by James May - July 7, 2011
When one visits white supremacist websites such as that of Stormfront or David Duke, there is a noticeable lack of mainstream ads or participation by mainstream personalities; you will not see ads for soft drinks or credit cards or kitchen fixtures. You will not see interviews with film directors or sports figures. Most people, quite rightly in my opinion, want nothing to do with such websites. Such overtly racist sites make no secret of their agenda and do not pass themselves off as simply being sites that take a wider view of white cultural interests such as films or music or sports or politics but with a white slant as do black American current events sites. Generally speaking, white Americans don't see their skin color as encompassing any kind of culture or engendering a similarity of views; there certainly is no mainstream rhetoric that supports any kind of absorption with skin color and there is not a single website accepted by the mainstream and organized around the concept of white skin in existence in the United States; such websites that do exist are entirely marginalized. If you wanted to boycott a white supremacist site by going after their ad revenues it would be impossible because their are none.
Among African American current event sites, the opposite is true. There are mainstream ads and include interviews and the participation of black popular figures in the world of sport, film, art and what have you. Many of the writers at black sites are recognized teachers at American colleges and universities and 2 such sites, The Root and TheGrio, are owned respectively by the Washington Post and NBC. That is rather remarkable considering the underlying nature and tone of both sites which is unreservedly anti-white; generally speaking, political correctness provides a protective sheen to such rhetoric as is commonly found at both sites but which would in no way exist if the target of such rhetoric were black Americans. To me, the amount of vitriol, blame and unchallenged racial myths about white Americans that occurs at these two sites every single week, week in and week out is simply stunning and they are only two among many such sites.
Underlying all the fluff about current events at such black cultural websites is something in the way of, perhaps not an intentional agenda, but a casual disdain for white people that is, in my opinion, is every bit as much guilty of hate speech and racial advocacy and self-absorption as anything you'll find at white supremacist websites, even to the promotion of changing American law based on how those laws affect black Americans rather than any thought of the greater good. Black current events sites are not places where, when it comes to articles about race, which is virtually all of them, you'll find context, proportion, fair play or reason. Generally speaking morality is doled out according to skin color and that apportionment is always solid against white Americans when they are spoken of in general terms. Truth is generally portrayed as something whites cannot handle and will not face and black Americans the innocent victims of white supremacy that continues to this very day.
Not surprisingly, such issues as racism are the very basis of what authors on such black websites are conditionally against and yet they indulge in racism to a disturbing degree and are prominent and unapologetic about it; there is no need of speaking in code here. The simple proof of it is that were one to turn around a mountain of statements at such websites and write them about black folks, it would be considered unadulterated racism yet such black cultural sites get a pass. Black current events sites offer a fascinating glimpse into attitudes of black Americans when it comes to race and it's not pretty and "current events" at such sites doesn't necessarily mean the same thing to white folks as it does to black; at a site like The Root and its many sister sites, topics such as Jim Crow, slavery and lynchings are bruited about as if slave ships are disgorging human cargo in New York harbor this very minute.
What amounts to hate speech by black bloggers and writers is so pervasive on these websites that one doesn't even have to do research per se - there is no need to dip into archives; one need only open any one of a dozen websites on any given day and there it is right in front of you. The amount of material even then is so massive one hardly knows where to start. As in the case in almost all revolutions, the rebels soon become the thing they fought so hard to erase. Bereft of a foe, they often will create one in order to not stain the original imperatives that gave them motive in the first place; the NAACP will go on forever and it is as simple as that. But when does such an organization cross the line from its original imperatives and into a territory of simple race advocacy?
Typical fare of a racialist nature can be found at The Root in a July 7, 2011 article titled "Let's Not Be Distracted by Casey Anthony" by Dr. Wilmer Leon, a reaction to the acquittal of Ms. Anthony in a sensational trial surrounding the death of her daughter in Florida. Dr. Wilmer writes:
We need to focus our attention and direct our ire toward a system that allows thousands of innocent men and women to languish in American prisons for crimes they did not commit. We need to be outraged about the innocent victims of racial profiling, incompetent counsel, biased prosecutors and judges, and racist juries.
