In light of the death of Trayvon Martin and the racialist agitation that has followed, perhaps a gander at ethnic relations is in order.
Baldilocks takes a broad look at the black community over the last few years. She has found it wanting.
Black Americans are, for the most part, a tribe. Some will take offense to that opinion, but if we look into the specifics of our existence as Americans since the practice of enslaving imported Africans became widespread, we see that there is nothing else that we can be called.
Remember, our ancestors, of various West African tribes, were bought here, sold, and forcibly stripped of their various names, languages, cultures, and religions. That conditioning created a new tribe: the Negro. And even after the abolition of slavery, Americans of African descent were confined to a certain level of society. A few managed to break the barrier, but the vast majority remained in the legal, economic, educational social and tribal space into which the US Supreme Court decision Plessy v. Ferguson allowed state and local governments to pen them.
…in the days before the Civil Rights Era, being a black American was a matter of shame and degradation, but the idea of “Black Pride” served to counter that. The concept of Black Pride, while initially a good thing, has brought black Americans from one extreme mindset and deposited us into another. It took us away from the shame of being black to a place in which no one may criticize a black person who is deemed to be in good standing with the “tribe.” Many (most?) black Americans believe that blackness is a way of thinking and a political position and, stemming from these ideas, that any black person who deviates from the “black” mindset and political position—a black conservative–isn’t really black. This idea stems further from the Left co-opting “black pride” and using it to keep anger and grievances alive long past their dates of pertinence. The purpose of this tactic is to keep the wedge open between black and white Americans, drive it wider, and produce violence. We’ve seen it happen many times. The ultimate purpose, taken together with many other tactics, is to destroy America.
Keep reading. It’s chock full of wisdom. I’ll be here when you get back.
Here’s my take-away:
A sort of obvious truth about tribalism is that tribes require leaders. A tribe needs a chief to set the tone and tell the folks what to do. In this instance, who are the leaders of black Americans? Specifically, who are the self-appointed chiefs of the tribe?
Lets look at the three most important non-politicians in the black community. The Reverend Jesse Jackson hasn’t had an actual ministry since the Earth cooled, but thankfully that leaves him plenty of time for racial shakedowns of prominent corporations. Louis Farrakhan is an amateur numerologist and a professional anti-Semite. Al Sharpton has been a particularly loud and obnoxious character for decades.
In a sane world, people like Sharpton, Jackson and Farrakhan would be marginal figures with roughly the same Q factor as Ulan Bator’s assistant secretary to the weekend manager of the municipal waste department. In 21st century America, Al, Jesse and Louis are given prominent forums to spout their infinite supplies of nonsense. Many black folks in the States look to these men for guidance. The white liberals who dominate the mainstream media grant Sharpton, Jackson and Farrakhan the kind of deference usually afforded to foreign heads of state.
If Al Sharpton’s National Action Network had a track record besides massive property destruction, divisive racial politics and lynching, maybe he could earn the right to speak for black people. If Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH Coalition was in the business of actually helping black-run businesses instead of just extorting rich companies for Jackson’s self-aggrandizement, perhaps this civil rights organization might do some real good. If the Nation of Islam wasn’t just a vehicle for Jew-bashing, Louis Farrakhan might be more than just a hateful clown.
Of course, all those hypotheticals are impossible. The chiefs of the tribe are who they are. Hoping that these guys change their characters is a doe-eyed wish. Instead of that, maybe Americans of all colors should look for better leaders for black people.
Even better, what if black people just stop having leaders in the first place?
Think about it. Do white people have ‘white’ leaders? Do white people need white leadership? Does any other population group in the United States have leaders based strictly on racial background that are remotely similar to Sharpton, Jackson and Farrakhan in terms of their media and social stature? Maybe La Raza could be considered an example of Latino ethnic tribalism, but even that is a stretch compared to the power of Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton. In fact, the notion that white people or any other racial group require a set of self-appointed chiefs who profess to look out for the concerns of his or her race is absurd.
The truth is that most black leaders do nothing to advance civil rights or promote racial tolerance. They’re really good at promoting themselves, becoming wealthy and driving a wedge between black people and the rest of the US . But none of that actually helps non-black Americans. More importantly, the current crop of America black tribal chiefs don’t help black people either. Their strategies haven’t made a dent in the unemployment rate, poverty rate or any other measure of achievement you care to use.
Since these leaders pretty much all suck at the very thing they profess to be experts at, why not just ignore them?
The minute everybody figures out that the Sharpton/Jackson/Farrakhan Axis of Lame only exists to get rich off their rube followers and white guilt liberals will be the same minute America finally grows the hell up and becomes the post-racial country we keep saying we want to be.
Sorta Related: Don’t get it twisted. In some contexts, a little tribalism is not a bad thing. Being a fan of a particular NFL team is basically harmless. The only thing a person will lose by joining a spin class at the local gym is a few pounds. Lots of the small potatoes sub-culturey things that people do are not detrimental to the larger society. In fact, many of our voluntary associations do very great and very necessary things.
When we lose sight of the massive difference between joining a trade organization and becoming a part of a separatist movement, that’s when Americans lose sight of why the United States works so well.