Barack Obama, Man of Faith
Barack Obama wants White America to know there is more to be done to redress the wrongs of slavery and segregation. Much more. But in a social climate where we have a presidential candidate who is black, or partially black, where black sports heroes are the toast of the media and throngs of white fans, where black women are U.S. Representatives, and on the boards of corporations, are tenured academic stars like Cornelius West, possessors of magnificent estates in Buckhead, GA and Grosse Pointe, MI, Mayors of major U.S. cities, state governors, Supreme Court Justices (even prior to Justice Thomas) and occupants of many other high seats of power and influence, are chart-topping pop stars like Beyonce and Mos Def, who throng the ranks of government bureaucracies, what can be the real message? Forgetting that his speech on race was largely a table turning tactic to divert and blunt public and media criticism of Obama’s longstanding involvement with highly controversial “former” pastor and mentor Jeremiah Wright, what was the message to White America?
In brief, that White racism is the sin that can never be forgiven, and the offending positions of Black Liberation Theology, are merely the unsightly but nevertheless justified up-wellings of revolt against a society that, for all its efforts, is still lagging unforgivably in solving the problems that plague the black community.
In other words, reader, if you wish to know the wellspring of such sentiments as litter the “sermons” of men like Wright, you must avail yourself of a mirror, for that source is you -you and me, the White America of intractable “racism”. If ever there were an irresistible form of chum for the hungry media, this was it. But in turning the tables on offended White sensibilities, Obama may have lost a bit of his admittedly potent “charm” -we may hope- and inadvertently impelled Whites across the country to a deeper examination of the supposed complicity they possess in the continued and seemingly insoluble issue of smoldering black resentment and persistent black failure to close the gap with Whites academically and economically. The exceptions simply prove the rule: those who are capable tend to rise, irrespective of their ethnicity in a society that has almost completely recreated itself in a single generation over the issue of race. The plaudits for Obama’s speech ringing from the liberal quarters of the media should tell us something about the times we live in. They are times in which truth is largely unwelcome in the salons of fashionable opinion, and in which that opinion has and will continue to have a profound effect on the way the U.S. imagines itself, and on the way the average man is told to think and conduct himself.
It is clear from our opening exercise of enumerating the areas where blacks have seen achievement that the path to success is open. It is a legitimate to ask what more would Barack Obama have White Americans do to elevate the black man, if one, for the sake of argument, has accepted the premise that it is White America’s and not Black America’s job to effect such changes. Firstly, he would have us ignore the frequently and disproportionately pernicious character of black society, and second he would have White America, dig even deeper into its already threadbare pockets. You see, according to Senator Obama, while only massive social and psychological engineering (therapy), on the part of Whites would drive from them the demon of racism (that is, noticing that there are non-trivial differences between the races and that some of them cannot and should not be “fixed"), more money poured into black programs would be a great start. In other words, we need more racism to end racism, for what but racism could be the targeting for special treatment of a certain population based on their skin color? But here is the irony. Given the lip service among most Americans of whatever political stripe to an impossible and undesirable end to prejudice, wouldn’t more assistance to blacks out of all proportion to their real merit serve only to take us farther from and not nearer to that “ideal” of a color blind society we hear so well spoken of, where the content of one’s character (from a great distance, no less, and in passing) is what one is judged by? Even were we to grant that such ends were wanted, this again, according the Senator, is a task for whites, who are, we must assume, the sole repository of bigotry in this nation. But all this begs an important question. When do tales of oppression long since ended fall on deaf ears as blacks dominate the music and sports industries all out of proportion to their numbers? A Kinist would insist on a very blunt corollary, and that is such domination of certain areas of accomplishment and the lack of achievement in others has everything to do with racial differences on a statistical level that cannot be “fixed”, no matter the billions of White’s treasure poured into bussing, science magnet schools, universal “pre-k” care, more teachers, and the like.