In going through black culture websites, you will read such things over and over again. In such instances it is simply accepted as fact that the main correlation between numbers of black folks incarcerated out of proportion to their percentage of the population isn't the criminals who perpetrate crimes but white folks and those white folks don't have names or faces but only skin.
Dr. Wilmer goes on to write "we should call for improvements in the criminal-justice system..." but without suggesting one single way in which this can be done in the article. Presumably the reason for this is because the elegant solution is simply for white people to stop being racists. How Dr. Wilmer can complain of "racial profiling" and then go on to profile millions of faceless white Americans is something best explained by Dr. Wilmer. Not only are white folks without names racists responsible for the massive incarceration of black folks, but those very black folks in prisons and jails, with actual names who committed actual crimes are not responsible. It is also not surprising on a website devoted to racial self-absorption, where all roads lead to black, that a court case that has absolutely nothing to do with race is trundled out through a racial lens and this gives one a clue to how the world is viewed at The Root and its odious brother and sister websites.
The false positive in Dr. Wilmer's article is that if Casey Anthony's dead girl had been black then such and such an amount of attention would have been in play. So, one is left to start one's own site if one wants attention given to what one wants attention given to and this The Root has done - and guess what, it's even worse than the mainstream press in terms of attention given or not given by race. This hypocrisy is totally lost at The Root. What is commonly done at The Root is what those at The Root claim to hate when the mainstream press indulges in it.
What I find most damning about this assertion on the part of black writers in regards to the Casey Anthony case is that no one could possibly know if it's true; no one can know what would have happened had Casey Anthony been black in terms of national attention - presuming it would be a certain way is not a fact nor reality. That means that people like Dr. Wilmer are only revealing what it is they want to believe and that is that white people are racists and it as simple as that. All the rhetoric and goofy logic is just window dressing to express that simple "fact" because hate speech at its core is not complex and neither are the minds of people who speak it.
It really shouldn't come as any surprise that sites like The Root feel emboldened to come out of the woodwork with their hateful attitudes towards whites. Seven months after President Obama took office he had this to say to an audience at the NAACP convention as reported by the Washington Post:
"Make no mistake: The pain of discrimination is still felt in America," said Obama, who was greeted with cheers and extended applause. "By African American women paid less for doing the same work as colleagues of a different color and gender. By Latinos made to feel unwelcome in their own country. By Muslim Americans viewed with suspicion for simply kneeling down to pray. By our gay brothers and sisters, still taunted, still attacked, still denied their rights."
Considering the amount of bile towards white America in play at The Root, it is not inaccurate to say that it is simply a friendly version of a white hate site. No doubt the writers at The Root believe they are operating out of a defensive stand but seem to little understand that the post-Civil War Ku Klux Klan thought the exact same way; close your eyes and listen to the words - hate speech is hate speech.
Dr. Wilmer writes:
According to Harvard professor Charles Ogletree, "While representing 12 percent of the U.S. population and 14 percent of monthly drug users, African Americans are 37 percent of those arrested on drug charges and 59 percent of those convicted on drug charges... They also account for 74 percent of drug offenders sentenced to prison."
The link on Prof. Ogletree's name then brings you to an article at roc4life.com from May 3, 2010 apparently by a Monique "Marvelous Mo" Balcarran titled "African-Americans & Prison, Together Forever." Prof. Ogletree's quote, with unsourced statistics, is said to have been quoted when the Professor "sat before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs in 2009."
That article in turn has a broken link to an article I was able to find at the Huffington Post for March 8, 2010 by Michelle Alexander "Author of 'The New Jim Crow'" called "The New Jim Crow: How the War on Drugs Gave Birth to a Permanent American Undercaste."
