Beliefnet
At the Intersection of Faith and Culture

The Racism-Industrial-Complex is as gargantuan an industry as any that has ever existed. And it is more dangerous to life, limb, and liberty than most.

The Industry depends upon the perpetuation of a specific narrative, a racially “correct” story that is the oil that keeps its wheels turning.  The Story goes something like this:

In the beginning, the White Man created a “New World.” He called it America.  But he erected this new land on the ashes of the corpses of the aboriginals who had inhabited it in peace for millennia, “Native Americans” who the White Man slaughtered en masse.  His “New World” also came into being at the expense of the pain of the black Africans who he abducted from their homes and enslaved. Though these blacks eventually achieved their emancipation from slavery, their suffering persists to the present day, for the White Man has never tired of subjecting them to the sinister machinations of his “racism.”  At the same time, and because of his sinful, his “racist,” condition, he has continually tried to repent of his transgressions by seeking to repair the irreparable damage that he caused.

The Story is as unambiguous a “morality tale” as Star Wars, though not nearly as sophisticated as this most unsophisticated film franchise.  However, there are still other similarities between The Story and Star Wars. 

Both have been remarkably successful in enriching their “creators.”  George Lucas is now a gazillionaire because of his brain child.  The creators of The Story, the Al Sharptons and Jesse Jacksons of the world, aren’t much worse off because of theirs: the captains of the Industry and their cronies in the media, D.C., and the academy have flourished many fold.

Both Star Wars and The Story are deeply ensconced in the popular imagination. Contemporary American pop culture would be inconceivable without either of them —even if the mythos of The Story exerts far more influence than that of Star Wars.

Both stories depict a perpetual galactic-like contest between the forces of light and those of darkness.  Both supply us with bold contrasts between their respective characters.   In Star Wars the battle transpires, on one level, between the evil Empire and the noble Rebels. On another level, it occurs between the Sith Lords and the Jedi Knights. The Story, though, is a struggle between the White Oppressors and Black (or Non-White) Victims.

A crucial difference between Star Wars and The Story lies in the fact that the former found resolution in the redemption of its main villain, Darth Vader.  The villain of the latter—the White Man—lacks any such grace, for redemption manages to forever elude him. In fact, insofar as the saga of Star Wars reveals that its arch-villain is actually a fallen hero whose pains and internal conflicts are in many respects more acute than those of the Rebels determined to restore peace and justice to the galaxy, it garners some measure of sympathy for Darth Vader.  The villain of The Story, though, is demonized just enough so as to preclude sympathy for him.

There are legions of truths that put the lie to the Ignoble (but all so useful) Lie that is The Story.  In a future article, they will be laid bare.  For now, a simple consideration or two should suffice to expose it for what it is.

Everyone knows that Star Wars is, and was always understood to be, fiction.  The Story, on the other hand, is promoted as if it were fact.

Yet if life has taught us anything, it has taught us that it is far messier, far more complex, than anything that appears in the works—any work—of fiction.  In real life, all of the differences in character that exist between human beings can’t conceal the cold hard truth that the saint and the sinner co-exist within the chest of each and every person.  The best morality tales suppose this.  Sometimes, as in the case of Star Wars, even the most vulgar hint at it as well.

The Story, however, neglects the human condition entirely.

Thus, The Story is more fiction than fiction.  That is, not only doesn’t it have anything to do with real life. It isn’t even good fiction.

It is, though, good politics.

 

“Leon Marlensky” is a pseudonym for a former colleague of mine who prefers to remain nameless. Marlensky is an academic in the liberal arts who resents what he describes as the “faux radicalism” of his peers. The contemporary academy, he says, consists, not of radicals, but of apologists for the status quo, “reactionaries” in radicals’ clothing.  A self-described “lone leftist,” Marlensky shares his thoughts on the state of the nation and other things in this interview that I recently conducted with him.

Me: Thanks for taking this time to sit down with me Dr. Marlensky.

