Friday, April 20, 2012

a kid with skittles

Kunstler | The crucial moment in this recent history of race relations, it seems to me, must be located in the events between 1966 and 1970. This was the historical moment that followed the deconstruction of legal race codes with the passage into law of the Public Accommodations Act of 1964 and then the Voting Rights Act of 1965. These two legislative milestones, promoted and signed by Lyndon Johnson, were supposed to conclude the unfinished business of the Civil War and emancipation, which had festered so long in the Jim Crow inurement.

The expectation was that the removal of legal obstacles to full citizenship would hasten economic justice and cultural equality, but just then something curious happened: the youth revolt of the late 1960s was underway and young black America immediately opted for separatism. Opposition to anything and everything was the motif for my generation back then. A few years after the 1964 Public Accommodations Act passed, the black students at my college demanded (and were given) their own separate student union building. During the riots that followed the Kent State shootings in the Spring of 1971, somebody burned the building down - a mystery never solved.

I believe the black separatist movement of that time derived largely from anxiety around the issues of cultural assimilation - that is, of black and white America forming a true and complete common culture. In any case, it was at this moment of history that the multicultural movement presented itself as an "out" for white America. Multiculturalism allowed white America to pretend that common culture was not important. It also promoted the unfortunate idea that we could have a functioning civil society with different standards of behavior for different ethnic groups. It has left the nation with the unanswered question of black America's self-evident failure to thrive, and an enormous body of narrative affecting to explain it away as "structural racism."

Bill Moyers did not even attempt to address the failure to thrive question in his interview with Angela Glover Blackwell. Both of these people are about as well-intentioned as anyone in the country where race relations are concerned, but neither of them were able to honestly confront the issue. My own opinion is that it's about behavior at least as much as its about race and probably more, and we continue to make tragic decisions in this country about what behavior is okay and what's not. Are there proportionately more black men in prison than members of other races in America? Yes there are, and most of them behaved badly enough to get locked up, whether our drug laws are stupid or not. Is something preventing black children from learning in school? Probably a number of things, but I would begin absolutely with the duty to teach them to speak English intelligibly - something that nobody expresses any interest in, especially white Progressives. Do white people fear black males who affect to act as if they are dangerous? Maybe black men should stop trying to scare people. Are these "racist" observations or exercises in reality-testing?

I doubt even that question can be settled conclusively in our time. The truth is that white America is too uncomfortable with the discomfort of black America and white America will do anything, and will bend any view of reality, in order to avoid the most frightening outcome of all, which is the possibility of race war.


CNu said...

Half of American children under the age of 18 are of color - “America doesn’t want to talk about race,” Blackwell states, but says
the future “is a five-year-old Latina girl. It is a seven-year-old
black boy. What happens to them will determine what America looks like.”

“And so this country, as a democracy, really cannot expect to
continue to be proud on the world stage, competitive in the global
economy, or having a democracy it can put forward as working in a
multi-racial society if we don’t invest in the people who are the

Tom said...

So far I'm still a multi-culti guy w/r/t how the majority should interact with folks who decline to assimilate.   What else are you going to do?
 But it's refreshing to hear a challenge to Multi- that doesn't seem to be insane and dripping with venom.  (Am I naive?  I'm not familiar with the guy, is he pushing something unhealthy in general?)

CNu said...

What else are you going to do?

The Old Order Amish don't assimilate, but they're productive, keep to themselves, commit an undetectable number of crimes, and have no bearing on the popular culture. They will survive contraction and collapse, matter fact, they'll absolutely thrive.

Grill in the mouth, pants on the ground, not so much....,

Kunstler wrote The End of Suburbia

Tom said...

Well, I think the mainstreams of US Black & white culture are both way too caught up with narcissistic youth crap.    

For all both "races" pretend to be so much at odds, the fact is most of us seem to have assimilated surprisingly well culturally.

Tom said...

Ok we don't like each other.  We look at each other and say "omg what idiots."  But except for that, in some ways we're two damn peas in a pod.

makheru bradley said...

