Ambiguous Traces Of Race

DATELINE JULY 17, 2003. Linda Chavez's article deserves a spot here. Her new book: An Unlikely Conservative is rising up the charts, and pleasures me, and frankly I'm happy to report, she's no David Horowitz, whose flipside conservatism at first thrilled me, but now chastens me, as I realize to what lengths he wishes to mimic the opposition, merely to win a political football game. Fight boldly, fight wisely; use every muscle available, but keep it honorable.

Whatever happened to the idea that righteousness is its own reward? But back to the article at hand—how did Chavez, a former liberal, become "the most hated Hispanic in America"? According to Townhall book reviewer Sherri King, it's because "she is an Hispanic who has rejected the politics of ethnocentrism for the unifying power of old-fashioned liberal democracy and made good on the promise of the American dream." Chavez' book is "part political memoir and part autobiography," and you'll eat up her tales of working in the Reagan White House.

Chavez in her own words (mine in italics): The NAACP is America's oldest civil rights organization, and for years stood as the moral conscience of the nation, fighting for the rights of black Americans to equal treatment at the polling booth, in the schoolhouse, in the courts and in the marketplace. How sad, now, that this venerable institution has been turned into a caricature of its former self.

Absolutely scary, isn't it? I'm damned grateful that clear thinking Americans in MY generation have learned to discern the difference between pride and prejudice, racism and identity, slavery and competition, hard work and hardly working. I am proud of the miles most Americans have moved past the shackles and lunch counter era, but for some people, the past is always nostalgic, and their reasons are legion.—GT

Its leaders are stuck in a time warp, imagining they still live in a world of pick-ax-wielding bigots and lynch mobs. NAACP chairman Julian Bond, a veteran of the civil rights movement and a former Georgia state legislator, has been reduced to ugly name-calling in order to attract media attention. At the NAACP convention meeting in Florida this week, Bond accused the Republican Party of "appealing to the dark underside of American culture. . . . Their idea of reparations is to give war criminal Jefferson Davis a pardon. Their idea of equal rights is the American flag and the Confederate swastika flying side by side," he told a cheering crowd.

Mister Bond, also from Georgia, also nearby, in my present neighborhood. Taller than I imagined, yet also decidedly more lifeless. Yes, I have met the man on two occasions, briskly handsome like new steel in his expensive university letterman's jacket and chisled stone expressionless face, he seemed to exude the promise of, not of vacuous ambiguity but of bold paradox, a mixed signal to those outside his running crowd. His palor of warm, even comforting awareness and of a distant, indifferent unapproachable engagement, a silent preditor, or perhaps one marked for his troubles with the stain of Cain (see trash DNA)—GT

The group no longer has an agenda, other than to "uproot the bigger 'Bush' in 2004," as Bond promised. But the putatively non-partisan group may run into problems fulfilling that goal, given its declining status. The NAACP has become so irrelevant that even Democratic presidential aspirants—none of whom could hope to be elected without winning 90 percent of black votes nationwide—can afford to boycott the group's annual meeting. Senators Joe Lieberman and Dennis Kucinich and former Missouri congressman and House minority leader Dick Gephardt all had "other commitments" that prevented them from attending the convention.

With the stability of the world in jeopardy, who has time for the rantings of a man mad on the hope that old symbols still work new miracles? In an era of massive illiteracy, why is the only history some folks recall is the history of the losing side of the war most have agreed was fought and finished nearly 150 years ago without a hint of recognition for the preceding 150 and the 150 since, thus filling them with admiration for the social progression which continues to this day as a beacon to the nations, for where else do as many cultures and races intermingle and have such a strong degree of power in the running of that nation, but HERE, HERE IN AMERICA, nowhere else, my friends.—GT

Bond’s race initiative crudely deforms the very face of common decency. Somehow, each radicalized liberal seems to think that victims of crime (innocent or otherwise) are criminal, and criminals (guilty or otherwise) are mere pawns in a parlor game being systematically crushed by the race-oiled wheels of justice. Nonsense of the lowest order.
Bond may not recognize it, but racism is no longer the major problem facing American blacks. For the minority of black Americans—23 percent—who lived below the poverty line in 2001, discrimination isn't to blame. What is? A list of likely culprits would surely include the collapse of the black family, the failure of the public schools and black-on-black crime.

