Glenn K. Beaton is a writer and columnist living near Aspen. He has been a contributor to The Wall Street Journal, RealClearPolitics, Powerline, Instapundit, American Thinker and numerous other print, radio and television outlets.
Once-beautiful Denver succumbed to vagrant enablement a few years ago. It was a pathetic attempt not to be outdone by Seattle and Portland – which have long sought not to be outdone by San Francisco. To be a great city, the thinking apparently goes, you have to be a filthy one.
And so filthy vagrants overran downtown Denver and hip “LoDo” where they now camp on the sidewalks, poop in the gutters, shoot-up in the streets and assault passersby.
The city is finally sweeping them, a little, in anticipation of its hosting of the baseball All-Star Game next month. Aware that the town will be on national TV, so far this year Denver has conducted as many vagrant camp sweeps as all of last year. The tent city is finally gone from the downtown jewel across from the state capitol building, Civic Center Park. The chain link fencing surrounding the capitol itself has finally been taken down, and vagrants are prohibited from camping there.
Yesterday, Joe Biden held one of his so-called press conferences. With the aid of 3 x 5 cards, he speaks, sort of, in response to pre-approved questions from pre-approved reporters.
In reply to their softball questions, he leaned into the microphone and whispered Freddy Krueger-like, all pasty white, wrinkled and weird, that “consequential” money would be flowing to people who vote for Democrats.
The bizarre scene dubbed “Creepy Joe” immediately trended on Twitter. “Doctor” Jill must have 911 on one speed dial number and the guys with butterfly nets on another.
Less than half the money actually goes to infrastructure, a word that now means whatever the Dems say it means from minute to minute. But, no matter, a deal is a deal.
Except when it’s not. After Biden’s announcement, the hard left that controls the Democrat party objected. AOC objected that the negotiators were too white. Other Democrats objected that the negotiated compromise failed to send enough money to people dead and alive who vote for them. Other Democrats objected that … well, you get the point. People not in the actual negotiations always think their side got the short end of the stick.
Now that racism has been outlawed in business, and racists have been driven from the public square, you don’t witness much racism in America. Being racist is a bad move socially and career-wise. That’s good.
But black achievement in America still lags badly behind white, Asian and Hispanic achievement. The black illegitimacy rate is triple the white rate and the black murder rate is 7x the white rate. Both figures are worse than before affirmative action, worse than before the Great Society programs of the 60s and 70s, and even worse than the days of Jim Crow laws.
The latest explanation for this continued malaise is that there’s a type of racism that you can’t see, but can only feel, and it’s getting worse. They call it “systemic racism.”
Systemic racism in America is like water to a fish in a pond. It’s everywhere, but undetectable except in its effect. That effect is to keep American blacks uniquely – not Asians or Hispanics or even black African immigrants – oppressed.
A scientific sounding name has been assigned to this: “Critical Race Theory.” The people who dreamed up the name ironically seem to think that calling it a “theory” makes it true. As in, “It’s like Einstein’s theory of relativity and Darwin’s theory of evolution. It’s a scientific theory, you know.”
CRT was originally an ordinary academic idea that people tend to see their world through the prism of race. The racists and race-baiters of the world twisted that uncontroversial idea into the notion that white people systemically persecute black people, even as the white people favor the black people in admissions, hiring and promotions. The racists and race-baiters now have persuaded ordinary well-intentioned white people to chant such nonsense as, “I’m a racist.”
There’s less to this conspicuous white show of self-flagellation than meets the eye. When questioned about their racism, such people recite, catechism-like, that everybody sees things through the prism of race, and so everybody is a racist.
So all they’re really confessing is that they’re racist just like everyone else. But they think they’re actually a little better than the other racists because, unlike the others, they admit to their racism.
It reminds me of certain religious people who go around advertising that they’re sinners, just like everyone else. But they imply that they’re a little better than the other sinners because, unlike the others, they admit they’re sinners.
I submit that the premise of the racism-admitters is correct but their conclusion is erroneous.
Their premise that humans see things through the prism of race is correct. The person who says “I don’t even notice a person’s skin color” is obviously lying. We do notice skin colors. There are good anthropological reasons for that. Hominids who didn’t distrust hominids who looked different were often invited over for dinner.
But the conclusion does not follow the premise. Seeing things through the prism of race may make us racists in an anthropological sense but it doesn’t make us racists in an evil societal sense.
