The Presidential election is heating up, and some are maligning Donald Trump as a racist. At the same time, those on the far left are leveling charges of racism that seem rather far out to most people. It seems appropriate to now critically examine who is racist.
New York’s far left mayor, Bill de Blasio, charged that Congress hasn’t bailed out Puerto Rico because Puerto Ricans are people of color. There is, of course, no proof of this. My 11/9/15 post, Free Puerto Rico!, documents how Puerto Rico which could have been the Hong Kong or Singapore of the Caribbean got into its current mess. It was chosen by the Roosevelt’s New Deal as a socialist experiment. Was it chosen because Puerto Ricans are “people of color” and the New Dealers figured they could get away with this experiment there, rather than the white mainland? If that were the case, then the white liberals were the racists, not the current, anti-bail out Republicans, who want the Puerto Rican dependency to stand on its own two feet, just like any parent would teach their children.
Recently “Mickey Fearn, the National Park Service Deputy Director for Communications and Community Assistance, made headlines when he claimed that black people don’t visit national parks because they associate them with slaves being lynched by their masters…Carolyn Finney…a diversity advisor to the U.S. National Parks Advisory Board. .. claims that oppression and violence against black people in forests and other green spaces can translate into contemporary understandings that constrain African-American environmental understandings’…the tree is a racist symbol to black people.” While this seems like a nonsensical extreme position to most people, Ms. Finney goes on to say: “Theodore Roosevelt’s vision of preserving beautiful natural landscapes was rooted in ‘privilege’. This contains some truth, as I have previously implied that the conservation movement started as an elitist movement of upper class white Anglo-Saxon Protestants against the then new immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe (i.e., Catholics and Jews). It also attacked poor whites, as I documented in a post a few years ago about Roosevelt’s Civil Conservation Corp goons burning down the homes of people in the Shenandoah Mountains, who stood in the way of a park for Washington’s liberal environmental elite. So while what Ms. Finney said was not untrue, it was not white versus black, but clearly we the people against upper class environmental liberalism.
For more years than I can remember, I have read white liberal writers extol the success of a black person making the assumption that they rose from poverty. This is a racist assumption. While relatively small on a percent basis, large numbers of black people come from well-to-do families that sometimes go back to Reconstruction. Many white farmers divided their land among their former slaves. Miles Davis was the son of a dentist whose family were also large landowners. Chuck Berry grew up in a comfortable, suburban single family home. And, of course, we have affirmative action that insults black people by saying that they aren’t capable of competing on their own merits. So again, we have the liberals apparently both expressing and repressing their own racism by calling everyone else a racist when, in fact, they are the racists.
Currently, we have many in politics, and especially in the Hillary Clinton campaign, dividing and subdividing the American people into demographic slices to manipulate them into voting a certain way, often by exploiting racial differences. But reality shows - and Donald Trump knows - that an unemployed black steel worker is more likely to vote the same way as an unemployed white steel worker, rather than on the basis of some hyped-up media driven, racial divide. While this strategy may help liberal Democrats win elections, it is not good for our nation as a whole, as it breeds racism instead of diminishing those sick attitudes.
When the Rodney King riots broke out in Los Angeles, the state legislator, and now Congresswomen Maxine Waters, grabbed the microphone and repeated tired talking points about racism. What she refused to acknowledge was that her headquarters - along with businesses-owned by wealthy blacks - were also burned down. The Rodney King riots were also class riots. I have seen that which holds black people down is the same as that which holds white people down: too much regulation. Often, the first thing one notices in black neighborhoods is the amount of entrepreneurial activity. Unfortunately, much of it is illegal: selling stolen merchandise, drugs, pimping, etc. But street kids often make good business people, and this can be channeled productively. When I suggested this in a local online discussion a few years ago, I was put down by a left winger for not being an “expert”.
A case study tells the story of a black man on the south side of Chicago who dropped out of high school at the age of 16, and started painting houses. He discovered a talent for this, and after a few years, had thousands of happy customers and about 100 employees. But he conducted his business in cash from his pockets, not being the type to have a MBA in finance. Fortunately, conservative economists - affiliated with Milton Friedman - found him, and properly reorganized his enterprise. Otherwise, the liberal Democrats running Chicago would have treated him as a criminal to fine, or worse. If someone is skilled, hard working, honest and providing a needed, legitimate service or product...by what right does society have to expect much more of them? I have witnessed black and other so-called minority people driven out of business in Central Los Angeles through down-zoning. This was brought about by left-wing Leninists wanting to create a housing shortage to bring about government control of housing (heightening the contradictions in their terms). They didn’t care about black people, or anyone else; just achieving their perverted, Utopian totalitarian dream.
Many leaders in the black community have urged getting off the liberal Democrat plantation of fatherless homes, welfare dependency and victimization. When you have decided in advance to fail, it becomes hard to succeed. It wasn’t always that way. In my former business life, my lead carpenter was a black man who had grown up in dire poverty in rural Indiana. His healthcare was a folk healer/herb doctor who lived hidden away in the woods. Because his folks couldn’t afford to feed him at 14 years of age, he was given to a white family. That enabled him to finish high school followed by several army years in Europe during and after World War Two. He believed in the American Dream, and that, if you did the right thing, you would get ahead. So he began employment at McDonnell Douglas in Los Angeles, bought a suburban home (although the area was still pretty segregated back then), regularly attended and was active in his church, maintained a stable marriage and raised two wonderful children. While his youngest son was attending UC Santa Cruz, the older sister married into one of the wealthiest black families in America, and was interviewed on 60 Minutes. When he spoke about that, his face lit up like a portrait of a Medieval saint. It was a long way from that “witch woman” in the woods.
His retirement was now looming ahead. He understood that his years of freelance work had created a sound business with established clients, an intimate knowledge of sourcing materials in the complex LA market and his own skill. Since his own children did not need or want the business, he decided to give it to a deserving young black man. One day, he arrived at my door with such a person, introduced us and asked if I would hire him in the future. I said, "Absolutely." We all shook hands. About a year later I asked what had happened. He said that the man worked a few weeks, spent his pay on drugs, disappeared into the streets, and that two more similar prospects had done the same. He wanted to give away his business, but all the candidates had decided that victimhood beat responsibility. His face was despairing and vacant at the same time. I have seen that look only once before, and that was on holocaust survivors.
Copyright 2016, Mark L. Bennett