This article by Ms. Alexander is full of statistics, some of which are disingenuous and all of which are unsourced together with inflammatory comments that are purely judgment calls but treated as if they are empirical facts; according to Ms. Alexander "racial caste is alive and well in America."
The following paragraphs are fairly typical of Ms. Alexander's article:
The drug war has been brutal - complete with SWAT teams, tanks, bazookas, grenade launchers, and sweeps of entire neighborhoods - but those who live in white communities have little clue to the devastation wrought. This war has been waged almost exclusively in poor communities of color, even though studies consistently show that people of all colors use and sell illegal drugs at remarkably similar rates. In fact, some studies indicate that white youth are significantly more likely to engage in illegal drug dealing than black youth. Any notion that drug use among African Americans is more severe or dangerous is belied by the data. White youth, for example, have about three times the number of drug-related visits to the emergency room as their African American counterparts.
President Ronald Reagan officially declared the current drug war in 1982, when drug crime was declining, not rising. From the outset, the war had little to do with drug crime and nearly everything to do with racial politics. The drug war was part of a grand and highly successful Republican Party strategy of using racially coded political appeals on issues of crime and welfare to attract poor and working class white voters who were resentful of, and threatened by, desegregation, busing, and affirmative action. In the words of H.R. Haldeman, President Richard Nixon's White House Chief of Staff: "[T]he whole problem is really the blacks. The key is to devise a system that recognizes this while not appearing to.'"
A few years after the drug war was announced, crack cocaine hit the streets of inner-city communities. The Reagan administration seized on this development with glee...
"With glee" - not exactly rhetoric one associates with either journalism or academia, especially when it comes to the dearth of footnotes for Ms. Alexander's statistics. One really has to read Ms. Alexander's article for yourself to understand her blithe attribution of hate and disdain on the part of white Americans for black folks and yet within black culture, such articles pass for some kind of academics and journalism when in fact they are mere opinions, and rather hateful ones at that, that pass off what often amounts to urban myths and hate speech towards white people. Such rhetoric sounds an awful lot like the drivel at racist sites like Stormfront in that statistics are so often contrasted with what amounts to mind reading about people being this or that based on the color of their skin together with what amounts to conspiracies.
What is a tip off to me is a rather glaring one in that I am curious as to why Ms. Alexander is so concerned with the effects incarceration has on, not the larger community as a whole but specifically black communites as opposed to the effects crime itself has on communities as the victims of crime; why should anyone care more about the lack of opportunity for upward mobility because of a prison record compared to what happened to the victims of a crime? Where are Ms. Alexander's priorities in all this?
Also, it is disingeuous to suggest that high rates of black incarceration are a result only of drug crimes, which are still crimes, as opposed to rape, murder and robbery. So what if there are more black folks who can't vote than white because of felony convictions; are we supposed to believe that cultural relativism is absolute and that if racial populations in prison don't entirely reflect the larger demographic of a society it is because of racism rather than the values of a culture? What happened to "if you do the crime you do the time" rather than statistical jury-rigging by race that amounts to jury nullification and racial advocacy that comes first and facts second?
This is political correctness, cultural relativism and the demonizing of white Americans run amok. Incarceration statistics by race is a complex issue and far from an exact science and starting from a default mode that white people are simply racists is not exactly persuasive. Why couldn't one simply start from the other side and speak about cultural values or better, simply use the names of people who actually commit crimes - the 2 other sides of that reality can amount to fantasy and statistics can be viewed in a variety of ways and one might ask Ms. Alexander how white racism accounts for the fact that approximately 9% of youth gangs are white. Seeing what you want to see is not only possible but likely considering Ms. Alexander's presumption that whites go after blacks with "glee."