There are racists and there are racists. Yes, we all (white, black and other shades) see the world to some extent through the prism of race, just as we see the world to some extent through the prism of our gender, our height, our weight and our socio-economic background. It’s a behavioral instinct rooted in our DNA.
But such instincts do not make us evil racists, misogynists, misandrists, dwarf-tossers, fat shamers or snobs. What does make us those things is when we allow our primitive behavioral instinct to control our modern feelings and actions. Civilized people don’t let that happen. They use their minds to control their racist instincts, just as they control their violence, anger, procreation and other animal instincts.
The erroneous conclusion that we don’t control our racism instinct – that we’re all racist because we all see the world through the prism of race – is destructive in several ways.
First, it dilutes the meaning of racism. If everyone is racist, then nobody is. Racism becomes seen as the ordinary human condition. It’s normalized. And then the real racists – the rare white supremists and Islamic (and European and American) Jew-haters and the Black Panther types – are given cover.
Second, stating that everyone is a racist implies and sometimes outright states a corollary that “everyone” doesn’t actually mean everyone. It doesn’t include non-whites. Non-whites cannot be racist, says this corollary.
But that corollary can’t be right. If racism is embedded in humans anthropologically, then it’s equally embedded in whites, blacks and Asians. Worse, that false corollary either (1) dehumanizes blacks and Asians by implying that they’re not part of the world of “everybody” or (2) condescends blacks and Asians by implying that while they’re racist like everyone else, only whites are strong enough to bear the label.
Third, this notion that whites systemically but secretly persecute blacks even as they formally favor them undermines black achievement. It sends a powerful message to blacks that the system is stacked against them and that their failings are not their fault.
The way to encourage achievement by any group is to celebrate their achievements, not to pound into them the notion that they’re permanent victims for whom achievement is impossible.
Fourth, amplifying this premise – that race is a prism through which people sometimes see the world – into this conclusion that race-is-destiny, sets the stage for governance by race. Like so much in this field, this approach is sufficiently bad that it has earned a euphemism. The euphemism is “Identity Politics.”
And so we’ve officially started judging people by the color of their skin rather than the content of their character. Today, anti-racism not only permits but perversely requires racial discrimination — all while denying and disguising it.
Interestingly, this dishonest act of anti-intellectualism is committed most often by the intellectual elites. In academia and big corporations, it’s official policy. Their unfair and immoral policy to subordinate character – or merit – to skin color does not bode well for them. Nor does it bode well for science, culture, mathematics, religion, philosophy, engineering or anything else where there is such a thing as good versus bad, right versus wrong, truth versus falseness and success versus failure.
Stated another way, abolishing merit will produce less of it and less of the advances that depend on it – which are pretty much all of them.
Good white people may feel extra good about themselves for buying into the bunk that they, alone among the races, are innately and irredeemably racist merely because they see through the prism of race. But this self-indulgent feel-goodery is expensive. It’s harmful to themselves, to our culture and to the non-whites that are the supposed beneficiaries of it.
Such people are usually well-intentioned. But for the good of humanity, I wish they would start thinking with their heads and not their hearts.
That leaves the question, what do we do about black underachievement? I don’t know what the answer is. (By the way, I don’t think the problem is one of IQ, as the left implies in their insistence that black achievement be measured on a scale that accounts for their race.)
But I do know what the answer to this problem is not. It’s not to do more of the same. It’s not to continue the same failed policies that have enabled and perpetuated it for over half a century.
For you Yanquis, be aware that Buckhead is a rich Atlanta neighborhood which pays a ton of property tax to Atlanta. Which is to say they are a bastion of white privilege that deserves punishment. And so, it’s punishment that they are getting.
You see, Atlanta is very woke. That means the police are handcuffed in their efforts to control crime. And that means crime rates in Buckhead are skyrocketing. And that means people who are not criminals – people like the residents of Buckhead – are disappointed and often endangered. It’s not about slavery. It’s about crime.
Buckhead may succeed in seceding. Organizers say 80% of Buckhead residents back it.
But here’s the problem with Buckhead’s scheme. If Buckhead secedes, it’ll still be part of Georgia. In last year’s presidential election, Georgia voted for Hunter Biden’s daddy, a/k/a The Big Guy who gets 10%.
And Georgia voted for not just one but two Democrats for U.S. senator, thereby turning the entire senate over to the Dem crazies who want to give everyone a trillion dollars to persuade them not to work. Which will be worth, after inflation, about $1.32.
