Those of you, who have followed my columns over the years, know my writings are essentially Bio-Ethnographic. They represent a compendium of participant-observer narratives. My subjects have been set against various socio-political as well as economic issues confronting American society in general and the Black community in particular. As a recovering Progressive Liberal Democrat, now in my fourth decade of sobriety, socio-economic conservatism would most accurately describe my taxonomy.
During my career as a college academic, one of the few advantages of being a Black Conservative is, you are by default the proverbial fly-on-the-wall. Nearly all of my colleagues were Liberal Progressives, politically left of center, life-long Democrats or some variation within the cultural left spectrum. In most cases, many of them have spent their entire work-life in the socio-political homogeneity that exemplifies our nation’s colleges and universities.
With very few exceptions, they seldom suspected that I was anything but your generic Black Liberal Democrat. Subsequently, they had absolutely no inhibitions in expressing their utter disdain and contempt for Republicans, Conservatives or anyone else who did not possess the right type of diversity.
As a subject librarian and later a Library Director, I had the good fortune to work at two HBCUs, or Historically Black Colleges and Universities. It was on the occasion of several class reunions, that I was able to meet and greet HBCU graduates, hailing from the classes of the 1940s, 50s, 60s and beyond. These alums had built successful careers as Medical Doctors, Lawyers, Business men, Engineers, and Teachers. They had returned to their alma maters to reminisce with friends, and to meet with current faculty and students. In several serendipitous conversations with alumni who lived before and during the Civil Rights struggle, I found them to be truly elegant men and women. There diction and personal comportment was highly erudite. Although they had grown-up in a segregated and racist world, they were seldom bitter. Nor did they blame America for the failings of some whites and the perniciousness of the Jim Crow society. You would never hear from them that somehow America was structurally flawed, or that our capitalist constitutional republic was responsible for the idiocy of racism by many whites in both the North and South. There anger was against racism, period! It was not targeted at some ubiquitous structural or institutional racism that later became the secular heresy within the feckless leadership typified by the NAACP, Congressional Black Caucus. NAN, the Black Studies cabal, and the cultural left.
This may seem like a trite observation. But the Black Alumni from 1940s, 50s and 60s were not quick to blame nor denigrate America as somehow irremediable. An attitude that is unfortunately held as Gospel among many within the Post Civil Right Era crowd. This despite the fact that very few of them, if any, ever experienced the very real racism that existed in the Jim Crow south.[i]
The Post 1970s alumni were routinely vexed, angry, and perturbed at so-called micro-aggressions and hidden racism supposedly still lurking within American culture. Despite being given every opportunity to succeed in society, they have been systematically taught in their higher education classes, that America is still tragically flawed. In other words, many blacks, as well as white liberals, will see racism, sexism anywhere and everywhere. This mindset is the work of decades of the academic poison known as critical race and gender theory.
This way thinking, or lack thereof, by the cultural left has even made its way into the nations elementary and high schools, via educators who have become the secular evangelist of the “America is bad catechism.” When Michelle Obama exclaimed at the outset of her husband’s Presidency, that this was the first time in her adult life that she has ever been proud to be an American. This was a proclamation of faith. She and millions of other alumni of the Post 1970s generation have been brainwashed.
Their Manchurian candidate education has rendered them blind to the good of this nation. The Obamas and many of their supporters have learned to accentuate the negative and eliminate the good about America. This was one of the little things that spoke volumes, in highlighting the differences between the older HBCU alumni and their Post-Civil Rights counterparts. The latter are truculent devotees of the “equality of outcome.” They have long ago shunned, if not totally oblivious too, the “equality of opportunity” philosophy underpinning the fight for Civil Rights under Doctor Martin Luther King Jr.
To paraphrase the late Charles Krauthammer, they have long ago succumbed to the rubrics of Foucaultean, neo-Marxist, deconstructionist and anti-Western nihilism. In layman’s terms, black and liberals, in general, have fallen for the postmodern practice and intellectual lazy practice of stuffing the complexities of political science, socio-economics, and history into bottles labeled race, gender, and class. As stated previously, they looked for racism and sexism everywhere. And true to form, they have been preconditioned to find it. In a spectacular feat of negative political-triangulation, it is they and not Conservatives who have been trained for decades to hear the race and gender dog-whistle. Race does matter. However, it especially matters to Democrats, Progressives. and their related constituencies.[ii]
Today’s purveyors of multiculturalism, cultural diversity, and ethnic sensitivity have only manufactured a peculiar neo-segregationist milieu. We really don’t talk frankly with each other. Instead, we have been socially engineered to sit in our little “proud multicultural-hyphenated-enclaves” waiting to be offended by God knows what. [iii] Isms abound in their world.
Roll, Roll, Roll Your Eyes!
As I approach my 7Os, one of the many mixed blessings of aging is, that while my short-term memory seems to misfired ever so often, long term recollections, statements, images and events, decades old, sometimes have great clarity. One very vivid memory occurred during a Q & A, following a panel discussion on race relations. The panel consisted of HBCU graduates spanning several decades.
One elderly gentleman from the class of the 1950s offered a comment that was simple, yet Thomistic in its wisdom. Addressing a mixed audience of current students, their faculty as well as a large contingent of alumni of the 1970s, 80s and beyond, he very quietly offered this observation. Without apology nor sugarcoating his words, he asserted that although Black folks have suffered greatly from racism and other such indignities. What we have suffered, real or imagined, excuses us from very little.[iv]
I distinctly remember that his comment was met with a prominent rolling of the eyes by the younger group of alumni, current professors and of course their students. Conversely, the older members of the audience affirmed the words of this aging alumnus, who had obviously seen and experienced a lot of overt racism and less the equitable behavior over the course of his life.
But there this older Alumnus stood in silence. His head was up. He peered for several seconds at the audience, and their less then contrite reaction. It was truly a Martin Luther “Here I stand” moment.
Most likely in their advance education classes, so many in the audience, had been taught by professors who are angry at America. In the social sciences, humanities, environmental sciences and history classes, they have been manipulated for decades to take every opportunity to emphasize any perceived faults in American culture. Most of the people rolling their eyes have drunk far too deeply from the well of identity politics, revisionist history, multiculturalism and of course the heretical canon of cultural diversity. The latter is little more than tribalism, neo segregationism or balkanization with a “smiling face.”
The Post 1970s crowd along with their devotees (I mean students) have been exposed to such peer reviewed quackery and terminology that comes under such headings, like critical raced and gender theory, toxic masculinity, micro racism, cultural appropriation, cultural imperialism, class envy, and environmental racism just to name a few. Journalists, politicians, elementary and high school teachers, as well as many well-meaning Liberal Democrats, have been exposed to this all-encompassing cultural malpractice masquerading as education.
Barrack and Michelle Obama were incubated and nurtured in this environment. Which explains their lukewarm defense of our nation, if not outright hostility to American society. This was especially noticeable when they traveled abroad. Do you remember his famous apology tours of Europe and the Cairo speech? Or his open-mic comments to former Russian President Medvedev, to tell Putin he would have more flexibility after the 2012 election. I guess, that didn’t come under collusion.
What kind of flexibility was Obama referring to? The so-called objective MSM[v]didn’t seem to care at the time. Why was this? Oh, wait a minute! Now I remember. Obama wasn’t Trump.
In retrospect, the reactions of many blacks to the comments of this elderly HBCU statesmen was to be expected. After all, what is the fun in taking responsibilities for yourself or your community, when it is easier (not to mention lucrative) to play the victim card.