This short quote from a study published in Justice Policy Journal, Vol.5, No. 2, Fall 2008 called "Racial Disproportionality in the American Prison Population: Using the Blumstein Method to Address the Critical Race and Justice Issue of the 21st Century" in an example of the minefield one walks in:
For example, the black-white incarceration ratio for Minnesota was 24.0 (a very striking and disturbing result). However, after adjustment for arrest differences, the ratio for Minnesota was 6.5. Wisconsin had a black-white imprisonment ratio of 20.8, but the adjusted ratio for that state fell to only 11.9. This means that at first (looking only at the unadjusted ratios) it appeared that Minnesota had more black-white imprisonment disparity than Wisconsin. But when the differences in arrest between blacks and whites are taken into account, Wisconsin shows approximately twice as much disparity as Minnesota.
In an article/interview at the Sun Magazine for Feb. 2011 by Arnie Cooper titled "Throwing Away the Key: Michelle Alexander On How Prisons Have Become the New Jim Crow", Mr. Cooper writes that "Alexander now believes that the 'War on Drugs' was the creation of conservative political strategists who wanted to appeal to poor and working-class whites resentful of the gains African Americans made during the civil-rights era." I wonder what Ms. Alexander thinks of the idea that the highest ratios of black to white imprisonment aren't in her racist conservative states but quite the opposite.
As Ms. Alexander is a writer and researcher, I assume she is a person careful with words and facts and yet an example of her disingenuousness can be found when she states in the interview that the "'three-fifths clause,' ... counted each slave as three-fifths of a human being..." which is not only false but a recurring myth within the black American community. She is referring to the compromise at the 1787 Philadelphia Convention that came about as a result of the Southern slave holding states wishing all their slaves to count as far as southern representation in the U.S. House of Representatives and regarding issues of taxes and so it was not a qualitative designation but an anti-slavery issue which referred to the overall percentage of the slave population that would be allowed to count towards representation which came to be 60% - each individual slave would be allowed to count as 60% but this in no way meant they were determined to have the innate worth of 60% of a white man.
The following is from the Wikipedia entry on the subject:
The three-fifths ratio, or 'Federal ratio', had a major effect on pre-Civil War political affairs due to the disproportionate representation of slaveholding states relative to voters. For example, in 1793 slave states would have been apportioned 33 seats in the House of Representatives had the seats been assigned based on the free population; instead they were apportioned 47. In 1812, slaveholding states had 76 instead of the 59 they would have had; in 1833, 98 instead of 73. As a result, southerners dominated the Presidency, the Speakership of the House, and the Supreme Court in the period prior to the Civil War.
Historian Garry Wills has postulated that without the additional slave state votes, Jefferson would have lost the presidential election of 1800. Also, '...slavery would have been excluded from Missouri...Jackson's Indian removal policy would have failed...the Wilmot Proviso would have banned slavery in territories won from Mexico....the Kansas-Nebraska bill would have failed....' However, other historians have criticized Wills' analysis as simplistic. For example, while the three-fifths compromise could be seen to favor Southern states (which generally had larger slave populations), the Connecticut compromise tended to favor the Northern states (which were generally smaller). Support for the new Constitution rested on the balance of these sectional interests.
To me it is bewildering to posit that one can have good and bad people according to skin color while arguing at the same time that we are all equal when it comes to human traits. There is no explanation from people like Ms. Alexander as to why white folks stubbornly cling to their racism other than a supposed hatred for black people.
In the interview Ms. Alexander states "...when the War on Drugs was unleashed, Moynihan foresaw the outcome and said that if this were a conspiracy, it would be one of the most brilliant ever devised: encourage people to believe that crack is the source of all social ills in the black community, offer harsh punishment as the solution, and all the while ignore the problems of poverty and despair" and Cooper replies "you've said yourself that crack was a 'godsend to the Right'." I might add, the racist Right if that is not clear from the tone of the interview already.
