The Myth of Black Freedom in the U.S.

Submitted by: Mike Spindell, guest blogger

417px-Frederick_Douglass_portraitTo some of us the transition from slave to citizenship by those Africans brought in chains to these shores for economic exploitation and horrific abuse ended with the “Emancipation Proclamation”. To others its’ end might have been marked by “Brown v. Board of Education”, or by the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Those of somewhat more insightful bent may have said that the true emancipation occurred when Barack Obama was elected President in 2008. In my view, as much of an impact as all those milestones (and more such as Jackie Robinson i.e.) made to American consciousness, Black people in the United States clearly still lack the benefits and rewards of citizenship. I would go further and say that in the United States, at this time; most Black people still suffer the degradation and challenges brought about by both institutional and emotional racism. This is not to say that in our country other groups, such as Latino’s and Native Americans are free of oppressive prejudice, but to assert that given their history in this country Black people are slotted into the bottom of the economic and social ladder and are still struggling to obtain even those most minimal of rights that most Americans see as their birthright.

This article is a very personal one for me, even though I am not a Black American. As someone born in 1944 I have lived through a great deal of significant Civil Rights history and even contributed to the struggle albeit in a minor way. As a Jewish kid from New York, born into a progressive family, my experience with Black people was minimal until the age of eighteen. There were no non-Whites in my High School, for instance. Yet as someone from a large family, where both set of grandparents immigrated to this country, we as Jews were quite aware of the Country’s innate prejudice towards ourselves and many of us translated that awareness into understanding the prejudicial plights of other ethnic groups. In America though, even among Jews, as each new wave of immigrants found success and acceptance many among them viewed Blacks with disdain believing something to the effect of “If I and mine “made” it, why can’t they. What’s wrong with them? The following will be my personal explanation for “what’s wrong with them” and to me the inevitable conclusion will be what’s wrong with us, the US being this country.

The first African slaves were brought to Virginia in 1619. As the centuries passed this was seen by those profiting from it as a fortuitous economic innovation. Pre-Revolutionary American also had another longstanding, economically exploitive and fortuitous use of lowering labor costs known as indentured servitude.  European immigrants sign a legal document committing them to a certain term of service as “servants”, during which time they received no pay, only food and lodging. They could be discipline through beatings and their contracts were fully enforceable by law. The practice began to die out with the proliferation of African slaves, since the Blacks had a lifetime obligation of service which ended at death, they were economically more feasible a solution. With history memory fades quickly, especially if a whole cottage industry of media propaganda has been produced to “smooth” its edges. “Birth of a Nation”, one of the most cinematically acclaimed films of all time, present Blacks as rabid sub-humans, who required a heroic Ku Klux Klan to keep them in line after the Emancipation. “Gone with the Wind” an even more financially successful film portrays the Blacks in it as sort of loyal simpletons who wouldn’t know how to exist without white people to give them guidance. Racist, denigrating portrayals of Blacks ran rife through the American Cinema and indeed the arts. Stereotypes become universal mythological archetypes and even many of those who believed in freedom for Blacks were skeptical of their capabilities for acting as average citizens.

Looking back at the history of Black slavery in America, I believe we need to re-emphasize an aspect of it that though well known, is usually given intellectually short shrift as to its long term effects. Genocide comes in many forms. Given Twentieth Century history genocide connotes outright murder such as those committed by the Turks against the Armenians, the NAZI’s against the Jews, homosexuals, Gypsy’s and mentally incapacitated. We can add Stalin’s “agricultural reform” via murder, Pol Pot’s political purification via the “killing fields” and the various tragic genocides taking place in Africa today. Yet in that past Century we have another example of a less murderous, but no less horrific genocide as exhibited by Mao’s “Cultural Revolution”. This was an effort less to murder people and more to provide them with a harshly imposed re-education and as such I see the “Genocide” of American slavery as a pre-cursor of Chairman Mao.

Except for instances of sadism, or extreme disciplinary example, it was not the intent of the American slaveholder to murder his/her slaves. They represented property and wealth. They could be put up as chattel for loans and they could be sold for profit. The “smart” slave investor wanted to keep his “property” healthful and in good shape for possible profit via sale. What that investor, entrepreneur may we say, didn’t want was any particular slave believing that they had the right to do anything but serve the will of their Master. Cultural genocide was what was imposed upon the captive Africans, to destroy any memories of their past history and to dent them the normal human comforts of wives and family. The truth, conveniently ignored by common history books to sugar coat the horror of imperialist exploitation of Africa, was that existing there was rather strong and sophisticated cultural heritages. These were not “savages” falling upon each other in constant strife and living unsophisticated lives as “jungle denizens”, but rather richly developed cultures that had a sophisticated cross-cultural interdependence. That some of the more powerful tribes sold their fellows into slavery was not a good thing, but actually slavery in the Western world’s history goes back to our “cultural forebears” the Athenians, the Trojans, the Carthaginians and of course the “glory” that was Rome. Human’s tendency to exploit other humans for personal gain seems endemic to our history as we see today in our “great banks”, or phony entrepreneurs like Mitt Romney.

