Here is a list of dubious events, that unfortunately have become all too common in our news cycle: Actor, Jussie Smollett’s being attacked by white racists allegedly shouting, MAGA country, the atrocious lie, that gave birth to Black-Lives-Matter, the hoax perpetrated by a Black student at the Air Force Academy, claiming racist students at the Academy wrote the N-word on his door, the Duke Lacrosse Team having to confront fictitious allegations of rape. These were all false declarations of racial maleficence, which helps keep alive the narrative that America is a racist nation.
Also, we must never forget the Patron Saint of false racist claims, Tawanna Brawley. This young black woman asserted she was gang-raped and then scrawled with racial epithets by a group of white racists. The story was dispensed nationwide by the media back in the 1980s. It was also given full-throated advocacy by the Rev Al Sharpton, who later became a close confidant of President Barrack Obama on matters of race. This corrosive mindset by many in the media, the Democratic political class, and too many everyday Americans, is the same cultural toxin, that makes many of us susceptible to the inanity surrounding the “OK sign” as a white power symbol.
Too many black Americans, constipated from decades of Orwellian- Group-Think on race, are quick to believe, and in some cases becoming deliberately provocative in staging an incident, that has little or nothing to do with “institutional racism.”
By the way, the socio-political etymology of institutional racism has its origins in Marxist/Leninist epistemics. The charge has been skillfully used by black and white Progressives for decades.
However, this is not the America of the 1930s and 40s, when many of my 11 siblings were born. My mom and dad born in 1910 and their siblings lived in an America, that was so much more difficult to negotiate. Their America was nothing like the cozy, let’s complain about any “perceived” racial slight of today’s insufferable Black snowflakes. The distortion of America as an intrinsically racist nation has been incubated, nurtured and evangelized for decades. The peer-reviewed alchemy of Critical Race and Gender Theory, that poses as thinking among our intellectual betters, has served as a pathogen spreading this distortion. Like cultural diversity and multiculturalism, it too is little more than “neo-segregationist tribalism or balkanization,” introduced into our society on the installment plan.
It is the main catalyst for the divide we now observe in the nation. Contrary to the popular belief, it did not magically appear with the election of Donald Trump.[i] When everything and every event can be slapped with the racist label, then the term has lost any credible meaning.
Let’s restate the obvious. Language about race in Post 1970s America has been set completely adrift, if not neutered, by Liberal Progressives and their primary constituencies, which include blacks from all social classes. Blacks and other groups, who have taken up the mantle of “aggrieved minority”, had made it almost impossible to have their so-called frank discussion about race. To state this as undiplomatically as possible, the biggest impediment to fostering a true conversation about race in the country has not been the Klan, Republicans, institutional constructs, nor Donald Trump[ii]. It has been blacks and the growing list of groups and socio-political movements wedded to the Sirens call of victimology.[iii] The political class, academics within the social sciences and humanities, and many liberals, who now call themselves Progressives, have no incentive, and more importantly, no awareness to change. Racism has been a highly effective political aphrodisiac, that has garnered over 90% of the black vote and has made significant headway into other groups, who have discovered the advantages of employing the Person of Color moniker. It is ironic, that the Civil Rights Movement under Dr. King sought to confront the sickness of people being judged by the color of their skin and not the content of their character. Congresswomen Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and other members of the so-called Squad make it a point to propagate the neo-segregationist notion that they are proud Women of Color. Good grief!
In regards to the blacks specifically, they have been misled, if not betrayed by the very leadership which represents them. For example, the secular canon of the Congressional Black Caucus and the NAACP see blacks as victims. They see Black Americans as a people, who can only be aided from the outside. The Great Society Programs of the 1960s began this journey into the cul-de-sac of victimology.
The 1964 Civil Rights Bill, unfortunately, became a double-edged sword for many in the Black community. While it delivered more freedom to Black Americans, it did not inculcate attitudes, human capital, and the skills necessary to thrive in freedom[iv]. As pointed out by the late Milton Friedman, freedom is messy, difficult, stressful, unpredictable, and at times capricious. Soren Kierkegaard in his seminal work, Fear and Trembling: The Sickness unto Death, insinuates that freedom can be a “burden”, if not downright scary. Up until the 1950s, blacks had very little experience with real freedom. Demonstrating the worst historical timing possible, Black leadership after Martin Luther King Jr, pushed an agenda, that maximized victimhood, the race card, along with the welfare state. It was the low hanging fruit or soft target of blaming others. In this case, it was the perniciousness of institutional racism. This became the calamity that established itself within a large segment of the black underclass, poor whites, Latinos, gender feminists, the radical LGBTQ community, and sadly in certain segments within the new immigrant populace. Values like individual responsibility, delayed gratification, self-interested hard work are not viewed as the first strategy in improving one’s self. The concurrent exponential growth in the welfare state since the 1970s made poverty, mediocrity, and wallowing in class envy far too comfortable. Of course, all of this was sold under the banners compassion and social justice by the political class. Today, the socio-political largess and monies maintaining the victim culture blinds not only blacks but other groups from seizing the “opportunities” that our culture affords all of its people.
In retrospect, the 1964 Civil Rights Bill represented a cultural nexus for not only Black America but other groups. The political left represented by today’s Democrat and Mediacratic Party chose the road of identity politics and other socio-cultural shiny objects, which continues to impair our ability to see beyond blinders of race, gender, class, and sexual orientation. “OK!” I’ll stop now.