Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Tragedy of Race in America

From Crisis:
“Civil rights” leaders and opportunistic politicians, in effect, have told people in the Black underclass for a long time that they don’t have to be responsible. All of their woes are caused by “racism,” instead of their actions or inaction. They have bestowed upon it what I call an “angel complex.” The effect of this is just to encourage more anti-social, irresponsible, and destructive (including self-destructive) behavior. They have also led it to believe—contrary to the clear evidence—that they can only be victims of racial prejudice, never perpetrators of it. So, the Justice Department doesn’t make an issue of election-day harassment by members of the New Black Panther Party. The Obama administration hardly mentions interracial crime targeting Caucasians, even though the federal government’s own crime statistics indicate that it is much more frequent than the other way around.

Then there are ongoing racial preference policies in the workplace and education (even if the most egregious schemes in public higher education have been disallowed by the Supreme Court). If it were the other way around these would be considered blatant racial discrimination that would bring down the full force of federal and state law.

School textbooks exaggerate the role and contributions of members of racial and other minority groups (even homosexuals) in American history, while dismissing or even denigrating towering figures like our Founding Fathers. They even treat as a given such spurious claims as that Africa was the cradle of the human race and civilization. It’s interesting that surveys are increasingly showing that Caucasians believe themselves to be victims of race prejudice, even while many “civil rights” apologists insist that such “reverse racism” isn’t possible. Curiously, while these same apologists are eager to accuse the Republican party, conservatives, Tea Partiers, etc. of “racism” they conveniently ignore the fact that the Democrats were the party of Jim Crow (let’s recall the one party “solid” Democratic South) and, before that, of slavery.

What has happened with race in America is what Pope St. John XXIII cautioned about in the encyclical Pacem in Terris (#97) regarding ethnic and other minorities in the developing world. As a reaction to their problems or past injustices, they “frequently tend to magnify unduly” their people’s characteristics, exalting them “even above those human values which are common to all mankind.” In effect, in the name of equality propagandists have made minorities (racial and in other categories) unequal—not just by officially favoring them, but also by viewing them as not subject to the same moral and other weaknesses and temptations as the rest of the human race and as not bound by the same moral law. Racial equality and minority advancement, to say nothing of brotherhood, cannot result from pretending that a situation is other than it is or routinely pointing accusing fingers without justification.

Good race relations must proceed from truth. Human dignity is not a one-way street. It cannot be achieved for minority groups by denigrating what’s called the “majority”; it has to prevail for both. As Blessed Pope Paul VI said in the encyclical Populorum Progressio (#44), a better world must be brought about “without one group making progress at the expense of the other.” There are some who think that it’s just for historically dispossessed minorities to thump the other side when they get the chance. In fact, not only is that not true justice but also shows an absence of the social charity crucial for good race relations and for a sound political community generally. (Read more.)

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