1 : a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race
2 : racial prejudice or discrimination
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney gave a speech to the NAACP on 10 July that pretty much mirrored the speeches he gives to other groups: smaller government, economic and academic choice, and nuclear family values. At one point he said:
“As you may have heard from my opponent, I am also a believer in the free-enterprise system. I believe it can bring change where so many well-meaning government programs have failed. I’ve never heard anyone look around an impoverished neighborhood and say, “You know, there’s too much free enterprise around here. Too many shops, too many jobs, too many people putting money in the bank.”
This attitude that black folks may want the same things as most other people didn’t sit well with some people. In particular, Women in NAACP Chair Charlotte Stoker Manning said:
“I believe his vested interests are in white Americans. You cannot possibly talk about jobs for black people at the level he’s coming from. He’s talking about entrepreneurship, savings accounts — black people can barely find a way to get back and forth from work.”
Read that quote again. Ms. Manning is saying, in so many words, that because a person is black, they’re incapable of starting a business, saving money, or getting to work. That’s the definition of racism. If a person of any other race had said that, they’d rightly be excoriated. It’s nearly unbelievable that anyone, particularly someone who works for an organization that ostensibly works to advance black interests, would make that comment. And make it in public. She, and by extension the NAACP, are telling blacks to their face that they’re incapable of doing things everybody else takes for granted.
Slavery was abolished in this country in 1863. Blacks lived in the limbo between freedmen and equal citizens for the next 100 years until they, and sympathetic whites, decided they weren’t going to take it any more and brought about the social change that was the Civil Rights movement in the early 1960’s. There followed a steady increase in black opportunity. I figured blacks had pretty much arrived by the 1990’s, when the term ‘subtle racism’ appeared. If you have to start inventing concepts to make your point, that’s a good indication that the original problem no longer exists, or at the very least greatly ameliorated.
But in the world of the NAACP and other race industry players, it’s always 1930. You can’t control people unless they buy into what you’re selling, and what the race industry is selling is oppression and dependency. Concomitant with the increase in black opportunity in the 1970’s was the desire of the race leaders of the 1960’s to hold on to power. So they started telling blacks that their every problem was due to the color of their skin.
Can’t get a job, people don’t like you, can’t buy a house? It’s ’cause you’re black, brother. Your problem isn’t that you don’t have skills, or you’re a jackass, or that you don’t have a down payment and good credit, The Man, specifically, the White Man, is holdin’ you down. It’s a racist nation, but stick with us, and we’ll get you some government programs. We’ll make Whitey pay for those centuries of slavery. Oh, and don’t try to get ahead. We’ve got to stick together. You see someone doing well, you tell’em they’re ‘acting White’, and you make sure they don’t leave the reservation.
So the racial power structure, composed of erstwhile black civil rights leaders, and well-meaning but ignorant whites, built an entire culture based on black victimization. We now have an entire segment of the population stuck in economic and social neutral, and by some measures like teen pregnancy, employment, and academic ability, actually going backwards.
Meanwhile, group after group of immigrants have come to the US and done pretty well. Hispanics came and took many of the low wage jobs held by blacks, realizing, as black leaders did not, that good performance in a menial job leads to higher paying opportunities later. Immigrants from Nigeria, Somalia, Ethiopia, and the Caribbean, all of whom look pretty black to me, have come here and done well. And they’ve done this without the tremendous advantages of 1) being born here, and 2) speaking English.
It used to be that a black man working as a janitor would be stuck in that job for life, but that hasn’t been true for decades. Were I a black man stuck in a cycle of generational poverty, seeing the tremendous gains made by people who look like me, and hearing nothing but promises of more ‘struggle’ from my leadership, I’d start to wonder who the real racists were.