How to fix race relations in America
“Katrina, Aftermath Galvanize Black America,” says the headline from the AP. The story begins:
To African-Americans, Hurricane Katrina has become a generation-defining catastrophe—a disaster with a predominantly black toll, tinged with racism…. “You’d have to go back to slavery, or the burning of black towns, to find a comparable event that has affected black people this way,” said Darnell M. Hunt, a sociologist and head of the African American studies department at UCLA.And it’s not just the black intellectuals and leaders who are throwing this poison into our society. According to a poll cited in the AP story, “66 percent of blacks think the government’s response would have been faster if most of the victims had been white.”
So, black America is expecting lots of action—large-scale, very expensive, very onerous action—by whites to help the black victims of the disaster. Yet at the same time the black community as a community (when you have virtually all the leaders plus 66 percent of the grass roots saying the same thing, that represents the community) is putting out this hateful, incendiary, wacko charge that white racism was a major cause of the catastrophic mess in New Orleans.
All of which raises a very obvious question that almost no white person will ask aloud. Under these circumstances, why should whites want to help blacks? Why should they want to come to the assistance of people who regard them as racists? In individual terms, would you put yourself out to help someone who falsely and absurdly and viciously blamed you for the fact that he was in trouble? I wouldn’t. I don’t think any normal person would. But, on a collective, racial level, that’s what whites do.
So, I have a modest proposal. Whites should start saying to blacks: “If you want help from us, then drop the racism charge, now. If you keep calling us racist, if you keep saying that George Bush or the federal government or white America deliberately stranded blacks in the Superdome because they’re blacks, then we’ll have nothing more to do with you. We won’t give you a bare penny beyond what’s needed to keep you alive and get you resettled somewhere. And whatever we do give you, it won’t be in a spirit of generosity, but of cold necessity.”
Such uncompromising frankness by whites is the only way out of the racial double standard that has dominated our society for decades and keeps getting worse. It will release whites from their pathetic racial dhimmitude toward blacks, and it will shock blacks into adopting a more decent and respectful attitude toward whites.
But if whites keep permitting themselves to be called racists and don’t react, if whites show no respect for themselves, why should blacks respect them?