I think Buckhead is on the right track, but thinks too small. They should not just secede from Atlanta, but should secede from Georgia and join their neighboring state, Alabama.
Lynyrd Skynyrd deserves some credit for this idea. Recall a few thousand years ago that Neil Young wrote a song stereotyping and smearing Americans of The South. He called it “Southern Man.” Americans of The South called it crap. Even Neil Young acknowledged in his later years, in which he is now fully immersed, that it was kinda crappy.
In answer to Young’s crap, Lynyrd Skynyrd wrote some non-crap called “Sweet Home Alabama.” It’s still a rock classic.
“Well I heard Mister Young sing about her Well I heard ol’ Neil put her down Well I hope Neil Young will remember A southern man don’t need him around anyhow.
“Sweet home Alabama Where the skies are so blue Sweet home Alabama Lord I’m comin’ home to you.“
You get the idea. A later verse proclaims,
“Now Watergate, does not bother me Does your conscience bother you? Tell the truth.“
OK, I’ll tell the truth. Watergate does not bother me. At least the Watergate guy could speak intelligibly. At least the Watergate guy knew who he was, where he was and with whom he was.
At least the Watergate guy wasn’t taking 10% off the top on deals with communist dictators conducted though his racist, criminal, drug-addicted, lap-top losing, influence-peddling, whore-mongering, sister-in-law dating, child support-evading son.
So, no, Watergate doesn’t bother me. But that’s just me. I asked some prominent GOP figures whether Watergate bothers them.
Tom Cotton: “Watergate? Hell no! Watergate don’t bother me. I love the Florida State Watergators. Not as much as the Arkansas Razorbacks, mind you.”
Ted Cruz: “Watergate? Hell no! Watergate don’t bother me. In fact, that’s exactly what we need. We need a wall. With a gate. With a big lock on the gate. We need a Wallergate.”
Dick Cheney: “Watergate? Hell no! Watergating don’t bother me. We should throw ’em in Gitmo and watergate ’em till they all confess.”
Donald Trump: “Watergate? Hell no! Watergate don’t bother me. I like water sports!”
So there you have it. Watergate don’t bother me, and it don’t bother anyone else who matters. Buckhead should join Alabama.
You know the place. It’s where the house pictured above just sold for $72 million, and houses routinely go for $3-5,000/sq ft. Where insiders such as newspaper reporters and city council members get slope-side multimillion dollar homes for dimes on the dollars under the taxpayer-subsidized housing program.
The fed money this time is for Aspen’s vagrants. Er, I mean “homeless.” Er, I mean “persons experiencing homelessness.” Whom, we’re told, are camping on the sidewalks and pooping in the gutters because they’re afflicted with something called “shelter-resistance.”
Pity the left’s Sisyphean task in the dictionary of euphemisms. Once they find and roll up the hill a suitable euphemism for “vagrant,” such as “homeless,” the euphemism rolls back down the hill because it becomes associated with people who behave like vagrants.
A recent Gallup poll showed that most Americans think it’s time to move on from the pandemic. But not the Democrats.
Democrats say by a 71-29% margin that we still should not “live normal lives”, but instead should “try to stay at home.” That’s despite the fact that the COVID death rate in America is down nearly 90%, the new cases are down about 65%, over half of Americans have been vaccinated (and over 80% of the vulnerable ones) by vaccines shown to be 95% effective, and even the redoubtable (or perhaps doubtable) Dr. Fauci says we can go out now.
So what gives? I can suggest at least six answers to that question.
First, maybe it’s just because the Dems are chickenshit. We do know that they’re chickenshit, after all. Honestly, if you were a soldier in a battle with the odds against you, would you want to share a foxhole with a Democrat?
Millions of sub-Saharan blacks seek to immigrate to America. They apparently haven’t gotten the memo that this is a wretched land of systemic anti-black racism.
When they get here, they’re strangers in a strange land. English is usually not their first language. Their skin color tends to be very black, not the lighter color of American blacks who have an average of about 25% white blood in them.
Despite those handicaps, they do better than American-born blacks. Compared to American-born blacks, their income is about a third higher, their poverty rates are significantly lower, their educational achievement is higher, and their marriage rate is double.
Here’s the most intriguing statistic. Although black immigrants are more successful than American-born blacks, their relative success does not get passed on to their children. Compared to the immigrant parents, their grown children work less, are impoverished more, obtain less education and are less-often married.
Why is this? Does the notorious systemic racism of America somehow target the children of black immigrants while leaving the immigrant parents unscathed?