Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Is There an Addiction to ‘Racism?’

 

Have we reached a state where there is a pervasive need for “racism?” Not the actual negative mental and social phenomenon but an unshakable belief that it is widely present even if it has largely dissipated?

Twenty years ago, I recall Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton often both rushing to the same scene of a reported incident of hiring discrimination or disrespect to African-American customers. There seemed to be a growing shortage of actionable, newsworthy instances of racial injustice such that they had to compete like predators at a shrinking waterhole. Twenty years before that, you could walk in any direction in almost any town and find evidence of overt racism. The progress in one lifetime is truly stunning.

When Al or Jesse could seize on some injustice it also felt like that there was also a moment of shared relief behind the rituals of grievance and corporate or municipal contrition. There is still racism. It is still about white people oppressing us. It’s not on us yet.

The civil rights movement beginning in the 1950s was a genuinely ennobling moment for the nation as well as the movement leaders and activists. Victories over injustice changed society and even how African Americans viewed themselves. There was a purity, a simplicity to that movement in that both the enemy and the goals were well-defined. 

Opportunity and rightful political power were rightfully seen as the endpoints of the struggle. But something went wrong even as these ends were being achieved.

An African American friend told me years ago that his biggest disappointment was that when it finally was “our turn” to run the cities to complete and fulfill the social visions of the movement, it was mostly a disaster. Instead of leaders in the mold of MLK or Thurgood Marshall, there was a raft of genuinely bad leaders from Marion Barry through Kwame Fitzpatrick. The cities seemed to get worse all through the 1970s.

For whatever reason, the removal of all de jure and otherwise overt forms discrimination did not result in the expected great change in the social environment of poor, urban blacks. There is a strong case for the theory that the Great Society locked many into poverty. Others blame the legacy of slavery. But none of these explanations invoke active or even ongoing passive adverse actions by white people. The entire frame of reference of African Americans with respect to social and economic adversity was shaped by a 300-year reality that whites had done it to them and whites were undeniably the major overriding cause of adversity. But what if it is no longer whites causing the adverse outcomes? What then?

Nothing in the civil rights movement or in their history prepared African Americans for the question: What if it’s our problem and not about relief from white oppression?

A need for “racism” and preserving a useful caricature of the civil rights struggle is also important for a lot of white people. There are few causes more morally uplifting than that one so having a psychological connection however tangential and artificial can be satisfying. There is also a functional benefit. To enjoy the self-perception of being above and free of the moral claims of country, church, tradition, and family can be more than just sustained adolescent narcissism but an entrée to the new gnosticism, the belief system/sensibility which makes its adherents wiser and hipper than others. To focus on the sin of gross racial injustice in American history presumptively negates all moral claims of the country on its citizens, except for those too stupid or malignant to eschew patriotism.

Consider the complex silliness of “cultural appropriations” and “microaggressions” or the utterly sophomoric “1619 Project” and, of course, the all-purpose “white privilege.” People are going to enormous lengths to synthesize an artificial form of racism to replace the original, real version and thus fill that need, that habit. (My daughter has tried to argue for the reality of pervasive “white privilege” with someone who as a kid drank from whites-only water fountains in an era when white privilege was real.)

The spectacular innumeracy of “racism”-addicts is also telling. Hundreds of thousands violent crimes by African Americans (six times their share of the population), thousands of black victims of black killers are all mandatorily invisible but a dozen freak fatal events per year involving African American victims (even if grossly misreported and mischaracterized) comprise a “pattern” the defines the African American Experience.

Even when there are no white cop perpetrators (e.g., Sylville Smith, Freddie Gray, Trayvon Martin), it is still the Narrative that matters and applies. Even where political power has shifted to elected black politicians, even as police forces increasingly become far more racially integrated, more professional, better trained, and more heavily scrutinized, the rhetoric seems to apply more to Bull Connor’s cops than the reality.

These days we get to we watch on TV our uniformly deferential and contrite politicians pleading guilty to utterly specious charges of systemic racism made and endorsed by people who are desperate to preserve an increasingly distorted fiction. The appalling behavior of rioters, looters, and violent attackers of innocents makes manifest the problem that cannot be named and thus cannot be addressed while the country suffers trying to service a lie instead.

