Prudence and I were at our Book Club the other night – it was at one of the member’s homes in a room full of smart people. We felt a little out of place. Good food, though.
Our book this time was titled “From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation” and it’s not an easy read. The professor who advocated for us to read this particular book was unable to make the meeting, so 8 white guys had a discussion. The topic is definitely worth the work.
Author, Keeanga Yamahtta Taylor has done America a service, although its presentation is flawed by numerous non-factual declarations that are merely – and purposely – bumper-sticker- inflammatory. But one can get past them and still learn from the mountain of evidence she has laid before us.
Ladies and gentlemen of the polity, we do have a problem.
However, the book is a little one-sided. Problems faced by, let’s say, unsuccessful blacks, are not being solved in the “system” that America embodies, in Taylor’s (and #BlackLivesMatter’s) view, and that argument is valid. To them, the fact of some excessive force against black suspects and some unjustified killings of blacks by police, are reasons to indict ALL police and, by conflation, ALL of white Americans and, to seal the accusations, ALL of capitalism. To all of that our question is: What is the end-game?
Taylor and #BLM call repeatedly for the end of capitalism. This is somewhat understandable when considered from the standpoint of large numbers of blacks for whom “capitalism” doesn’t seem to work, and worse, is defended by a police-state of brutal, murderous police forces. Well. Given that George Soros and other America-haters provide funding to #BlackLivesMatter chapters, socialism is made credible for dismayed blacks. But, the “soul” of #BLM is dichotomous.
On one hand, and that most publicized, #BLM is fighting to change policing AND to obtain reparations for slavery, Jim Crow and for “institutional” racism of which all whites are (must be) guilty. On the other hand, they seem to be advocating for the dissolution of white America and replacing it with a socialist democracy that will share its wealth with downtrodden blacks. This aspect is not as publicized, as the acquiescence of guilt-ridden whites is essential to #BLM’s political success. Amorphous guilt is working; fear of total loss will not.
Prudence and I are not ready to destroy what does work and which can be made to work much, much better. Unfortunately, and largely thanks to corrupt politics, American capitalism is twisted and encumbered by unbelievable debt, tax games and cronyism, and outright government-sponsored monopolies. The past 8 years of the first “black” president, Mr. Obama, has brought the flaws of politicized capitalism into stark relief. (He is not blessed with a large fraction of “black” genes; his black African roots comprise about 1/8th of his African ancestry, while Arab ancestry fulfills the balance of that “half” of him. His mother was white, of course, denying him the percentage of “blackness” needed to claim African-American as his “race.” Indeed, his Arab ancestors may have been selling blacks into slavery.) While Wall Street revels in a Federal-Reserve-fomented bonanza, black America has slipped even further behind in terms of employment, income, apparent opportunity, and familial net worths. Concentrated neighborhoods of poor blacks, mostly a burden of large cities, but not exclusively so, became, again, tinderboxes of hopeless dissatisfaction and outright hatred of “white privilege,” which most evidently exists given the (near) total absence of “black privilege.”
Colleges and even grade schools have tried to inculcate the guilt-laden concept of “white privilege” in white students. Only if whites can be made to regret their apparent membership in a national bloc of proto-slave-owners, can the plight of blacks continue to be purveyed as the result of nationwide group suppression. Like all politics based on anti-capitalism… that is, on the left, these views deny the sovereignty, power and responsibility of individuals.
Most white individuals have nothing to do with making or keeping blacks poor, although if they (we) were more sensitive to the distant or unseen conditions in black ghettos, perhaps we would demand better government and governance. Several problems pervade American politics and its resulting economics.
First, politics has become organized theft. A majority of us have agreed to take part in and benefit from the thievery. Despite 19th century warnings, we figured out not only how to vote ourselves money from the public treasury, but how to vote ourselves “money” from the future. Our hunger for this “free” wealth has resulted in $20 Trillion of debt and a worldwide distrust of American economics. Americans themselves are happy to suspend disbelief so long as “benefits” or “entitlements” keep appearing in their bank accounts and on their “EBT” welfare cards.
