Friday, March 28, 2008

What Exactly Do I Owe This Black Man?

Mr. Obama's pastor, Jeremiah T. Wright has made some statements that his defenders rationalize as expressions of black rage. He's gone so far as to say, "God damn America." And Mr. Obama has asked for a more frank and open discussion about race.

This is true. Blacks and whites seldom speak frankly about race. Thus, I have often reacted to black rage with a shrug and the remark, "I don't owe you anything." Yet that's the message of Mr. Wright and his ilk: "We're owed." The rationale is that blacks are disadvantaged by America's legacy of slavery.

I can understand that a child afflicted with fetal alcohol syndrome and born to a crack-whore mother and raised in a ghetto and sent to an inner city school will face an almost insurmountable nexus of disadvantages. Are any of these things necessarily a black thing? I think it's racist to think so. Did I sell the booze, etc.? I think the weight of that culpability is on someone else's shoulders.

Why is Mr. Wright so angry that he says, "God damn America?" What were the disadvantages of his family? According to this biography his father was a pastor and his mother was a doctor--I presume a PhD. Compared to my own parent's 6th and 8th grade education, I maintain that Mr. Wright had a relatively privileged family background.

Perhaps Mr. Wright who was born in 1941 was denied educational or vocational opportunities in his youth? The Brown vs Board of Education ruling occurred when he was 12 years old. The Civil Rights Act was passed when he was in his early 20s. His biography does not show any insurmountable difficulties. Update:I just checked the fine print of the Wiki article on apartheid. Apartheid ended in 1995. That was 13 years ago and on another continent! But to listen to fellows like Mr. Wright, it's still ongoing. Why didn't he say "God damn South Africa?"

I do not find any justification for Mr. Obama's pastor's outrage. In fact, today I came upon this picture of Mr. Wright's house. Perhaps in a less racist America, Mr. Wright could afford this house instead.

America's legacy of slavery is that politicians like Mr. Obama attach themselves to men like Mr. Wright for the power he has accumulated to himself. Mr. Wright accumulates that power by pandering to the grievances of blacks with legitimate complaints of disadvantage. His message of "we're owed" is clearly false in Mr. Wright's life. How does "we're owed" help any disadvantaged person of any color overcome his disadvantaged station in life?

If you think "we're owed" you'll have an excuse for all of your own failings. if you think "we're owed" you'll think someone else needs to do something for your benefit and this encourages passivity on your part. This does make the slaves on the liberal plantation easier to control after all.

I think I owe this to the black man: You're my equal. Act like it. Man up. Take control of your life and overcome whatever disadvantages. If you fail, open your eyes and learn why you failed. It wasn't for lack of 40 acres and a mule a century before you were born.

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