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  1. MarciN Member

    I do think so.

    But I also know that it is a surefire moneymaker for the mass media. The reason is really simple: So few people are racist that the mass media knows it’s a winning plot line for books and movies and television (or streaming) series and it is a winning news story.

    The media knows this storyline will appeal to people’s competitive superior nature. Everyone likes to watch these programs and hear these news stories because they like saying to themselves, “I’m not like that. Isn’t that terrible that that person is like that?”

    I know this because I know how they think and how they approach the decision to produce books and shows and movies and news reports.

    I only have to look at what the publishers and other mass media are producing for sale to know that we are not racists in this country. The media has healthcare and pensions to fund. And this is how they have been doing it.

    • #1
    • June 2, 2020, at 6:30 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  2. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos

    MarciN (View Comment):

    I do think so.

    But I also know that it is a surefire moneymaker for the mass media. The reason is really simple: So few people are racist that the mass media knows it’s a winning plot line for books and movies and television (or streaming) series and a it is a winning news story.

    The media knows this is will appeal to people’s competitive superior nature. Everyone likes to watch these programs and hear these news stories because they like saying to themselves, “I’m not like that. Isn’t that terrible that that person is like that?”

    I know this because I know how they think and how they approach the decision to produce books and shows and movies and news reports.

    I only have to look at what the publishers and other mass media are producing for sale to know that we are not racists in this country. The media has healthcare and pensions to fund. And this is how they have been doing it.

    The contradiction is that (a) it’s news because it’s rare, but (b) it is diagnostic of a widespread problem.

    • #2
    • June 2, 2020, at 6:49 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  3. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge

    I was amazed to follow Prof. Brett Weinstein after his experience at Evergreen College. There he had been made a scapegoat so that the Leftist movement would be able to pin the label of White Supremacist on someone locally.

    Yet in the months following his dismissal from Evergreen, Weinstein was out there talking about how many White Supremacists exist in our nation… I suddenly lost all sympathy for him.

    • #3
    • June 2, 2020, at 6:51 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
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  4. Bob Wainwright Member

    As racism diminishes, the screaming about it by the left increases. When has racism, measured by any objective standard, been less of a force in our country than now? Huge numbers of the white American majority voted for Obama not merely without regard to his race, but because of it. Think about that. Has anything like that ever happened in world history? 

    It’s because the leftists realize that racism is diminishing that they are panicking. They can’t win arguments, so their only hope is to call their political opponents immoral. They do that with the charge of racism. And now the charge of “systemic racism” and “white privilege” means that those they accuse cannot even defend themselves. They are inherently immoral. 

    • #4
    • June 2, 2020, at 6:55 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  5. MarciN Member

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):

    I do think so.

    But I also know that it is a surefire moneymaker for the mass media. The reason is really simple: So few people are racist that the mass media knows it’s a winning plot line for books and movies and television (or streaming) series and a it is a winning news story.

    The media knows this is will appeal to people’s competitive superior nature. Everyone likes to watch these programs and hear these news stories because they like saying to themselves, “I’m not like that. Isn’t that terrible that that person is like that?”

    I know this because I know how they think and how they approach the decision to produce books and shows and movies and news reports.

    I only have to look at what the publishers and other mass media are producing for sale to know that we are not racists in this country. The media has healthcare and pensions to fund. And this is how they have been doing it.

    The contradiction is that (a) it’s news because it’s rare, but (b) it is diagnostic of a widespread problem.

    Exactly.

    • #5
    • June 2, 2020, at 6:58 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  6. MarciN Member

    What bothers me about the mass media behaving this way is that they are really harming the kids. 

    The worst damage is being done to the black and Hispanic kids because they are being brought up and brainwashed to believe that all white people hate them.

    Why would a decent adult ever ever do that to kids? Tell them the world around them hates them?

     

    • #6
    • June 2, 2020, at 7:02 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  7. Al French of Damascus Moderator

    I would not recommend posting this on your Facebook page.

