Sunday, May 04, 2008

An Apology For A Lack Of One


I can't take it anymore.
A few bloggers had mentioned in a posts, and responses to posts, that Blacks have a lot to be pissed off about. This may be true, or not, depending on how you want to skew the realities to fit a Group Rights agenda.
Sorry, I'm not playing that game.
I was born in 1964, the same year of the Civil Rights Act of ,you guessed it, 1964, made it illegal to discriminate. Something had to be done in the 1/3 of the country where there was legalized discrimination. Then again,the majority if citizens didn't live in this region anyway, further limiting the scope of such activity.
Things were not as promised, as the Civil Rights Act that outlawed official discrimination was soon interpreted to mean that not only was it OK to discriminate against citizens of the other color,it could also be mandatory. Citizens who were not even around when all the discrimination was taking place for 300 years, had no hand in it, and who never benefited from it.
This discrimination was given official sanction by the SCOTUS in the 1978 Bakke decision.

I come from a different mindset that says we are all individuals first, and government policies should reflect that. Our nation was founded on a set of principles centered around individual rights, not rights according to what group you think you belong to.
Any child born today should have the same protections as any other child born today.

True, this system hasn't always delivered as promised. And not just for Blacks.
When the Irish started coming here in droves, they were legally discriminated against as well, and even considered lower than blacks on the dignity list.
The Native Tribes didn't always fare that well, either.
Italians were discriminated against, and legally paid less than Blacks and Irish to do the same labor on the same job site. (The pay scales would be posted publicly,according to race/ethnicity.)
The Chinese took their turn as well, and I think anybody (who wants to) can meet a Japanese American today who can tell you about the WWII years.
These were all government sanctioned slights against dignity and human worth. But hey, at least Black slave men got the right to vote before wealthy white women. Didn't they?

Blacks who still live in predominately Black communities certainly do have a lot to be angry about. But this anger should not be at Whites, or anybody else, but instead leveled at their fellow blacks who turn their 'hoods into slums,marginalize their politics, kill their children, and make a mockery of their sub-culture. In short, themselves.
Ya still want to be pissed off at slavery? Fine. Take it out on the Black Africans who offered your kind up for sale in the first place. If they weren't for sale, they wouldn't have been bought. No brainer,here.

Patting the angry black man on the head because you think he has the right to throw a public tantrum might make you feel somehow more enlightened than the rest of us white stiffs.
But the fact is, he has more legal protections than any white boy trying to get accepted to college, applying for a government job, or brown-nosing for that promotion at any Fortune 500. And that is fact.

What would you say to the white boys if they decide to riot, or act like uncaged zoo animals within their community?
How to explain to them that somebody less-white who sneaked across the border a few years ago has greater rights than they do?
Will you blame it on some other demographic of self-anointed Brahman class, in another part of the nation removed from them, passing pronouncements of what justice is, in order to meet the vision standards of the Ivy League?

Or will you expect them to act civilly, and just take it, because they are white, after all, and are not entitled to the same civil rights as others.

And how much longer are going to apologize for what you have not done, to those who have no grievances?
And how much longer will you expect others to do the same?

14 comments:

kingdavid said...

Have you e-mailed this yet to Obama's campaign?

Try and send it in to an editorial page; see if anybody will print it.

Kristopher said...

To those who do complain all I can say is, "Cry me a fucking river!" The only person who can make your lot in life better is you and I do not have to give you a fucking thing to make it better. I did nothing to make your life bad and it's not my fault you have chosen to live your life as you have. Get over it and quit your fucking complaining!

Oh, and if America is so bad, I hear trips back to Africa or Mexico (the group I really have a problem with moreso than any other) are running pretty cheap.

Brian said...

Gino, I love you man, but the last time I saw this many straw men I was driving through Kansas...

I'll try to be brief, b/c I really (really) don't want to draw this out.

By acknowledging that "black people have a lot to be pissed off about", I am NOT saying that: (a) they have a lot to be pissed off at YOU about, (b) that they are owed some sort of utterly meaningless collective apology or deference from white folk, or especially (c) (more) government intervention is required to make everything hunky-dory in the race dept.

