race. This fast shuffle of the historical deck has led to all sorts of absurdities and contretemps, such as the discovery of peanut butter being placed on a par with the discovery of pasteurization. Worse, however, are the outright frauds that are committed when those who desire to raise a certain race to historical prominence discovery their object has no history of its own to manipulate. Thus, the more advanced liberals undertake to create history for the less advanced races, which is perhaps the ultimate expression of racial superiority.