LM: The pleasure is mine, Jack.  But, as I’ve told you in the past, please call me Leon.  Titles, like “doctor,” are invidious social fictions that serve to inflate individual egos while perpetuating class hierarchies.

Me: That’s right. You did make a point about this the last time we spoke.

LM: In calling me Dr. Marlensky, or even Mr. Marlensky, you may as well be addressing me as Master Marlensky; each title serves the same overall purpose: the production of gross asymmetries of power.

Me: So, to be clear, you want to abolish all titles?

LM: That’s correct.  Titles are essential to the promotion of every species of oppression.  Take, for example, the titles “Mrs” and “Ms.” That we routinely employ them reflects the extent to which our cultural institutions are saturated with both misogyny and homophobia.  “Ms” at once reveals and reinforces the systemic degradation to which single women have traditionally been subjected in the West, while “Mrs.”—Mr’s—unveils the ugly reality that married women remain the virtual property of their husbands.

Yet these titles also are designed to relate to one another in such a way as to sustain and solidify our culture’s homophobia in that they privilege an arbitrarily heterosexist view of marriage.

Me: Wow.  But Leon, even the most vocal feminists and impassioned defenders of so-called “gay marriage” don’t ordinarily object to the use of titles in everyday life.

LM: So true.  But that is the point: they are just as much arch-conservative apologists for the power structure as those with whom they fight.  Our institutions embody and perpetuate our modes of thought, and our thought, in turn, is informed by our language.  Thus, whether we endorse oppression or liberation depends entirely upon the terms of our everyday discourses.

Me: Well, let’s get moving along.  I’d like to—

LM: I’m sorry, Jack, if I may tie this last point into a contemporary event that’s had the nation all abuzz the last few weeks.  I’m referring to the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin situation.

Me: Sure, go right ahead.

LM: From beginning to end, the coverage of this case has been drenched in the most virulent racism, sexism, classism, and homophobia. And it may come as a shock to you to hear me say that it is Trayvon Martin’s defenders who are the biggest culprits on these fronts, for it is their words that have served as the vehicles of these poisons.

Me: Oh, you’re referring to the not-so-subtle anti-white sentiments that they have promoted, right?

LM: Actually—no. Here’s what I’m talking about.

How often have you heard his defenders refer to Trayvon as a “young boy?”

Me: Too often!

LM: Exactly.  But “boy,” at least as it has historically been applied by whites to black males, is a racist epithet.  Trayvon’s defenders are no different from the most ardent proponents of Jim Crow in describing this six feet something young, black man as a “boy.”

That’s how the “pro-Trayvon” coverage has facilitated some of the country’s most hideous racism.  Inasmuch as his advocates insist that Trayvon was not a “thug” because he came from a “middle-class” family, they stand condemned of classism, for they imply that those on the lower end of the socio-economic ladder are more disposed to become criminals than those higher up.  They privilege the middle class above the lower and under classes.

Me: Ok.  How, though, are the pro-Trayvon forces “sexist” and “homophobic?”

LM: Well, had Zimmerman been a woman, it seems to me that we would be reacting quite differently to what had happened. But what we hear, if we really listen carefully, is that this was just a fight that didn’t need to have resulted in a shooting, much less a shooting death.  Boys will be boys, right?  On display here is the same raw chauvinism, the same hyper-masculinity that made much of the West and America in particular.  The champions of gender equality, if ever they are to be found, need to denounce, without qualification, this kind of unthinking.

Homophobia is also very much present in the coverage of the Zimmerman/Trayvon coverage. From what Trayvon’s friend, Rachel Jeantel, has said, Trayvon characterized Zimmerman as a “creepy ass cracker.”  This can be interpreted as a homophobic slur.  Indeed, according to Rachel, she and Trayvon both suspected that Zimmerman might be a “rapist.

So, just because they thought that Zimmerman may have been a homosexual, they assumed that he could have been a rapist.

I in no way mean to blame Trayvon or his friend for their homophobia, for they are merely regurgitating the homophobic stereotypes that they’ve been fed by the larger Eurocentric culture in which they’ve been raised. Still, it did play a role in this whole case.  Moreover, in the media’s refusal to mention this fact, it engages in the worst sort of intellectual gay-bashing.