It seems taken on faith within the black community that the conservative Right in America are unreservedly and purposefully racist while the rest of white, liberal Americans are unwitting racists, swimming in an unconscious sea of white privilege. It's an argument even those whites ostensibly on Ms. Alexander's good side can't win. She says about the idea of colorblindness:
The concept has been interpreted to mean we should be indifferent to someone's race, when the goal of civil-rights advocates in the 1960s was to encourage citizens to care about people of other races, not to be blind or indifferent to them. Colorblindness has inspired callousness. When people say, "I don't care if he's black," what they're really saying is that they're not willing to view his experience in racial terms. Not caring about a person's race is presented as some kind of virtue, as if it will lead us to act in a fair and nondiscriminatory way. In fact, not caring can be a form of cruelty, I firmly believe that we should be encouraging people to see and appreciate racial differences, to celebrate the contributions made by those of other ethnicities, and to care about the suffering of groups who are defined by race. Racial-justice advocates need to change the language they use and abandon this quest for colorblindness.
That is not to say all people are racists, but that people instinctively use apparent differences, whether in height, skin color or tax bracket to differentiate in a variety of ways. Refusing to acknowledge and address differences only perpetuates prevailing social disparities.
There's not a sharp division between what's conscious and what's unconscious. It's more of a continuum. Sometimes we're not fully aware of the extent of our bias. We know we harbor some stereotypes, but we don't realize how much they influence our actions and our thought patterns. The bottom line is, when we see larger percentages of blacks in prison or being convicted of certain crimes, do we stop and ask ourselves whether it's a result of racism in there system and tin the culture? I think the refusal to ask those questions is rooted in racial bias. Whether it's conscious or unconscious, the harm caused it the same.
Ms. Alexander, in this quote, shows herself to be completely intellectually adrift. She wants people to be aware of each other's race but only really talks about it in terms of whites looking at blacks and not the other way around. What she doesn't understand when she talks about "appreciating racial differences, is that once you establish there can be such a thing as racial differences, then it will not necessarily be an appreciation all the time because she is talking about value and so this can equally take the form of a disdain which Ms. Alexander prominently displays herself. Her idea that justice should "abandon this quest for colorblindness" is a fool's game. What Ms. Alexander further fails to acknowledge or understand, is that if it were true that there is unconscious bias, then being that it would go both ways between blacks and whites, it would result in a wash.
Cheap psychology such as saying "there's not a sharp difference between what's conscious and unconscious" buries the obvious and creates a false eternal argument that black Americans are eternally on the right side of such things. Such an obsession with race and projecting it onto others who have no interest in such things as if it is a factual science and in a manner where they lose coming and going, purposeful or unwitting racists, is nothing more than word play and double talk, a carefully constructed monument to explain away the differences in America between successful white people and unsuccessful black people that ignores free will, an individual's choices and value systems while portraying blacks as innocent non-racists and whites as endemic racists. That seems a sorry argument to make since it says that faceless people who don't commit crimes are the true criminals and those faces are white and they are malevolent and lit up with "glee."
It's a simple and elegant argument at its heart: white people bad, black people good, but buttressed with mountains of nonsensical pseudo science and statistics that show that it is white people who are the problem and not black folks who are casually portrayed as "victims" according to Mr. Cooper. In Ms. Alexander's world, though she downplays the black presence in the American prison system as much as she can, what she's really saying is that white Americans are getting a pass and that there should be more whites sitting along side those black prisoners.
Ms. Alexander simply cannot deal with the fact that black folks commit more crime than other ethnic groups and it is her mission, not to dispassionately investigate the issue as if she has no dog in the fight, but to write propaganda that demonizes white people as morally bankrupt and she is not alone in this.
On May 17, 2011 on The Ed Show on MSNBC Melissa Harris-Perry said about President Obama:
This is a President who signed an act that actually reduces the ways in which we go after marijuana, make it harder to put people in jail around cocaine at the Federal level, actually liberating more black bodies from the criminal justice system...
In regards to this on June 1, 2011 the New York Times ran a story called "Retroactive Reductions Sought in Crack Penalties." The story says that "the vast majority of the overall group consists of black men..."
Dr. Boyce Watkins, a black teacher at Syracuse refers to "a justice system that is undeniably racist."