What I AM saying is that the rhetorical style of Rev. Wright (and others) has a context, and that context includes a number of injustices, both perceived and real, both historical and current, that one might be understandably upset about. Some real, current examples would include disproportionate incarceration rates, disproportionate application of the death penalty, and incredibly disproportionate drug policing, even for drugs that a higher percentage of white people use.

Does any of this relieve individuals of moral responsibility for their own choices? Of course not! But to argue that the social problems plaguing many urban, predominantly black communities are entirely self-inflicted is obtuse. Government policies at all levels (from "urban renewal" to federal mandatory minimums) have a significant role in the cycle of poverty, crime, incarceration, and violence.

Kristopher said...

Brian, you're taking out the whole personal choice thing. No one forces any of these people from any areas to resort to any crime. I agree that government sucks and a lot of times their interference screws up a lot of crap! However, the government is not forcing anyone to become gang members, thugs, rapists or all out pieces of crap no matter what their color may be.

Brian said...

Brian, you're taking out the whole personal choice thing.

kristopher, I assure you I am doing no such thing. Reformatted for clarity:

"Does any of this relieve individuals of moral responsibility for their own choices? Of course not! But to argue that the social problems plaguing many urban, predominantly black communities are entirely self-inflicted is obtuse. Government policies at all levels (from "urban renewal" to federal mandatory minimums) have a significant role in the cycle of poverty, crime, incarceration, and violence."

Better?

Gino said...

" Some real, current examples would include disproportionate incarceration rates, disproportionate application of the death penalty, and incredibly disproportionate drug policing, even for drugs that a higher percentage of white people use."

its been shown that application of the death is not disproprtionate when the brutality of the crimes themselves are taken into accout.
DP isnt given across the board, to all who commit the same crimebut according to the agravating circumstances, coupled with the history of the offender.

the other issues are policing issues. black neighborhoods have a shockingly disproprtionate level of crime, and with that comes policing and arrests and sentencing.
whites tend to do pot/drugs without shooting up the schoolyards. blacks havent figured that part out yet.

when you draw attention to yourself, you cant be upset when somebody notices.

as i've said: they are angry at the wrong people.

Kristopher said...

Brian,

I do stand corrected and I admit I scanned over your post too quickly to read the whole thing. I apologize for misreading it.

Kris

Uncle Ben said...

I certainly appreciate the tone that Brian used in his comment. Speaking respectfully as he did is helpful.

Gino said...

brian is a cool dude, but he has his wicked side, as well.
thats why he loves me. :)

Brian said...

kris--no worries

gino--indeed

kr said...

Brian: yes, and well stated.


Gino, the other set of things that is really fucked up about the whole situation is what I would normally describe (to myself) in spiritual terms, but folks have done a lot of work that allows it to be described in non-spiritual terms:

What the slave-descended blacks CANNOT be held responsible for, and I think what most deeply affects them, is the deliberate destruction of as much social order as the slave owners could figure out to destroy. At its worst, slavery involved breeding lists as if the people were farm animals; and even if they were allowed to pair/reproduce without punishment, at any point the owner or in many cases any white person could kill any member of that family, for crime real or imagined (a non-onwer might have to pay the owner). The owner could at any point and at any age from young childhood up sell any member of a family. There was also of course the rape issue, and also the "colored mistress" issue.

With our recent discussions of how a man instinctively protects women (and I argue women instinctively protect men), how completely does this 'social structure' destroy not only any inheritable social stability but also every individual person involved in it? I think it is an astounding evidence to the love of God for each person that these people held on to their personhoods at all.

But in any case, several generations of these people were mishmashed together with culturally random "colored" people (various parts of West Africa, other slave areas), constantly mixed around, constantly ripped from their attchments, constantly and massively abused ... and abused not only physically, but sexually, psychologically, and spiritually (punished for their spirituality, and variously force fed or not allowed to learn Christianity).

