Why blacks are happy

All along, I have dismissed the idea that the election of Barack Obama would somehow heal the black problem in America. As I pointed out, blacks would still be in exactly the same “left-behind” condition relative to whites after his election that they had been in before his election. So their reasons, specious though they were, for believing that white racism was the determinant of their lives would still obtain, and American race relations would remain as they have been.

But then, during Obama’s press conference the other day, his passing reference to himself as a “mutt” led me to suggest the possibility that the remark may signal a very salutary change in his personal consciousness of race as a result of his election, namely a lessening of the importance of his racial identity as a black, along with the experience of oppression, real or imagined, that that identity carries with it.

Now Kristor has a story about a lifelong black friend of his which indicates that something like Obama’s “mutt” reaction (as I interpreted it) may be occurring throughout black America.

Kristor writes:

I had a phone message the other night from one of my oldest and dearest friends, rejoicing about the Obama victory. He is a black man, brilliant in his way, kind, and a true and beautiful soul. We have known each other, and loved each other, from boyhood, as boys will, and then men, who have been through much together. We were choirboys in the same sublimely excellent Anglican choir of men and boys, and there as boys and young men we experienced together, through sacred music, the uttermost conceivable heights of the mystical ascent, short of a complete departure from this physical frame. That shared ascent has made all of us brothers, who were thus together patient of divine participation, and who by our innocent puerile art, and our earnest longing, and by our childish humility helped each other thereunto. So, whatever his politics, I love this man as a mere man, a fellow soul in travail; and so also does he love me. We love one another, with pure hearts, fervently. And, whatever defects I may detect in his political reasoning, I respect and admire him as a fellow incipient angel.

He was happy about the election. And this is what he said: “I am a black man. And today, I feel I have been accepted, by America, in just the same way I was always totally accepted at church when I was a little boy. I cannot tell you how great a relief this is; I cannot tell you how much better I feel.”

This made me deeply happy. If the election of Obama has the effect of making black people of good will feel as though they are at last accepted by the white majority culture as legitimate Americans, this can only bode well for blacks, and for America. If the election of a black man as the President of this Nation can heal at last the wound of slavery, then so be it. If this is the price of getting these valuable men and women out from under the burthen of their heritage, that has loomed for them so amazing heavy, then by God it is a price worth paying, to make them patriots, and brothers in arms.

How might that play out, in practice? Two days ago I was walking to the train from my office, and passed the black man who always panhandles at my stop. I thought, for the very first time in 13 years, “OK, big guy, now what’s your excuse?” My attitude toward him, I found, had changed. No longer was he primarily a black man, oppressed by the white man and thus exculpable; now, thanks to the fact that a black man would be my President, he was simply a man. His moral failings, that had put him in the position where panhandling was apparently his best bet, were simply his own moral failings. They had nothing anymore to do with the color of his skin. They had nothing anymore to do with the fact that I was white. And so, he had lost all the moral traction over me, that—despite my conservative doctrine of man—he had formerly enjoyed, by virtue only of the happenstance of his skin. He was now a man, no more—and no less. This change ennobled him, even as it debased him. For it made apparent to me—and thus, in some inscrutable way, to him also, and inescapably—that moral calculus of the world, which of course proceeds always upon its inexorable path, regardless of any creature’s fond desires or delusions. It showed that he is unexceptionable. And this made him for the first time culpable for his condition, wholly and personally culpable. He cannot ever again say, and completely mean, that his situation is due to racism. He must take responsibility.

Now, can this change of attitude be other than good for him, or for America? Note that it is a change in a white American. Let the black panhandler keep thinking that his predicament is all due to racism; Obama’s election has proven otherwise, to him who has eyes to see, to any but the moral idiot. And this, I would argue, is hygienic, because it cleaves us closer to the truth.