Are these "racist" observations or exercises in reality-testing?  They are absolutely racist. Kunstler's thesis is that left unto itself Afrikan American culture produces bad behavior that assimilation into European American culture would have prevented, but Afrikan American youth opted for assimilation at the optimal moment for integration. First of all the overwhelming majority of the students (who were a small percentage of Black youth) demanding Black Studies and their own student unions at majority white universities quickly integrated  into corporate and government jobs as soon as opportunities became available. Only an infinitesimal number of these students made efforts towards "separate" economic development in their own communities. So much for their separatism!

As regards mass racial incarceration, equally bad behavior by white youths (drugs, etc.) does not result in their incarceration even when they are arrested, as several studies including Michelle Alexander's "New Jim Crow" proves.                                                                                                                                                

Of course it's racists to ignore the impact of structural racism. Per a February 2008 article by Pam Martens:       

[According to a comprehensive report from the nonprofit group, United for a Fair Economy, over the past eight years the total loss of wealth for people of color is between $164 billion and $213 billion, for subprime loans which is the greatest loss of wealth for people of color in modern history:                      

"According to federal data, people of color are three times more likely to have subprime loans: high cost loans account for 55 percent of loans to blacks, but only 17 percent of loans to white." If there had been equitable distribution of subprime loans losses for white people would be 44.5 percent higher and losses for people of color would be about 25 percent lower.  "This is evidence of systemic prejudice and institutional racism." Before the current crisis, based on improvements in median household net worth, it would be 594 more years for blacks to achieve parity with whites. The current crisis is likely to stretch this even further.]

Likely is an obvious understatement and this data are from Feburary 2008, seven months before the bubble totally imploded on 9/15. How many billions of dollars have been added to those loses since then?

Kunstler is way off base on this one.                                                                                                             


CNu said...

Why are the old order Amish and the Hasidim so much more successful with their explicit and rigidly enforced separatism Bro. Makheru?

Tom said...

(Poking my nose in, one difference but I'm sure not a success factor on its own, neither of those groups give two hoots about the majority culture.  Either way.   We could all dry up and blow away and I don't get the impression they'd be particularly happy or sad about it.   [It's easier for them not to care, because we don't go after them, etc.])

CNu said...

rotflmbao..., neither of those groups give two hoots about the majority culture.


Give the man a prize for defaulting STRAIGHT to the obvious!!!

2nd/3rd line inheritors of the civil rights movement are SO SUBSERVIENTLY IN THRALL TO THE WHITE GAZE - it's actually astonishing at times that they manage to pull up their own pants and buckle up their own bootstraps - yet got that bottom lip poked out so far

makheru bradley said...

That's elementary. They came here voluntarily and they've since been able to keep their traditional culture intact. Their families were never destroyed, then reconstituted, only to be disintegrated again. They pose no threat whatsoever to TPTB. They have not been institutionally targeted by group-specific laws and forms of oppression.    

CNu said...

really..., the ultra-orthodox never experienced unrivaled sheer collective horror?!?!?!?

nah, "bro." makheru - I think the only real difference is the one that Tom called out, and, the fact that they don't perpetually whine and do the same, sorry incompetent shit over and over again expecting a different outcome - that - and they still maintain the respect of and control over their own young.

Big Don said...


DD said...

 Yes exactly, like the "other" supermodel on TV says, "You're either in, or you're out."

So if you are in, put on the booty pad and shake your moneymaker for the dollars. Same problem with the Tea Partiers as with the multiculturalists-- you don't have to pay taxes, speak like a newsanchor or dress the way the rest of us like, but you might want to pave your own roads and start your own social security system, ala the Pythians and other OG social security collectives.

And as for starting at a disadvantage, it may be sorta true, but I don't see the asian families with 4 generations in one house running two businesses complaining, nor do I see the African cabbies working 60 hour weeks and sleeping four to a room complaining either, they just get after it and maintain their own culture, acknowledging the costs of not assimilating. Deatheaters know no racism, they'll have you if you join the team. And the Big Culture will happily let you be a cog, and it's usually the easiest way to maximize your own return, which is why so many of us do it and then bitch about it.

makheru bradley said...

As Kunstler said those Afrikan American arrest rates are all about "bad behavior."

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