The Political Use of Bigotry in America
We have millions of pages of federal laws, and 75,000 pages of federal ‘regulations’ that are treated like laws. It is estimated that every person in the U.S. breaks at least one federal law every day. This morass of contradictory and oppressive regulation costs America more than a $trillion every year for filing our taxes, and business lawyers to keep up with it. Among the things the government regulates and has tens of thousands of pages of code is their attempt to right the wrong of slavery and bigotry.
The moral stain
Moral and cultural failings in the past led to slavery gaining a foothold in America. (I plan to write more extensively about this in a future Post, but note that it was principally white males who had the power, and who saw the injustice of the practice, and white males who ended it.) I add that many black Africans were engaged in capturing and selling blacks for the slave trade and there were black slave owners in the United States. Today, there are blacks in Africa who own many slaves whom they have purchased from slave traders. So slavery isn’t a sin committed only by “white males.”
Following the Civil War in the mid 19th century, a number of states enacted all manner of laws to impede the progress of freed slaves – making it difficult for them to find work, to vote, to purchase property; in many states they could not serve on juries, or hold local political office. Slaves were freed, but the Democrat Party gained political power in the southern states by openly appealing to white bigotry imposed these laws throughout those states. Their philosophy was that even though slavery was outlawed they could still continue to divide blacks from whites by means of segregation. They referred to this as “separate but equal,” but it was not equal at all. By the 1870’s some states had segregated schools, separate drinking fountains and bathrooms; white and black restaurants, and so forth. These laws are referred to as “Jim Crow.”
Small progress was made during the first half of the 20th century, particularly in some states, but the legal situation wasn’t remedied until some black activists began to break the rules in the worst of the states. (It is important to know that despite the bigoted attempts by southern Democrat leaders, black literacy rates by the 1920’s were higher than black literacy rates today! We know this from military entrance exams and other research. Many blacks had moved to northern states for work where they occasionally found a warmer reception than in southern states.)
(As a side note, in 1927, Rep. Robert Bacon introduced what became Davis-Bacon legislation. He was joined by Sen. James Davis – who was openly bigoted – to support the legislation. A contractor in Bacon’s district employed black workers to build a Veteran’s hospital in the district. The unions were upset, and he said on the floor of the House that the “neighboring community,” was “very upset.” Davis also complained about the “Outfit of Negro laborers” who were working on the hospital. What we know today as ‘prevailing wage’ jobs began as a union inspired, openly discriminatory piece of trash designed to prevent black workers coming north to escape Jim Crow so they could get jobs.)
Dr. Martin Luther King
Choosing to ride in the front of a bus instead of staying in back where blacks were required to ride, Rosa Parks began a momentous series of events. But soon we meet Dr. Martin Luther King.
When Dr. King spoke on the Washington Mall August 28th 1963 he electrified the world by sharing his dream with us; he said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” These are immortal words; a lesson for the ages and I am still profoundly moved as I remember them. It is a tragedy of history that the government Dr. King relied on has insured that his dream could not come true. Hi children do not live in such a country because color of skin is central to the liberal program today. Unfortunately soon after this, Dr. King was assassinated by a white bigot, and his movement of goodwill and equality he began degenerated into a bastard child.
Once the “civil rights movement” took hold, it led to a series of U.S. Supreme Court decisions forbidding discrimination based on “race.” Clearly we had to have a remedy for the injustice of discrimination and Jim Crow. Perhaps there were other ways of crafting the laws and subsequent judicial decisions that could have spared us the regrettable metastasis that has evolved from the way this was handled.
I speak of what we have today as a “regrettable metastasis” and a “bastard child” because the spawn of the courageous Civil Rights leaders has become exactly what Dr. King said he hated and wanted to change – a system where people are legally required to be treated by the color of their skin rather than the content of their character. His dream has been turned into a nightmare.
You may differ, but I think Dr. King would be embarrassed and ashamed by the huckster Al Sharpton and others like him. Sharpton become famous for championing the cause of Tawana Brawley, a 15 year old from New York who claimed to have been repeatedly raped by 3 white men, one of whom was a cop, who left her covered with feces in a trash bag. It turns out that she was a troubled person who did all of this herself. She was missing for 3 days because she was afraid of being beaten by her mother’s live-in boyfriend. The feces was from the neighbor’s dog. She often slept with boys, and came up with this story as a coverup for her own malfeasance. Al Sharpton, Bill Cosby among other “black leaders” championed her case; leading attorneys came to her aid.
The horror of the allegations fed into the – justifiable – deeply held distrust many black had for whites in general, and white cops in particular. The story became huge. Al Sharpton was sued for defamatory statements made in the press, lost, then refused to pay what the court ordered. Many years later, Johnny Cochhran and other wealthy black individuals paid the $65,000 debt Sharpton owed to Dutchess County Assistant District Attorney Steven Pagones.
I tell this story because Mr. Sharpton showing up whenever there is a camera to denounce someone of being a racist is getting tiresome. The same can be said for Jesse Jackson and a number of others who have gotten rich by stirring up racial animosity without solving anything.
The dream becomes a nightmare
What passes for equality under the law in the United States today is exactly what Dr. King opposed all those years ago. The legal remedy for discrimination ended up not being aimed at defending persons from discrimination, but only members of groups. One didn’t have to be deserving, he only had to be in the right group. This is the same situation that the 13th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution, and all the Supreme Court decisions of the 1950’s and 1960’s were designed to end! The Dream has become the nightmare. Instead of working at becoming colorblind, we are frequently blinded by color; adding up numbers, being constantly reminded about what hasn’t been accomplished.
This malignant process has come to profane every element of culture – excusing black malfeasance at the same time it exploits white guilt. The recent death of Michael Jackson brought to the surface claims by famous black entertainers that “Michael was one of ours,” meaning perhaps that while white people watched his videos and purchased his music, Michael was black and didn’t belong to everyone. Aside from the fact that Michael tried to turn himself into a white man, why should his skin color be the glass through which we see him? Why can’t he be just a famous entertainer? There are people of every hue who are accomplished in economics, mathematics, law, music, choreography, academics – every field of human endeavor. Why the constant reminder of skin color? There is a whole industry dependent on perpetuating bigotry; they are paid to solve it. If it was permitted to go away, these people might have to get real work.
It greives me to think about some of the consequences of the original Civil Rights cases brought us just through the nomenclature used. They refer to discrimination based on “race,” among other things. There are no “races” of human beings. The word is a political construct designed to divide (and conquer) the people. It is completely imprecise; and causes people to think of variations of ethnicity or skin color as if it meant something important; like species. When two tall people marry and have children, the likelihood their children will be tall is very high. When a family has tall children, and those children marry other tall husbands and wives, we don’t begin speaking of them as if they were a “race;” the “tall” race. But our government speaks of variations less important than height, and then separates those in that group from all other groups dividing the population is ways slaveholders couldn’t imagine. No, people aren’t being purchased and sold; beaten and worked to death. But the group is bought and sold in much the same way as slaveholders did 200 years ago only this time for the accumulation of political power rather than for agrarian labor. Why do we let them divide us like this?
Throughout history rivers, mountain ranges, religions, epidemics, earthquakes and other natural disasters have separated people who then intermarried with each other, and their offspring developed certain characteristics in common. This doesn’t make them a different “race.” This horrible term has caused no end of disruption; playing into bigotry; cited in favor of discrimination, and so on. The genetics of complexion and hair texture does not divide us whatsoever. Mountebanks, hustlers, fear-mongers, bigots; the stupid and uninformed, and the politicians – on the other hand – do.
The opportunists and bigots among us have seized upon this term to foment hatred, fear, suspician, fury, or murder; and usually these unfounded emotions are meant to be used to make money or gain prominence for the perpetrators. They pretend to speak for Black Americans or Hispanic Americans retelling the stories of bigotry and hatred without discussing the progress made toward ending them, or encouraging the behaviors that will help people succeed despite lingering bigotry. They stir up animosities that could have largely disappeared long ago.
If this wasn’t bad enough, the way everyone is seen by government is through the microscope of color: are you a member of this group, or that group? This is why I say the government CAUSES us to be “race” conscious; in fact, we are REQUIRED to be. We have to think about it; our own government will not permit us to see each other as equals. Federal law requires us to treat each other as equals, and at a the same time will not permit us to treat each other as equals. The Census will require us to focus on skin color; any company with any government contract will have to count noses of all types and shades in order to keep their contract. Any government hiring for any level of government scrupulously counts these noses too.
