Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Angry Black Man: The Civil Rights Movement Is Over And We Need A New One

Okay, I read an articles from Ann Coulter and the Wall Street Journal  that I ...

I don't agree with but they make arguments similar to my own that make me uncomfortable so I wanted to take this opportunity to clarify my argument.

Racism exists. White privilege exists. But the causes for both of these things are different than they were even a generation ago. I want to believe we've turned the corner and most folks are on board the racism is wrong train. But when white supremacy was ingrained into the cement foundation of this country it's harder than removing a brick or two.

Whenever I hear the elders discuss racism it's within the context of deliberate disenfranchisement and segregation. Which makes sense considering that a lot of these people were around prior to the Civil Rights movement and even then there is a gray are up until roughly the 1980's where certain types of attitudes were tolerated.

That said for the most, part we as a society again we're on the equality good, racism bad bandwagon, I hope anyway.  Sure when systematic race based discrimination occurs yes that's it's a fight worth having, but at least from where I'm sitting, (I grew up in the suburbs so I might be talking out of my ass) we're fighting the battle we already won while ignoring the war.

Continuing to frame African-American rights (Note: I'm not saying LGBT or Latino rights. There, the argument that basic human dignity should not be a privilege still needs to be made.) in the context of the 1960's Civil Rights movement weakens several arguments I feel are worth having. Nobody is going to take my discussion of modern disproportionate drug prosecutions, declining urban tax bases, the re-segregation of American schools, or stereotyping seriously when I start talking about the Birmingham bombing, which by the way happened before I was born.

Why? Because my ideological opposition is not saying it's okay to kill little girls at Sunday school, and framing the conversation that way ceases the conversation as they circle the wagons to defend themselves. That rhetoric creates the false impression that there are no more true political fights to be had in regards to African-American equality, which, in case you haven't guessed my thesis, is something I strongly disagree with.

When civil rights leaders frame conversations this way they paint themselves as extremists and that makes it harder to bring in the moderates who they actually have a chance of winning over. But here's the thing they aren't trying to do that. They're playing to their bases who eat up the rhetoric because "sticking it to whitey" in the glory days was the yardstick to measure social progress. If there was an old white lady on TV complaining about interracial marriage or a new black couple moving into her neighborhood we knew we were doing something right.  But as I said we've more or less won the battle on deliberate overt racism. What we need to focus on is covert racism i.e. stereotyping and profiling,  as well as urban deterioration, and mechanisms for social mobility like political organization, education and entrepreneurship.

By the way if you want to know why I'm so jaded about Trayvon Martin and Al Sharpton, read The Bonfire of the Vanities.  Or don't if you want to keep your faith in humanity.

All that said, yes, I am still pissed about slavery.

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