As debt has grown, periodic increases in the “debt ceiling” have been voted by Congress primarily to buy votes from beneficiary groups, including poor blacks on various forms of welfare. Welfare, despite shifts in programs, called “cuts” has grown fairly steadily since the federalization of it in the 1960’s. Welfare doesn’t make blacks happy or grateful. For white politicians (maybe for all colors of politicians) welfare is the only tool they can wield to keep blacks contained and not too restive in their ghettos. It’s a system we have tolerated/imposed for 50 years, and it deserves some questioning, like, “Who benefits from the welfare-hopelessness cycle?”
The socially blind might say that blacks do. After all, look at all the money “we’ve” transferred to them from the public treasury. More cynical types might say that over time, only the politicians benefit. Keeping blacks somewhat nurtured and somewhat angry means that politicians can commiserate enough at election time to direct their votes toward themselves. Democrats do this in no small part by pointing out to blacks that it is those evil Republicans who have failed to take care of them; indeed, it is Republicans who prevent caring Democrats from enacting the programs that will transfer enough money and other support to finally make for “level playing fields.” What bastards they must be.
Next is drugs and crime. The U. S. is not really serious about cleaning society of drugs and, if one were cynical about this, too, he or she might observe that “drugs” and brown skin tend to concentrate in the same parts of cities. Despite our 50-year “war” on drugs, they are more available today than ever. So, the same question pertains: Who benefits from drug crime? And a corollary: Does the ongoing drug economy fulfill a social or political purpose?
Our response has been to “manage” the drug economy and build more prisons. One might be reminded of national treatment of “Injuns” and “redskins.” Their susceptibility to alcohol didn’t bother us, it fulfilled a prejudice. In a sad, sick way, the fact that blacks (and browns) are affected the most by drugs and related crimes, seems to fit a prejudice, too. Unaffected people see the self-destruction of blacks and their communities as a “natural” outgrowth of weaknesses in black character. Worse, so long as it keeps blacks busy and of limited danger to suburbanites, no ultimate solution to drugs is in the works.
Unfortunately or, perhaps, fortunately, drugs are killing suburban white kids in noticeable numbers, now. Perhaps a real war on drugs will be finally joined. If so, it still won’t be because we are deeply concerned about black lives. All lives matter.
So, despite their odd politics, #BlackLivesMatter has a valid point, but not a true target for its efforts. Rogue police officers and “prejudices” within police departments are certainly a problem, and a wildly public one, lately. Bad practices on the part of police do result in wrongful deaths – some practices/reactions far worse than others. Prejudice among police personnel at every level should be corrected, removed, discussed, stamped-out, brainwashed away and punished – all of those things, maybe more. But, prejudice doesn’t really matter so long as police actions are preserving of life and safety every time it is possible to be so. Actions may be modified by training.
Better training of police officers, however, will do virtually nothing to improve the lives of most blacks. Blacks in the welfare/hopelessness cycle must be taught to believe something different about their lives and possibilities. Neither the Federal government nor any other amoral entity can perform that function. Correcting the spirit of hopeless people is almost impossible. Not killing them accidentally is possible.
So, #BlackLivesMatter has selected a politically advantageous target in the relative handful of cases so destructively publicized as to foment riots and new levels of hatred by blacks and of fear by whites. They have not – and will not – take on the big target of destructive welfare policies, destructive drugs, destructive fatherlessness, destructive life choices and all the rest of it. Right now, they can’t; neither, politically, can, or will, anyone else.
At some point, if #BlackLivesMatter, and others who claim deep concern about the future of black lives, can come to a more honest understanding of politics and economics, perhaps a totally different approach to black society’s dysfunctions will manifest. It must be free of political profit, for one thing, and based on a moral, marriage-based code. All the social license and all the foolish names we concoct for it, cannot replace stable families with two parents. Prudence says that some adults have to step forward… adults who can lead the children the rest of the way to a drug-free, non-communist promised land.