Have we asked ourselves, honestly, sincerely why there is not greater representation of blacks in other areas of accomplishment, when other ethnicities that have seen similar or worse original circumstances upon their arrival on these shores have long since far exceeded, proportionally, their supposedly “due” representation in the halls of academia, commerce, and public service? Think of the original conditions of Chinese railroad workers, or the poverty and overcrowding of the Irish escaping famine in their own country. It would seem that some can overcome slavery and poverty, and some cannot. Is it something in the temperament, something in the will? We cannot say. But while blacks pride themselves on “surviving” slavery (which none alive today ever underwent), why have they not taken that next step? Why, prejudice. Notwithstanding, any passing familiarity with the history of the aforementioned American success stories would suffice to convince that there could have been n worse original conditions, and no more broad and thorough exposure to prejudice than that experienced by these selfsame groups. At what point do we reluctantly point to the failure to develop a culture of excellence in the black community as the primary cause in long standing and seemingly intractable black underachievement, and how illegitimacy and negligence by black males in particular, and the sullen resentment and self-pity of black females has eaten away at the health and vigor of so much of their community. The causes of this mental malaise we may conjecture on. But one cannot deny the reality of these claims, and that they are major contributors to the plight of the black community.
When 70% of black children are born out of wedlock, we either have a problem of accountability in the black community, or the triumph of an “alternative” lifestyle that should demonstrate its viability in its production of excellence and achievement in high numbers. We may even be seeing nothing more than the deep well of cultural identity, some ancient irremediable instinct, on display. Certainly similar behavior is seen among African males. But whatever the case may be, we know both anecdotally and as a matter of exacting sociological study that illegitimacy does not produce excellence -though there are the outliers, the occasional exceptions where the extremely gifted or preternaturally determined are able to succeed in spite of, but not, of course, as a result of, an ethnic culture that prizes dissipation over dedication, infidelity over fidelity, profligacy over thrift, and sullen complaint over determination and diligence. When the vast bulk of social research is weighed in the balance, it is no longer a matter of mere speculation which values triumph. In the world of numbers, of measurement, of production, nothing succeeds like success.
Nor is it valid any longer to point to white owned corporations and accuse them of racial bias. In a social climate in which “racism” has now become anathema, national and multi-national scale corporations recruit qualified black candidates assiduously, and sometimes even bend the rules to acquire them. Not merely because it makes for good press to provide a corporate culture that prizes “diversity”, but because it’s the law. Still, the qualified or nearly qualified black candidate is difficult to find. Companies spend millions to recruit from the campuses of “historically black” colleges, provide generous employment incentives, and publicly acknowledge the worth of minorities in contributing to the kind of multi-hued, multi-perspective cultures they wish to maintain and help to thrive. But where are the candidates? It is a commonplace that is ludicrous to deny that exceptional blacks can certainly rise and find a place among the elite. The black middle class, that most tenuous of estates, has grown steadily, but still lags in achievement. At what point do we look to blacks for the solution to black problems, rather than to those who, by and large, are cheering for them to succeed, if only to ameliorate the collective burden of guilt and shame that has been carefully inculcated in them by government, media, commercial, and academic organizations for decades. At what point is the “race problem” a black problem too?
How should black efforts to stamp out “racism” be viewed in light of the recent revelation that the latter day champion of integration and “civil rights”, Dr. Martin Luther King, in his latter years supported the creation of a black state, a secessionist concept that seems to fly in the face of efforts at achieving that “meritocracy” he so indefatigably pursued his entire public career as a minister and an activist. Was this the final acknowledgment that, in the end, the black problem is a black problem, best solved by blacks in their own self-interest? It is a sad testimony to efforts at total socio-economic and political equality, that elusive and likely dubious objective, that the solution to the persistent underachievement of the black community is inevitably conceived in the context of, and never independently of the white majority community -if it can be called a community in the same way the black community can, with such a bewildering diversity of opinion and sentiment. The outright scandal that is the failure of black leaders to suggest and actively pursue truly independent solutions to problems in the black community is one that can only be covered by persistent and skillful misdirection -a tactic that is in ample supply among the media, government, and academic apologists for black underachievement.
