Putting on my devil's advocate cloak...

I think that one thing holding the progress of blacks in America is the way their activists are always stirring the pot with regard to race. 

The biggest problem is no longer overt racism or even covert or unconscious racism. It's white guilt. White guilt makes whites reticent to associate with or hire or help black people. It make becoming friends more difficult. This is a far bigger problem than the Ku Klux Klan or people who think black folks are inferior or more likely to be crooked or violent.

Black folks need to learn that no white person today owns field slaves, even including folks descended from slave owners. Many folks, like my family, weren't even in the U.S. when slavery was practiced. We feel no responsibility for the aftereffects of slavery. We don't like the implication that it's our responsibility nonetheless.

It's time to get over it and let black people improve their lot so that when it finally happens THEY can claim the victory and not have to give half the credit to helpful white folks or black activists like Rev. Al Sharpton or Rev. Jesse Jackson.

Contrary to hopes and expectations, all of this talk of having a national discussion about race, if pursued, will actually make things worse, not better.

Blacks should just get busy becoming less threatening and less guilt-tripping. Time would be better spent working their way up the economic and educational ladder and rebuilding their family structure. Many of us are quite willing to help, but not based on some mythological guilt.

Tags: blacks, dialog, discussion, national, race

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As for rebuilding the black family, are you aware that about 3/4 of black children are born into a single-parent situation? This increases the chance a child will grow up in poverty and without much adult supervision, which believe me isn't good.

Wow!  Just wow....do not even know where to begin.  Not sure it is worth it to engage here but I just have to ask: White guilt is the "biggest problem"?  Seriously?  Seriously?  OMG.  That is the biggest, heapingest pile of uninformed bullshit I have seen in a long time.  Only someone who walks through life blissfully (or willfully?) unaware of the shield that his white privilege provides could say white guilt is the "biggest problem."  And, guess what, I am white, so, no,  I am not a "black" who is "threatening" or "guilt-tripping" (which "blacks" are threatening and/or guilt-tripping and who they are threatening or guilf-tripping you do not say? care to provide some examples or evidence?) or who thinks that white people today "own field slaves" or whatever other ridiculous insights you have about what is "holding back the progress of blacks in America."   You might want to do some research, read more widely on this issue.  One book I can recommend is "The Warmth of Other Suns" about south to north migration of African-Americans during the twentieth century.

I'm looking for the rebuttal. "You don't get it" isn't a rebuttal.

I should not have to feel guilty for the law working well for me. I should feel concerned (and I am) for how it doesn't work well for blacks.

I love it how some people, when you disagree with them, assume you're ignorant.

I guess I should have just stuck to asking you to provide examples or evidence for your assertions:

1.)  Who is asking you (or me) to take responsibility for slavery?  What, specifically, are "they" asking us to do about slavery?

2.)  Which "blacks" should "get busy becoming less threatening and less guilt tripping"?  And at whom are these threats and guilt tripping directed? To what end?

3.) I would also like to understand more about this white guilt that makes whites reluctant to associate with or hire blacks.  It seems a strange sort of guilt.  Usually, guilt makes you take action (e.g., call your grandmother on her birthday).  So, I would think white guilt would lead to more engagement, not less.  Weird.  But maybe you weren't serious about white guilt being the "biggest problem" because at the end of your post you do acknowledge that said guilt is "mythological."  

4.)  How, specifically, will talking about race make things worse?  How can understanding another's experiences possibly make things worse?   How can someone sharing with me their experience of being racially profiled for no damn good reason at all and how that feels possibly make things worse?  How can a black mother sharing with me her fears for her son when he goes out into the world, fears that don't ever cross my mind when my sons go out into the world, possibly make things worse?   

5.) What, indeed, is so wrong with peace, love and understanding?

1.)  Who is asking you (or me) to take responsibility for slavery?  What, specifically, are "they" asking us to do about slavery?

Nobody is asking. It's implicit. It feels implied that white people have a duty beyond simple human compassion to help black folks have better lives because white folks caused the problem. There's no such thing as inherited guilt, though.

2.)  Which "blacks" should "get busy becoming less threatening and less guilt tripping"?  And at whom are these threats and guilt tripping directed? To what end?