I leave aside, of course, the question of Obama’s socialism and hatred of America. Those are different questions, orthogonal to the question of race. We are accustomed to dealing with such questions in our politics, from FDR down to Kerry. And, now that a black man is to be our President, how can it be cogently argued that differences with his policies are due to racism? Are not such arguments, however passionately urged, utterly vitiated by the mere fact of Obama’s election? Obama’s victory means that his socialist policies may be debated as policies, rather than as tokens in a racial accounting.

It may also be found that, in prevailing, Obama finds his hatred of America evaporating. He may, he just may, perhaps, find that, like my boyhood friend, he has been accepted by America; and so he may for the first time be able to admit how very badly he has wanted that acceptance, how very much he has loved and desired the American ideal of virtue from which he has always felt himself categorically excluded, and how glad he is to be finally and simply an American, a beloved son of this our fair republic. He may now finally relax about his race. And that would be good. For he would then govern as a patriot; a foolish sophomoric socialist, but a patriot, who loved that land that had at the last welcomed him as its own.

Don’t get me wrong, I oppose everything Obama advocates. But this may all yet work out OK for us. We may find that the debate between liberalism and traditionalism has now been shorn of its racial vector. The mere fact of Obama’s Presidency may allow for a realignment of the strongly traditionalist black culture with that of traditionalist white culture, in rather the same way that traditionalist American Anglicans now find themselves allied with Nigerian Anglicans. Black and white Evangelicals and Baptists have much more in common with each other than they do with liberal culture, just as conservative Protestants have more in common with conservative Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians (and, indeed, even Orthodox Jews), than any of them have in common with their liberal co-religionists. If there is any rationality in the black community, then Obama’s election is more likely to quench the fires of black anger than to fan them, with the result that more blacks will awaken to their true interest, not as black men vis-à-vis whites, but simply as men; and to what truly, and only, serves that interest: virtue.

- end of initial entry -

Paul G. writes:

My good friend has a black friend who voted for Obama, and is naturally ecstatic that his candidate won. This friend (the one who voted for Obama) recently joined a group on Facebook called, and I quote, “My President is Black and I was Apart of It.” Now, black Americans have been consciously anti-intellectual for decades, and white Americans have been emulating them for years. What more ironic expression of the mediocre results of such a joint venture than to misspell the chosen name of a widely seen public forum? This is the kind of mistake that my higher level Korean ESL students would make.

Mike Berman writes:

Kristor wrote:

“If there is any rationality in the black community,..”

That’s a mighty big IF. Once blacks start understanding that BHO’s election doesn’t translate into a house and a Caddy, we can expect a new level of bitterness:

Terry Morris writes:

I’m not a big believer in overnight conversions, I don’t see much evidence that they happen at all except as very infrequent exceptions to the overwhelming rule. And even then there’s a lengthy transition period that is traversed. Therefore, while I highly respect Kristor and while I derive my own measure of joy that a kindred soul feels from the joyfulness of the other, I just don’t see an overnight conversion, or even a long term conversion for that matter, occurring with Obama or with black America in general. Black America can only be happy, and be proud of America as America exists now, as it continues to degenerate further, and mutate into something it was never intended to be. Obama may feel some passing emotional attachment to America for the next few weeks or even months, but when the new wears off and the pressure’s on, the old Obama will resurface and it will be all race all the time. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

Mark A. writes:

I must say I am speechless. Has Kristor been following the events unfolding in South Africa? (Or any former colonial outpost in Africa for that matter?) Blacks account for 80 percent of the population; whites a mere 9.5 percent. All of the problems of South Africa are still blamed on the white man. Affirmative Action is more rampant there than the United States despite the fact that the blacks have their country back and account for 80 percent of the population. The notion that Obama is going to move U.S. blacks to a higher level of understanding and responsibility is pure fantasy.

Brandon F. writes:

Kristor writes beautifully and effectively, although, I think, with all due respect, he got a little emotionally carried away.

I also have hoped that Obama would temper his race based politics once the immensity of the office he will soon hold has settled on his soul.