Indeed, as written somewhere else in this SWORG manifesto of voices, the poor in this country have mostly themselves to blame for their continued sorry state. It's all in the attitude, or spirit. Where the flesh fails, often the spirit succeeds. Where the spirit fails, not even the flesh can succeed for long. But the blame game, now THAT seems to last forever, doesn't it?—GT

National Center for Health statistics indicate that with two out of three black babies born to unwed mothers today, black children are far more likely to grow up poor than youngsters from any other group. And according to the Census Bureau, black children in single mother households are nearly five times more likely to live in poverty than are black children born to two-parent families; 47 percent of black youngsters under 18 who live in female-headed households are poor compared to only 10 percent who live with two parents. The problem of illegitimacy has plagued the black community for nearly 40 years, but goes unaddressed by the NAACP or any other major black organization.

Unfortunately, throughout this past century, the least financially and psychologically prepared populations always seem the most eager to reproduce, thus increasing the misery of that unpreparedness or poverty exponentially. There are a myriad of reasons driving this irresponsible behavior, even a few, if not completely valid, somewhat understandable defenses dealing with social-preservation at some deep-rooted level. But then self-justification at the expense of favorable results has just about run its course, and should be replaced in social policy by greater considerations and better execution of the rewards of self-reliance, self-inclusion (not the "self-exclusion" of race-based biases and dependencies), and self-awareness, the latter whose absence creates not a colorblind society but merely a blind one.—GT

Julian Bond

Julian Bond

Julian Bond did talk about education in his convention address, but most of what he said took the form of vicious attacks on both Gov. Jeb Bush's and President Bush's education reform efforts. "Gov. Jeb Bush's notion of school reform is going to send black children to reform school," Bond said of Florida's efforts to put an end to promoting kids from grade to grade even if they haven't learned anything. So-called "social promotions" have resulted in schools graduating black high school seniors who—on average—read at the eighth-grade level.

Case in point. Not much to add beyond what I pointed out in the above characterization.—GT

Bond also talked about crime -- but his sympathies were directed exclusively to the criminals. He bemoaned the sorry fact that 12 percent of all black men between the ages of 20 and 34 are incarcerated, and the NAACP has made voting rights for felons one of its top legislative priorities in recent years. But what about the black victims on whom these criminals prey, the men and women who work hard everyday, only to be beaten, robbed, raped and murdered, not by Ku Klux Klansmen but by predators in their own communities? If the NAACP were truly concerned for the plight of black Americans, wouldn't it be pushing for more police and tougher sentences for violent offenders, not worrying about whether it can deliver more jailhouse votes to the Democratic Party?

reggie-white-and-wife-sara

Reggie White and Wife Sara

Indeed. Bond's race initiative crudely deforms the very face of common decency. Somehow, each radicalized liberal seems to think that victims of crime (innocent or otherwise) are criminal, and criminals (guilty or otherwise) are mere pawns in a parlor game being systematically crushed by the race-oiled wheels of justice. Nonsense of the lowest order.—GT

There is much work left to be done if the lives of America's poorest blacks are to improve—but the NAACP seems to have little interest in tackling the really tough issues, unlike the late great Reggie White. Instead, its leaders would rather blame latent racism and Republicans, and look to government to solve the problems of a community whose only hope is to heal itself as dignifies any free people.

Back to the basics, folks, back to the basics. Yet, as for the Republican Party, let's let these other companies fail WHEN they fail. Yes, Virginia, The playing field IS slanted, toward powerful corporations and against the insignificant man, no matter what his color or proximity to God.—GT

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