Michael Eric Dyson on CNN's website wrote that "there is a vicious prison system that hungers for young black and brown bodies."
James Cone, inspiration for the United Trinity Church in which President Obama spent 20 years as a member said on Bill Moyer’s Journal: "With black people being 12 percent of the US population and nearly 50 percent of the prison population, that's lynching. It's a legal lynching."
Constructing arguments around the concept that the reason the justice system arrests and prosecutes people is to justify its own existence and continued funding is bizarre to say the least. It makes it sound as if the justice system preceded crime and therefore creates crime to continue its machine-like existence. It has been well known in the U.S. for decades that crime is so massive in larger cities across the country that the justice system has devolved into a treadmill of plea bargains and revolving doors to relieve the pressures from people who simply refuse to stop living lives of career criminals. To blame this on a conspiracy of white people to impose an alternate and continuing version of Jim Crow is simply ignorant and stupid as is the idea that "despair" creates criminals; what in the world is the government supposed to do about dispair - micro-manage our lives? Such notions buy into low self esteem and a seeking of answers while at the same time ensuring that the answers that need to be addressed will be sought for and found in all the wrong places.
Ms. Alexander's arguments that a quota system is in place "based on the sheer number of drug arrests" would be completely irrelevant were there not crimes taking place irregardless whether they are crimes of drug possession, sales, marijuana or crack. If certain drugs have a much higher legal penalty one would think those involved with such drugs would be the first to know and stay away from them but they don't. The entire concept on which Ms. Alexander bases her thinking is really nothing more than a soothing back rub to people she posits can't control themselves and nothing else.
The resultant attempt by black advocacy groups and individuals to lobby for the gerrymandering of laws so that they decriminalize any particular crime based on black participation is itself criminal and institutionalizes racism rather than doing away with it. Fair and impartial concepts of the greater good are apparently to be thrown out the window and replaced with laws parceled out according to racial participation and so adjusted accordingly. It's incredible to me how black advocates care only about black folks and then put the same motives on white people in their millions and then act outraged. On top of this they pile bizarre and complicated notions about colorblindness that are applied in whatever manner works for black Americans at the time and expect everyone to see the fairness and obviousness of it all. And does anyone in this world think Russel Simmons would be out on a campaign if white folks were being screwed by the justice system? People like Simmons and Alexander themselves actually do what they say but can't prove white folks do and their obvious racial preference gets a complete pass despite their complete lack of concern or interest in the greater good; if a thing has no racial dimension to it it simply is of little interest to such people who show themselves to be bigots for blacks more than anything else and thin their own racism is somehow distinct from the racism the ostensibly oppose.
The idea of simply not breaking the law in the first place is dismissed out of hand and instead a culture is in place within the black community that basically states that criminal activities by black folks are understandable in light of massive white racism that means, according to people like Ms. Alexander, that black Americans in reality have made little progress since the mid-60s and the end of the real Jim Crow because a new Jim Crow is firmly in place and white folks are still the same racists they ever were.
What Ms. Alexander fails to explain is why, under the time of actual Jim Crow, when white supremacy and its hatred for black folks would have been supposed to have free rein of expression with few checks and balances to offset the racism of white people and their institutions, were there twice as many whites imprisoned from the 1930s to the '50s as were black folks? Why did the number of black folks imprisoned only catch up and surpass that of whites in the late 1980s? That fact, and it is a fact as opposed to wishful thinking, seems to fly in the face of all reason. Ms. Alexander seems to be making an argument that the New Jim Crow is the real Jim Crow and that the real Jim Crow was, what?
No where in this philosophy does it seem to be understood that blame and excuses does not make success and the idea that you can't keep a good man down or that water finds its own level finds little traction. It's all coulda, woulda, shoulda and before you know it black Americans come to see themselves as a group of unlucky rocket scientists whose genius is simply suppressed by racism, exploitation and oppression by whites.