I will be more impressed personally when not one man ascends to such an office but when many men remove from their lives the systemic violence and substance abuse that so infects black America.

Three of four men in prison in the U.S. are black. When that ratio is more in line with the overall population then we can celebrate.

Mark Jaws writes:

Kristor wrote such a nice uplifting letter. For a few seconds I actually thought that perhaps the Obama election might indeed usher a rapprochement between blacks and whites. Then, the cold, grim, realistic truth returned. There will never be a lasting era of good feelings between blacks and white because there will never be equality between the two groups. Not in this millennium anyway. The harsh reality is that within weeks of Obama’s inaugural he is going to enact or announce his support for policies which will put him at odds with conservative white America—be it amnesty, gun control, or the “Fairness Doctrine.” The minute blacks see their Messiah come under harsh attack they will instinctively circle the wagons and this false fuzzy feeling will vanish as quickly as Kugel (noodle) pudding at a Bar Mitzvah.

Sebastian writes:

Sorry to throw a wrench into the love-fest but personal anecdotes aside (and I agree blacks are happy right now), Obama’s election will only further cement their commitment to the Democratic party and thus to the politics of deconstruction they represent. All non-whites, actually, will forever see the GOP as a kind of white minority party even if it better represents their moral convictions, e.g. California’s Prop. 8 passed with the help of Latino and black supporters who also voted Obama. Let me give you my own anecdote.

Friday night I was at an art opening for a white British painter in Harlem. The crowd was wealthy and cool, unattached thirty and forty-somethings as one would find anywhere else in Manhattan except they were mostly black. There were also a good number of southeast Asians, Caribbeans and non-white Latin Americans. I know and like some these black guys in part because they are very entrepreneurial; real American risk-takes who start small companies, go under and then rebound. Eventually talk of Obama led them to ask my opinion.

I congratulated them but told them I was a small government guy who supported Reagan and Ron Paul (bear with me) and explained that Obama’s economic policies would hurt entrepreneurial types like them who relied less on formal education and more on initiative and low taxes than someone like me who could abscond himself at a huge law firm or international corporation. I explained further that the revitalization of Harlem from 1980 to 2008, which this event was in part celebrating, had occurred under five Republican administrations and only two Democrat ones, and that Clinton had governed, at least economically, as a quasi-Reaganite. It was the Great Society that threw black neighborhoods into slum status, not Reagan and Bush. I also reminded them of the TV show Good Times and its depiction of what career black politicians had done for blacks—keep them down. I suggested that socialism was for losers too afraid of risk and liberty, and thus unworthy of men like themselves. And besides, Obama’s mother is white and his dad Kenyan: what does he have to do with blacks in Harlem?

Their response: the GOP is racist, period. Even if taxes went up they wanted more government benefits, especially for their families. Paranoid talk about the war in Iraq being launched to thin the black population. They cursed Palin with a viciousness worthy of party ideologues condemning someone to death. Whoever southerners voted for they considered racist. On moral issues, these guys would be considered extreme homophobes by white liberal standards, but it simply did not matter—Obama is their savior (his picture as a backdrop to their Blackberrys) and my polite attempts to link our common economic interests were dismissed as propaganda.

Further, the other non-whites jumped in more aggressively and went on and on about the racism and nativism of the GOP on immigration (they seemed to have no idea McCain pushed for amnesty; they get their news from The Times and CNN). They all formed a common front against, in the words of a Colombian immigrant, “rich white princesses and their scumbag banker boyfriends”—a comment directed at me and my girlfriend that my black friends squelched as going too far.

I’m sorry—it’s hopeless. Obama’s presidency may well lead to a rise in white racial consciousness but I’ve see nothing to indicate that the tribal mentality of American blacks will abate. And the Hispanic in particular seem, I’m very sorry to say, viscerally to hate white people. Obama represents a class and Third World revolution. Now we are hearing that Britain must elect a black to redeem itself. It’s going to get worse.

