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Posts Tagged ‘Racism’

Obama has stepped into an unnecessary public relations disaster, once again.  Last summer, he got involved in the Officer Crowley and Professor Gates event, and ended up permanently alienating many people who saw him transform from the post-racial healer into an old school, race-hustling politician.  He acted like a bully, and it was very clear where his loyalties lay.

Then he weighed in on the planned Ground Zero Mosque, stating he was supportive to a group of Muslims, then he said he was neutral but supported the Constitution, then he went back and forth a few more times and appeared altogether weak.  One thing he never acknowledged in his journey through these positions was that this was an incredibly bad idea to build the Mosque there and that critics had a legitimate point.  Now, it turns out, we’re told by the self-promoting Imam Rauf that there is no going back on the Mosque, because such backing down would be seen as an insult to Islam and lead to violence.  Always the violence, just waiting in the wings, from the “religion of peace.”

Finally, Obama has condemned the Koran-burning Florida pastor, Terry Jones, with no genuflection to his constitutional rights, and instead, acted against him with a full court press.  The Secretary of Defense, the Pope, the Secretary of State, plus countless media schills have piled on this guy.  And, in the most development to date, FBI agents visited the Church, ostensibly to warn Pastor Jones of death threats.  Jones, to his discredit, has backed down in the face of this massive public pressure, without any apparent change of ideas.  In other words, he was not persuaded, but cowed.  Pathetic.

At one point Obama stated “This kind of behavior or threats of action put our young men and women in harm’s way. And it’s also the best imaginable recruiting tool for al-Qaeda.”  I have no doubt there is some small truth to that, not least because Muslims are incredibly quick to anger. But why is all of his passion and all of his rhetoric addressed to an insignificant Florida pastor?  Why not also say something to the other side of this transaction:  the demented, hollering, wild eyed crazy people making these veiled threats in Afghanistan and elsewhere?  After all, Jones is threatening to burn a book, but these Muslim crazies are threatening to kill Americans in response.

If Obama really believed in and understood America, he would say something like this: “Anyone that engages in violence or judges the US because of the act of a small town preacher is despicable.  There is no right to resort to violence just because your feelings are hurt or your religion is insulted.  There is no moral equivalence whatsoever between burning a book and killing a human being.  Americans learned long ago that killing each other over religion, over speech, and over much else both weakens our society and also is wrong.  You people need to learn this as well, and while I do not support Pastor Jones’ disrespect for the Koran, I am sensible of my duty to protect his rights as an American, and so I’m not going to give into the veiled threats coming out of the Muslim world in response to his actions.  It’s his right as an American to burn a Koran and have any opinion he wants about Islam, and I will not bow to threats of violence in defending the rights of Americans.”

One thing we saw with Officer Crowley last summer was that standing up for yourself does more to slow down violent threats than the craven weakness.  After Crowley stood up for himself, Obama was a little shaken; he was used to the old white guilt shuffle. Obama learned to play white guilt like a violin growing up among his white single mom and his old school white liberal grandparents.  He was shaken by Crowley’s self-respect; it’s not something he has ever had much experience with. Obama ultimately retreated from his initial remarks that the officer acted “stupidly.”

In spite of the value of self-respect–which everyone from King David to General MacArthur demonstrate–weakness in the face of Islamic threats is displayed all the time by nearly all of our leaders and large institutions.  The defense of ourselves and our culture is absent in the face of repeated Muslim blackmail.  And, predictably, this feeds on itself, as Muslim incivility and violence is constantly being rewarded.  It’s analogous to the lavish public funds bestowed on cities beset by race rioting in the 1960s; as a result, we have perrenial threats of a “long, hot summer” from the Al Sharptons of the world ever since if payoffs of various kinds are not given to the right shakedown artists.

Islam has become the only religion in the western world protected from blasphemy due to a combination of threats, actual violence (such as the killing of Theo van Gogh), and series of weak-kneed responses by our leaders.  I recognize, frankly, that some of these elected officials don’t love America and want to see it brought low by the Third Worlders.  They identify with the outsiders and want to see the traditional American culture and people destroyed.  I believe Obama is off this ilk.  Some, however, clearly are just confused.  For these that do love America and want to see it made stronger, they could learn from Officer Crowley and similar episodes that a little self-respect and defiance go a long way.

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Five years after Katrina, the event still captures the imagination, particularly its fears.  I was living in Houston at the time Katrina hit.  I was able to talk to many refugees at the time, including young people living on friends’ couches and with relatives, working as waitresses and cab drivers and the like.  I also followed the news very closely.  It was truly an epic disaster.

