Beliefnet
At the Intersection of Faith and Culture

Contemporary American racial politics have got to be more complicated than any other kind of politics.  In fact, they have got to be more complicated than astrophysics and neural brain surgery.

Even Americans for whom their country’s racial politics have become like a first language to them still have great difficulty in mastering it.  Outsiders aspiring to achieve fluency in America’s racial politics have nearly insuperable obstacles to surmount.

With an eye toward making “the text” of our racial politics at least somewhat less convoluted, I offer the following “cliff notes.”

First things first: “racism” is the worst thing with which to charge a white person.  To repeat, there is no conceivable catalogue of evils in which “racism” does not rank at the top (or bottom) of the list—for white people.  To put this point another way, although every American, of every race, loudly and proudly repudiates “racism,” by the latter they almost always mean white racism.

This brings us to the next note.

There is endless hand wringing over “equality,” “fairness,” and “justice,” it is true.  And “color blindness” is extolled as the premiere virtue.  In reality, though, whites and non-whites—especially blacks—are not regarded equally in America.  All talk of “white privilege” clashes violently with the fact that non-whites, especially blacks, just simply are not judged by the same standards as their white counterparts.  And, as this one example of “racism” illustrates, the double standards are glaring.

Not infrequently, at least nowadays, calls on the part of racial activists and their followers for justice or equality are ideological smokescreens designed to advance their own interests and/or the interests of the groups that they represent.  Such activists, regardless of their color, shout from the rooftops for “justice” for blacks and Hispanics, say.  However, for whites, particularly those whites who have been aggrieved in some way by non-whites, they are nowhere to be found.

Third, though it sounds counterintuitive, race in America is less a matter of skin tone and more a matter of ideology.  Actually, race is as much an ideological concept as any.

There is a narrative concerning American race relations that has become the official history. As it has achieved the status of dogma, it tolerates no competitors.  According to this narrative, for all practical purposes, “racism” begins in the United State with the enslavement of African blacks.  Notwithstanding their tireless attempts to repent of the oppression to which they’ve subjected blacks throughout the centuries, whites continue to fall prey to their delusions of racial “supremacy;” they cannot do enough to make amends.

Now, this narrative is false not entirely for what it says as for what it neglects to say.  Blacks had been enslaving one another for eons before the first white man stepped foot on the African continent—and they resisted European efforts to end the slave trade.  Had it not been for Africans there would have been no Trans-Atlantic slave trade, for it was Africans who sold their fellow Africans to the Europeans.  And what is true of Africans is no less true of America’s aboriginals who had been enslaving one another long before whites reached the Western hemisphere.

Of course, there are other critical facts that the official creed omits.  Blacks enslaved blacks in the antebellum South and blacks fought for the Confederacy.  Blacks have a far higher standard of living in modern America than most people, black white, or other, have living in any other place on Earth.  From their emancipation from the bonds of slavery to the destruction of Jim Crow and everything since then—including the election and reelection of a black president—blacks’ gains in America would never have been possible had it not been for the blood, sweat, and tears of whites.

Today, blacks are murdered and victimized by blacks to a vastly greater extent than they are victimized by whites (or the members of any other racial group).  And the overwhelming majority of interracial crime is black-on-white—not the other way round.

Still, those blacks like, say, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who resist the orthodox narrative are deemed “inauthentic”: Thomas and other blacks, you see, aren’t really black.

That race is ideological in contemporary America is as well borne out by the fact that the Hispanic-looking George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch member in Sanford, Florida who shot to death black teenager Trayvon Martin, is treated as an honorary white man—in spite of being a mixture of black, white, and Hispanic.

For over 20 years, Hispanic gangbangers in Los Angeles have been conducting what the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as a “campaign” of “ethnic cleansing” in black neighborhoods. This outrage has been met with deafening silence by the national media and the racial activists.  Thus, it is difficult not to think that had Zimmerman his mother’s Spanish surname, or had he been a gangbanger, as opposed to a community activist, we would never have heard of either him or Martin.

