While many believe that prejudice has diminished over time, it’s not really true. Prejudice is much like the wind: Its direction changes, and the sheltered and well-situated may not sense it, but it’s always blowing on some people somewhere. Put literally, every age has its fashionable biases – and unfashionable people.
This was obvious during the presidential inauguration benediction, given by the Reverend Joseph Lowery. While making a supplication to the Lord, he made the following anachronistic plea:
“. . . help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man, and when white will embrace what is right [emphasis mine].”
Well, I wonder if the reverend has ever asked the Lord why He scourged the world with white people in the first place.
It isn’t surprising that caucaphobia is in fashion. You can demonize any person, group or place; all you need do is focus on the object’s failings to the exclusion of its/his accomplishments. It isn’t even hard to do. To bastardize one of Abraham Lincoln’s lines, if you look for the worst in a group, you’re sure to find it. It’s just as with a person. If I repeatedly disseminated your sins and mistakes among the town folk while downplaying your good points, how long would it be before they were chasing you with pitchforks?
So it has been with whites for a long time now. It is not correct to say that history textbooks, documentaries and entertainment inundate us with stories about slavery and civil rights abuses; no, they inundate us with stories about whites’ practice of slavery and abuse of civil rights. There are movies such as “Roots” and “Mississippi Burning” but none of note about the Aztecs’ or Shaka Zulu’s domination of neighboring peoples, or the current African slave trade or Zimbabwean “president” Robert Mugabe’s persecution of whites and political opponents. Then, relating the American history guidelines of a prominent textbook publisher, the author of The Language Police, Diane Ravitch, writes:
“European Americans, the guidelines suggest, were uniquely responsible for bigotry and exploitation in all human history.”
This philosophy imbues school textbooks. While featured prominently are the sins of whites, others’ sins are whitewashed. For instance, due to special-interest-group pressure – such as that applied by Moslem activists – examples of slavery perpetrated by non-whites are in short supply or are sanitized. This, despite the fact that Moslem North Africans did at one time capture young boys of both the white and black races, castrate them and sell them into slavery. And this bias is a continuation of decades of anti-white propaganda of the kind embodied in Susan Sontag’s famous 1967 line, “The white race is the cancer of human history.” It’s an idea that has taken hold.
Thus must I mount a defense of the white race. But I want to preface it with a few remarks. First, don’t ask why I undertake such an endeavor. When the president has a preacher talking about the black, brown, yellow, red and white, it’s silly to ask why I speak of race. I’m not initiating such a discussion, I’m responding. I’m not throwing punches, I’m blocking.
Second, because of this – since I’m refuting those who assign blame by highlighting the sins of whites – it’s necessary that I trumpet whites’ accomplishments. Unlike those I’m refuting, however – who often ascribe the evils they feature to something inherent in whites – I don’t claim there is an innate quality in the race that should be credited with all these triumphs. On the contrary, I believe the force primarily responsible for Western civilization’s glories is Christianity, but that is grist for a different day.
It’s not hard to figure out where a defense of whites must start: Slavery. It’s the most odd of issues, in that we all thoroughly agree on the wrongness of it yet it is thoroughly divisive. It is the defining grievance of black America, something that imbues millions of black psyches. As an example, I attended a gathering a few years ago at which there was a certain guest, a rather emotive and outgoing black fellow who was very good at relating every topic of discussion, from the meaningful to the mundane, to America’s slavery. It was as if he could channel Kunta Kinte in every conversation.
Yet the reality of slavery is that, along with prostitution, it is one of the world’s oldest institutions. It is mentioned in the Bible and Koran, and, to the best of my knowledge, every major civilization has practiced it. And, if we’re to believe history and Afrocentrists (and I suppose you cannot believe both), the ancient Egyptians were black and enslaved Jews.
Moreover, the Islamic slave trade took at least as many Africans into bondage as did the European variety, and African tribes themselves had slaves and sold them to both civilizations. Additionally, while the word “slave” conjures up the image of a black person in the typical American mind, the term itself is derived from the word “Slav.” This is because great numbers of Slavs were once sold into slavery by conquering peoples. In other words, no group ever cornered the market on slavery – it touched ever corner of the Earth.
Yet, in the history of involuntary servitude, something else should be noted. It is a startling fact:
While whites weren’t the first ones to practice slavery, they were the first ones to abolish it.
Let’s be clear about this. Slavery was accepted. It was the status quo. It was an institution whose origin was shrouded in the mists of time. It was unquestioned.
That is, until Europeans said “No more.”
It was not Asians who effected this bold and unprecedented social change. It was not South Americans. It was not Africans. It was not American Indians. It was not Aborigines. It was Europeans, that cancer of human history, and they were just as white then as they are today. They gave the world change you can really believe in.
