If you’ve not been in a coma for two weeks, you’ve heard of Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling. The two have set the social media world on fire and supplied endless fodder to cable TV. Viewed through a wider lens, they have provided a perspective on race and put the lie to the oft repeated desire to have a serious talk about race relations.
Cliven Bundy lacks formal education and isn’t articulate. Perhaps he is stupid, but I really can’t speak to that. His observations on race and his choice of words with which to explain those observations were, unquestionably, unwise and foolish. And that’s not because they were wrong; they may be wrong, but that’s not why they are unwise and foolish.
Bundy is not, insofar as present evidence can reveal, a racist. Here are the words that offended the bien pensant and perpetually aggrieved:
“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro, they abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.” (Just curious: Is the word “Negro” now forbidden? I saw news commentators who seemed to be embarrassed Bundy used it, as if the mere mention somehow reeked with racism.)
While I have no idea what he meant from the “picking cotton” bit (and neither does anyone else, no matter how loudly they yell), the rest expresses an idea shared by many that deserves serious consideration. Put simply, the welfare state has enslaved Negroes to a degree comparable with slavery. Our inner cities have, since the Great Society, produced generational welfare that evidence suggests is difficult to escape. The black family has disintegrated, and African-American crime statistics are sad and sorry. Here are some details:
Pretty tough to argue with Mr. Bundy about black women and abortion, and evidently a significant portion of the black community is deeply concerned about the fact. Are they racists?
How about the black family?
“In 1965 only 8% of black children were born out of wedlock; today, that figure stands at 72%.” And what happened in 1965? Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs were legislated, the idea being, “to end poverty in our time.” Critics will scoff that cause and effect can’t be proven. Perhaps. What cannot be argued is there has been a steady disintegration of the black family.
What about number of black men in prison? I didn’t look very long, largely because every sentient human in the nation is aware of the enormous number of black males who are or have been in our nation’s prison. But here’s this from 2008:
Critics will say that black me are more severely punished than white men for committing the same crime. This is obfuscation and an attempt to change the subject. What they won’t say is that black men didn’t commit the crimes, because that would simply be wrong.
Without question Cliven Bundy is correct in what he said about African-Americans and abortion and prison. From his observations I think a sane person would conclude that these things have had and continue to have a terrible effect on black families; in fact, they have, in many instances, rendered the term “family” nearly without meaning in much of the black community. Who disagrees? And if we then concur that a good and close family is a happy and healthy thing, then it at least becomes fair to ask is it possible that an enormous percentage of black families were happier or better places when yoked by slavery than they are now when shattered by welfare? (This is with the admitted caveat that they were sometimes broken up by a member being sold; but is that any worse than a father who is never known? ) I am not answering the question; I am simply posing it. That question is the foundation beneath Bundy’s remarks, and if the left had any real interest in a conversation about race, they would have listened and answered, whether they agreed or disagreed. But the left has no desire for that talk; instead the full weight of the morally superior fell on his head. He was ridiculed and shamed. How could he not have known that this would happen? That’s what made his comments foolish and unwise. However, one is left to ponder how anyone who claims to care about the plight of so many in our black communities can have so much contempt for someone who points at the problems? That leads me to despair.
I have contempt for Donald Sterling. The guy has an established history of discrimination, and evidently his money would be better spent running a whore house instead of owning a basketball team. Note to Sterling’s attorney: Please advise him that owning a business in which 75% of your employees are black makes it particularly stupid — to say nothing of nonsensical — to harbor feelings of racial animosity. I mean, what’s up with that? Compounding matters, he, to date, hasn’t apologized or asked forgiveness for his comments. Second note to Sterling’s attorney: Most of us believe in forgiveness and redemption, but the sinner has to own his sin, apologize for it and ask for our mercy. Even then I suspect he’d be tossed from the league (Interesting to see if a man can actually be forced to forfeit private property.), but I’m guessing some of the anger directed his way would turn to pity.
What I am most certain of is that Sterling’s behavior is indicative of zero, nothing, nada with respect to society. You can’t draw any larger conclusions — except that the nation won’t stand for open bigotry; it ain’t 1958 anymore — from what he’s done. This guy realizes that; and this guy is clueless. Jabbar is thoughtful and termperate; perhaps he should have become a lawyer, even a judge. Jeffrey Toobin is a hectoring evangelical for his version of the truth. Perhaps he should have become a circus clown. At least then the howls of laughter directed his way would be of approval instead of derision.