I'm talking about the way Sharpton and Jackson and some of the lesser known activist leaders talk. Just as there's subliminal racial attitudes among whites, they exist among blacks as well. 

3.) I would also like to understand more about this white guilt that makes whites reluctant to associate with or hire blacks.  It seems a strange sort of guilt.  Usually, guilt makes you take action (e.g., call your grandmother on her birthday).  So, I would think white guilt would lead to more engagement, not less.  Weird.  But maybe you weren't serious about white guilt being the "biggest problem" because at the end of your post you do acknowledge that said guilt is "mythological."  

Guilt may make you call your grandmother on her birthday for ignoring her the rest of the year. In that case, it's based on actually not fulfilling a perceived filial duty. However, while I'm sorry slavery happened (along with the Nazi/Jew holocaust, the burning of the Alexandrian Library, and giving Native Americans infected blankets), I didn't have anything to do with it. I don't like people implying that for some reason I have some extraordinary duty to fulfill as a white American. I sympathize, and I will help when it seems right and reasonable (as in voting for helpful legislation), but it's not a duty I have because I'm white. It's because I'm a citizen.

4.)  How, specifically, will talking about race make things worse?  How can understanding another's experiences possibly make things worse?   How can someone sharing with me their experience of being racially profiled for no damn good reason at all and how that feels possibly make things worse?  How can a black mother sharing with me her fears for her son when he goes out into the world, fears that don't ever cross my mind when my sons go out into the world, possibly make things worse?   

I'm not talking about a black person sharing her fears. I'm talking about the black talking heads, Sharpton, Jackson and their ilk who don't share their fears but instead go about harumphing about race in America in angry and accusatory tones, as if I'm guilty somehow simply by the accident of being born white. It's manufactured guilt. 

Look, when you feel guilty for not calling grandma all year, you call her out of real guilt. However, it's uncomfortable when someone seems to think I should feel guilt when I don't and shouldn't. Do I want to hire someone who makes me feel that way. I'm not sure they would, but Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson may make it seem safer to hire a non-black. They certainly don't add to the comfort factor for a lot of white folks who really have nothing to feel uncomfortable about. 

5.) What, indeed, is so wrong with peace, love and understanding?

Nothing. It'll be easier without having to address race head-on even more than we do now. Talking about race doesn't make the races feel more comfortable together.

Now, don't hate or label me. Remember I opened my post by stating I was playing devil's advocate.

I don't know where your feeling that black folks are trying to make you feel guilty comes from.  But maybe if you could move beyond that to a place of compassion and empathy you could see why talking about race is, in fact, a way to move things forward and fix things.  If we don't understand the problems we can't come up with solutions.  So, my advice is stop feeling guilty, no one likes to feel guilty and so we avoid rather than engage.

You make a lot of assumptions. I never said it was MY feeling. I'm proposing that keeping the issue of race in the foreground isn't constructive because, since most white people feel no responsibility for the causes of the problems of black people implies that whites implies that white folks should feel responsible for it. This is an uncomfortable feeling. I think many whites feel guilty for not feeling guilty. Maybe I'm wrong, but I feel this is true.

The other assumption is that I'm not compassionate. Where in the world did that come from? Because I think the final victory of black America will be so much sweeter when they can say they did it themselves rather than with the assistance of liberal white helpmates clearing the way for them? Victory can only be sweet when you can own it. I can feel compassion and "help" (if you want to call it that) by staying out of their way. 

Many, including many black intellectuals, feel that the assistance they have received have done more harm than good. In The age of white guilt: and the disappearance of the black individual, Shelby Steele sees the assistance as seducing blacks away from a culture of individualism:

Here is a brief litany of obvious truths that have been resisted in the public discourse of black America over the last thirty years: a group is no stronger than its individuals; when individuals transform themselves they transform the group; the freer the individual, the stronger the group; social responsibility begins in individual responsibility. Add to this an indisputable fact that has also been unmentionable: that American greatness has a lot to do with a culturally ingrained individualism, with the respect and freedom historically granted individuals to pursue their happiness--this despite many egregious lapses and an outright commitment to the oppression of black individuals for centuries. And there is one last obvious but unassimilated fact: ethnic groups that have asked a lot from their individuals have done exceptionally well in America even while enduring discrimination. 

