Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Wrong Words of Truth

Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
Red and yellow, black and white
They are precious in His sight
Jesus loves the little children of the world 

Did you ever sing the words above? I sang them many times as a kid in Sunday School. I remember however, that a few of my fellow church-brats and I took great delight in altering the lyrics.  

Rather than piously intone, “Red and yellow, black and white; they are precious in His sight” we proudly belted out: “Red and yellow black and white; put ‘em together & watch ‘em fight…” 

Certainly, we were singing wrong words—and loving it—but it seems to me that our wrong words were nevertheless very true. That is, human beings are incredibly tribal. And no matter how the multiculturalists try to reprogram us…birds of a feather still flock together. 

Thus, the conversation about race and race relations isn’t going away soon; maybe ever.  

Consider carefully the words of Thomas Sowell. 

This premise—that the racial problem was essentially one inside the minds of white people—greatly simplified the task of those among the intelligentsia who did not have to research the many behavioral differences between blacks and whites in America—or the many comparable or larger differences between other groups in other countries around the world—that have led to other intergroup complications, frictions and polarizations, which were in many cases at least as great as those between black and white Americans. . . .Racial problems could be reduced to problems inside people’s minds, and especially to racism, not only simplifying problems but enabling intellectuals to assume their familiar stance of being on the side of the angels against the forces of   evil . . .” (Intellectuals and Race, p. 89) 

Surely, Sowell is correct. The “race problem” is not merely mental and our difficulties cannot be simplistically subsumed—with little or no evidentiary substantiation—under the rubric of “racism.” In other words, humanistic, utopian reeducation and indoctrination will not solve racial dilemmas. 

Hence, liberals in government, media, and education need to stop peddling the false metanarrative of “white guilt and the victimization of people of color.” Furthermore, shameless race-baiters must cease treating race as “intertemporal abstractions” (to use Sowell’s term) where contemporary whites are held accountable for—and contemporary blacks are excused because of—things which none of them did or experienced. 

Intellectuals have all too often played a major role in promoting a sense of grievance over inequalities. The kind of society to which that can lead is one in which a newborn baby enters the world supplied with prepackaged grievances against other babies born the same day. It is hard to imagine anything more conducive to unending internal strife and a weakening of the bonds that hold a society together. When history shows how hard it can be to maintain peace and cooperation among contemporaries, why would we take on the complex, divisive and ultimately futile task of redressing issues between our long dead ancestors or pass on to generations yet unborn the seeds of strife to blight their lives? (Thomas Sowell, Intellectuals and Race, p. 138) 

In the final analysis, as long as our national conversation is framed by “intertemporal abstractions” couched in terms of “white guilt” and “the victimization of people of color,” real progress is unattainable.

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