Racial politics in America is tricky business indeed.

 

George Zimmerman has been acquitted in the shooting death of “the child,” the “young boy,” Trayvon Martin.

As should go without saying, it is of course a tragedy that our world is such that it regularly claims human life.  It is particularly tragic when young people, like Martin, lose their lives in circumstances that could have so easily been avoided.

But Martin was no “child.” He was not yet a legal adult, but at 17 years of age he could, with a parent’s permission, kill and die for the United States military. And 17 year-olds, particularly when they are six feet tall, intoxicated on drugs, and physically fit, as was Martin, can and do kill and die in the streets of America.

Yet it isn’t just Zimmerman’s persecutors who are fond of sanitizing Martin’s character.

Writing for Front Page Magazine, Arnold Ahlert castigates his fellow conservatives for acting badly.

In “Framing Trayvon,” Ahlert contends that “many conservatives” have engaged in a “demonization campaign” against Martin—or “Trayvon,” as Ahnert calls him—that runs “parallel” to that promoted against Zimmerman by such “racial arsonists” as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.  Conservatives “have hastily embraced caricatures of Trayvon Martin, painting him as a vicious street thug who deserved his fate.”

Ahlert insists that Martin sounded like “little more than a rambunctious teenager” whose family and friends describe as “a fine young man,” “warm and funny,” and “a standout athlete with an enormous appetite.”

Where do we begin?

First, Ahlert is correct that, from day one, the “racial arsonists” did indeed rush to demonize Zimmerman.  Yet he fails to so much as hint at the fact that the demonization of Zimmerman demanded the idealization of Martin.  By now, everyone who’s paid any attention to this case is all too familiar with the media’s tireless juxtaposition of Zimmerman’s mug shots alongside the outdated pictures of a prepubescent Martin.

Had Ahlert mentioned this, it would immediately become clear that it isn’t “conservatives,” but Martin who supplied us with a negative caricature of Martin.  More accurately, as details emerged since February of 2012, time has exploded the idyllic caricature of Martin that the “anti-racists” have labored to embed in the popular imagination.  The Martin who had that fateful encounter with Zimmerman was a far cry from the 6th grader whose photograph was plastered all over the media for months after the shooting.  As Ahlert himself admits, at the time of his death, Martin “used foul language, made obscene gestures on camera, probably smoked marijuana, and engaged in other troublesome teenage behavior”—like getting caught with possession of what was likely stolen jewelry, getting repeatedly suspended from school, and attempting to assault a bus driver.

This brings us to a second point.

Neither conservatives nor anyone else has made Martin out to be a vicious thug, as Ahlert says.  What the record shows is that he was a thug of a sort, a thug wannabe, if you will.  At the very least, he was thuggish, even if he may not have been a full blown thug.

And we know this, not just from his record, but solely from the fact that he unleashed a torrent of violence upon Zimmerman.

No one disputes that Martin threw the first punch.  From what has been determined, it was he who threw every other punch after that as well.  To be clear, there was no exchange of blows between Martin and Zimmerman.  Rather, Zimmerman was on his back as Martin repeatedly pounded on him.

And it is not as if Zimmerman was in his face posing an imminent danger to Martin. Had this been the case, then perhaps the latter would have been justified in launching a preemptive punch (even if he would not have been justified in punching his face into the ground after he had succeeded in knocking him down).

Had Martin really feared for his life when he noticed that Zimmerman had been following him, and had he conducted himself in a non-thuggish way, then he would have done what Zimmerman did when he first observed Martin: call the authorities.  Martin could’ve ended his phone call with Rachel Jeantel—to whom he referred to Zimmerman as a “creepy ass cracker”—and called the police.

Instead, he chose to lie in wait for Zimmerman before jumping him.