Sebastian continues:

Blacks will be on board if and only if whites support Obama or their candidates. They expect whites to vote Obama without ever mentioning that they support black candidates almost unanimously. That is, they’re okay so long as whites abdicate completely as a group while they retain a strong group identity. “Post-racial” politics is a scam. Shelby Steele had a very good comment on Obama’s politics:

But there is an inherent contradiction in all this. When whites—especially today’s younger generation—proudly support Obama for his post-racialism, they unwittingly embrace race as their primary motivation. They think and act racially, not post-racially. The point is that a post-racial society is a bargainer’s ploy: It seduces whites with a vision of their racial innocence precisely to coerce them into acting out of a racial motivation. A real post-racialist could not be bargained with and would not care about displaying or documenting his racial innocence. Such a person would evaluate Obama politically rather than culturally.

Adela G. writes:

Are you and Kristor going to share your recipe for Kool-Aid or just leave the rest of us mired in our reality-based glumness?

LA replies:

It’s called discussion, Adela. Someone advances a view, and if it’s flawed, others step forth to correct it. And do I need to remind you that in Jonestown, where 900 people were ordered to drink the proverbial Kool-Aid and then drank it, there was no discussion? -

Philip M. writes from England:

Only a hard-hearted, cynical pessimist could fail to be swayed by Kristor’s hopes for a racially healed America. Well, allow this emotionally-retarded limey to step forward! As a non-American I cannot know as Kristor does the way things seem on the ground over there, but I would dispute whether these hopes could really accord with what he describes as his “conservative doctrine of man.”

First of all, he offers an example of how the election of a (half) black man may lift the burden of the heritage of slavery for blacks. But in the example he gives, it is he, not the black man, who is being relieved of a burden—the burden of feeling somehow responsible for the poverty of the black panhandler. Just who is being relieved of the burdens in this new Obama-nation?

He says that for the first time he can see the black man as just a man, and therefore his situation is down to his moral failings, and is not Kristor’s responsibility. But if you believe in racial differences, surely his being black will statistically make him more likely to be without a job, go to prison, or become a panhandler. If race has nothing to do with this, how are we to explain the hugely different positions of white and black America? Surely a frank admission that race does indeed influence our life chances, but that this is not due to white oppression, but racial differences, would be the more conservative position, coupled with an insistence that the best way out of poverty for all races is self-reliance rather than bullying others into giving them guilt money. From his language, it does seem as if Kristor has been made to feel guilty for things that were not his fault.

Seeing a black man as “just a man” sounds like Marxism, and I am not sure blacks would want to be seen this way. When I have been on black forums and well-meaning whites have expressed their colourblindness, typically blacks have responded that they want their race acknowledged, as it is an important part of who they are. Would the election of Hillary Clinton have started making you see women as “just people,” and would that translate into more women chess grand-masters and physics majors—as this surely must be the hope and expectation of blacks? And if in twenty years progress in these areas has not been made, what will be the response of the brow-beaten white man, who feels crushed with guilt at the sight of a black homeless man, to accusations of racism in the chess and physics world? Will you tell your President that the lack of black physicists is down to their own moral failings as individual men? Do you think Obama would accept this? Do you think the white liberals in the media and the Democrats, who have just discovered the secret of turning racial animosity and guilt into a winning electoral coalition, will ever allow you all to be “just people”?

Having said that the election of Obama destroys any claim by blacks to claims of oppression, Kristor then says:

“Let the black panhandler keep thinking that his predicament is all due to racism; Obama’s election has proven otherwise, to him who has eyes to see, to any but the moral idiot.”

