Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Regarding race...

Recently I had an exchange with a mutual friend on Facebook over issues of race.  Here is her latest question and my response.

It's interesting to me that you used the term "privileged" since much of my recent discussions on the subject of racism has been about acknowledging white privilege and trying to convince white people that our responsibility is to recognize our advantages and use whatever power and advantage we have to speak out against oppression. What sanctimonious lecturing are you hearing? Do you think black people, in particular, are treated the same way as white people? If not, what would you like to see happen, ideally?

I understand if you're just tired and don't want to respond, but I hope you will.

I've given some thought to your queries, and I'm afraid I can't get too much into the weeds over this, but I think my biggest problem with white liberals regarding race issues is that they tend to speak with such righteousness and authority - when they really have no clue about what it is to grow up black in this country.  

Obviously I don’t either, but I would never presume to tell someone, no matter their color, to ‘check their privilege’ .   I think such a statement is supremely arrogant and also disingenuous in that it comes almost always comes entirely from privileged white people.  

In other words, the relentless, humorless and accusatory path taken most often by people on your side of the political spectrum, does way more harm than good in bringing people together.  Our country is more divided now than ever, under a black democratic president, but I don’t hold our president entirely responsible, I mostly blame the white elitist dogma that he subscribes to.  Micro-aggressions and trigger warnings and all this other bullshit do nothing but piss people off on both sides of the aisle.  When someone says, ‘check your privilege’ they are really saying ‘agree with me or shut up.’  

Well sorry, I’m not on board with that.  I have no idea what it is to be black, but I don’t want to hear one word from a white person regarding this.  I’ll stick with actual black people and not necessarily race baiting extortionist shysters like Al Sharpton.  I throw my hat in with conservative black intellectuals like Clarence Thomas, Larry Elder or Senator Tim Scott, because - I’m a conservative and independent thinker and these men are as well.  

But beyond that, these guys actually walk the walk.  They are not only actually black but all three of these men grew up poor.  Thomas was the great grandchild of a slave and didn’t have running water in his house until he was 7 years old.   Elder grew up in Compton, dodging bullets on the way to school.  Scott’s single mother worked 16 hour days to support her family in the working class poverty neighborhood of Charleston.    These men grew to greatness through hard work, the grace of God, and the opportunities provided to them by the greatest country on earth; never blaming others for the obstacles in their way, including actual racism on a regular basis.

The utter lack of respect and humility from the left regarding men like this, who happen to believe in free market capitalism, the right to bear arms and the American dream; is what pushes me away from listening to liberals about race.   I don’t want to hear how Clarence Thomas is an ‘uncle Tom’ or how Senator Scott betrayed his race - especially from porridge brained white college students who haven’t done anything or been anywhere.  I recognize that there are also liberals who despite lots of real world experience, still cling to the infantile notions of utopianism and the idea that poor people can’t help themselves without the government.   That’s not me.

In my 20’s and 30’s I traveled all over the world in my work with NGO’s, and I have been to dozens of third world countries and been knee deep in actual poverty - seen with my own eyes starving children and their desperate mothers.  I can’t come back to the United States and condemn the only economic system that actually works to bring people out of poverty.  I also have a hard time sympathizing with iPhone using activists who want to tear down capitalism and punish those who have been successful at it.   

I hope this illuminates my perspective a bit, you may of course disagree - goodness knows most of my friends and family do; but this is where I’m coming from.  Thankfully I don’t believe that my politics are my identity, and that there’s a lot more to life than who or what I vote for.  I can have strong opinions about which means to an end will work best, but the end that I want is the same as most Americans, liberal or conservative.  Peace and prosperity for my kid and her kids.

I’d be happy to hear more about you and your experiences and feel free to lay on the lib-speak, though I should let you know that growing up in Berkeley I’ve pretty much heard it all.  Yes, I’m pretty much set in my ways, and I try to remember that most other people are as well - sometimes I forget and share inflammatory posts from Matt, but hey, I’m only human.  :)