The only hope for the betterment of the black race (and the white race)
The question is posed in the discussion following “The New Messiah” whether the racial problems of blacks are ever going to go away.
I offer this only tentatively, as it is simply a gut feel and an instinct in me that doubts there will ever be a cultural or political solution.
The racial problem in America is never going to go away. On what basis do I feel this?
1. I’ve stopped believing that a mixture of races can work, that one race can pull up another, or that races can “mix” (physically or culturally) to produce a “better human being.”
2. The black race has an ongoing alibi not to do the right thing. It is much too easy for human nature to fall back on a built-in excuse than to strive to become better. The issue of slavery will never be forgotten as long as there exists one black person to refer to it and bring it up. We would have to burn all our history books to excise that memory. Not that one has a right persistently to recall slavery but the fact is that this recall is available at a moment’s notice.
Saul Bellow has a brilliant novel, “The Victim,” which explores this situation. In his story, person A preys upon person B, victimizing him by constantly bringing up B’s dependency upon A from prior years. Until “the victim” B finally rises up to extricate himself from A’s continuous recall.
3. As a Christian, I think that the only hope for the betterment of the black race is a spiritual commitment to Jesus Christ in which the Holy Spirit purges the black soul of sin and the black psyche of historical resentment. Anything less and we will always have problems of one sort or another. Once God resides in the black person through Christ, then all the riches and resources available in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 8:9, Philippians 4:19, Ephesians 2:7) are there at his disposal to wipe away all actual and/or perceived historical griefs and complaints. Then that person will become a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17); otherwise the old creation in him will always fall back on the old memory, the old complaint, the old excuse.
2 Corinthians 8:9 “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that you through his poverty might be rich.”
Philippians 4:19 “My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory through Christ Jesus.”
Ephesians 2:7 “That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”
2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
This is a magnificent statement, and I agree. It seems to me that I’ve never seen anyone say this before. The solution cannot be in the “horizontal” dimension, that is, in the relationship between blacks and non-blacks, because blacks will always be behind on the level of earthly functioning, leading to unjust racial resentment on the part of blacks and undeserved racial guilt on the part of whites. The solution can only be found in the “vertical” dimension, that is, in the relationship between each black person and God through Jesus Christ, who will put each person’s self in true order and true freedom and remove the focus on the “horizontal” differences and inequalities. Each black person will then live and perform and fulfil himself as a human being according to his own aspirations and abilities, without comparing himself to whites. If the vertical relationship is made right, then the horizontal relationship can be made right as well.
This is not a complete solution, however, since the overall differences between the two groups’ respective levels of abilities and collective ethnocultural identities will persist. Therefore what Milton Gordon called structural pluralism, meaning separate development in the familial, social, residential, and educational areas, would probably be appropriate, and would develop naturally.
The bigger and tougher question, which neither Mark K. nor I have yet addressed, is whether even the spiritually healed black people whom we are imagining will have the aspiration, desire, and ability to identify with the shared public culture of whites. And of course whites also must have the same reformation—unless we’re imagining the whites to be acting like a huge bunch of neocons who are proposing religion for others while not believing in it for themselves.
Zachary W. writes:
I respectfully have to disagree with Mark K. Consider the following thought experiment. Let’s say everybody on earth except American blacks disappears from the earth. Let’s say we have twenty years notice that this is going to happen, and do everything we can to prepare blacks for running the world. How long before anarchy prevails? How long before the use of technology comes to a complete halt? How long before the influence of intelligent and farsighted blacks (who make up a very small proportion of the race) becomes swamped by a critical mass of power-seeking Big Men and their thrill-seeking followers? I’d say two generations; about 60 years (perhaps less if only those with less than 25% white DNA are allowed to stick around). Civilization is not for everyone. It seems to me that blacks don’t even like civilization. They thrill at the freedom of anarchy. Look at their contributions to “culture.” They came here as slaves; it’s a liberal fantasy to think they can function as free men.