    • #7
    • June 2, 2020, at 7:26 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  8. CACrabtree Coolidge

    A great question but no quick answers. I tried to look at it just based on what I can remember in my own lifetime. I can still remember LBJ signing into law the beginning of the Great Society programs (1964-65, as I recall) but that didn’t stop the riots in Watts, then Newark and then, the big one, Detroit. The money kept pouring in to the inner city and the situation just got worse. Whether it was public works or schools, money for both went into the toilet.

    That was an interesting observation from your African-American friend about the administrations of various black mayors. Although American cities have never had the reputation of being governed by boy scouts, it seems that the shift to black mayors and city councils hasn’t accomplished a lot. David Dinkins (New York), Harold Washington (Chicago), Bill Campbell (Atlanta); the list of black mayors with felony convictions and/or questionable ethics goes on and on. However, unlike their white predecessors, it always seems that black governmental wrongdoers always have the crutch of “racism” to fall back on when they’re caught with their hands in the till.

    Still, no matter what, it’s always a “white” problem even though only the most self-hating whites believe that (although there appears to be a lot of them). However, for anyone with a functioning brain cell, the net effect is to create even more animosity.

    • #8
    • June 2, 2020, at 7:31 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  9. Randy Webster Member

    Bob Wainwright (View Comment):
    Huge numbers of the white American majority voted for Obama not merely without regard to his race, but because of it.

    That’s racism in and of itself. MLK’s vision has a long way to go to be realized.

    • #9
    • June 2, 2020, at 7:35 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  10. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Old Bathos:

    Even where political power has shifted to elected black politicians, even as police forces increasingly become far more racially integrated, more professional, better trained and more heavily scrutinized, the rhetoric seems to apply more Bull Connor’s cops than the reality.

    These days we get to we watch on TV our uniformly deferential and contrite politicians pleading guilty to utterly specious charges of systemic racism made and endorsed by people who are desperate to preserve an increasingly distorted fiction. The appalling behavior of rioters, looters and violent attackers of innocents make manifest the problem that cannot be named and thus cannot be addressed while the country suffers while trying to service a lie instead. 

    OldB,

    You nailed it. Ultimately, you can never service a lie. The annoying truth keeps breaking through the propaganda force field. To keep servicing the lie they have given up due process, electorial integrity, free speech, judicial impartiality, the rule of law … and reality itself.

    Regards,

    Jim

     

     

     

    • #10
    • June 2, 2020, at 8:30 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  11. KentForrester Moderator

    Old Bathos, you have written an excellent analysis. I wish it could be printed on the op-ed page of every newspaper in America.

    • #11
    • June 2, 2020, at 8:52 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  12. JamesSalerno Coolidge

    Racism, like almost all of the world’s problems, is an outgrowth of laziness.

    Racism is a business. Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson have to go out and get real jobs if racism disappears from the public dialogue. The same applies to any ism. Set up a 501c3 for your ism of choice and you can parasite off of the taxpayer for the rest of your life.

    • #12
    • June 3, 2020, at 6:52 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  13. Addiction Is A Choice Member

    Old Bathos: Is There an Addiction to “Racism”?

    Addiction is a choice…so, yes!

    • #13
    • June 3, 2020, at 7:15 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  14. Manny Member

    There’s an addiction to making excuses.

    That said, I fail to see the racism in the Floyd tragedy. I see the lack of humanity and the culpability of the officers in a restraint that didn’t seem to be necessary and of person pleading for his life under the restraint, and the police should be culpable for that. But where is any suggestion that race played a role in this? Yes, he was a black man and the two of the cops were white (and two Asian) but that doesn’t mean they were acting as racists.

    • #14
    • June 3, 2020, at 11:17 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  15. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Manny (View Comment):

    There’s an addiction to making excuses.

    That said, I fail to see the racism in the Floyd tragedy. I see the lack of humanity and the culpability of the officers in a restraint that didn’t seem to be necessary and of person pleading for his life under the restraint, and the police should be culpable for that. But where is any suggestion that race played a role in this? Yes, he was a black man and the two of the cops were white (and two Asian) but that doesn’t mean they were acting as racists.

    You don’t understand. A not-good thing was done by a white person to a non-white person. Therefore Racism.