The embarrassment of set-asides and quotas in a nation that is eager to find qualified blacks is, in reality, a terrible admission. And just when white responsibility for black underachievement is now fully entrenched as the politically correct, and dare we say, establishment position, some sensible black leaders are now timidly, almost apologetically, calling for a retrenchment -that is, a reconsideration of the wisdom, and to put it more directly, the effectiveness of the very racial integration and numerical equality that once was the sine qua non of permissible redress of persistent black underachievement. It is now being slowly, reluctantly recognized that, perhaps, black children are better off, indeed do achieve better, among their peers, rather than bussed into white school districts. But when such sober admissions of fact are, inevitably, howled down by the vested interests in black underachievement and perpetual “ghettoization”, when efforts to integrate blacks more fully in the culture of hope are dismissed by black leaders as “gentrification” or even “ethnic cleansing” we see that the black community is, on the whole, both unready and unwilling to advance independent solutions that do not rely on the stale formulas of race demagoguery that have left a legacy of failure, in spite of the willingness of most whites to shoulder the blame for what they have been taught to interpret as the sin of racism, and their collective and seemingly perpetual guilt for the institution of slavery, which ended more than 13 decades ago, and Jim Crow segregation, which ended now over four decades ago. By contrast, those 13 decades have seen the Chinese population in the U.S. rise from “slavery” on the railroads to high levels of academic, economic, and political achievement. It seems that there is something amiss in the black community. We can point to it, but we dare not speak it aloud. It is the culture of grievance. This culture forms the basis of a social malaise that has stricken it now for the better part of a century.
Michelle Obama is quoted having expressed the sentiment that she has only recently become proud to be an American. Aside from what Pat Buchanan has rightly described as the “ingratitude” of blacks for such efforts a majority white nation has made on behalf of blacks, when will black leaders like Mrs. Obama realize that such collective and immovable grudge-bearing is among of the chief causes of black illegitimacy and underachievement, and thus, a real bane to be fought as they now fight the largely imaginary bugaboo of white “racism”. The efforts to raise blacks out of intractable poverty and so-called under-representation, to redress an historic wrong against a minority population are literally unparalleled in recorded history. Need we enumerate the measures taken -efforts sanguinary and violent, constitutional and legal, and finally economic? Even the Fourth Estate obligingly did its part, using the bully pulpit created by the equal opportunity provision of the Communications Act of 1934, that held for decades, to broadcast editorial of a decidedly slanted tone during news programming, and by yielding editorial latitude to the left wing views of beloved and trusted news figures such as Walter Cronkite, gave over their coverage to the civil rights movement, and, in the case of the formerly powerful print media, their editorial policy and pages to the fight for “equal protection”, against institutionalized “racism”, largely winning the day. After bussing, affirmative action, welfare laws that rewarded longstanding illegitimacy in the black community, public housing, food stamps, and a multitude of other programs directed manifestly at blacks, when can American say it has done enough? If the current climate of opinion continues to hold sway, that answer is never. Enough is never enough to the culture of grievance and the lucrative industry of race demagoguery.
Recently we saw in a recorded speech Mrs. Obama sniffing haughtily and self-indulgently at the monumental efforts of the White Majority (soon to be no more) to improve socio-economic conditions for blacks, telling us that she felt that the white students at Princeton and Harvard looked at her as though she were less intelligent than they. The irony of this perspective is patent, of course. Allowing that such perceptions are even accurate, confirming themselves in ostensible patronage or even derision, would these liberal Ivy League whites, who were subjected to an unrelenting campaign to change opinions about race in this country, a campaign that extended from their early years in public and private schools through their young adulthood, have had such a response if Obama’s place, and that of many just like her, in their world were not the result of lower standards for black applicants, a form of condescending patronage that should outrage and embarrass the advocates of color blindness and consideration on merit alone? It is a legitimate question, and one which is too seldom asked. But further, could such liberal products of this campaign really harbor the resentments she ascribes to them. Anecdotal experience tells us that this is unlikely, and that her perceptions were very probably a result of the paranoiac delusions of systemic bias that are a mainstay of the black culture of grievance. You see, these liberal students at Princeton and Harvard WANT set-asides, WANT affirmative action, and are highly desirous of every badge of their own personal and their institution’s “activism” -hardly an atmosphere of boiling resentment at her presence.