This is the official account of the events of that fateful evening when Martin’s life ended—an account that the jury in Florida accepted and that no one has been able to contradict.

Contra Ahlert, to acknowledge these facts is not to say that Martin “deserved” to be killed.  Much less has anyone, least of all the “conservatives” who Ahlert lectures, even remotely insinuated that Martin deserved to be killed because of his lifestyle.

However, to concede the facts is to concede both that Martin did indeed act thuggishly and that Zimmerman was just as justified in shooting him as an elderly woman would be justified in shooting an assailant who had her pinned on the ground while striking her.

Writing for Front Page Magazine, Arnold Ahlert castigates his fellow conservatives for acting badly.

In “Framing Trayvon,” Ahlert contends that “many conservatives” have engaged in a “demonization campaign” against Martin—or “Trayvon,” as Ahnert calls him—that runs “parallel” to that promoted against Zimmerman by such “racial arsonists” as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.  Conservatives “have hastily embraced caricatures of Trayvon Martin, painting him as a vicious street thug who deserved his fate.”

Ahlert insists that Martin sounded like “little more than a rambunctious teenager” whose family and friends describe as “a fine young man,” “warm and funny,” and “a standout athlete with an enormous appetite.”

Where do we begin?

First, Ahlert is correct that, from day one, the “racial arsonists” did indeed rush to demonize Zimmerman.  Yet he fails to so much as hint at the fact that the demonization of Zimmerman demanded the idealization of Martin.  By now, everyone who’s paid any attention to this case is all too familiar with the media’s tireless juxtaposition of Zimmerman’s mug shots alongside the outdated pictures of a prepubescent Martin.

Had Ahlert mentioned this, it would immediately become clear that it isn’t “conservatives,” but Martin who supplied us with a negative caricature of Martin.  More accurately, as details emerged since February of 2012, time has exploded the idyllic caricature of Martin that the “anti-racists” have labored to embed in the popular imagination.  The Martin who had that fateful encounter with Zimmerman was a far cry from the 6th grader whose photograph was plastered all over the media for months after the shooting.  As Ahlert himself admits, at the time of his death, Martin “used foul language, made obscene gestures on camera, probably smoked marijuana, and engaged in other troublesome teenage behavior”—like getting caught with possession of what was likely stolen jewelry, getting repeatedly suspended from school, and attempting to assault a bus driver.

This brings us to a second point.

Neither conservatives nor anyone else has made Martin out to be a vicious thug, as Ahlert says.  What the record shows is that he was a thug of a sort, a thug wannabe, if you will.  At the very least, he was thuggish, even if he may not have been a full blown thug.

And we know this, not just from his record, but solely from the fact that he unleashed a torrent of violence upon Zimmerman.

No one disputes that Martin threw the first punch.  From what has been determined, it was he who threw every other punch after that as well.  To be clear, there was no exchange of blows between Martin and Zimmerman.  Rather, Zimmerman was on his back as Martin repeatedly pounded on him.

The difference between a thuggish person who fears for his life and a non-thuggish person in the same circumstance is that a non-thuggish person would have fled the danger.  Martin clearly could’ve done as much.  The difference between a thuggish person who doesn’t fear for his life and a similarly situated non-thuggish person is that the latter would not have continued beating his antagonist—even if he wanted to and even if he could have done so.

Contra Ahlert, to acknowledge these facts is not to say that Martin “deserved” to be killed.  Much less has anyone, least of all the “conservatives” who Ahlert lectures, even remotely insinuated that Martin deserved to be killed because of his lifestyle.

However, to concede the facts is to concede both that Martin did indeed act thuggishly and that Zimmerman was just as justified in shooting him as an elderly woman would be justified in shooting an assailant who had her pinned on the ground while striking her.

Though painful, we mustn’t lose sight of the realities of the Zimmerman/Martin case—even if the Ahlerts of the world insist upon calling them “caricatures.”

