Every week on Monday morning, the Council and invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum with short takes on a major issue of the day. This week’s question: What is your Opinion Of The State Of Race Relations In America Today?
The Noisy Room: Until Obama became president, I would have said that race relations were a non-issue, at least in most venues. Since Obama has come into office, that has changed, however. Eric Holder and others have deliberately stoked the fires of racial conflict, welcoming the influence of the Black Panthers and the Muslim Brotherhood, with their hatred towards a variety of ethnicities and religious preferences. By using the race card to shield Obama from any criticism, the Left, including the media, have made race an issue once again, setting back progress in race relations at least 20 years, by selectively choosing not to enforce law based on race, including not only crimes by blacks, but also “immigration law,” predicating their actions and lack of action solely on racial fairness. In fact, to enhance the conflict, Obama is masterfully utilizing class warfare.
A scarred and healed wound has now been ripped open in our society, leaving a schism that is being manipulated for political gain. Most of America is not falling for this ploy. The Left would love a race war pitting races and religions against one another in this country. But as much as that tactic is pushed, the majority of America is still Christian and abhors such conflict. For most of us, race does not even enter the thought process… competency, ethics and morality does. And that is where the Marxists lose – Americans cherish their individual freedoms and feel a sense of family towards other American patriots, whether they be white, black, brown, red, yellow or purple. That will not stop the left utilizing massive propaganda to separate races and to push class warfare as a race issue though. After all, they adhere to Saul Alinksy’s Rules for Radicals and they need conflict to create a revolution and chaos, furthering the collapse of society and the reformation of a government closer to their heart’s desire (see: Fabian Socialists).
The Razor: Pardon the pun but race relations is a grey area. Over the past forty years that I’ve been aware of the issue, I’d have to say that the plain old bigotry is on the wane, but it hasn’t been replaced by racial harmony. Instead we have a situation where the Democratic party has demagogued the issue under the first African-American president, turning it into a weapon liberally used against anyone who opposes the party or its policies.
Anyone who questions the logic of affirmative action is charged as a racist. Anyone who wonders whether African-Americans are best served by the low expectations and government dependency fostered by liberal government policies is racist. Those of us who support school vouchers, which allow African-American kids to attend better schools and receive better educations, have been criticized as racist. Americans who oppose the Obama administration are racist. In fact it’s impossible for anyone who disagrees with the institutional Left and the Obama administration to avoid being dismissed as racists.
With the word bandied about so much in our public discourse, it is difficult to objectively determine where our nation stands on racism. I’m reminded of an incident a dozen years ago when I opposed a local rabbi at a town hall and was shouted down by the predominantly Jewish audience as being an anti-Semite and skinhead (rather amusing given my views on Israel are more in line with Israeli hardliners than the leftist American Jews). I spoke to my old roommate after the meeting who is a Jew and he told me that there was enough real anti-Semitism in this country, Jews didn’t need to make more up. The same is probably true with white-black racism.
There’s no doubt it’s still around. I work with Indians and hear how they are often bullied and mistreated at grocery stores and gas stations. My old stomping grounds in Philadelphia suffers from racism by African-Americans against African immigrants from Ghana, Somalia, Liberia and other African nations – something that doesn’t fit the classic definition of racism caused by skin color. But is it better than it was a generation ago? I hope so, but given the state of public discourse, it is impossible to determine.
JoshuaPundit: I think it’s important to differentiate between institutional and de jure racism and simple human prejudice. In terms of the first, I think relationships between the races are probably as good as they can get in a free society. Not only is there substantial enforcement of a number laws prohibiting it, but it has become socially unacceptable when directed at anyone except, in a number of circles today, against whites and Jews… particularly if they happen to be male.
Unfortunately, as for the second category, while we eliminated de jure prejudice, we adopted a number of government policies that enhance and entrench it. The simple fact is that as a society, we drifted away from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s famously expressed ideal starting in the 1960′s when the Kerner Report on civil unrest was accepted as gospel and fixes like the War on Poverty, raced based affirmative action, ethnically jerrymandered congressional districts, hiring quotas and minority set asides became common and were taken to absurd extremes by various politicians with the idea of creating voting blocs based on groupthink, ethnic resentment and feelings of entitlement.
A society does not eradicate racial prejudice by institutionalizing it and directing it against a different target as what amounts to someone’s idea of payback or reparations. That merely enhances bigotry not only in the preferred groups but in the new, targeted group as well.
Instead, to bowdlerize that wonderful line from the film ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’, we will truly make progress when we understand that apples and oranges are different, but we’re all fruit and need to be treated with the same respect and dignity without reference to what tree we come from.
The Glittering Eye: Any reasonable consideration of the state of race relations in the United States should take stock of how far we’ve come and how much farther we need to go.
When I was a kid and young adult, legal segregation was the norm in many places. White and blacks or “Coloreds” as they were called, had separate restrooms, drinking fountains and building entrances. Accommodations were such that traveling was impossible or, at the least, very difficult for blacks.
A variety of pretexts denied their right to vote and there were very few black elected officeholders, even in areas in which a majority of the potential voters were black. None of those things is true now. We’ve come a long way.
As far as we’ve come, there’s still quite a bit farther to go. The overall homicide rate among blacks is six times what it is among whites. That’s almost entirely due to the homicide rate among urban blacks – the homicide rate among rural blacks is roughly the same as among whites.
The unemployment rate among young blacks is a staggering 21%, compared to an overall youth unemployment rate of 12%. Median income for white household is around $50,000. Median income for black households is around $32,000. 30% of whites are college graduates; only 20% of blacks are college graduates. The on time high school graduation rate for whites is 78%; the rate for blacks is 57%.
I wouldn’t claim that all of these problems are due to racism. That there is a racial component can hardly be denied.
Some might point to the Secretary of State under George W. Bush (the son of Jamaican immigrants) or, on the occasion of his second inauguration to the presidency, the current president (the son of a Kenyan, raised by whites) as an indication that race no longer plays a factor in American life. Perhaps it doesn’t.
Maybe it’s culture, but there’s certainly something. There are millions of Afro-Americans (as the sociologist Charles Moskas referred to black Americans who were descended from the American slaves freed in 1865) who are still in severely reduced circumstances.
Bookworm Room: One word answer: bad.
This is not an accident. President Obama and the Dems have very carefully stoked racial tensions to create a series of crises off of which they can legislate. This is a good, if immoral, short-term strategy, but it has the seeds of long-term disaster within it, because they won’t be able to contain or control the animus they’re overseeing.
Well, there you have it.
Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council and the results are posted on Friday morning.
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