Me: Well, Leon, we are about out of time—at least for now.  Thanks for being with me.  We will talk again.

LM: Thank you, Jack. I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you the next time around.

 

For years, Eric Holder has bellyached over the unwillingness of this “nation of cowards” to have an “honest” discussion over race.  The George Zimmerman verdict is the latest occasion that Holder has exploited for renewing his call on this score.

Though a loathsome man, he is correct about this much: Americans, of all races, are indeed unwilling to speak truthfully about this charged topic.

Of course, to a large degree, this unwillingness is due precisely to the bullying tactics of the Holders of the world—i.e. just those people who incessantly bemoan our dishonest treatment of all matters racial while castigating those who dare to speak honestly about race.  Still, when a person is right, he’s right: candid talk on race is long overdue.

In the spirit of straight shooting, then, I submit the following observations.

Blacks were enslaved in America, it is true.  Yet to know only this is to know next to nothing. It is like knowing that George Washington led a band of colonists that killed English soldiers without knowing anything else about the context in which this killing took place—i.e. the colonists were waging a war for independence that they felt was their last resort after other attempts at conciliation were tried and failed, etc.  More accurately, to know only that blacks were enslaved in America is like thinking that George Washington and the colonists were the only people in the history of the world to have ever killed!

An honest discussion of race must mention the stone cold fact that for millennia, well before the first white man ever stepped foot on the African continent, blacks were enslaving blacks.

An honest discussion of race must mention that there never could have been a Trans-Atlantic slave trade had it not been for, not just the cooperation of Africans, but their zealous participation in it.  Moreover, such was their zealotry that when whites—that’s right, whites!—tried abolishing the practice via the awesome power of the English empire in the 18th century, Africans resisted their efforts.

An honest discussion of race should mention that slavery was a universal practice up until—but only until—whites, white Christians, specifically, revolted against it (And it wasn’t just Africans, but Arabs and Asians as well, who fought mightily to keep alive their trade in human flesh).   In fact, it was the mass enslavement of the (white) Slavish that eventually gave rise to the very word “slave.”

An honest discussion of race should mention that for about 250 years, 1.5 million Europeans had been enslaved by (Northern) Africans.  Honesty demands that we mention as well that in early America, it was common practice for whites to be sold into slavery.  Furthermore, whites, not infrequently, children, would be abducted from the streets of England and made to endure passage to the New World aboard ships, and on voyages, that were in many respects comparable to, if not worse, than those suffered by Africans. The word “kidnap” actually stems from this practice of stealing young English kids—another tidbit that should be included in any honest discussion of race.

An honest discussion of race should mention that in the antebellum South, there were literally thousands of free blacks who owned slaves.

An honest discussion of race should mention that, materially speaking, the black minority in America has managed to achieve a standard of living far greater than that of blacks—or anyone else—living anywhere else in the world.

An honest discussion of race should mention that at only 13% of the American population, blacks contribute much more than any other group to the nation’s crime rate. When it is considered that it is a minority within this minority of 13%–namely, black males who are neither small children nor elderly—that perpetrate the bulk of this crime, an even more alarming picture comes into focus.

An honest discussion of race should mention that the Trayvon Martins of America are influenced by a degenerate black underclass subculture that has been romanticized by Gangsta’ Rap and Hip Hop while, at best, ignored by Eric Holder and his fellow “anti-racists.”  An honest discussion of race would consider that this culture of criminality and violence compels not just whites to “profile” young black males; it compels blacks to do the same—even if it is only in unguarded moments when blacks like Jesse Jackson confess to their fears of other blacks.

An honest discussion of race would take stock of the hypocrisy of advocating for a colossus of “affirmative action” programs for blacks while decrying “racial profiling,” or discrimination of any kind in which race plays a role.

An honest discussion of race would draw our attention to the obscene levels of black-on-black, as well as black-on-white, crime.  Regarding the latter, there can be no racial harmony when the members of one race repeatedly besiege those of another with violence.