Decriminalizing drug laws across the board because they are too harsh is one issue but fine tuning drug laws so they benefit a certain ethnic group who have decided on their own initiative to indulge in a certain drug is flat out racism. You can't say a certain penalty for drug use is wrong simply because a particular law happens to be broken a lot or by a certain ethnic group.
Ms. Alexander makes it seem as if white people looked to see what drug laws black people broke the most and then imposed the harshest sentences simply out of hate. And again, as I state elsewhere, there is the simple option of not breaking the law, especially if one feels targeted. The fact that 5 grams of crack cocaine carries the same prison sentence as 500 grams of powder cocaine is of interest and relevence only to criminals. If a community is so far down a drug hole that one has to start decriminalizing drugs just to save the community then standards are being lowered and the idea of raising oneself to a certain standard abandoned.
Were things really so horrible one would imagine there would be a mass exodus of people of color out of the United States but in fact the entire Third World is banging down the doors to get in.
Taking into consideration that this essay is built out of a single thread pulled from a website with no effort whatsoever, you can take my word for it that I could write a giant book with many more examples of such disdain for white people and advocacy for blacks on the part of the black intelligentsia in America. This disdain and advocacy, right for blacks, wrong for whites, is being sold on CNN and MSNBC, at the Huffington Post and by black teachers at institutions such as Syracuse, Princeton and Tulane Universities in the form of Dr. Boyce Watkins, Cornel West and Melissa Harris Perry.
It should go without saying, but it doesn't, that were such accusations of endemic moral corruption parceled out by skin color to black folks without names the very black writers who promote the same themes against whites would be the first to be up in arms along with the entirety of the Democratic Party. Bewilderingly, that moral corruption so taken for granted as affecting white people is apparently completely alien when it comes to black folks. The double standard is immense and for some reason flies under the radar when it comes to black voices but rest assured it comes from the same philosophical space as did Joseph Goebbels and as does all hate speech. What's really happening here are people who are unabashed advocates by skin color and with reams of text to back it up attacking white Americans who have no similar body of work in the form of contemporary lectures, college courses, essays or articles portraying black Americans in such a negative light.
What is undeniable and endemic is crime in black communities across America but to blame willful individual acts on some kind of baleful manipulation of the court systems by millions of white people who act out of simple hatred or delusion is to just as willfully ignore flash mobs, gang violence and wholesale murder in those black communities that go a lot further than considerations of drug use. There is no evidence that evil white people are scheming to hold unlucky and exploited and otherwise innocent black Americans in a permanent second class status. The credit for that goes wholly to black Americans who indulge in crimes and a disdain for education and not those who don't and also to people like Ms. Alexander who only make things worse by trying to convince black folks that every negative decision they make in life is because they are the hapless victims of clever white racism.
To get an idea of the hypocrisy endemic by Ms. Alexander and at a site like The Root, look at these two quotes:
A black child born today is less likely to be raised by both parents than a black child born during slavery. The recent disintegration of the African American family is due in large part to the mass imprisonment of black fathers.
Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA's first African-American President.
For all intents and purposes they are identical yet one of these comments aroused a furor at black websites, among them The Root. The reason for this is that what is not identical is the skin color of the women who made them.
The first quote is by Michelle Alexander from the Huffington Post article I referenced earlier. The second is from an article at The Root for July 8, 2011 by Jenee Desmond-Harris titled: "Bachmann Believes Black People Were Better Off During Slavery?" That quote references a pledge Bachmann signed called "'The Marriage Vow - A Declaration of Dependence upon Marriage and Family.'"
In an amazing display of casual and entirely unwitting hypocrisy, Ms. Desmond-Harris portrays the Bachmann quote as if asking "were black people were better off during slavery" and writes:
Do Bachmann and others who signed the pledge actually think we were doing better off without freedom and with all of the other emotional and physical horrors that accompanied being enslaved? We don't know, quite honestly doubt they care, and don't believe that's actually the point (and the very accuracy of the statement - including whether living arrangements during slavery are what we'd consider "two parent households" - is a whole different conversation).
