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Liberalism as the Anchor of Black Self-Deception

The inspiration for this blog-entry is the life of Frederick Douglass, a former slave. Of course, there can be no justification for trivializing the racism of yesteryear against blacks. None at all. Alas, we have a horrendous problem when the racism of yesteryear is used by blacks as the fundamental excuse for blacks not being the author of their very own lives at this point in time. How can it be that in 2015 blacks are more content with being destructive than living a life that is ever so constructive ? My view is that white liberalism is a major part of the explanation for the present psychological formation of so many blacks throughout America.

Why ? Because white liberalism has maintained the view that the existence of racism is automatically an excuse for blacks not being successful even if the success simply requires that we who are black cooperate among ourselves and so pool our own resources in order to achieve an outcome that would be beneficial to blacks generally.

The eminent philosopher David Hume (1711-1776) made the following observation : “The minds of human beings are rather like mirrors to one another’s soul”. That truth holds as much today as it did centuries ago. White liberalism has been an extremely poor mirror for blacks. And the proof of that is none other than the rioting that we see blacks do when it is held that a black was harmed by a white police offer. There is nothing at all inappropriate with protesting a wrong. But what on earth would justify such horrendous destruction—as we have seen in Baltimore—on the part of blacks as a form of protest ? There is a simple answer : Nothing at all. The CVS store that had been recently built in the black community as a way of providing blacks with needed service was looted and essentially destroyed by blacks. There is nothing that could possibly have justified or excused such behavior on the part of blacks. Indeed, it was manifestly contrary to their self-interest to so behave. But why let reason and commonsense get in the way of ” being black” ?

Whatever else true, it is true that Frederick Douglass mightily grasped that in order to succeed in life given the physically visible black person that he was, the reality was that he could not go around rioting and throwing fits about racist whites. And guess what ? He is a former slave who went on to exhibit far more excellence than the vast majority of whites of his time. He never used the fact that he was born a slave as an excuse not to be excellent. Needless, that is a moral and social lesson that all should embrace. And that is especially so for American blacks.

What is more, white liberals of the present era must stop embracing the view that racism is an excusing condition for horrific black behavior and, in general, the lack of success on the part of blacks. As an aside, I am convinced that there is considerable self-deception on the part of white liberals in this regard. This is because there are very few things that command the respect of another more than success. This is how respected non-whites are judge such as Asians and Indians. Indeed, this is how white people are judged. And so on. It is simply not plausible to hold that with respect to blacks, racism is automatically and necessarily an excuse for blacks not being successful—indeed, an excuse for blacks rioting and engaging in destructive behavior whenever something goes wrong with respect to a black.

As I have said over and over and over again in conversation to folks : Racism is not the explanation nowadays for why blacks do not own many of the “Mom & Pop” stores in their own neighborhood. No doubt racism was in 1950. But that is surely not the case nowadays, some 65 years later ; for it is blacks who are keeping the stores afloat—stores owned, for instance, by Arabs and Asians.

In the end, I am actually arguing that there is a kind of paternalistic racism on the part of white liberals that has contributed mightily to blacks lacking the record of success that they should have at this point in time. This is because as a kind of social mirror in Hume’s sense of the term, white liberals have been far too eager to excuse blacks than to hold blacks to the standard of excellence which blacks are capable of achieving—a reality that does not at all require denying racism.

In this regard, Jew stand as a very formidable example. There has been a deep, deep measure of antisemitism in the United States. Indeed, there was a time when Jews were not accepted to Ivy League schools. Just so, Jews went to live ever so meaningful lives. There is a perfectly analogous sense in which blacks should have done the exact thing from the Civil Rights Movement onward. My own view is that misguided sympathy on the part of so many white liberals played a major in blacks not doing so. This is because the sympathy automatically became an excuse not to have any high expectations of blacks. And that has proven to be far more of a self-fulfilling prophecy than not.

For if, after the Civil Rights Movement, it had happened that American blacks had united in the way that I have described, they would have marvelously commanded the respect of folks.

Of course, anger and outrage can be ever so appropriate. But clearly something has gone terribly wrong if owing to anger and outrage I essentially and clearly harm myself as a result of the wrong that I suffered rather than pursue a course of action that renders far more immune to such wrongdoing than I was before. This is so obvious that the mere fact that an Al Sharpton or a Jesse Jackson has not suggested such thing is a deep, deep sign that we who are black have become so comfortable with doing ourselves more harm than good that we take such behavior to be a sign of self-respect. If that isn’t self-deception than I do not know what is. And I can pretty much show that supposedly well-meaning white liberals have a played a major role in blacks so viewing themselves and thus to the considerable self-deception that is constitutive of so many blacks in America.

© 2015 Laurence Thomas

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