Having spent a good portion of my life in the infantry, a true melting pot of races, I never saw racism nor the toxic effects of the left's racial politics until I left the military and entered civilian life. We were brothers and sisters in arms and all Americans. Nothing so perfectly captures that as this video of a retired MSG during the Baltimore riots.
The attitude displayed by that man is pervasive throughout the military. There is no victim group mentality among minorities in the military. Tragically, the same cannot be said of our nation outside the military. Blacks in the civilian world are fed a steady diet of propaganda that they are victims of pervasive racism in this country and that any problems common to their group are all as a result of external racism. They are literally programmed to view everything in life through the lens of their skin color and to interpret anything negative that occurs to be the result of external racism. It is a deeply distorted, toxic vision of life.
Exhibit No. One, from Walter Hudson writing at PJM:
A Facebook friend of mine just set the above image as his profile cover photo. He’s an activist in the Black Lives Matter movement whom I became acquainted with while working on an election issue in my state.
I look at this picture, and the first thing I think is: Wow. That’s… that’s really offensive.
Then I look at it some more. I think about it. Then I realize that for some people, like my Facebook friend, this accurately represents how they perceive the world in which they live.
We can criticize that. We can tell them that they are wrong to view the world that way. We can insist that things aren’t as bad as an image like this makes them out to be. And we may be right. But maybe we should stop and consider how terrifying life has to get for this to become your perception.
What do we do with that? How can we have anything approaching a productive conversation about race relations and criminal justice issues when starting from such divergent perceptions of the status quo?
What do we do indeed. The left's message, that racism is pervasive in America and the single major problem blacks face in this country is believed throughout, it would seem, much of the blacks in this nation at every socioeconomic level.
Exhibit No. Two is Michelle Obama. She is a woman who sees racism in innocent events and ready to claim racism at the drop of a hat. Indeed, as Ian Tuttle points out, for Ms. Obama, and indeed, for all of the left's victim's groups, the mere feeling of alienation is taken as proof positive of it's reality. In Ms. Obama's case, racism exists because she subjectively feels it, irrespective of reality.
Michelle Obama has led a charmed life, from attending Princeton and then Harvard Law to a successful career and now to First Lady. Racism has not held this woman back. And yet, in giving the Commencement Address to Tuskesgee University last weekend, she spoke of how hard her life has been having to endure racist sleights. It was astounding.
Exhibit No. Three is Saida Grundy, newly hired professor at Boston University, who seems quite the reverse racist -- something wholly tolerated on the left. Indeed, our universities seem full of such people, who teach grievance, hatred and the canard of pervasive racism as part of a curriculum. As to Ms. Grundy:
. . . [T]he Boston Globe reported some of the tweets: "why is white america so reluctant to identify white college males as a problem population?" and "every MLK week i commit myself to not spending a dime in white-owned businesses. and every year i find it nearly impossible."
This is yet another woman who has apparently not been held back by racism, yet she sees all white males as a "problem?" Not merely is Ms. Grundy's philosophy abhorrent and insane, it is equally as abhorrent and insane that Boston University fully intends to employ this women to teach at the institution.
The left's goal is to keep America balkanized. They are certainly succeeding. And while the extinguishment of racism on any sort of appreciable scale in this country has seen significant portion of blacks in this country advance into the upper and middle class, there is a large substrata of blacks that have not:
By virtually every metric, while the lives of blacks have improved, and while many black individuals have been able to embrace the opportunities this country has to offer, a very substantial portion of blacks have not. It is obscene that, in America, some 25% of blacks live in poverty. It is obscene that, where in 1965, less than 30% of black children were born into a single parent family,that number is now over 70%. It is obscene that that 30 to 40 percent of inner city kids don’t graduate from school, and a very substantial number who do graduate are functionally illiterate. It is obscene that blacks are seven times more likely to commit violent crime than other races. And it is obscene that these problems are cyclical. Nothing the left has done for blacks has broken this cycle, and it all portends to get much worse as cities, where large numbers of blacks congregate and many of whom take public sector jobs, fall into bankruptcy and economic chaos from the failure of the blue political / economic model.
As toxic as the fruit of race hustling is on the left to keep blacks balkanized and feeling victimized by racism, the penultimate cost of that effort is being paid first and foremost by blacks themselves. And for every black in the civilian world that climbs into the middle or upper class, one has to wonder how many are held back nursing grievance politics instead of focusing on the opportunities available to them.
When the blacks rioted in Baltimore last month, doing millions of dollars in damage to the businesses and stores that serve their neighborhoods, they were acting out over perceived racial conflict with the police that led to the death of Freddie Gray. To put that into perspective, there are a host of problems affecting blacks in inner city Baltimore, from poverty to unemployment to single parent homes and high crime. Freddie Gray was one of 87 homicides having occurred in Baltimore City already this year. The reality is that a black living in Baltimore City has exponentially more to fear from other blacks than they ever have to fear from the police. Yet none of these other homicides send people out into the street or raise the community in arms to try and stop this devastation in their communities. It is only because blacks are fed a steady diet of victimhood and grievance politics that they are primed to riot, rather than address the real problems they face.
We'll give the last word to a man living in "the hood," as he describes it, Mr. Eric Thomas: