Thomas Sowell has written extensively on the social and economic divide between black and white Americans. He has shown that there was, during the course of the 20th Century, increasing success with respect to putting the “legacy of slavery” behind us. This was occurring despite an ongoing and extensive effort by the Democrat Party to maintain political control over the black population, especially in the South.
Sowell has observed that the progress made in stabilizing the families of, and the economic progress made by, black Americans essentially stalled in the early 1960’s despite, or perhaps because of, the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. How could it be that the passage of these landmark pieces of legislation had the effect suggested by Dr. Sowell?
The answer seems fairly obvious…the Federal government and the Democrat Party concluded, all evidence to the contrary, that black Americans simply could not make any progress without the construction of a paternalistic policy scaffolding to give them a leg up. A powerful incentive was created to make the poor, especially poor blacks, dependent on the largess of the government. This effort was driven by the Great Society/War on Poverty implemented by Lyndon Johnson, a lifelong racist. As predicted by some it did serious damage to the black family. Today some 70% of black children in this country are being raising in single parent households. There was a financial disincentive if men stayed with a woman who they made pregnant. So they disappeared from the home and the lives of their children. This is a recipe for failure leading inexorably to a lack of success in education, higher levels of crime and the inability to achieve success in the workplace. The result…we have spent trillions and the poverty rate remains unchanged! Worse it translated into a economic and social dependence on the government, a de facto slavery.
And what did our first black President do to reverse this socioeconomic downward spiral. Well, nothing. For eight long years the black population was relentlessly bombarded with a false narrative. Most white Americans are racist, overtly or covertly. The deck is stacked against you. The police are engaged in a war against you. There are no jobs being created in the inner cities and racist employers won’t hire you anyway. Is it surprising that many blacks believe that they are being repressed because of a systemic racism? Is it any surprise that they really believe that a thug named Michael Brown was gunned down while he had his hands up saying “Don’t shoot”? Both assertions are absolutely false. Never once did Obama tell young black men to stay at home and play an active role in the the lives of their children. There is no record of Obama making any effort to improve inner city schools or to encourage black children to stay in school. In fact, within months of taking office Obama shut down a minority scholarship program in the District of Columbia that allowed some 1,500 black children to attend better schools. Today relations between black and white Americans are worse than they were forty or fifty years ago. And this was accomplished by an administration dominated by black leaders. It is enough to make you weep!
So, in the timeless words of Hilliary, “What Happened?” Did we miss opportunities to address the issue? Let me suggest that the two individuals who did the most, in my lifetime, to close the racial divide were Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey. This is not to minimize the impact of civil rights leaders such as the Reverend Martin Luther King whose soaring rhetoric is largely ignored by race hustlers today. Where in our country today does anyone truly believe that we should judge people not by the color of their skin but rather by the content of their character? It is rather the converse.
I was raised in a mid-size city in upstate New York. It was a very white city. Race was not a subject about which we were conscious. The decision in the Brown v. Board of Education case, a decision that pricked the national conscience, was still a year away. One day when I was seven years old I found a nickel on the sidewalk while I was walking to school. I was in front of a pharmacy and I used that found money to buy my first pack of baseball cards. The first card I saw was Phil Rizzuto of the New York Yankees and my addiction to “bubble gum cards” was complete and lasts to this day. The second or third card in the pack was Monte Irvin who did not reach the major leagues until he was almost 30 because of the ban on “Negroes” playing at the highest level of our National Pastime. But thanks to Messrs. Robinson and Rickey he was a New York Giant and I did not even think about his being black. Thereafter as my horizons broadened that simple experience made me color blind. I am sure that was true of many young Americans following the heroic actions of Robinson and Rickey. In fact, Eric Holder, when speaking at a corporate event attended by a friend, paid tribute to those pioneers of the integration of the great game of baseball. I encourage you to watch the movie 42 which tells the story of Jackie Robinson’s first major league season. That man did more to improve race relations than anyone else I know of.
It is disappointing that Obama, who could have done so much to heal our racial wounds, chose instead to widen the racial divide. The group (Some) Black Lives Matter, which was feted at the White House by our racist-in-chief, took their cue from our self-absorbed President and adopted the techniques practiced by Obama while he was waiting to be levitated to the Oval Office, i.e. community organizing (read: community subversion). They manage to ignore the growing number of young blacks that are slaughtered on the killing fields of Chicago while focusing on the Michael Brown myth. One can only wish that Obama had taken the high road and done more to address our racial issues. Sadly both he and Eric Holder measure everything in racial terms…and negatively at that.
So where are we as we look to move forward? Baltimore had 343 homicides in 2017, the highest in history for that City, which is shameful. The police have been rendered ineffective by the fear tactics of the race mongers. Who will rebuild the City of Baltimore? What businesses will move to that City? Is there a plan by the Democrats, who run the City, to fix the problem? That is doubtful. Remember that the benighted mayor of Baltimore said during the unrest following Freddie Gray’s death that those who want to destroy should be allowed to do so. Rod Serling call your office!
Is there any hope? Nationally black unemployment has dropped to the lowest level since they began keeping such statistics but you won’t hear that because it happened under President Trump. Remember when he said that minorities have nothing to lose by supporting him in the election? Well it looks like they may have something to gain. But will this change the national dialogue? Will it spur programs to fix inner city schools or bring businesses to Democrat controlled cities such as Baltimore? Unlikely because the Democrat Party won’t let that happen. They will support the continued influx of low wage workers to take the jobs that “Americans just won’t do”. They will support higher minimum wages that will eliminate starter jobs that might have gone to younger people entering the work force. And who pays the price for this? The poor, especially poor blacks. It is a disgrace.
I cannot recall meeting a white racist in my lifetime probably because there are so few of them. But, of course, I am deaf to the micro aggressions that are visible and audible only to those ultra-sensitive divisive souls who are driven to demand but not deliver “social justice”. This is the alleged reason for Colin Kapernick’s NFL “protest”. He couldn’t define social justice if his life depended on it. Basically it means the continuation of our paternalistic programs and the maintenance of the de facto slavery that is so evident in the inner-cities across our country.
Wouldn’t it be an interesting twist of fate if President Trump were to solve the problem passively by Making America Great Again…economically speaking!