"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." -- Theodore Roosevelt

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

McWhorter Essay on Civil Rights in The Wall Street Journal

John McWhorter

John McWhorter has an excellent piece in The Wall Street Journal. Check it out (link below).

From McWhorter:

However, in the decades since the March on Washington, black America has been taken on a detour by too many self-described progressive black thinkers and leaders, whose quixotic psycho-social experiment they disguise as a continuation of the civil-rights movement. With segregation illegal and public racism considered a moral outrage, we black Americans are now told that we will not truly overcome until Americans don't even harbor private racist sentiment, until race plays not even a subtle role in America's social fabric. 
In other words, our current battle is no longer against segregation or bigotry but "racism" of the kind that can be revealed only by psychological experiments and statistical studies.

This battle is as futile as seeking a world without germs. "We have come to the nation's capital to cash a check," King said. But the preacher was talking about being freed from "the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination"—not asking whether Americans are aware of skin color or are more likely to associate black faces with negative words in an experiment. 

Along these lines, the term "institutional racism," which the Black Power movement injected into the lexicon in the late 1960s, is more damaging to the black psyche than the n-word or any crude jokes about plantations or food stamps. The term encourages blacks to think of society—in which inequality, while real, is complex and faceless—as actively and reprehensibly racist in the same way that Archie Bunker was. The result is visceral bitterness toward something that can't feel or think. 
Equally distracting is the notion that America needs a "conversation" about race, one in which whites submit to a lesson from blacks about so-called institutional racism. "Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening," King told us in his speech. What we awaken to now is the rudeness of idle talk, of those who blow off steam by demanding a "conversation" that will not bear fruit—look no further than President Clinton's national effort on that front in the late 1990s—and in any case wouldn't provide greater opportunity to any poor person. 
The "conversation" idea is fundamentally passive because it assumes that what black people need most is for white people to think better of them and more about them. So why does it command such allegiance among blacks? Because it channels the idea that our most urgent task is to speak truth to power, rather than to help black people who need it. Too many suppose that the two tasks are still the same as they were in 1963, when the reality is now quite different. [emphasis mine]

McWhorter covers one of the major reasons why people find it so frustrating to speak about race. When most White people talk about racism they're referring to what's been traditionally taught as racism-- racial segregation, judging by the skin color rather than content of character, etc. However. when many Black people speak of racism, especially those in academia, they are referring to the terrible concept of "institutional racism." This concept has to be addressed.

The Black leadership in this country has been fervently pushing the concept "institutional racism," a rather vague concept, thus insuring that racism is forever a problem. The result produces angry people frustrated at an insolvable problem that bears basically no effect on their own lives. It's a vicious circumstance, and one that is exploited by the the Black leadership and Democrats.

Any conversation about race has to begin with an attack upon the concept of "institutional racism" and the devastating effect it has had on the Black community and upon race relations in the last twenty or so years.

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