Sometimes I think some people still think we are living in 1962 when it comes to race relations in this country. The honeymoon period after Katrina hit the Gulf Coast lasted about 24 hours before people were calling each other racists.
Over the weekend I saw a news report on television where a reporter questioned a black woman who claimed she was on the roof of her house watching the rescue helicopter fly over her repeatedly without picking her up. The lead in to the interview suggested the woman's race may have been a factor. Many notable black leaders, including Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and Mayor Ray Nagin have suggested that if New Orleans had been inhabited by rich white people, the federal government would have responded further. They have also questioned why more of the people in charge of the relief effort aren't black.
While I was doing a google search to collect my thoughts for this post, I came across a post
by Kirsten Anderberg that suggests Katrina was actually a form of racial "genocide". She claims that the only people who deny racism in this country are whites. It is a clever technique Ms. Anderberg uses. Call all white males racist. When they deny it, question their credibility since they are white males. Either admit to being a racist openly or be convicted based solely on your denial. That's fair.
I am tired of hearing the Christian white male being equated with racists. I am a Christian white male, and I am not a racist. I would never discriminate against someone based on the color of their skin. But the common perception is that whites are just ignorant to their own behavior and discriminate without even realizing they are doing it. As a result, the actions of whites toward blacks are constantly viewed through a prism of racism in the backs of our minds. The white helicopter pilot is called a racist because he passed over the black family sitting on their roof in order to save the elderly white woman stranded in three feet of rising water in her car. Is that fair to him?
Usually I don't even think about race. In fact in my conversations with fellow conservatives, race is rarely discussed. We don't make conscious efforts to discriminate. On the contrary, we usually go out of our way to make sure everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed. When we suggest the 1% of Americans that pay 50% of the taxes should get a break we aren't even considering race. We just see an unfair tax system. When we balk at the idea of state run healthcare race isn't a factor, economics and making sure people get the proper care are. When we ask to see identification at the polls it isn't to intimidate minorities from voting, we just want to make sure people don't vote twice or in the wrong district. We want everyone to play by the same rules on a level playing field which is why we react with shock, outrage and denial when we are accused of racism.
I will never forget in my old job as a manager when I hired an African-American. While I was training this guy we talked about our personal lives while we got to know each other. He had a high school diploma with some college and 10 years experience in the military. One day the topic of college came up and I will never forget what he told me. He said, "Mike, you just don't understand. My folk (blacks) just don't have the opportunity to go to college like your folk (whites) do." I told him I completely disagreed with that. Everyone has the opportunity to go to college these days. No college turns you away because of the color of your skin. The government doesn't say you can't go to college. Financial aid is available to everyone to make college affordable. If you don't go to college it is because you chose not to, not because you can't.
But that is what is wrong with our society today when it comes to race. Minorities are told the forces are lined up against them and "The Man" is determined to keep them down. Many people prey on this mentality. They tell minorities "The Man" doesn't give a damn about them. They tell them "The Man" wants to increase their taxes so "The Man" can make more money. They tell them "The Man" wants to prevent them from voting so they can't improve their desperate situation. They tell them "The Man" doesn't want to educate their children so the next generation of their family can clean "The Man's" toilets and wash "The Man's" cars.
Minorities soak these messages in and come to a conclusion. They figure the best they can hope for is complete dependence on the government. They think their only chance to get ahead is to hope for a minimum wage increase. They listen to politicians who tell them free healthcare supplied by Uncle Sam is the only healthcare they will ever qualify for. They think they have to apply for food stamps to feed their families. They never apply for better jobs because they think "The Man" will deny them of it. They believe their only hope for a comfortable retirement is a monthly social security check. They believe they are victims. They deny the freedom and opportunity of the American Dream applies to them. Their will is broken.
I submit that while slavery is dead in this country, the mentality of white superiority still lives on. In the 18th century slave owners used to mentally break the will of blacks by physically beating them in front of their families. They were put into a mental state to believe things were never going to change and the best they could hope for was the benevolence of their master. The owner was saying, "Life on the plantation is all you can hope for. Listen to me if you want what is best for you
." Today is much the same, except instead of using whips to break their will, people use words.
African Americans in this country need to step back and look at their situation. On one side they have a party that says we don't care about blacks, but we also don't care about whites, hispanics, asians, or arabs. We care about Americans. And we want all Americans to live under the same set of rules which allow you to reap your own rewards for your own hard work and ingenuity. On the other side they have a party that says beware of "The Man." Only we can give you what you need. In other words they are saying, "Life on the plantation is all you can hope for. Listen to me if you want what is best for you
." If blacks seek to find the true racists in this country, all they need to do is turn around and see who is holding the whip.