Saturday, January 17, 2009

It's Starting

I guess it's not enough that, in a few dozen hours, we're going to elect a black President. It's not enough that the richest woman in America is black (Oprah is the richest, right?), or that the highest paid actor (Will Smith) is black. It isn't enough that our laws no longer discriminate on the basis of skin color.

No, we can't possibly let go of the victimology that, for too many people, goes with being black.

The focus of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 wasn't what had been accomplished — but rather his view of what still needed to be done.

More than four decades later, King scholars say he would take the same approach at this historic moment — the inauguration of the first black president at a time when the nation is facing its greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression.

The crisis could widen the already large financial gaps between whites and blacks and make it more difficult to attain King's dream of economic equality in America.

"I believe that Dr. King would caution us not to rest on the election of a black president and say our work here is done," said Kendra King, associate professor of politics at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta.

Nope, there's an economic gap between blacks and whites, so our work here isn't done. NAACP is still necessary. United Negro College Fund is still necessary. Urban League is still necessary. Affirmative action (i.e., racial discrimination) is still necessary.

It doesn't matter that this gap is caused not by skin color, but by a culture that devalues the very traits that promote wealth. It doesn't matter that this gap is self-created.

It only matters that we not give up that victimhood.

Oh, and any reporter who says "the nation is facing its greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression" is either an idiot or a liar. I remember the late 1970s, and these ain't them.

Update, 1/19/09: This is good. I'm not at all certain it will last.

More than two-thirds of African-Americans believe Martin Luther King Jr.'s vision for race relations has been fulfilled, a CNN poll found -- a figure up sharply from a survey in early 2008.


PeggyU said...

Richest couple in entertainment (Beyonce Knowles and JayZ)... black; Ms. Knowles will be singing at the inaugural party.

The culture that devalues self sufficiency, however, wouldn't get far if it weren't for the enabling hand of white guilt. When will this kind of crap ever end?

M.A. said...

The problem is that our culture often confuses equality with equity. For some reason, people seem to believe that if everyone doesn't end up with the same success, those who did not succeed did not have the same opportunities.

I agree, the victimhood mentality needs to stop (Larry Elder, a radio host I used to listen to a lot, refers to these people as "victicrats"). However, as long as people base the existence of equal opportunity on the end results, there will always be "victims" in this society...and people who exploit, and make money off of them (i.e. NAACP, Jesse Jackson, etc).

Mrs. Bluebird said...

I'm so sick of the "greatest economic crises since the Great Depression" nonsense as well. Guess all these libs want us to forget about the Carter years, eh?

Darren said...

You mean Saint Jimmah?

mazenko said...

Both extremes of this issue are invalid and diminish the argument. Simply noting the success of a few celebrities does not erase the continued presence of racism and discrimination. Nor can we link the status of millions of people to a generalization like "the culture devalues traits that promote wealth" and "the gap is self-created." At the same time, we must acknowledge personal responsibility for success and concede the incredible gains made by many, signified by events such as the election of Obama. We must consider race and success with pragmatic rationality that concedes the arguments of both sides.

Darren said...

Blacks are, what, 12% of the US population? That's not enough to elect a man president. To elect a man president you need a lot of people of different colors, but predominantly white, to cast votes. Since that's happened, I don't see how the claim that we're still a "racist" nation can hold any water.

Sure, there are individual racists out there. Always have been, always will be. I dismiss them because now, instead of standing in the schoolhouse door, they're marginalized by society at large.

I've said it before and I'll say it here--blacks as a group were doing much better 50-60 years ago during official segregation than they're doing right now. Look at the civil rights protests and see how people acted and dressed, and look at now. What's changed? I've already given my answer, what's yours?

Ellen K said...

Darren-don't you think much of that has to do with the erosion of the family in some sectors? And frankly, that's becoming a big problem for ALL kids. But for many African American kids, especially boys, there's no male leadership, no male to set the goals. Studies have shown that male and female parents have very different impacts on the development of children. These boys are not learning to be men, because no men are there to teach them. And when you get to the whole "baby momma" scenario, the men who come into their lives are punks who are there for a short time, for the most base of reasons. What is that teaching and why are the members of this segment of society allowing it to continue?

Anonymous said...

Oprah's nowhere near the top of the list.

Check your "facts."

And don't worry: as long as this site is around, Victimhood will remain alive and kicking.

allen (in Michigan) said...

If this isn't a racist nation then that's one less thing for lefties to feel superior about. Since the whole point of the civil rights struggle, as far as today's "progressives" are concerned was to provide an opportunity for the display of broadmindedness, a racist nation this will have to stay regardless of any facts to the contrary.

That's why we've been treated to such marvelous new inventions as institutional racism, unconscious racism and if those play out probably virtual racism and molecular racism.

Ellen K said...

Last I heard, African Americans make up 8% of the population. It's true there's a disproportionate accounting for them in jails, but there's also a disproportionate amount of African American children born to single mothers. Single mothers as a general rule, are less educated, make less money and supervise their children less. Children, especially boys, from single parents families get into much more trouble due to the lack of a male authority figure in the home. Women CHOOSE to have sex and get pregnant if we believe the pro-choice delegation. So they are CHOOSING to bring a child into a world of poverty and ignorance. Where are the adults and elders that would discourage such behavior? Sadly, we are now in the third, maybe fourth, generation of mothers bearing children without fathers in the home. So now what was an aberration has become a cultural subset, supported by the media and celebrities that do the same things, but on a much more opulent style.

allen (in Michigan) said...

> Oprah's nowhere near the top of the list.

Yes, at $2.7 billion she's living proof of the existence of racism.

> And don't worry: as long as this site is around, Victimhood will remain alive and kicking.

Why Darren, are you responsible for affirmative action, public housing and welfare? I had no idea you were such a pivotal figure in American history. Could I have your autograph?

Darren said...

(Will) Smith ranks first in our inaugural Forbes Star Currency survey, an exclusive look at what the business side of Hollywood really thinks of more than 1,400 working actors when it comes to ensuring the financial success of film projects.

Smith was the only person to receive a perfect score of 10, edging out Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Angelina Jolie, who all tied for second with scores of 9.89. Others in the top 20 include Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep, Jack Nicholson and Matt Damon.