I wonder if your view as pessimistic as mine?
I think you’re too pessimistic and your scenario is too extreme. There are black countries that function, though not on a high level, and they could function better.
Also, your thought experiment is not real, because in reality we inhabit this planet together. So the question is, what do we do about that? If what Mark K. proposes were to happen, I think it would have the effects he talks about. But it may never happen. What then? Or, it could happen partially, among some blacks, and that would have an uplifting effect, but not among others. People do not appreciate the degree to which Christianity lifted up African blacks from where they were before.
I don’t have an overall answer to these problems. I propose an orientation. I say that to the extent that we go beyond liberalism and rediscover the correct “vertical” relationship (with truth which is above us and above all) and the correct “horizontal” relationships (valuing our own culture, and understanding the differences between our culture and other cultures) we will be enabled to move in a better direction, and possibilities and understandings will open up to us that are not accessible to us at present.
Jeff in England writes:
Sorry to break into this with sentiments you might call “liberal,” but the fact is that many UK and American black and black mixed race people are, with or without Jesus, raising themselves up financially, spiritually, socially, politically etc and are not focusing on blaming white society. Thomas Sowell, Larry Elder, Oprah Winfrey are well known examples. As is Obama. The most successful venture capitalist here in Britain is of black mixed race (I forget his name). I can cite many others, some of whom of whom I personally know here in Britain. My local health shop owners, whom I am close friends with are a black family (who are all atheists) who have created a successful business of the highest standard. They can’t brook black people complaining about whites.
My observation is that an increasing amount of British and American black people (still a minority I grant you) are moving forward in their lives and throwing the old blame whitey paradigm aside.
Does that mean I will not criticise the negative aspects of American and UK black culture in general? Of course not? Black culture has been a disaster for themselves and their neighbours. I am extremely critical of various parts of black culture. In addition, I am as critical as anybody when blacks resort to the “blame whitey” scenario.
But there are too many examples of black people in the West improving themselves, while dropping blame, not to see that it is possible for many people in the black community to change radically.
Now, one might argue that the number of people lifting themselves up and not blaming whites is still a minority and perhaps will never be a majority. Or that perhaps the rate of increase of positive black transformation will slow down or even come to a complete halt. Or that their rate of lifting themselves up is much slower than many other groups in the prosperous West. Or that with interracial coupling on the increase, many of the black people who are lifting themselves up are part white etc.
Or, as one featured blog entry suggested, without Jesus Christ black people cannot be saved from their lower natures (I’m not going to get into that one right now!) These are all points that need further discussion.
But let us not ignore the current positive trend in self-improvement among many black people.
Janet R. writes, an Englishwoman who moved to Brazil many years ago, writes:
I live in Salvador in Brazil which has the highest population of black people in Brazil (80%) There is violence here but the state of Bahia certainly doesn’t have the highest indices of violence in Brazil. That particular trophy goes to a state called Pernambuco whose inhabitants are a mixture of Portuguese and Indian and incidentally was colonised by the Dutch for 24 years. The problem with security in Brazil is the result of impunity at all levels.
Most of the people here are very humble, honest, hardworking, generous and well meaning. Their lives are incredibly difficult but they seem to cope with a mixture of resignation and good humour. I have never experienced any animosity here because I was white but I did experience that attitude when I lived in the Caribbean 30 odd years ago.
Most of the crime is carried out by street kids or drug traffickers. However, cable tv. is now becoming prevalent here even amongst the poor and I have noticed a worrying trend. The youngsters involved in robbery and drugs are now dressing like American rap artists. I worry that the young black people here in Brazil will regard these singers as heroes will adopt the nihilistic attitudes of American blacks and that would be awful.
Brazil never had a Black Pride movement and one of the saddest things I have ever seen was a young, hard working and ambitious girl railing to God because she was born black. People might say that it is just the same as being born blind or crippled but I don’t think so somehow.
