Today’s “systemic racism” theory is a flaming insult to my generation that fought so hard to end Jim Crow
I was waiting patiently in line to check out of my doctor’s office behind some guy who was holding things up by a lengthy dialogue with the clerk about something he should have settled elsewhere.
About five minutes had gone by as I stood in a hallway waiting my turn when a black woman cut in front of me, mumbling something I couldn’t make out.
A micro-aggression, for sure. Dehumanizing. Desrespectful.
I let it go. It had nothing to do with her blackness and my whiteness. But if the roles had been reversed, I’m sure I would have been denounced as racist. Another example of “systemic racism.”
My point? Every day, everyone of us is subject to such insults. It’s how we interpret them that allows people to construct bad motives (e.g. racism) on the part of the offender.
So much of the “evidence” of racism consists of such incidents, as if sociologists and other wokemeisters could read the minds of the offenders.
Hold your horses. There’s more. A lot more. Racism exists. Racist incidents abound. But we’re to believe that racism, racist motives and evil lives in the hearts of whites as a people? All white people?
There is no more telling proof of the undeserved impoverishment of POC [people of color] and the undeserved enrichment of White people than the massive difference in the average wealth of White versus Black and Latino families….
In his book , [Racist America: Roots, Current Realities, and Future, sociologist Joe] Feagin points out with historical documentation that the costs and burdens of racism are disproportionately borne by people of color and by Black people especially. Having to bear these unjust costs and burdens is a core aspect of systemic racism. These include shorter life spans, limited income and wealth potential, impacted family structure as a result of mass incarceration of Black and Latino people, limited access to educational resources and political participation, state-sanctioned killing by police, and the psychological, emotional, and community tolls of living with less, and being seen as “less than.” POC are also expected by White people to bear the burden of explaining, proving, and fixing racism, though it is, in fact, White people who are primarily responsible for perpetrating and perpetuating it. [Emphasis added].
So, the “telling proof” of systemic racism is the “disparities” in health, wealth and other demographics. If someone is better off than another, just the disparity is evidence of evil intent (i.e. racism). If police ticket black drivers more than whites, it is ipso facto proof of racism. Raw numbers are all you need.
Sociologists know better, or at least they should. Raw numbers don’t necessarily equal causation. It’s what sociologists and others who defined themselves as scientists taught me as a post-graduate Russell Sage social science writing fellow at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and as a master of science degree candidate in urban affairs at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee.
The horrible wrongs–the slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, lynchings–committed against black people contributed to, even caused, those racial disparities. It’s why, for example, the black community is disproportionately burdened by fatherless families. Other racist practices, such as housing discrimination and redlining, killed ambition and wreaked havoc in black communities.
But does that prove that today’s institutions are inherently saturated with vicious racial hatreds? That racist incidents ought to be attributed to institutional structures and mores and not because there are ignorant, racist jerks out there? Are churches and schools nurturing a vast network of white privilege, pouring out their hatreds? Do corporate boards create business plans that include steps to keep black people down? Show the evidence.
Oh, I know. Racism might not be an intentional policy of “white institutions;” white people just don’t know how racist they are. Not unlike people who don’t know that a cancerous tumor is growing in their brains. We know this because today’s woke have this secret power to peer into all white people’s brains.
You could have made a stronger argument about institutional racism back in the 1940s and 1950s, when I was growing up. All kinds of institutions–legal, educational, governmental even religious–had practices embedded in their laws, regulations and rules that persecuted black people.
As a part of the generation that fought these practices and fatally crippled Jim Crow laws, I resent–no loathe–President Joe (“they’ll put ya’ll back in chains”) Biden’s pronouncement that the Georgia election reform is “Jim Crow on steroids.”
He should know better, having lived in an era and a state with white and colored water fountains and all the rest. When the national guard was called out to protect a little black girl as she integrated an all-white school. When black school girls were blown up in a church bombing. When the lynching of black men still happened. When laws prohibited racial intermarriage.
The woke’s attempt to equate today’s “systematic racism” with yesterday’s Jim Crow is an slap in the face of my generation who took on a task that no previous generation had dared try. Compared to others who put their lives on the line, my contribution was small. I taught in a GED program in Athens, Ga. in the 1960s while I was stationed there in the military. I broke ground at the Marquette University Tribune, for the first time bringing the student newspaper’s influence to bear to challenge housing segregation in Milwaukee. I did what I could.
That was a turbulent time, when the brave dared to speak on behalf of racial justice, when doing so would ostracize you and make you a pariah. When the issue would divide family and friends.
But it was a time of earth-shattering change. Not just in the elimination of racist law, but of major cultural change. When appeals to conscience led to significant attitudinal changes throughout White America. When more and more people came to believe that racial justice was just the right thing to do.
I will not allow the ignorant or self-satisfied hard left lecture my generation–or anyone else–about systemic racism. It doesn’t exist. And those who baselessly insist that “we know” that it does exist, are driving us further apart. As if in our hearts we are lying to ourselves.
Keep it up, progressives. You’re driving us deeper into the “two Americas” that Dr. Martin Luther King warned us about. Instead of two Americas separated by socio-economic class, it will be two Americas separated by a chasm of hatred.