An excursion from my purpose is necessary: Jeffrey Toobin works for CNN and writes for the New Yorker; for both institutions he is go-to guy on matters of law and the Supreme Court. When next you read or witness his preening and self-satisfied moralizing, remember that while married he fathered a child with another woman (the daughter of Jeff Greenfield, an ABC reporter). When informed of the pregnancy he questioned the paternity, initially refused to be tested and stated he would have nothing to do with a child he didn’t believe was his. Maybe while in law school Toobin didn’t show up to class on the days this material was covered. Well, ignorance is not a defense, and the courts didn’t see things Mr. Toobin’s way. Let’s cover the ground again: A guy who is married and has two children screws his colleague’s daughter; she gets pregnant and the guy implicitly accuses her of being promiscuous by saying he is not the father. He then balks at taking a paternity test and vows to turn his back on the baby. We’re to take morality lessons from this hypocrite? How about instead I put my foot up his…you get the picture. When Toobin speaks, always remember this.
Back to Sterling: One thing, among many, that makes me want to shower after reading about the tale is that it all came about as a result of a conversation that was recorded. I don’t feel sorry for Sterling, but the idea that any of us should be held accountable for everything we say at home to someone we’re sleeping with makes me very uneasy. No one, not one person who’s stood before a microphone and crowed their deep sense of hurt or implicitly declared their higher morality could live up to such a standard. Nobody could. Bill Maher, who I never agree with, understands this. With this, the thought police have crept into our houses and bedrooms. That leads me to greater despair.
The words above are long prelude to my reason for this post. They are for perspective. No matter anyone’s opinion of what I’ve written, what cannot be denied is that the two stories were, for a few days, given wall-to-wall coverage. You could not escape them. They were major stories on all the networks and received editorial treatment in our major newspapers. The chattering classes thundered their opinions. The idiot hypocrite Toobin is one example. Left wing pols denounced both men and tried to tar conservative pols; right wing politicians ran for the hills. The coverage was wide but predictable, with a depth approaching 2 inches.
Here’s another story. It happened on April 2. It now appears that the victim will live. This is no thanks to his attackers. A black woman saved the guy, insisting the mob quit kicking and stomping him.
I’ve deliberately not given the details of the story. How many people reading this are aware of them? It has been given some coverage, just not the relentless and unceasing variety. Not the kind that leads to water cooler conversation at work. This was a lynching, period. A black mob lynched a white man because of his race. (Here is an interesting account of the behavior of the suspects relatives in the courtroom during a hearing. Nice folks, eh? Here’s a more on them, some of it a repeat.) Think for a moment if whites in say, Birmingham, AL had slugged, beaten, kicked and stomped a black man; now think again about the reaction if white family members engaged in similar courtroom behavior while their defendant relatives were arraigned. Wonder if Jeffrey Toobin would have an assessment ? He should. As should the editorial pages of the New York Times and Time Magazine and all the networks. You know, just like President Obama who…Oh, wait a minute. I guess Steve Utash isn’t a Harvard professor and if Obama had a son he wouldn’t look like him.
Thought experiment: Are there places in the U.S. where a black man should fear walking, day or night? Are there areas of cities in the U.S. where a white person would be foolish to enter because of skin color? The answer to the first question is, no; if you disagree, then name one. The answer to the second is a resounding, yes. If you disagree, get in touch, leave a comment. I’ll design an itinerary and you can take a few late night walks. Don’t plan on too many though, because I have my doubts about you completing them.
There is a teeming, sloshing black racism in American. We don’t talk about it; we don’t engage it; we don’t shame it. The simple take-away is that we have two standards and white people’s lives have less value. Because of that, people’s lives are lost. Because of that the country suffers a deeper divide. Because of that hope of racial harmony suffers and evaporates.
A cantankerous, independent, undereducated and inarticulate man utters insightful if poorly worded ideas on the condition of blacks due to welfare dependency, and a doddering, cancer-stricken fool spouts off his racism to his mistress while in his home and they warrant the days’ long attention of the nation and the commentary of all those who position themselves as our betters. A lynch mob pummels a man nearly to death because of his race; it is behavior that is all to common (see knockout game or black on white murderstats), and it warrants not the first moment of reflection from our leaders or those who pride themselves in recording and understanding our society’s big picture.
From time to time we hear the calls about the desire to have a conversation about race. It’s lie. A conversation implies a disagreement, one that has to be accepted in good faith. In reading this post, nearly every progressive in the nation would simply dismiss me as a racist. Eventually, there will come a reckoning. That leads me to the greatest despair.