Even worse yet, the success that the despoilers of Dr. King ‘s memory have had is now being followed by other members of our culture. Now we see women’s groups pitting themselves against men constantly and loudly announcing that they haven’t gotten their fair share of the pie. Now we have homosexuals claiming the same thing; desiring, even, marriage. There is some “support group” for virtually every sub group of Americans clamoring for a bigger piece of the pie; demanding everyone pay them attention. Perhaps they think this is a better approach for gaining economically than actually working hard.
Government requires bigotry
The bad part of this is that people should be loved, and hired, and promoted, married, fired all for “not for the color of their skin, but for the content of their character.” Alas, character can’t count anymore, because we are required to focus of the number of melanin cells in a given patch of skin. Because of Lincoln’s assassination even the Civil War with over 200,000 deaths, along with Constitutional amendments didn’t settle the issue of bigotry. Promises weren’t kept. People were ruined. Jim Crow instituted by the Democrat Party. But I ask whether or not those sins committed by people now dead against people also now dead justifies requiring us to engage in the same process of constantly defining people by color today? Does it heal anything? Does it rectify the wrong done? Does it move us forward? Or does it divide the people, create suspician and resentment; and work to the benefit of the few who exploit the fear?
We all have evil ancestors. There are no perfect pedigrees. There are no pure ethnics. At some point, everyone has an ancestor who was maltreated by some different person. Are we to construct a culture that seeks to reverse what happened centuries ago by requiring more maltreatment and exploitation today? There are people of Irish descent in the U.S. whose grandparents were discriminated against, not permitted to work because they were irish. Should we, then feel it necessary to hire an Irishman today because of what was done to his grandfather a hundred years ago?
The Biblical approach would be wise here. Paul taught that “all have sinned.” John in 1 John says it even clearer, “If we say we have not sinned, we make God a liar.” That’s because God Himself knows we have all sinned. Jesus, when brought the prostitute to be stoned said, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” Since we all have an interest in ending this nightmare, let’s just not permit bigotry be stated without our opprobrium. Let’s tell people we aren’t going to listen to ethnic jokes – we don’t find them funny. Let’s not have the prior assumption that a person who looks different is different. Let’s not continue to permit the murder of anyone’s worth through a thousand small cuts; we have to speak up and name this evil for what it is.
Let’s start telling the government that the Constitution gives rights only to “persons,” not groups – with the amendments passed long ago there are no group rights in the Constitution. In fact the Constitution expressly forbids them. Perhaps the courts could have handled this more wisely, but we don’t have to continue down this path carving out this ethnic group and that; this native American tribe, that Albanian group or South American Indian group, Eskimos, Inuits, Pacific Islander group; polygamists, gays, transgenders, or whatever asking to be on the “approved” list of people especially deserving of official discrimination. It’s ripping the country apart.
So now, we even see “reverse discrimination.” We have reached the state where, since it is illegal to discriminate against anyone because of their ethnic background we are, in fact, required to do so in order to achieve the result mandated! So people not on the approved list of officially deserving the benefits of discrimination apparently can be discriminated against. Wow! It’s all so confusing.
Why don’t we just hire the people best suited for the job, fire the ones who refuse to do it well, and forget the other stuff? Why should an otherwise undeserving person get points for having more melanin cells per square inch than other candidates?
What we will lose
If we continue down this road, I assure you the destination is not where any of us really want to go. We have already lost much freedom of choice in our culture; if we permit the government to continue to expand their regulatory activities over even more of our lives, we will have no freedoms at all. Our Declaration of Independence says that are given to us all by God, and therefore cannot be removed by governments. We have permitted our Politicians to divide and conquer us; but we can take back our rights and our dignity by refusing to go along with their stupid nostrums. We must elect government officials who respect our rights. We have to act responsibly and intelligently – it we don’t we end up with even more government rules. If a person of one color treats you badly because of your skin color, don’t make the mistake of assuming that all people of that color will do the same thing. People act as individuals, not as members of a group. Treat them that way.