Now consider what this Harvard student is called upon by his racial identity to argue in the year 2002. All that is creative and imaginative in him must be rallied to argue the essential weakness of his own people. Only their weakness justifies the racial preferences they receive decades after any trace of anti-black racism in college admissions. The young man must not show faith in the power of his people to overcome against any odds; he must show faith in their inability to overcome without help. As Mr. Connerly points to far less racism and far more freedom and opportunity for blacks, the young man must find a way, against all the mounting facts, to argue that black Americans simply cannot compete without preferences. If his own forebears seized freedom in a long and arduous struggle for civil rights, he must argue that his own generation is unable to compete on paper-and-pencil standardized tests. 

It doesn't help that he locates the cause of black weakness in things like "structural racism" and "uneven playing fields," because there has been so little correlation between the remedies for such problems and actual black improvement. Blacks from families that make $100,1300 a year or more perform worse on the SAT than whites from families that make $10,000 a year or less. After decades of racial preferences blacks remain the lowest performing student group in American higher education. And once they are out of college and in professions, their own children also underperform in relation to their white and Asian peers. Thus, this young man must also nurture the idea of a black psychological woundedness that is baroque in its capacity to stifle black aspiration. And all his faith, his proud belief, must be in the truth of this woundedness and the injustice that caused it, because this is his only avenue to racial pride. He is a figure of pathos because his faith in racial victimization is his only release from racial shame. 

Right after the sixties' civil-rights victories came what I believe to be the greatest miscalculation in black American history. Others had oppressed us, but this was to be the first "fall" to come by our own hand. We allowed ourselves to see a greater power in America's liability for our oppression than we saw in ourselves. Thus, we were faithless with ourselves just when we had given ourselves reason to have such faith. We couldn't have made a worse mistake. We have not been the same since.

Black racism exists as does antisemitism. In fact, in my life, antisemitism has been more openly expressed. Even after WWII and the death camps, I have relatives who still think the Jews run the world. 

One difference between Jews and blacks is that the Jews accept that there will always be antisemitism, somehow black leaders have sold the notion that with dialog and legislation we can bring anti-black racism to an end. Which group can be said to have made the most progress?

The destruction of the black family started with the slave owners who, for various reasons, didn't allow blacks to pair off and form families. After all, they were an economic resource, not people to the slave owners.

It has continued with public assistance policies that penalize two-parent families with less assistance, even where the second parent isn't employed.

Today, many black women prefer to either single-parent or bring their children into interracial relationships due to the lack of what they view as eligible black males. This is due to the number of black men who are habitually unemployed/unemployable, are in gangs, are engaging in criminal activities, or are in prison. Changing our drug laws so that fewer young black men have prison records would go a long way toward fixing the employent issue and repairing the black family, and I'm all for that. There's some compassion for ya.

"This is a far bigger problem than the Ku Klux Klan or people who think black folks are inferior or more likely to be crooked or violent."

Come on man! Really? That is just stupid.

But anyway, I agree with you only with the title. I think racism will disappear when we don't talk about race. In first place is stupid to differentiate us by race. I am saying this because I am Mexican living in Texas. I moved here two years ago, although people only know that I am Mexican because of my accent, not my skin color. I think that we shouldn't care about race/ethnicity for anything at all.

What is stupid? How much influence does the Ku Klux Klan exercise in your area? I don't know about you, but I'm much more likely to hear someone disparaging Jews than blacks. 

If whites feel they are being forced or even intellectually pushed to do or think a certain way, Psych 101 tells me that the effort will be met with resistance. 

Unseen, I think maybe you should stop talking about race. Stop talking and start listening to people of color. Tell yourself and tell us that you're playing devil's advocate. Tell yourself that you make these posts because they stir things up and that's what you revel in. That's fine but you need to be honest with yourself and see the whole picture about your behavior--you're actually revealing a lot about how your mind ticks. You would grow a lot as a person if you tried to learn about race.

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