So in the end he concedes that the black man on which he bases his hypothesis will probably not in fact change his view of white America. But surely it is these very people, the moral idiots, the ones who need excuses, that were the problem in the first place? Perhaps middle-class blacks will now think America less racist, but then they never were the ones who were going to be hassling Kristor at bus stops anyway. The dangerous blacks, the failures, and those more likely to commit crime, by his own admission, will probably not change at all. Kristor feels his burden towards them has been lifted—good. But given that this burden of white culpability was dreamt up by black agitators, and willingly accepted by Kristor himself despite his never having oppressed blacks, surely this rather points to a future in which the most pushy blacks are given the right to decide how morally culpable whites are, and then demand concessions and power to assuage white guilt? Where is the line in the sand, Kristor? As you look around at the poverty and hatred of the black community, which Obama has laid at the door of whites, at what point would you tell the proverbial panhandlers to get lost? And will they be any less likely to whup your ass just because they detect a new burden-free tone in your voice?

Laura W. writes:

Kristor’s comments are thoughtful and resonate with beautiful Kristor-ness. I question, however, whether his friend was celebrating only Obama’s blackness. It’s probable he accepts Obama’s political views as well. America at this moment is not celebrating Obama’s blackness. It is madly and passionately reveling in the perceived moral superiority of Obama’s political views, which contrary to what Mr. Auster said yesterday are no mystery, but have been stated and clarified over and over again for eight months. If Obama was the exact same man, with the exact same personal history, but espoused conservative beliefs and said, for instance, that the reason so many blacks are in prison is that they commit more crime, not, as the real Obama has said, that they suffer economic injustice and discrimination, no one would be wearing a “My President is Black” T-shirt, everyone would be saying Obama is really white, and many would be calling on America to elect an authentic black.

If a woman were elected, I’m sure decent women would feel the genuine joy experienced by Kristor’s black friend. Women have been raped, beaten and held in inferior status by men throughout history. Some have a very real inferiority complex. Overall, we have a lot of work ahead of us if the presidency is going to be fully therapeutic. We need a Mexican president and an Asian president. Then we will need to cycle back to a black president, followed by a woman president. But, of course, the symbolism will only be used as an excuse. It will only be a facade.

Jake Jacobsen writes:

I think you’re all missing the point. The question isn’t whether Obama’s election will cause a change of heart in black folks, but in white ones, and that’s exactly what we see happening here.

“Two days ago I was walking to the train from my office, and passed the black man who always panhandles at my stop. I thought, for the very first time in 13 years, “OK, big guy, now what’s your excuse?” My attitude toward him, I found, had changed.”

Kristor’s guilt had been expunged, Kristor is now able to get past his enervating racial guilt and begin evaluating his fellow black citizens on their own merits instead of seeing them through (presumably) the leftist prism we are all handed at birth and which is reinforced via educational institutions and the media.

This is exactly what I thought an Obama win would presage and, lo and behold, empirical proof! :)

LA to Jake Jacobsen:
Interesting comment, Jake.

Jake replies:

Thank you!

I literally thank God on a daily basis for my blue collar upbringing and for having worked in a blue collar environment for the last twenty five years (kitchens).

I think most folks who’ve come up as I have tend to be race realists due to the simple exigency that we’ve been exposed to folks of all races, creeds and colors. Seen the good and the bad.

I find a lot of the modern hand wringing over race tends to come from “educated” folks who work in clean offices and most likely don’t ever deal with folks of other races (my wife’s office in downtown Chicago has had two black employees in the last ten years, both very low level and one Hispanic), and as a result have no life experience beyond the Cosby Show with which to make honest racial judgments.

I think Obama’s election is going to force Americans, who are by nature extremely squeamish about race issues, to come to grips with a lot of home truths of the sort dealt with on your site. Keep up the good work!

LA continues:

Jake said, correctly, that the most important question is not how blacks will react to the new situation, but how whites will react to it. The particular white reaction that he sees happening is the disappearance of white guilt. However, there are other, less happy, white reactions that are also possible. For example, whites may believe that, since the U.S. now has a nonwhite president, America and the white West must henceforth explicitly embrace (not just inchoately move in the direction of, via non-discrimination) the goal of turning themselves into nonwhite societies.

