An open letter to BrothaWolf:
BW: One of your frequent accusations against us here at our small but increasingly influential think tank is that we’re not open to new thinking… or, more to the point, to your thinking.
What you don’t realize is that we regularly seek out other challenging thinking, and examine it to see whether it offers additional insights or corrections to our thinking, or other nuances. I have a web page for you, BW, to visit. Yes, it’s a right-wing page, but then I’m challenging you, after all. It’s here.
The writer of the post in question has the exact same frame of mind as I, and all Conservatives, have: he wants long life, success, prosperity, happiness, and all good things for all black Americans. He, though, like you, disagrees with me as to how to move toward that lofty goal, and about our view of black Americans’ situation in America.
If you read the entire post — both pages — you’ll see that the author, one David Cole, broadly categorizes thinkers about this topic as “egalitarian leftists, conservative Christians (who hold fast to ideas of redemption and salvation), and establishment neocons”
In the author’s taxonomy, you’ll recognize us here at TPWG as a kind of cross-breed between “Conservative Christians” and “Establishment Neocons.” We’re firm believers in redemption and salvation and, as Cole says, “Larry Elder-style live clean, respect your mama, grab the brass ring” voluntarism.
However, the post’s author and I differ in that he’s much more cynical about black and white Americans than I am. He says that our blog’s position that any black person can succeed in America if he or she follows our five points(1) is useless to the black community in general, because their situation is far more dire than our writers think.
The author cites as an argument, a grotesque YouTube phenomenon that he calls “Farting on Black People.” It’s a bunch of contemptible YouTube videos in which white morons film themselves bringing a device that simulates flatulence — called a “pooter” — into mostly black neighborhoods. The young nitwits use the “pooter” to simulate passing gas on a black person in order to see how he or she reacts.
Bad enough, right? But, wait, it gets worse!
David Cole says that these ugly videos get more views than videos of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech. He concludes that the people watching those videos view black misery as funny, and certainly as better entertainment than the MLK speech. He says: “It’s not just that we’ve [Editor’s note: the video viewers] stopped caring about your anger,” the message seems to be, “it’s that your anger has now become comical to us.”
Cole’s argument seems to be saying that white Americans are increasingly becoming indifferent to black Americans’ plight. A steady drumbeat of incident after incident after incident of obvious white racism against black people — that all turn out to be hoaxes (Tawana Brawley, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown) — can turn a population cynical.
But, why is this? The author’s answer: Black Americans haven’t made themselves “indispensable” to society. I would add that the spokespeople for black Americans have done them no favors, by doggedly and irrationally insisting that the country that elected a black President — twice! — is really a seething cauldron of hostility to black Americans.
This is where there is an intersection of the author’s thinking with ours here at our small but increasingly influential think tank. You have to pose the question again: if black Americans haven’t made themselves “indispensable” to society, why is that?
The answer is simple, and we’ve given it: so many black Americans bought the argument of the Left: that American society owes them. Owes them food, housing, free health care, free education, reparations… you name it. The problem, the overwhelming majority of white Americans have never, ever done a single negative or hostile thing to any black American in their lives.
You can develop as elaborate and sophisticated an argument as you wish, in support of the notion that today’s black Americans are “owed ” by today’s white Americans, but — read this well — that simply will never fly with people who realize that they personally have never done anything wrong to black Americans. That would be, to belabor a point: the vast majority of Americans. Simple as that.
If black Americans don’t abandon the entitlement idea, and concentrate instead on making themselves valuable — as we expect of all people — then, as the author of the linked piece suggests, they could end up like Native Americans. Having individual examples here and there of success and triumph, but overall, as a group, enmired in a quagmire of misery, failure, bitterness, poverty and despair. David Cole says that black Americans are well on their way to such a sad landing place now.
This, in the middle of The United States of America, the greatest, freest, most prosperous country the world has ever seen, would be an unspeakable tragedy. And it’s all completely preventable! All people would have to do is what they know perfectly well in the first place: tell everyone in the group that they should live up to the “five points.” In the meantime, we all should do as I’ve done as regards these “prank videos,” and go to them, and shame the videos’ perpetrators witheringly and mercilessly.
To BW’s point, there is an ugly underbelly to some white people, and these “Farting on Black People” videos show it. Every race has half-wits like these. We all need to do our part to banish their half-witted cruelty from our midst.
At the same time, I refuse to give up on black Americans, as David Cole seems close to doing.
BW: when I said to you that black people face no more obstacles in America than anyone else, I was wrong. The major obstacles black Americans face is: themselves. Black culture, if you will. No culture is 100% good, or 100% bad, but there are strong entitlement, victimhood, scapegoating and separationist components poisoning much of Black Culture, that need to be eradicated.
I remember that when we first advanced our think tank’s idea of the “five points,” the ideas met with cries of “Racist!” and “Liar!” and all the rest. However… no one ever made a meaningful attempt to disprove them.