These are just some of the things that should be included in any genuinely honest discussion of race in America.

 

 

George Zimmerman has been acquitted and justice has been done.

Yet the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman issue tells us much about the left’s agenda to “fundamentally transform” America.

First, in a fundamentally transformed America, only government agents will have the right to use firearms.  To repeat, it isn’t just that citizens will no longer be permitted to carry firearms; they will not even be permitted to own them.

The Martin shooting is just the latest nationally recognized shooting that the Second Amendment deniers have sought to exploit for the purpose of disarming law-abiding citizens. Potentially, the deniers promised to gain far more traction from this shooting than from, say, the shooting in Sandy Hook or that of Gabbie Giffords, for in both of these instances, the shooters in question did not own their guns legally.  Moreover, both the shooters and their victims were white.

Zimmerman, however, who was initially thought to be white, was licensed to own and carry his weapon.  Yet if it could be proven that he abused this right, and abused it by, of all things, hunting down and murdering a young black male, then both the Second Amendment and the American majority would reveal themselves to be no less deserving of condemnation for their recklessness—and their “racism.”  Better yet, the Zimmerman case could enable the deniers to forge an inseparable link in the popular imagination between the Second Amendment and white racism. 

In putting Zimmerman on trial, the deniers finally had their opportunity to try the old America.  In the leftist’s mind, the old America—the as-of-yet-to-be transformed America—consists of a bunch of John Wayne wannabe white guys, Bible thumpers who cling bitterly to their guns and religion and routinely deploy both to subjugate and oppress anyone and everyone who isn’t like them.

Ironically, though he looks more like one of the millions of “undocumented workers” who the Gang of Eight wants to call forth from “the shadows,” the brown-complexioned face of the multi-racial Zimmerman (who is white, Hispanic, and black) has been made into that of the old America.  The face of Trayvon Martin has become a proxy for the minority oppression that the old America has perennially perpetuated.

This brings us to a second point.

It isn’t just that the Second Amendment deniers are in cahoots with the agents of the Racism-Industrial-Complex (RIC).  Often, the two groups consist of the same people.  What little difference exists between the two lies in this: deniers use race to disarm law abiding Americans while RIC agents seek to disarm law abiding Americans, most of whom they know are white, because they want to advance their racial agenda.

Though he is a person of color, Zimmerman has been made into a symbol of white America—i.e. white oppression.  By hook or by crook—by “whichever means necessary,” violence, intimidation, humiliation, etc.—this is an America that must be relegated to the dustbin of history and replaced by a new land of the left’s imaginings.

And into what kind of new place will the old America be fundamentally transformed?

As was already noted, the citizens of the new America will not be permitted to defend themselves with guns.  However, if possible to imagine, it gets even worse.

The new America will be devoid of all institutional buffers—those “little platoons” as Edmund Burke referred to them—that lay in between the individual and the government.  We already see the extent to which, say, Obamacare is weakening the premiere buffer, religious institutions.  Our local neighborhoods are nearly as important as the latter, for it is from our communities that the identity and meaning of our lives is gotten—a fact to which Zimmerman serves as a standing testimony.

The neighborhood watch to which Zimmerman belonged is the penultimate emblem of the integrity, the health, of the community that its members sought to preserve.  From her beginnings and throughout her history, America achieved distinction as a liberty-loving nation precisely because her citizens relied less on government and more on contributing to and benefitting from their “little platoons.”

Far from showing that he was a “wannabe cop,” whatever this could mean, that Zimmerman voluntarily enlisted his time and energies into the service of protecting his community establishes his good citizenship.

In bringing the full weight of the government down upon his neck, it isn’t just Zimmerman’s whose head the fundamental transformers sever: it is that of America’s as well.  The long-standing American tradition of localism and limited government is now imperiled, for the persecution of Zimmerman can’t but make many an American think long and hard before involving themselves in local affairs, in helping out their fellows.

Zimmerman has been treated outrageously.  But so too has the America of which the fundamental transformers have taken hold.