This Did Not Happen and Your Eyes are Lying to You!

It is perhaps not surprising that on the five year anniversary of Katrina, a major revisionist history effort is underway.  Just as the LA Riots became a story of “12 Years of Neglect” and, last week, a single unrepresentative white crime against a cabdriver makes the national news, there have been hints of this revisionism regarding Katrina before.  The real story, we’re told in the Nation and elsewhere, is of racist whites going on a rampage and not the “conventional wisdom” of mass black local government incompetence, collective poor planning by government and individuals, and an aftermath of largely black criminality.

Isn’t this interesting?  Were the stories, then, of shooters harassing rescuers and aid workers at the time all made up?  Was the looting, arson, and mass chaos of the Superdome just an out of control myth?  Was New Orleans, which had the highest murder rate in the nation, suddenly a peaceful idyll upon the mass desertion of the corrupt, but absolutely necessary, police force?  The revisionists’ claims defy all common sense.

I should note one thing missing from most of these stories are raw numbers. How many people were arrested following the storm?  How many crimes were reported?  How many bodies were found and what was the cause of death? And how reliable are each of these numbers; what interest would any of the authors have in redeeming a certain group of people, restoring New Orleans’ reputation, etc.? How do New Orleans’ numbers compare to Slidell, Lafayette, or neighboring Gulf Coast Mississippi?

These Statistics Do Not Matter and Are Totally Irrelevant to Understanding What Happened Before, During, and After Katrina

It’s rather obvious that the usual liberal efforts at distraction, changing the subject, and Orwellian revisionism are underway.  And the reasons are familiar too:   the goal here is to transform this event, which showcased a serious natural disaster exacerbated by corrupt black-run city and an explosion of black crime, into a tale of federal incompetence and white racism in the form of trigger-happy property owners and cops.  While I have no doubt some stories were exaggerated and there was undoubtedly some overreaction by cops and property owners, I also know that some truths are being looked for very aggressively and others are actively avoided.

The group doing the “rewriting” of Katrina–the liberal media–cares not so much about truth in matters of race as it does in events that “fit the script.”  And that script is of evil white racists and innocent (or at worst misunderstood) black victims.  Consider the showcase story in the Nation; a man claims he was shot for no reason by a racist white man with a shotgun.  Is this possible?  It certainly is, especially in the fear-ridden climate after Katrina.  But what if he was a looter?  What if his goal was criminal?  Or what if it appeared to be so?  Would he admit to that?  Certainly not.  Would the Nation reporter ask him? Probably not, or if he did, it would be a pro forma deference to professional standards.

From everything I could see and hear and learn of from survivors while the event was happening, Katrina was terrible and its aftermath was the equivalent of the LA Riots with flooded streets, that crime of all kinds had exploded, that neighborhoods in Houston where Katrina refugees arrived en masse had become more crime ridden, that the 25+ more murders in Houston upon the arrival of the Katrina crowd was not an insignificant uptick in crime, and that any other outcome would truly defy all common sense based on New Orleans’ high crime rate pre-storm. Was there some trigger-happy overreaction by middle class New Orleanians?  Almost certainly.  But what was the cause of this?  Could it be the reasonable fear of massive crime after the storm along with years of negative experience with New Orleans’ underclass?  There’s no reason to think the universe went upside down during Katrina, and that people for many years who were violent criminals suddenly became angels.

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Racism is our secular society’s version of the “Hail Mary.”  It wards off evil.  It has magical powers.  It is a word employed in the most dire of circumstances to provide explanation and excuse, from a major crime to a failing presidency.

Shooting sprees are disturbing events, often perpetrated by angry, depressed, suicidal men.  When they occurred a decade ago in public schools, “bullying” or “southern gun culture” were blamed.  When that sicko shot up the LA Fitness in Pennsylvania, it was blamed on the nascent culture of “game” and the suspect’s deep misogyny. Sometimes idiosyncratic mental illness is blamed.  But when the recent Connecticut shooter, Omar Thornton, who was black, blamed racism at his company, all of a sudden a new approach emerges.  It’s considered a major mitigating factor. His white girlfriend has even, uncharacteristically, jumped to his defense. No one dares to ask if this claim was just a pretext, the delusional interpretation of innocent behavior by a sick-minded individual.  And, even if true, his actions are no more justified than if he had murdered his coworkers for being cliqueish or denying him a promotion. Shooting up innocent people is crazy behavior by crazy, self-absorbed, and morally vacant people.