If you read the “five points,” then you understand a simple thing: they’re what everyone expects of all people. If you’re going to be a good, upstanding, responsible, contributing member of any society — of any group, of any club, team, organization, association, band, company, league, corps, family… — then you’re going to have to live some version of our “five points.” Simple as that.
A country has no greater obligation to all its people than to put in place an environment in which those who embody the “five points” have plenty of opportunity to succeed and prosper. America has done that.
David Cole, though, citing the awful “Farting…” videos, says that such an environment is not guaranteed to be permanent, and he fears that it’s disappearing, due to black Americans’ not making themselves indispensable.
It’s important to note also that “opportunity” has two parts: Both the possibility that the very word “opportunity” implies, and the seizing of that opportunity, to convert it into fulfilled opportunity, or… “success.” Opportunity is perfectly useless without someone to take the initiative to turn it into success.
Here’s what we say in response to David Cole: Black Americans are indispensable. They’re the face that we need to look at when we evaluate ourselves as a country, as a people. They’re the cautionary tale that we need to understand, in-depth, in order to see how a people can stumble when a government implements wrong-headed and stupid programs like welfare, and “The Great Society(2).”
Black Americans absolutely are indispensable. in a metaphysical sense, both because they’re a people and because they’re people. We need them, and we need to tell them that we love and respect them as American brothers and sisters in full.
Some ways to do that would be to stop infantilizing black Americans. Stop pretending that they can’t succeed without government handouts and set-asides. Stop pretending that things like deeply misogynistic and racist rap lyrics are cool and edgy. They’re not, they’re crap. Stop taking every whine of “Racism!” seriously, and tell black Americans that we’re not going to take them seriously anymore, until they present real evidence. Stop mollycoddling, pampering, condescending to, cosseting, indulging the RGI. Stop taking black racists seriously. As we’ve stopped taking white racists seriously. Those are some good steps.
Yes, black Americans are metaphysically indispensable to America. However, black Americans, like all Americans, need to make themselves indispensable economically and socially as well.
Socially? The racism in black America is virulent and widespread. The ugliness of much of what passes for “Black Pop Culture” is manifest. No one needs me to point to any song lyrics to know this.
Furthermore, the movements that have sprung up supposedly to support black Americans — Black Lives Matter for one — are based on faked narratives (the Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin hoaxes), hatred of white Americans, and on keeping black Americans down so that they’ll continue to be good, docile foot soldiers for American leftism.
There are prominent, brilliant, insightful, articulate black voices out there telling black Americans to live our “five points.” The problem is that so-called “Black Leaders” — the only ones to whom the dominant media give any air time or newspaper space — call these intellectuals “Uncle Toms” and “race traitors.” For telling black people what you and I tell our children every day.
BW: Don’t let David Cole be right. Stop crying wolf all the time over every interaction between a white and black person that doesn’t go perfectly smoothly. More to the point, stop crying “Racism!” just about all the time!
If you, BW, and so many others — like Abagond, Herneith, Diary, and all the rest — are out there doing nothing more than crying, “Racism! Racism! Racism!” at every turn, then there will be people, white people, who simply look at you and say, “Look, if absolutely everything is racism, then nothing is racism and, really, there’s nothing we or anyone can do about it, so we’re just going to move on.” Especially in the face of a constant barrage of important evidence that white racism directed at black Americans is at a low ebb in America.(3)
White indifference, or worse, contempt, due to untold incidents of wolf crying would not be an improvement over the hostility of long ago. Especially since the hostility being decried all but disappeared decades ago.
BW, I challenge you to read David Cole’s piece. Step outside of your comfort zone, as we do here all the time, and tell me what you think. You will note, of course, that Cole’s essay doesn’t at all show white people in a good light.
(1) The five points: “If a black person (1) gets an education, (2) speaks well, (3) works hard, (4) gets along well with others, and (5) presents him or herself more or less normally, he or she can succeed in America today.”
Note: We’ve since wordsmithed this a bit to achieve greater clarity. Here’s the next iteration: “If a black person (1) gets an education, (2) speaks well, (3) works hard, (4) gets along well with others, and (5) presents him or herself more or less normally, he or she faces no more obstacles to success than anyone else.”
This re-wording of the principle is meant to suggest that racism won’t present any formidable obstacles to the success of any black person who does the five things listed above.
(2) Probably the greatest misnomer for any government program ever. It should have been called “The Hideous Society” for the patronizing infantilization that it did to black Americans.
(3) A two-term black President, black congresspeople, in office for decades (John Conyers, John Lewis, Maxine Waters, Ron Dellums, more), black mayors, governors, aldermen, councilmen and women — many of them in office for decades — countless black millionaires, and several black billionaires (Oprah), wildly successful black Americans in all fields of professional endeavor, as well as fantastically wealthy black Americans in the media, entertainment, sports and pop culture, and so on. No country with any level of hostility toward black people would permit that level of assimilation into the economy.