As you can see in your quote above you spoke about reparations which was what I connected to the Pats. The Pats as far as I can tell are always spouting rhetoric on the behalf of the conservatives, the religious right or whatever broad-sounding label they are choosing to apply to the sub-sect of the general population they represent. People listen, people react but they never take it as fact that the Pats' views should be taken as the sole representation of the political aspirations of the greater group or even that sub-group itself. Perhaps it is a luxury of being in the majority but most people realize that no one person could ever speak for that entire group. Even during the hey-day of the Civil Rights movement there were different camps. There were some who identified with the teaching of MLK, some who gravitated towards Malcom X and some who didn't feel either of these men spoke to them and their needs. Reparation for slavery has never been a concept that has been widely embraced by the African-American community. Hell, there hasn't even been a decision on the labels African-American versus Black yet. Some people may be bigger media whores than others but it isn't a given that they are the mouthpiece of their race. It just means they have bigger mouths. I am going to make a statement now and it shouldn't be taken as fact. I believe that the majority of the race isn't interested in moving back to Africa. They know they're not African. In fact 75% of African-Americans have a white forebear. The ones who thought of themselves as Africans took steps to make that a reality. It's called Liberia. I think most African-Americans are more interested in more than a heavily-sanitized, generic, general apology for the way their progress as a people has been hampered by the laws and practices of America until quite recently. Most people, upon hearing a Black person refer to the hardships their people have endured, groan and say slavery has been over for centuries. But it really hasn't. With the exception of the years of the Reconstruction - during which the African-American race mostly flourished in their new-found freedom - slavery didn't end until desegregation ended. There is considerable psychological damage that is inflicted by being made aware every day of your life that you are not valued, you are not welcomed and you are not respected. There is much to be said for those who have prevailed in spite of this, but the exception does not make the rule. It is 2006, only forty years removed from that tumultuous time. The people who lived during that period did not disappear when schools got desegregated, when Blacks didn't have to have separate toilets, when it became politically incorrect to treat Blacks as if they were wayward children who must be contained and restricted for their own good. They grew cautious. They had children and they taught those children everything they had learnt. They told them to never forget. To never forget that it wasn't so long ago, to never forget that once we were subjected to LAWS that dehumanized us, that it could be easily rescinded as it was before. To never forget when people roll their eyes and say shouldn't we be over this by now, to remember every detail because if you forget it will happen again. Now throw this attitude against the distrust of the African-American that led to their subjugation post-slavery and you can see how we have the results we have now. Individuals may interact, but when you speak in terms of races, the distrust remains, the bitterness reamins, the misunderstanding remains. Other groups of immigrants have come to America, started poor and eventually pulled themselves into the middle-class. But as a group, this reamins an elusive goal to African-Americans. The sad part is that even the African-Americans who achieve do not seem to redeem the group as a whole but inadvertently become poster children for the opinion that African Americans who don't achieve don't deserve to. In contrast to your assertion that no one but African-American civic organizations should address 3, I claim that any initiatives that are generated by and inplemented solely by these groups are doomed to failure. This is not an issue that can be addressed and solved by the Afriacn American because it does not originate solely from that community. I've rambled considerably and although at the beginnning of this post my aim was not to address Factor 4 since it is purely subjective and therefore cannot ever be reliably ascertained but I'm sure I've failed and spilled over a little.*Edit...indents and spaces for readability*
These data [see page 3] don't help the argument that you are trying to make: they show that African-American kids are being arrested at twice the rate of their representation in the population.A better and more accurate argument would be to suggest that African Americans are disproportionately the (direct) causes and victims of crime, and that there are, yes, structural/societal reasons for this. These reasons (or indirect "causal factors") need not be viewed as particularly complex: 1. African-Americans are disproportionately poor;2. The African-American poor are culturally, geographically, socially and economically isolated from the remainder of society.3. The African-American poor are cut off from the history of their pre-slavery traditions, and therefore without a strong cultural reference point that has the potential to dominate and replace the legacy of slavery and the formal institutionalised racism that came after.4. Institutional and (nowadays mostly) unconscious racism creates an environment that - in the realm of public policy - by turns ignores the the above situation; stigmatizes this population; and devises policies and practices designed to *control* this population rather than to free it. 1 & 2 applies to all disadvantaged groups, including poor whites in Appalachia. If you check the crime stats on these poor & isolated populations you will find that they go a long way toward evening out disparities across 'groups', almost nullifying the effect of 'race';3 & 4 are factors that are largely specific to African-Americans. Recent African immigrants to the United States, for example, do not face factor 3 and fare much better, despite the fact that they too are "black" and, when they arrive, mostly broke. And so on.What - as Lenin would have said - is to be done? Target poverty for all groups. If we want to do it in a small-minded way, piecemeal and Clintonian, then government should remove pockets of poverty by better urban planning, by a change in the basis by which grade school education is financed, promoting small enterprise development in both the inner city and the backwoods, vocational education etc. And this for ALL groups in the situations described in 1 & 2 - whether they are "native americans", "mexicans", "whites" etc... Better, though, and simpler and likely more effective is to institute the idea suggested by Bruce Ackerman of Yale Law in "The Stakeholder Society" (I encourage everyone who hasn't to read it, it is highly persuasive): we should give every American who graduates from high school $80,000 in $20K installments over 4 years financed by a 2% annual tax on the wealth of the very wealthiest people in our country.
African-American civic organizations should address (3). No-one else can. The traditions of the "old-country", even if they could be identified (was it Hausa? Ibo? Bete?), are lost to African-Americans forever. Silliness like Kwanzaa isn't going to bring them back. A specifically African-American cultural tradition needs to be fashioned out of the specifically African-American expeirnce that is one of hope for the future and optimism and of community with the rest of the population, not one that that is backward-looking, pessimistic and isolationist. The culture of bitches and ho's, of gangsta dress and the pimp walk, of "my-baby-daddy", of taking pride in underachievement (what Chris Rock, that great philosopher, would call the "n-word" culture) is here, there and everywhere, filling the gap between the need of youngstrs to affiliate with a culture that they can call their own and the lack of any positive strong tradition to affiliate with.Instead, we have the call for reparations - a ridiculous proposal by an intellectually and morally bankrupt civil rights movement, either blind to the tragedy around them or seeking to profit by it through empty rhetoric.
(4) is the weakest - and most overemphasized - factor. Nevertheless, it is real and counteracting it is the responsibility of all of us. We need, as a community of Americans, to watch the way in which all neighbourhoods are being policed; we need to care be vigilant in detecting unconscious racism in, say, the formulation of drug policy. These kinds of efforts, though, pale in their effectiveness in addressing the root problem, when contrasted with efforts to seriously address 1, 2 & 3. And yet, they take up most of the oxygen in this debate. Sometimes I wonder why that is so, and sometimes I think I know why.HTH
REPARATIONS! WE WANT OUR REPARATIONS FOR SLAVERY!!!!I'm with you on that. Let the payouts begin tomorrow. Not Really, we'd probably settle for white people to just stop screwing us over.
My great great grandfather died fighting for the Union during the civil war, do you think I'm entitled to reparations? I could really use the money. Also, my ancestors were persecuted for being Irish in New York. I think I'm entitled to reparations for that as well.