And the media, so notable for its pat explanations in places like Littleton, Colorado or Pearl, Missisippi, all of a sudden wants to defend this messed up person, to make him an “avenging angel” whose actions, if disproportionate, are at least explicable.  And we’ve seen this reaction time and again in the face of horrendous black crimes:  in the LA Riots, in the Huey Newton affair, or even recently among the brutal Jena Six.

“Racism” today has nothing to do with real racism.  It is an incantation to promote black power and inculcate white powerlessness.  It is used by both whites and blacks to shame and disorient individual whites caught up in such charges.  Remember the ridiculous suggestion that Hillary Clinton was racist during the primaries. Yet it threw her off balance.  And this kind of thing happens in great and small ways every single day, on the job, on the street, in educational settings, and in politics. 

Racism is widely perceived as the greatest sin of liberal society, greater even than the historical summum malum of murder. And, worse, it is a charge impossible to defend against, as there is now an alleged scourge of “invidious” racism that hides behind such seemingly anti-white and pro-black measures as affirmative action and the election of a black president.

The only two ways our culture will negotiate this apparent contradiction is the utter subjugation of the white race or the mass rejection by whites of racism as a serious matter.  The former possibility speaks for itself; we will become like the whites of Rhodesia or, increasingly, South Africa, useful at most for our technical expertise.  Alternately, if this growing farce is rejected, “racism” will be relegated to the level of “foul language” or “intemperance” in the pantheon of sins because it would be seen as no longer having any relevance to the lives of either blacks or whites.  It would be recognized chiefly as a means of character assassination agianst whites and excusing the inexcusable among blacks.  Indeed, the increasing frequency of charges of racism and the draconian consequences of being “found guilty” of such a charge, coupled with the near complete undoing of real racism, may be the undoing of liberalism.  After all, anti-racism (or more accurately anti “white racism”) has become central to the meaning of contemporary liberalism, but the injustice of the current state of affairs is more and more obvious to anyone with eyes to see.  And there are 9 dead bodies in Connecticut to prove it.

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A Real Education Lesson

A rather forthright young lady at Harvard Law mistakenly thought the school was serious about its motto: Veritas.  She calmly and dispassionately explained her views on racial differences, genetics, and various related social problems.  She used no epithets or coarse language.  A member of the Black Law Students Association, and similar associations at other elite law schools, responded by literally trying to ruin her life, in part, by trying to get her federal judicial clerkship yanked.

This is utterly monstrous behavior by weak, thin-skinned, anti-intellectual, and evil people, whose feelings and belief structure is so incredibly fragile because it’s built on the very falsehoods which this young lady dared to challenge.  But oh how the school and its professors and its students congratulate themselves on their intellectual daring and cutting-edge beliefs.  Cutting edge 50 years ago perhaps.  Liberalism is now the official religion of elite America, it takes no courage to embrace, and anyone that dares to deviate from its premises on equality, race, nature versus nurture, and much else is responded to not with sound argument and evidence but Soviet-style attempts to ruin one’s life and livelihood.

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Most mainstream conservatives distinguish the good 1960s, in particular the civil rights movement, from the evil excesses of the hippies and the anti Vietnam War movement.  Shelby Steele does a good job of explaining the genesis of the Left’s contempt for mainstream America and Western Civilization as rooted in a narrative of the civil rights movement that identifies all the previous history of America as tained and evil and only capable of being admired insofar as it seeks redemption.  He writes:

Yet there is now the feeling that without an appeal to minorities, conservatism is at risk of marginalization. The recent election revealed a Republican Party — largely white, male and Southern — seemingly on its way to becoming a “regional” party. Still, an appeal targeted just at minorities — reeking as it surely would of identity politics — is anathema to most conservatives. Can’t it be assumed, they would argue, that support of classic principles — individual freedom and equality under the law — constitutes support of minorities? And, given the fact that blacks and Hispanics often poll more conservatively than whites on most social issues, shouldn’t there be an easy simpatico between these minorities and political conservatism?  ‘Compassionate conservatism’ was clever — as a marketing ploy.

But of course the reverse is true. There is an abiding alienation between the two — an alienation that I believe is the great new challenge for both modern conservatism and formerly oppressed minorities. Oddly, each now needs the other to evolve.

Yet why this alienation to begin with? Can it be overcome?