Jay M. writes:
On the black question, the answer is as simple now as it was in the age of Monroe. We must aim to right the strategic error (to ourselves and to blacks) that was committed by the importation of unassimilable Africans into our continent. Their presence here poses a permanent threat to the cultural self-determination and freedom of both groups (although ours is of the principle concern to me).
Their presence creates a permanent bulwark for leftism and hatred of our history. We must aim to close the circle and become a whole people again. If we truly seek a solution, then the only real and permanent one is to right the mistake and grant them their ancestral lands back.
Given the “permanent bulwark for leftism and hatred of our history” that the organized black community in this country represents, your proposal could arguably be the answer to the betterment of the white man, but we’re discussing the betterment of the black man. Further, if the spiritual change that Mark K. talks about were to occur (and what he proposes is no more outside the realm of possibility than what you propose), blacks would cease being a permanent bulwark for leftism and hatred of our history.
Mark K. writes:
Concerning the question of a spiritual solution to the black problem in America, I tried primarily to address the issue of black resentment and grievance. Whether it is real or perceived, I’ve come to the conclusion that blacks, like the protagonist of Saul Bellow’s “The Victim,” will always use this “memory” to paralyze their perceived victimizer and extort concessions.
The “fact” of slavery will always be there to be used whether in myth, legend or reality—and it appears there is no statute of limitations in which time will have run out on this fact. Two hundred years from now, both liberal and black will have access to this “starting point” and use it time and again.
I’m under no illusion that suddenly every black person will undergo a “road to Damascus” conversion. But I also don’t think that we are helpless in this conflict. The Book of Chronicles states that, “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” So there is the promise that God will turn towards us if we turn towards him. So this is not a one-sided deal—God makes his power available to a nation. That is why I quoted in my original article how Paul talks about the “riches” in Christ Jesus being available. There are resources a nation can depend on and use beside the material and economic. That is a sentiment that many founding fathers of this nation relied upon—it is not a unique and extraordinary concept unknown in our history.
How does one expunge from memory a past that one can either truly or falsely use? By becoming a new creation. This is not just a religious or spiritual ploy but a psychological move. Can a person or group, who comes from a past of slavery (and who may depend upon that alibi falsely ad infinitum and ad nauseam) care about the past if he is made a son of God and has been raised with Christ to heavenly heights (as Paul puts it)? How significant is such a past (whether it truly is significant or being used in an illusory way) when one’s present standing is as a son of the highest with an unlimited future?
I completely agree with you that there has to be a vertical dimension to this problem. Conservatives who are not religiously inclined will be skeptical about such a proposal. As will those frauds who are making money off persistent resentment. This is not a completely thought out program for deep social reform—as I said it was primarily an intuitive feeling about how to approach the problem of social and historical memory.
In part this line of reasoning was also triggered by several articles at VFR and elsewhere discussing the messianic appeal of Obama’s rhetoric which in some measure presupposes accepting this line of black grievance\resentment based on a historical memory and acceding to it by electing a black as president. But as you pointed out, will such a “concession” to black interests really “atone” for the past in the fulfillment of a presidential role for a black? In fact, let’s take a real example from the world of sports. Baseball “broke the color barrier” decades ago with Jackie Robinson and that is trumpeted as a landmark. Yet what is the most famous baseball player—Barry Bonds—now known for? Steroid use and a continual hatred of whites—despite the elevation of this black athlete to the top of the pantheon. Obama may be elected president, and as you have noted, his church preaches economic parity for the black—a parity based on past resentment used ad infinitum until there is a complete social financial redistribution. And even if there is complete socialism, black resentment will continue—Barry Bonds making hundreds of millions of dollars continues to make snarky comments about white people.
Yes, it was evident in your opening comment that your idea is the Christian opposite of Obamania. Obamania says that America heals its racial ills through the act of white people opening themselves to a black man as to a god or messiah; his supporters even call Obama “the One.” But, as you point out, elevating blacks into gods changes nothing. Since this process only consists of humans elevating humans, it doesn’t change anyone’s nature; the racial grievances born of ordinary human egotism and anger remain and grow.