People will try to explain away this historical fact, saying that this striking example of man’s humanity to man has nothing to do with race. I will simply reiterate that the why of the matter is a discussion for a different day. For now, I’m content to say that if whites can be demonized without explanation for being one of many groups to enslave Africans, they can be credited without explanation for being the first group to outlaw the enslavement of anyone.
One of the reasons we fixate on slavery that ended more than 150 years ago concerns the effects many believe it has today. This is called the “legacy of slavery,” which, actually, seems not nearly as big a problem as the legacy of obsessing on legacies. Be that as it may, what is the real legacy of slavery?
Well, let’s think about it: Many lament blacks’ economic state in America, claiming it’s part of slavery’s legacy. But where would blacks be were it not for slavery? The answer is Africa, where people’s economic state is far, far worse than that of American blacks.
In other words, there is no reason to agonize over an event – even an evil one – responsible for your presence in a country that has offered its citizens unprecedented rights and standard of living. (Of course, to be precise, most blacks currently in the U.S. would not actually have been worse off absent slavery. This is because they wouldn’t have “been” at all, as ancestors whose procreation led to their existence would never even have met. The big picture is a funny thing, isn’t it?)
The point is that most people who arrived on American shores were driven here by some kind of persecution. Whatever the reason, however, thank God we’re in the land of opportunity and not languishing in a slum in Asia, South America, Africa or Eastern Europe. So, it’s ironic, but that some blacks were brought here in chains yesterday ensured that their descendants wouldn’t have to wear chains today.
Now we come to prejudice, another supposedly characteristic white fault. Yet the truth is quite the opposite. In reality, racial prejudice is probably found least among whites, due to political correctness.
Most white children are raised today with the idea that it’s profoundly immoral to be prejudiced (I discussed this here). This isn’t to say there aren’t some Archie Bunker types extant, but they certainly aren’t in fashion. Remember, it was mainly white people who originated, promoted and funded sensitivity-training classes, tolerance programs and multiculturalism (come to think of it, I may start hating white people myself). Now, while I consider these abominations to be worse than what they ostensibly remedy, this brings us to a relevant question: Can you think of another group that has gone to the point of self-flagellation to purge prejudice from its ranks? Heck, with how we beat each other up over this, no one really has to worry at all about whites. We’re all black and blue.
Then we have the matter of white achievement. The vast majority of what makes the lives of all races better today – modern science and medicine; our luxuries; Western art, literature, legal institutions; etc. – is the handiwork of whites. Oh, this is simply a matter of circumstance, of opportunity, of a twist of fate, you say? Perhaps. Again, this is not the time to discuss the ways and whys. Suffice it to say for now that if President Obama (PBUH) can frame matters in terms of race at his inauguration (and in his books and everywhere else, it seems), I can in an article. And if whites can be ridiculed for their transgressions, they can be recognized for their triumphs.
Yet, despite all this and more, caucaphobia is still not only accepted but often encouraged. And the hypocrisy is stark. The left admonishes against making even valid generalizations or entertaining intellectual discussions about group differences. And indulging stereotyping – that specter of egalitarian nightmares – can fast earn one pariah status in addition to a place on the unemployment line. Why, even the positive variety is off limits. We cannot say blacks are better athletes, even though the sports arena may bear witness to this; we cannot say Asians are more intelligent, even though they have the highest average I.Q. of any major racial group; we cannot say Latinos are good dancers (not sure about that one). The idea is that such beliefs can lead to stigmatization or resentment or, or . . . whatever the theory du jour may be.
But when the matter is whites, even baseless negative stereotypes aren’t thought cause for alarm. A Reverend Lowery can imply that whites are uniquely flawed and immoral, they can be portrayed as the bane of man, as “the cancer of human history,” and it’s ho-hum.
Yet, are we to believe that such demonization magically becomes harmless when whites are the targets? What does history teach about the plight of consistently scapegoated and dehumanized groups? It’s that they almost invariably end up suffering persecution. And given that current demographic trends indicate whites will becomes a minority in America during the lifetimes of many reading this, and given that even majorities sometimes are tyrannized – as Sunnis’ domination of Shiites under Saddam Hussein and the Spartans’ enslavement of the Helots proved – it’s foolish to dismiss the peril posed by mainstreaming caucaphobia. (In fact, whites already suffer the sting of persecution; I documented some cases here and here).
Yet, that increasingly-maligned dead white male Ben Franklin knew whereof he spoke when he said, “You cannot reason a man out of a position he has not reasoned himself into.” Prejudice is a function of emotion, not logic, and emotion is like darkness, in that it can be blinding. A person who sees only color – and through colored glasses – will have a powerful immunity to facts. Thus, I only expect caucaphobia to intensify.
So what can we do? Well, prayer is always good, so I’ll conclude with one of my own right now. Lord, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will cease the attack, brown will no longer frown, white will be all right – and rhymes will fit the times.
© 2008 Selwyn Duke -- All Rights Reserved