I think it began in a very specific cultural circumstance: the dramatic loss of moral authority that America suffered in the 1960s after openly acknowledging its long mistreatment of blacks and other minorities. Societies have moral accountability, and they cannot admit to persecuting a race of people for four centuries without losing considerable moral legitimacy. Such a confession — honorable as it may be — virtually calls out challenges to authority. And in the 1960s challenges emerged from everywhere — middle-class white kids rioted for “Free Speech” at Berkeley, black riots decimated inner cities across the country, and violent antiwar protests were ubiquitous. America suddenly needed a conspicuous display of moral authority in order to defend the legitimacy of its institutions against relentless challenge.

This was the circumstance that opened a new formula for power in American politics: redemption. If you could at least seem to redeem America of its past sins, you could win enough moral authority to claim real political power

I wrote something similar here in regard to the annoying, anti-American rhetoric of mainstream conservatives like Bush and Condoleeza Rice.

As far as connecting the dots, I think its important for conservatives to revisit the standard, liberal-leaning account of our recent past and defend the past and the authority of our civilization and institutions, all the way to the Crusades, in order to avoid the unravelling tendencies or mealy-mouthed cheerleading.  We need not defend every excess, but history, including evils in history, must be seen in their proper context and judged in light of the distinctly modern evils of our times.  I think more narrowly as an electoral strategy conservatives must be magnaminous but must dump their fantastic hope that alienated people in a milieu that encourages and sanctifies that alienation will all of a sudden become stalwart defenders of our civilization and join in a movement so devoted.  Grievance pays, as illustrated not least by the Obamas.

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I think this sober round up of the facts about the Jena Six case by a local reporter is pretty telling. Essentially, most of the myths, images, and interpretations proffered by the mainstream media in this case had little to do with reality, just as in the Duke Lacrosse case, e.g.:

Nowhere in any of the evidence [implicating the Jena Six], including statements by witnesses and defendants, is there any reference to the noose incident that occurred three months prior. This was confirmed by the United States attorney for the Western District of Louisiana, Donald Washington, on numerous occasions.

The culture is sick.  It is sick with misplaced guilt, alienation, disregard for standards, and confused priorities.  The Jena Six is a great example.  Two of their members, whose claim to fame consisted of pummeling a white boy who “dissed” them at school, were recently honored by BET and given recognition at a music awards show. At the same time, down the road in New Orleans, the District Attorney’s office in this crime-ridden city has been paralyzed by a huge judgment against the (black) DA for firing almost all of the office’s white workers some years ago.

And yet in the face of these offenses–ranging from the violent to the merely venal–the media persists in its hoary view that white racism is still a major problem in this country. This aversion to unpleasant facts unfortunately enables an endemic culture of corruption and violence among the very Black Americans that the media is trying to help. This stupid denial of reality fuels a demoralized, cynical, and alienated division of blacks and whites even though most of the major evils of yesteryear–slavery, Jim Crow, lynching–were abandoned before most of us were born.

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One lesson is clear from Jena: Ignore the media at your peril. The military, prosecutors, Ken Starr, and many others have learned this lesson repeatedly. Talk to the media and they may distort what you say, but say nothing and you’ll get run over by opponents. CNN’s melodramatic focus on the “schoolyard fight” and the “wrong side of the tracks” in its special report on Jena, Louisiana added to the smokescreen set up by the defendants to distract us from what this case is really about: a brutal beatdown of a young man for “dissing” that had nothing to do with the infamous “noose incident” months earlier.

Prosecutor Reed Walters finally had something to say in today’s New York Times. Clearly, if he had been more forthright and persuasive earlier, his town might not have been inundated with pissed off protesters:

Conjure the image of schoolboys fighting: they exchange words, clench fists, throw punches, wrestle in the dirt until classmates or teachers pull them apart. Of course that would not be aggravated second-degree battery, which is what the attackers are now charged with. (Five of the defendants were originally charged with attempted second-degree murder.) But that’s not what happened at Jena High School.

The victim in this crime, who has been all but forgotten amid the focus on the defendants, was a young man named Justin Barker, who was not involved in the nooses incident three months earlier. According to all the credible evidence I am aware of, after lunch, he walked to his next class. As he passed through the gymnasium door to the outside, he was blindsided and knocked unconscious by a vicious blow to the head thrown by Mychal Bell. While lying on the ground unaware of what was happening to him, he was brutally kicked by at least six people.

Imagine you were walking down a city street, and someone leapt from behind a tree and hit you so hard that you fell to the sidewalk unconscious. Would you later describe that as a fight?

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