Mark Jaws writes:

Poor Kristor. To have so long harbored guilt upon seeing a black panhandler. Here is what I believe is a more realistic and helpful attitude when I encounter a black panhandler in the Rosslyn section of Arlington, Virginia.

“Poor black fellow. Life is indeed painful for those born on the left side of the Bell Curve. What a tragedy to live in such a wonderful country but without the requisite intelligence to fit in and to lead a productive life. It must be especially bitter for this hapless soul because the liberal white establishment has successfully stifled debate on inherent group differences and somehow convinced millions of blacks and whites that (non-existent) white racism is the only reason this fellow is a panhandler and that his fellow blacks are at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder. It is sorry indeed—for all concerned parties.”

You see, Kristor, I harbor no such guilt. Because of whitey’s technical prowess and creativie genius blacks in America have benefited in ways their ancestors thought unimaginable. It is that simple. Blacks and non-white Latinos have a standard of living in the West that they would NEVER be able to otherwise achieve. In fact, most of them and their third world cousins would not be alive today had it not been for the advances in medicine ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY championed by white men and women. For that reason they ought to be grateful and we ought to be able to express that simple fact.

LA replies:

In this connection I have to ask Kristor, did he really mean what he seemed to mean when he said:

My attitude toward [the panhandler], I found, had changed. No longer was he primarily a black man, oppressed by the white man and thus exculpable; now, thanks to the fact that a black man would be my President, he was simply a man.

I would find it very surprising and out of character that a conservative thinker such as Kristor would have harbored such thoughts until four days ago.

Kristor writes:

The funny thing is that I don’t really disagree with any of the comments posted in disagreement with mine. It’s just that I had these two experiences that bespoke something different, and was trying to understand them in the context of the truths spoken by the other commenters in this thread, which I had already taken on board long since. The only way these experiences made any sense to me at all was as evidence of some sort of phase change in race relations.

I didn’t mean to suggest that the phase change would be pervasive, much less that it would be instantaneously so. Nor do I think that, even if it were pervasive and instantaneous, it would be any sort of panacea.

Philip asked some interesting questions about my experience with the black panhandler. I should explain, in answer to most of them, that I never felt a shred of “white liberal guilt” over oppression of the black man, because I have never participated in any such oppression. What I realized had changed as I walked past the panhandler was his own moral landscape, which must, if he is any sort of man at all, affect his own understanding of his moral predicament. Obama’s election makes it patently obvious that America is not contra blacks as such, makes it impossible to argue honestly that, “a black man just can’t get a break.”

Most blacks will likely not, to be sure, undergo any such epiphany, especially the moral idiots. They’ll keep making that argument. But, to the ears of most whites who hear them do so, the utter absurdity of the argument, and thus the apparent mendacity, bad faith, or idiocy of those who still make it, will be harder and harder to overlook with Obama as President. If there is any rationality in the white community, this cannot but have the effect of ripping the scales from the eyes of more and more guilty white liberals.

Philip’s last question is his most important: “Will [blacks] be any less likely to whup your ass just because they detect a new burden-free tone in your voice?” Anyone who has studied martial arts knows the answer to that one: yes.

Lawrence asks me to expatiate on my own changed attitude toward the panhandler. Careful with those questions, Lawrence! But fear not, I’ll be brief. It’s kind of a tricky thing to get into words, and I find I didn’t do a good enough job the first time. In the past, I would walk by the panhandler and think, “Poor sod, he probably feels he has been oppressed his whole life, just because he is black. Feeling that one was powerless would indeed, all other things equal, un-man a fellow most profoundly. That impotence he must feel would no doubt constrain his vision of the possibilities for his life. That probably explains in part the poor decisions he has made, that have put him in his present predicament.”

But now I walk past the panhandler and think, “You doofus. You’re still out here on the streets thinking that it’s all the white man’s fault, and you that have no potency at all? With a black man in the Oval Office? You’re an idiot, using an excuse for your own foolishness that is no longer available; or you are a liar; or you cannot bring yourself to face the truth of your own culpability. Man it up.”