What's actually disturbing here is the total willingness to invoke slavery - as well as the current state of the black family - to serve as a cheap emotional hook to promote a conservative agenda that has nothing more to do with African Americans than it does with anyone else...
The italics are mine since this very thing is done so often by black writers but if you have the correct skin tone it is justice and if you don't it is racism and yes it is "cheap." It is a nearly pitch perfect example of Orwell's "doublethink" but one doesn't have to think or look twice to see how brutally stupid this type of rhetoric is when twisted and mangled to serve a racial agenda. Besides this question of having the correct skin color in order to properly own such a statement, the real difference between the two statements is the difference between blame and where it lies; with those who actually live their lives or with those who don't - in this case, the man, the system, white people.
I think it goes without saying that Ms. Desmond-Harris doesn't consider Ms. Alexander's quote a "dig at black people." For me the only real difference between Stormfront and sites like The Root, other than ads at The Root for Residence Inn Marriott showing a black family lounging in comfort (would a white family be desired or allowed?), is the number of white people who turn their back on an odious site like Stormfront and the disturbing number of people in high profile mainstream black American culture who coalesce around The Root. The other great divide is that while white supremacy is rightfully portrayed as simple hate, black racism is not portrayed as racism at all thanks to the ideology of political correctness which is the most dangerous blinder to American social policy in existence today.
The Root for July 8, 2011 has an article titled "Colorism on Twitter: Not Just an Interpersonal Matter" by Nsenga Burton which is in fact about another article they publish in part and link to. The author of that article is Akiba Solomon who is angry about light skin, dark skin "colorism" hashtags on Twitter. But what's interesting in regard to perception and statistics and putting the cart and urban myths about race before the horse is in Ms. Solomon writing "there's a color caste system in place that serves to divide, conquer and make asses out of people of color..." Ms. Solomon refers to a "study of more than 12,000 black women imprisoned in North Carolina between 1995 and 2009 is that those who were classified as light skinned by one or more corrections officers during intake served 12 percent less time than dark skinned prisoners."
Ms. Solomon goes on to say "I hope more academics do studies like this one. Until we can really see the systemic impact, we're going to keep trotting out our personal pain to deaf ears." It's hard for me to understand why she wishes more studies which in a very real sense are completely irrelevant since her and black culture in general not only believed in this long before any such studies but perpetuate it since it is common discussion among black folks; you will look long and hard to find such interest among white writers but in the end, as shown above, that lack of interest, according to the black intelligentsia, is its own form of racism. What is Ms. Solomon's real joy is to be able to project this "colorism" onto the prison system and supposedly white people as if to prove white folks share her racial self-absorption and punish her and other black folks for it.
Both Michelle Alexander, DavidDuke.com and Stormfront have no problem putting forward articles that talk in racial terms about the "survival of our people," "devastation wrought" and "a new racial undercaste," "recurring racial nightmare," "survival is very difficult for millions of folks" and "horrible crimes"
I'll leave it to you to decide which quotes are from Stormfront or DavidDuke.com and which from Ms. Alexander as there is a sad sameness and hatefulness that permeates their thinking and indeed the thinking of all racists, no matter their skin color and of course, at Stormfront, the idea is that prison sentences for blacks are too lenient.
Using arguments like the black American intelligentsia does ensures that, and I'm borrowing from Thomas Sowell, their discourse will continue to view black America from the point of view of what others do to black Americans rather than what black Americans themselves do.
At some point one has to acknowledge diminishing returns after a decades long fight against institutional racism that has largely been won. If the song remains the same then it might be time to look inward rather than continuing to manufacture bogey men in the way of ever more complicated and arcane explanations encompassing concepts of white privilege, racism 2.0 and the like.
At some point, black Americans should ask themselves the rhetorical question that goes: do black Americans ever think of anything but black Americans?