Tuesday, July 23, 2013

2nd/3rd line inheritors of the civil rights movement gotta find a new hustle...,


hoover | Today's black leadership pretty much lives off the fumes of moral authority that linger from its glory days in the 1950s and '60s. The Zimmerman verdict lets us see this and feel a little embarrassed for them. Consider the pathos of a leadership that once transformed the nation now lusting for the conviction of the contrite and mortified George Zimmerman, as if a stint in prison for him would somehow assure more peace and security for black teenagers everywhere. This, despite the fact that nearly one black teenager a day is shot dead on the South Side of Chicago—to name only one city—by another black teenager.

This would not be the first time that a movement begun in profound moral clarity, and that achieved greatness, waned away into a parody of itself—not because it was wrong but because it was successful. Today's civil-rights leaders have missed the obvious: The success of their forbearers in achieving social transformation denied to them the heroism that was inescapable for a Martin Luther King Jr. or a James Farmer or a Nelson Mandela. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton cannot write a timeless letter to us from a Birmingham jail or walk, as John Lewis did in 1965, across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., into a maelstrom of police dogs and billy clubs. That America is no longer here (which is not to say that every trace of it is gone).

The Revs. Jackson and Sharpton have been consigned to a hard fate: They can never be more than redundancies, echoes of the great men they emulate because America has changed. Hard to be a King or Mandela today when your monstrous enemy is no more than the cherubic George Zimmerman.

Why did the civil-rights leadership use its greatly depleted moral authority to support Trayvon Martin? This young man was, after all, no Rosa Parks—a figure of indisputable human dignity set upon by the rank evil of white supremacy. Trayvon threw the first punch and then continued pummeling the much smaller Zimmerman. Yes, Trayvon was a kid, but he was also something of a menace. The larger tragedy is that his death will come to very little. There was no important principle or coherent protest implied in that first nose-breaking punch. It was just dumb bravado, a tough-guy punch.

The civil-rights leadership rallied to Trayvon's cause (and not to the cause of those hundreds of black kids slain in America's inner cities this very year) to keep alive a certain cultural "truth" that is the sole source of the leadership's dwindling power. Put bluntly, this leadership rather easily tolerates black kids killing other black kids. But it cannot abide a white person (and Mr. Zimmerman, with his Hispanic background, was pushed into a white identity by the media over his objections) getting away with killing a black person without undermining the leadership's very reason for being.

The purpose of today's civil-rights establishment is not to seek justice, but to seek power for blacks in American life based on the presumption that they are still, in a thousand subtle ways, victimized by white racism. This idea of victimization is an example of what I call a "poetic truth." Like poetic license, it bends the actual truth in order to put forward a larger and more essential truth—one that, of course, serves one's cause. Poetic truths succeed by casting themselves as perfectly obvious: "America is a racist nation"; "the immigration debate is driven by racism"; "Zimmerman racially stereotyped Trayvon." And we say, "Yes, of course," lest we seem to be racist. Poetic truths work by moral intimidation, not reason.

In the Zimmerman/Martin case the civil-rights establishment is fighting for the poetic truth that white animus toward blacks is still such that a black teenager—Skittles and ice tea in hand—can be shot dead simply for walking home. But actually this establishment is fighting to maintain its authority to wield poetic truth—the authority to tell the larger society how it must think about blacks, how it must respond to them, what it owes them and, then, to brook no argument.

7 comments:

Ed Dunn said...

Is Shelby Steele the pot calling the kettle black? Mr. Steele also has his supporting role of this whole race stage play and that role is the foot shuffling Uncle Tom for the neo-conservative voice. Neither the Civil Rights wannabees or the Uncle Toms play any valid role in this globalizing economy.

Who need either of these worthless hot air bags babbling about domestic black/white matters when China influence is growing, the Hispaniolization of America is emerging and Africa is developing itself into an emerging economic powerhouse to be reckoned with? Only the 19th century thinking dinosaurs care about either of these two entities in the 21st century....

CNu said...

Without exception Ed, these WWE characters compromise themselves with partisanship deviating from the black partisan. That said, black folks are not collectively amenable to an unvarnished black partisan agenda. Take your experience with widespread adoption of your own agenda as the proof case whereof I speak..

umbrarchist said...

Is Africa becoming a powerhouse or a pawn of the Chinese?

CNu said...

Lebensraum...,

Constructive_Feedback said...

Brother Ed and Brother CNu:


While I have a revulsion for POLITICAL Black Conservatives in the same way that I do "Embedded Confidence Men Black Progressive-Fundamentalists" - we have to also acknowledge that when it comes to having the power to convince the "Black Rank & File" to corrupt their own permanent interests - the embedded position of the "Embedded Confidence Men" make them far greater "molesters" of Black people's DEVELOPMENT interests.

Ed Dunn said...

I guess being a pawn would be a step up from what the British and American Empire done for hundreds of years.

CNu said...

I'm not quite willing to concede that point Ed. However, once you know by word of mouth and first hand how long and how hard the battle has been fought here in the homelands...., everything else is merely conversation. Have you read Black Empire yet?

Honestly Not Sure How A Turd Like This Calls Itself A Scholar.....,

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