LA replies:

Kristor points to a positive aspect of the situation, but I wonder if he has still given away too much to the other side. He writes:

Obama’s election makes it patently obvious that America is not contra blacks as such, makes it impossible to argue honestly that, “a black man just can’t get a break.”

This is the universally repeated idea that I reject. Very simply, it was not possible before the election of Obama to argue honestly that “a black man can’t get a break.” There has been nothing in America for at least the last forty years preventing a black as a black from fulfilling his abilities and realizing his legitimate aspirations. That a “black” has now attained the highest office in the land does not change that basic situation. To say that only now is discrimination against nonwhites removed, that only now are blacks free, is to say that the civil rights transformation of America including the disappearance of white racial consciousness meant nothing. It is to say that only if a nonwhite is president, is America a racially just society. Which means that henceforth, to be a racially just society, America must have only nonwhite presidents.

Mark A. writes:

Let us not forget that it is not just white liberals who are having their guilt assuaged by this victory—white evangelicals are too. While white evangelicals strongly support the RNC because of pro-life issues, on issues regarding race I have found them to be complete “blank-slate” leftists. Many of my evangelical relatives have openly said that I am “racist” for suggesting inherit racial differences. According to them, we are “all children of the same God” and racism is a result of not following Christ. They have told me that “Christ is the equalizer” and because we are not following him that is why we have racial antagonism. I then asked them if they thought America would still be “America” if it were 95 percent black. They responded, “Of course!” Thus, the struggle that we “race realists” face is probably even more of an uphill battle than we imagine.

Philip M. writes:

Kristor writes:

I would walk by the panhandler and think, “Poor sod, he probably feels he has been oppressed his whole life, just because he is black. Feeling that one was powerless would indeed, all other things equal, un-man a fellow most profoundly. That impotence he must feel would no doubt constrain his vision of the possibilities for his life. That probably explains in part the poor decisions he has made, that have put him in his present predicament.”

So, Kristor is saying he feels sorry for him because his fantasies of white oppression have trapped him in a prison of his own making. Fair enough. But as this racial, mental prison that the panhandler felt himself in was one of his own making, how can freedom from this prison come about by white people saying “we are sorry we have imprisoned you, here is a little something to make amends, now please come outside and let bygones be bygones.” Far from freeing this man, your actions have validated his worldview—evil whitey has held him and his people down … and now he thinks he can say sorry, put a cross by a piece of paper and all is forgiven.

Kristor seems to be saying that he will humour the panhandler regarding his belief in white oppression, and hand power over your nation to blacks as a kind of political one-off reparation payment—your Founding Father’s hopes and your children’s birthright bartered in exchange for the satisfaction of being able silently to look at black beggars and mentally blame them for still being poor instead of silently pitying them for being deluded. Oh, white America, you drive a hard bargain! I’m seriously thinking of digging out my redcoat and coming over there and negotiating to get New England back! At least the Indians got a few pretty necklaces for New York! In two years time, when you still have Obama as President and the novelty of being able to think unfavourable thoughts of black beggars has subsided, will you really still think it was really worth it?

I understand the reasoning of Kristor’s response, that he feels white America can now change the terms of debate in their favour. But the theory that conceding the argument, moral high ground and political power to blacks will lead to the emboldening of white America, and fatally undermine the logic underpinning black victimhood, thus ending black demands for further concessions, seems counter-intuitive. There never was any truth to the black claims anyway, so from a black point of view, seeing as white America is feeling so generous, why stop now?

Philip continues:

I am being too hard on Kristor. He did not vote for Obama, he was just trying to look on the positive side. But seeing as this is probably a similir logic that many of those that voted for him must have shared, I stand by what I said as a wider critisism of white Americans who did vote for him. I hope Kristor will accept Wiltshire by way of an apology. ;)

Posted by Lawrence Auster at November 09, 2008 10:16 AM | Send

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