     

    • #15
    • June 3, 2020, at 11:19 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  16. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    There’s an addiction to making excuses.

    That said, I fail to see the racism in the Floyd tragedy. I see the lack of humanity and the culpability of the officers in a restraint that didn’t seem to be necessary and of person pleading for his life under the restraint, and the police should be culpable for that. But where is any suggestion that race played a role in this? Yes, he was a black man and the two of the cops were white (and two Asian) but that doesn’t mean they were acting as racists.

    You don’t understand. A not-good thing was done by a white person to a non-white person. Therefore Racism.

    It no longer matters if the cop perpetrators(s) are white. It is still racism. Do try to keep up.

    • #16
    • June 3, 2020, at 11:29 AM PDT
    • Like
  17. CACrabtree Coolidge

    Manny (View Comment):

    There’s an addiction to making excuses.

    That said, I fail to see the racism in the Floyd tragedy. I see the lack of humanity and the culpability of the officers in a restraint that didn’t seem to be necessary and of person pleading for his life under the restraint, and the police should be culpable for that. But where is any suggestion that race played a role in this? Yes, he was a black man and the two of the cops were white (and two Asian) but that doesn’t mean they were acting as racists.

    True. If I thought it would help I would recommend to the rioters that they read (oh, geez; my idea is toast already but I’ll continue on) Rise of The Warrior Cop by Radley Balko or Police State USA by Cheryl Chumley.

    One of the byproducts of the war on drugs and the war on terrorism was the introduction of military hardware and military tactics by local police departments as an end-all solution to fighting crime. As with a ton of other things, the idea was well-intentioned but the execution, in many cases, was not so good. That’s how we’ve had SWAT teams showing up (sometimes at the wrong address) to serve warrants on relatively minor infractions.

    And, yes. White folks have been shot and killed by overzealous police officers. However, I haven’t seen too many riots when it comes to events like that.

    • #17
    • June 3, 2020, at 11:43 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  18. Al Sparks Thatcher

    Outrage is addictive. Racism is a subset of that.

    • #18
    • June 3, 2020, at 10:11 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  19. Samuel Block Support

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    Still, no matter what, it’s always a “white” problem even though only the most self-hating whites believe that (although there appears to be a lot of them). However, for anyone with a functioning brain cell, the net effect is to create even more animosity.

    I usually find that these are self-loving whites. Their talk about “white people” is meant to distinguish themselves from the undesirable whites. It’s not about penance. Using people doesn’t seem to have much affect on their conscience. 

    • #19
    • June 4, 2020, at 7:55 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  20. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Manny (View Comment):

    There’s an addiction to making excuses.

    That said, I fail to see the racism in the Floyd tragedy. I see the lack of humanity and the culpability of the officers in a restraint that didn’t seem to be necessary and of person pleading for his life under the restraint, and the police should be culpable for that. But where is any suggestion that race played a role in this? Yes, he was a black man and the two of the cops were white (and two Asian) but that doesn’t mean they were acting as racists.

    Agreed. This seems a pretty clear cut case of police brutality, but if there is evidence that it was motivated by racism I haven’t seen it yet. The mainstream press is reporting it as an established fact that this was a racist incident, without any need to demonstrate the reason for that conclusion.

    • #20
    • June 6, 2020, at 8:52 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  21. Randy Webster Member

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    There’s an addiction to making excuses.

    That said, I fail to see the racism in the Floyd tragedy. I see the lack of humanity and the culpability of the officers in a restraint that didn’t seem to be necessary and of person pleading for his life under the restraint, and the police should be culpable for that. But where is any suggestion that race played a role in this? Yes, he was a black man and the two of the cops were white (and two Asian) but that doesn’t mean they were acting as racists.

    Agreed. This seems a pretty clear cut case of police brutality, but if there is evidence that it was motivated by racism I haven’t seen it yet. The mainstream press is reporting it as an established fact that this was a racist incident, without any need to demonstrate the reason for that conclusion.

    It’s a white person killing a black person. What other evidence is needed?

    • #21
    • June 6, 2020, at 9:49 PM PDT
    • 1 like