 

As most of us now know, Paula Deen has admitted to having used “the N-word” at some time in her life, most memorably when, some 30 years ago or so, she provided her husband with a description of a black thug who put a gun to her head while he robbed the bank at which Deen worked.  This thug was also an ingrate, as it turned out, for Deen had previously gone out of her way to help him get a loan.

For this, the agents of the Racism Industrial Complex (RIC) have been busy crucifying her.

The treatment to which Paula Deen has been subjected is nothing more or less than an outrage.  Yet, ultimately, her plight has little to do with either Deen or any effort to combat so-called “white racism.”

In addition to being a white Southerner, Deen is a heterosexual and Christian.  She also happens to be a remarkably successful entrepreneur, a “capitalist,” whose rags-to-riches life story at once embodies and vindicates the American Dream.  Yet it is precisely in all of these respects that Deen represents what, historically, amounts to an American norm—an America that the left has been laboring long and hard to destroy.

In other words, the Paula Deen issue isn’t about Paula Deen; it is about the fundamental transformation of America.

That Deen’s critics aren’t in the least concerned with “racism” can easily be gotten from the fact that even as they wail and gnash their teeth over her admission to having used “the N-word” three decades ago, their silence is deafening when it comes to the shocking levels and nature of black-on-white violence.

For example, just six weeks ago or so, George Thomas went to trial one more time in Knoxville, Tennessee—and once more, he was found guilty of the crime for which he was tried.  Chances are, the reader hasn’t a clue as to who George Thomas is.

And this is the problem.

Thomas, you see, is black, and in 2007, along with four other blacks, including one woman, he carjacked, abducted, tortured, raped, and murdered a young white couple—Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom.

According to Jamie Sutterfield, a reporter for the Knoxville News Sentinel, a medical examiner—Dr. Darinka Mileusnic-Polchan—testified at the trial of one of the defendants that “Newsom was repeatedly raped and then blindfolded, gagged, arms and feet bound and his head covered.”  Then, while “barefoot, he was either led or dragged outside the house to a set of nearby railroad tracks, where a gun was placed to the back of his head and fired.  He was shot twice more, once in the neck and once in the back.”

Finally, his “body was…set on fire [.]”

Christian, though, wouldn’t die until hours later—after unrelenting “sexual torture.”

Continuing with her summation of the medical examiner’s findings, Sutterfield writes: “Christian suffered horrific injuries to her vagina, anus, and mouth. She was not only raped, but savaged with ‘an object’…She was beaten in the head.  Some type of chemical was poured down her threat, and her body, including her bleeding and battered genital area, likely scrubbed by the same solution—all while Christian was alive [.]”

Yet Christian’s ordeal was not over.  “She was then ‘hog-tied,’ with curtains and strips of bedding, her face covered tightly with a small white trash bag and her body stashed inside five large trash bags before being placed inside a large trash can and covered with sheets.”

The medical examiner concluded that “Christian died slowly, suffocating [.]”

There is no question that had Newsom and Christian been black and their assailants white, there is no one in America, and probably even in the Western world, who would be unfamiliar with their names.  In the real word, though, thanks to both the hypocritical and cowardly nature of our racial politics as well as the shamelessness and remorselessness of the Racism-Industrial-Complex—including and particularly the media—they and their tormentors remain largely unknown.

And Paula Deen is persona-non-grata.

Jesus said of the Pharisees that they were a “brood of vipers,” hypocrites who “strained out the gnat” while “letting in the camel.” In essence, the Pharisees obsessed over the little things while ignoring those matters that really mattered.  The same is true of the “anti-racists” who are now gunning for Paula Deen—but who turn a blind eye and deaf ear to the George Thomases of the world.

To be sure, the Paula Deen brouhaha has little to do with her and nothing to do with stopping “racism.” It is inspired by a vision to fundamentally transform America.

This vision is typically called “Political Correctness.”  But maybe it would be more accurate to call it Pharisaic Correctness.