Whether or not one agrees with the recent decision by a grand jury not to indict Darren Wilson, there is an idea being promulgated by many people that I hope all objective observers of American society will find farcical: the idea that racism against black people is not a major problem anymore and that most racism today is black-on-white. Now, anyone hoping to read a declaration that black-on-white racism is not immoral and deplorable or that black people cannot be racist had best go to another blog. That said, there is a very important truth that all too many people ignore and have been ignoring with a renewed vigor in light of the death of Michael Brown. That truth is that the root cause of black-on-white racism is the history of slavery and segregation in this country and the continued anti-black racism that all too many whites still won’t let go of. Yet many commentators insist that white racism is very rare in 2014 and that current racial tensions are the fault of African Americans and, of course, their white leftist “enablers.” I was reminded of this when I made a couple of remarks in the comments section of Bernard Goldberg’s website. Goldberg is actually one of my favorite conservative pundits. He believes in equal rights for gays, and he has displayed some willingness to occasionally call out other conservative indivduals–specifically Ted Nugent and Cliven Bundy–for making racist statements. He recently wrote an article about Ferguson, and, predictably, lots of readers commented. I am going to repost the dialogue that I had with two fellow commenters.
Commenter A: “ferguson is the result of the black communities insistence of hanging onto old hatred and bitterness and indoctrinating all black kids with this old hatred and bitterness beginning with the very day of their birth……
Perpetuating the hatred and bitterness will ensure that American blacks will never progress as a community or as a group of people…..
This hatred will always be a cancer on America…….”
Me: “Racism of any kind is destructive, deplorable, and immoral, but let’s not forget that white-on-black racism, despite declining a lot in the last 50 years, remains a major problem in America. The people defending Cliven Bundy’s comments on slavery earlier this year were a strong reminder of that. This current white-on-black racism, along with slavery, Jim Crow, and the white-on-black racism of the past, is the root cause of black-on-white racism.”
Commenter A: “No, the root cause of present day racism is refusing to let go of past hatred and bitterness……
American blacks are the most racist group of people on the planet…..
They are taught to be that way…….”
Commenter A: “Seems like the ‘race’ with the biggest ‘race’ problem are the blacks. As long as they adhere to their victim status they are absolved of any necessity to get an education, apply themselves, adopt a workable set of values. Whites aren’t the problem. Blacks are. Blacks put themselves in prison. Blacks kill other blacks. Blacks riot at the drop of a hat. It’s all a real familiar and losing game. You’d think Obama might see that and use a little influence to change things.”
Me: “And when people like Rush Limbaugh tell black callers to “get that bone out of your nose” and play apartheid off like it’s no big deal, or when Pat Buchanan says Brown v. Board of Education was a mistake, that isn’t contributing to racial tensions?”
Commenter B: “Do you consider having and stating opinions are bad things?”
Commenter C: “Have you considered Farrakhan’s statement of tearing down this country…..
or Browns dad screaming “burn this baby down”……
Ya think maybe this works both ways…….”
Oh well. Nobody can say I didn’t try to talk some sense into people. But it is sadly obvious from both the original comments and the way commenters replied to my replies that many people want to blame everything on African Americans and will criticize racism against whites vigorously but ignore racism against blacks. For instance, what evidence does anyone have to demonstrate African Americans are more racist than whites, let alone “the most racist group of people on the planet”? You would not know it from listening to Rush Limbaugh, but according to a recent Gallup poll, African Americans are twelve percentage points likelier than white Americans to approve of interracial marriage. And according to data from the FBI, not exactly a bastion of liberalism, the percentage of racially motivated hate crimes against blacks is about three times as high as the percentage of racially motivated hate crimes against whites. As for the comment about whether I consider having and stating opinions a bad thing, did the person who made that comment not grasp the concept of believing in someone’s right to free speech while still finding their opinions reprehensible? By their logic, it would be wrong to object to someone saying that white people are devils in human shape. After all, it’s that person’s opinion! And with regard to the “this works both ways” comment, nowhere did I claim that the statements the commentator cited were not problematic; I merely said that the views expressed by Limbaugh and Buchanan also contribute to racial tensions. The negative reaction to this point merely underscores the “it’s all the black people’s fault” mentality being expressed by an unfortunate number of individuals. In Part 2, I will offer a list of 12 point illustrating the fact that there is still plenty of racism in America.