Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Flash Mobs: Being Young, Black, and Male in America Today
Those who follow my commentaries know that I rarely discuss race in America. I find it an unhappy topic at best and, from my readings in U.S. history, I feel safe in saying there was never a good time to be Black in America.
Slavery before, during and after the American Revolution was a stain on the nation and, though some were slave owners, the Founding Fathers knew it. To get the new Constitution ratified among the thirteen States, they had to trim their sails to the point where Article One, Section Two refers to “those bound to service” and, for the purpose of taxation of “free persons”, the slaves were counted as “three fifths of all other Persons.” Ugh.
It would, of course, take a Civil War to end slavery, though Lincoln’s preferred solution was to put the slaves on a ship back to Africa. That was not likely because by 1861 when the war began, there were 3,954,000 slaves, the majority of whom lived on plantations where, from Virginia to Texas, they often outnumbered whites by 13 to 1.
My awareness of Blacks was limited in my youth, growing up in an upscale New Jersey suburban community where they were quite scarce. You could count the number of Black students in my high school on one hand. When I was drafted in the Army most of my service in the early 1960s was on a base in the Deep South. It gave me a close up view of segregation. When I was discharged, I became a journalist on a weekly serving a small New Jersey city neighboring Newark. I was there when the city’s first Black mayor was elected.
It was the time of the Civil Rights movement, filled with marches and tumult. I met Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1967 Newark erupted in rioting, the result of poverty, and of sense of being powerless and disenfranchised. The Italians who had run the city gave way to Black politicians and, five decades later, they still are in charge, but the social problems remain.
If anyone would have told me that America would elect a Black President, I would have said that was impossible. I was wrong and so were the many Blacks who rejoiced in the election of Barack Obama, confident that he would take the lead, representing them, paying particular attention to their issues. Obama proved to be more concerned with Islam.
I got to thinking about that when several commentators, referring to how he would be remembered, said that Obama would no longer be remembered as the first Black President, but rather as the first Downgrade President. When he addressed the nation on August 8, his cool detachment seemed alarmingly at odds with the tumult on Wall Street and around the world that had been triggered by Standard & Poor’s decision.
How do Blacks perceive Obama, I wondered.
A friend, Milton, a retired Black corporate executive, attorney, business owner who edits and writes for BlackQuillandInk.com, a website for Black conservatives, responded to my question noting that Black support for Obama’s candidacy was about 98%, but has slipped since to around 86%.
It was his view that the Blacks “have been poisoned to dislike non-Blacks” and to see themselves “as victims.” I understand the victim part, but was surprised by his observation regarding the animosity, if only because White America has gone to fairly extraordinary lengths to redress the ills of the past.
As America’s most famous minority, Blacks are now outnumbered by Hispanics and are being by-passed by virtually all other minority in America in terms of achievement and upward mobility. The chains may have been removed, but, as the syndicated columnist. Walter E. Williams, noted in July 2010, “The pathology seen among a large segment of the Black population is not likely to change because it is not seen for what it is. It has little to do with slavery, poverty and racial discrimination.”
“Today’s black illegitimacy rate is about 70%,” said Williams. “When I was a youngster, during the 1940s, illegitimacy was around 15%...Today, only 35% of black children are raised in two-parent households.”
And it gets worse. In an August 2010 Washington Post article by columnist George Will, he wrote that “By the early 2000s, more than a third of all young black non-college men were under the supervision of the corrections system. More than 60% of black high school dropouts born since the mid-1960s go to prison. Mass incarceration blights the prospects of black women.”
In recent weeks, from the Wisconsin State Fair to Philadelphia, from Milwaukee to Los Angeles, reports of flash mobs of young Blacks attacking whites are stirring racial fears. The most dangerous factor in Black cities and neighborhoods are the hordes of young males, raised by one parent, dropouts from school, no skills, no jobs, no prospects, and lots of angry energy that is too often diverted into crime and violence.
Barack Obama’s economic policies have failed the nation, but they have been especially adverse on Blacks. Black unemployment and foreclosures, for example, have skyrocketed under Obama and remain disproportionately high as compared to other communities. In short, Obama has done nothing for Blacks in America either on the macro and micro level to improve their opportunities or attitudes.
He has nothing in common with them; a half-white Columbia University graduate and Harvard educated lawyer, former instructor at the University of Chicago, married to a Princeton and Harvard graduate, herself an attorney. They have two girls that go to private school and their inner circle of friends, Black and white, are dedicated Marxists.
The editor of BlackQuillandInk.com says. “The Black community refuses to admit how wrong they were in voting for Obama.”
© Alan Caruba, 2011