Can we really be surprised, or blame the extreme edges for the complete lack of discipline, the gang-attachments, the drug use that characterize the culture? When a child is born into a society that has been actively struggling to define "what is family, to us?" for 100 years? When boys are exposed to few healthy male role models, and the moms are doing what they can to make ends meet and so are never home?

Yes, people can --and DO -- make choices that lift them out of that. But it is a VERY deep hole. You and I aren't responsible for the historical stuff, but frankly, I think it would only be Christian to do what we can to lighten their load--perhaps after asking _them_ what help they want. (One lesson I'm teaching my kids: It's not help if the person doesn't want it. It's imposition.) More of my Privatized Socialism: people need to choose to help individually, not pass the buck to the government and expect that to go well ...

I take some issue with your implication that people of your generation and later aren't responsible, and that 2/3 of the states weren't part of the problem. They weren't, mostly, in their written laws part of the problem (Oregon had sunset-laws and a variety of other unpleasant things). But they were culturally, and certainly in all major northern cities there were some citizens who were open to un-racism and many who were racist (toward blacks or any of the other groups you correctly cite).

But blacks are the only group that suffered from the deliberate destruction of all social order.

Clearly it worked. What's amazing is how fast they have managed to rebuild, not how bad they still are. I wouldn't want to consider the majority of white people I know trying to rebuild a social structure from that chaos and violence.

(Sure do hope the Chinese government is serious about not planning to invade.)

kr said...

(All the other immigrant groups after, what, probably 1860?, suffered _some_ deliberate destruction of their social order, both in the initial edit at Ellis Island and such points, and in the imposition of compulsory schooling and its designed couterpart, the removal of children from 'problem' families (the immigrants).)

Oh, and the Native Americans suffered almost complete social destruction. Yep--and they still show the signs of that. Amazingly close-knit societies, in most cases--in the US-area at least ... not so much nowadays. They are, however, getting the commendation, or at least the recognition, for their recovery and recovery efforts, that blacks are not.

Why is the message, "Why are you (still) so fucked up?" (automatic repsonse: "Well, let me tell you, jerkoff! ... ")

Can't the message be, "What an astounding job the majority of you have done and are doing!"

And when I say "the message," I don't mean go out and _say_ it (response from conflict-driven person: "who are you to judge??") ... but the underlying message to our assumptions and actions.

Gino said...

kr: the percentage of intact black families during the slave era was actually higher than it is today.

and journals attest to thousands of freed slave men who spent yrs searching for their kids. there was common attachment to family shared by blacks even at that time.

and saying all this garbage is a legacy of slavery is just the pablum so many have been spoonfed.
black neighborhoods never had the high crime rates we see the last 40yrs. it didnt happen.

blacks have made the most tremendous gains of any racial group in the country, most especially tween 1910-1960.
can any rural black mother in 1930 ever dream that her kid might sit on the supreme court, lead a fortune 500, or be a sr engineer for NASA?

too many blacks, the majority actually, have managed to escape the poverty and lack of oppertunity we saw just two generations ago.
but after the civil rights movement, the gains have seen a rollback. what changed?
i'll tell ya: too many people making excuses and defenses for the fringe, whereas the fringe becomes part of the identity.

but what you havent responded to is why do so many find it acceptable to racially discriminate against white boys born today? can you justify this to me?

kr said...

just stopped by to followup ... and then such sad news ...

but I will respond to this: but what you havent responded to is why do so many find it acceptable to racially discriminate against white boys born today? can you justify this to me?

nope. I don't think there is a justification, and probably didn't even hear that you were asking for one because it didn't occur to me. Believe it or not, it's part of my personal campaigning to get people who think it is ok to condemn little boys for being little boys (of any color) to get their heads straightened out. And color-judgment is soooo irritating in any case.

I think you are right that _accepting_ the victim mentality has been taught relatively recently--but I think the destruction wreaked in the 1800s set us up for all this. Vicitim mentality has been taught across the board to Americans, though ... I wonder if it is just an unfortunate confluence of history and culture that especially disabled this demographic. Because there are plenty of them who are still fighting the messages ... .

Anyhow, none of this terribly pertinent to your current frame of mind.

Take care, you : (.