By contrast, your Christian approach says that America heals its racial ills by turning away from the obsessive focus on the unresolvable “horizontal” relationship with the racial Other and turning upward to the true God. Finding our true self in God, we are then shown how to have a correct relationship with the human Other as well. And this correct relationship is not the same as the compulsive niceness, weakness and stupid self-sacrifice that is inculcated by liberal Christianity.
True Christianity is centered on God, and properly ordered relations with our fellow men grow out of that. God both calls us beyond our ordinary self and places limits on us. But in liberal Christianity the relationship with our fellow men comes first and foremost, while God and his truth have been relegated to the background. Without God and truth, there is no inherent limit on the demands that can be placed on us in the name of the human Other. Liberal Christianity thus becomes a cult of suicidal self-sacrifice one one side and spiritual extortion on the other. This is because the Other to whom we are sacrificing ourselves is just a flawed human being like ourselves whom we have falsely elevated into a god.
Mark Jaws writes:
If I were dictator, which is the only way to make the following prescription possible, I would allow intelligent, law-abiding, responsible black men to engage in polygamy, and thereby spread their seed much more robustly than today’s situation, which tolerates the rabid procreation by irresponsible, impulsive, low IQ black men. Of course, it would take centuries to get them up to our level.
I understand what you’re saying, but I can’t post something like this. I’m not going to post things urging controlling the breeding habits of an entire race.
Mark Jaws replies:
Of course, I understand your not posting something like this, but I would not characterize the Mark Jaws Polygamy Project as an attempt to “control the breeding habits of an entire race.” Rather, it simply allows the better of us to spread their seed more robustly. And let’s face it, Mr. Auster, that is what has propelled man throughout the ages. For thousands of years the harsh and unforgiving climate of the Eurasian Land Mass turned the lights out on the duller and dimmer bulbs, while only those with 60-watt cerebra could survive and thrive. Unfortunately, no such winnowing of the dull bulbs occurred in the tropics, and now we are stuck with tens of millions of tropical dull bulbs with dim wits imposing themselves on our welfare system and civilization.
Yes, of course, if only the right half of the IQ bell curve of blacks (or of any group) had children for a few generations, the average IQ would rise dramatically. But no human force could possibly have the power to make such a thing happen. There are things that are outside human power.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 09, 2008 09:49 PM | Send
Short of such a wild utopian project, what can be done? I think a re-traditionalized society is the best thing. Imagine if blacks had traditional morality and got married before having children. That in itself would dramatically raise them up from the extremely low, chaotic, savage state so many of them are in now. But that change would require the end of liberalism, both racial liberalism and moral liberalism.
By the way, remember when illegitimacy was a central concern of conservatives, especially of the neoconservatives? They’ve dropped it, along with so many other isssues they once claimed to care about. I think the death knell of their sexual traditionalism may have been Francis Fukuyama’s book The Great Disruption, in which he argued that it is impossible to return to traditional sexual morality. He and the other neocons think it’s impossible, because they don’t believe in God and a truth higher than man that can give man the true order of his being. They just believe in some Hegelian progress of society, in which truth is ever changing, and in which it’s the intellectual’s job to adjust himself to each new stage of the advance (such as sexual liberation).
That’s why neocons change long-held positions without taking responsibility for the fact that they are doing so. For them there is no truth, there is just the pragmatic adjustment to whatever is. It’s also why they are so into making predictions. If there is no enduring truth of existence and man’s nature, but only whatever is emergent in society, then it becomes a central intellectual occupation to predict what is coming. Putting one’s energy into predicting the next trend, and the next trend after that, and the outcome of the next primary election, and declaring who is the front runner for the next five minutes, is the neocons’ debased version of the philosophical search for truth.