Slaveholders in America needed to ensure docility by expunging the African memories and identities of “their” slaves by renaming them, destroying personal bonds such as marriage and parenthood, and most importantly teaching their unwilling slaves that all the stereotypes of their inferiority were true. They succeeded fairly well in many cases. I could put in here the actual truth that the slaves were highly resistant and developed their own intellectual and cultural movements, including many rebellions, but if you don’t know of the lives of Frederick Douglas  and Nat Turner it might profit you to do a little research. Nevertheless, the slave holder propagandists did have widespread success in their genocide of cultural destruction, abetted by the mass media and certain historians forgetfulness of the true history of American slavery.

The “Abolitionist Movement” in America gained strength to the point of electing an American President who shared somewhat similar sentiments. One of the bloodiest wars in history was fought on American soil and in the end the forces of Abolition seemed victorious. Lincoln was of course murdered only days after the Gettysburg surrender and replaced by a somewhat less committed and capable President Andrew Johnson. While the plans for “Reconstruction” had been drawn prior to the Civil Wars end, Johnson’s ability to fully implement it and truly give freed Blacks the chance at full citizenship and freedom was limited by the deal he had to make to keep from being impeached. Slavery was over but “Jim Crow” replaced it with a system no less harsh and certainly no less murderous. Historically and in the doctrines of our courts “Jim Crow” was the law of the land and Black people were for the most part not allowed the normal rights of American citizens, most importantly the right to vote.

What is forgotten in all of this is the psychological effect this condition of “Jim Crow” had upon Black Americans, particularly males. Imagine living a life where you are not only constantly under suspicion for mischief, but extremely likely to be incarcerated or lynched for innocent actions? Imagine having to step into the gutter when encountering a white person on the sidewalk? Imagine being afraid to look a white person in the eye for fear of being charged with the “crime” of being “uppity”. Imagine being educated in severely under funded school districts, with poverty the impetus to drop out early to work and with lack of books to help one in their study? Imagine having to take a “literacy” test to vote, or having to pay a “poll tax” in order to vote? Imagine seeing angry policeman staring at you as you approached a polling place and knowing that they could beat you senseless just for the fun of it? Imagine being called “Boy” by someone years younger and your life in danger if you don’t acquiesce?

Imagine as a father being unable to find, or hold a job as easy as your wife and the shameful baggage that goes with the knowledge you are unable to support your family? Imagine needing welfare assistance for your family to survive, yet having to either move out of your home, or pretend not to live there lest the Welfare authorities cut off your family’s entire assistance? Imagine living a life of having to suffer constant humiliation and degradation of your self-esteem? What I’ve just written only briefly touches upon the psychological genocide that was inflicted and still is being afflicted upon the Black portion of our people.

That so many Black people have thrived, despite all of these difficulties, is a tribute to the intelligence and talents of this portion of our population. That such a rich cultural heritage has been produced by Black Americans is a similar paean to the strength of their culture and to the many examples of true genius that exists amongst them. So yes in America we have a Black President, many distinguished Black legislators, educators, entertainers and sports stars. I would assert to you that while on an individual basis that is a cause for celebration, on an institutional basis things have not really progressed much beyond “Jim Crow” and we may actually be entering a time of retrenchment if we don’t see the ominous signs.

Last week my fellow guest blogger Lawrence Rafferty made this excellent contribution: “Probable Cause..Black, Latino and Young”.  In it he discussed the ongoing New York City “Stop and Frisk” policy instituted by Mayor Bloomberg and his Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. While the trial isn’t over the evidence is pretty conclusive that for the past decade people of color have been targeted by the NYPD simply based on their appearance:

“According to department data, the NYPD has made roughly 5 million street stops in the past decade, the vast majority of those stopped being young African American or Latino men.  Nearly nine out of 10 of those stopped by police have walked away without a summons or arrest.” 

Explain to me please the difference between these actions and those Blacks lived through during “Jim Crow”? Now due to his media savvy I have no doubt that Mr. Bloomberg, that champion of the elite, has publicized this to the point where we think it is simply a New York City phenomenon. In truth this is common practice all over this country and especially in places like Los Angeles, San Diego and Joe Arpaio’s famed Maricopa Country. Indeed in all of Arizona one can be stopped for driving as a suspected Mexican. Seriously, can you deny that in the “formerly Jim Crow” South this is still not a common practice?

A companion piece to this is something that I have previously written about: “The Incarceration of Black Men in America

 To quote from that piece:

“Black males continue to be incarcerated at an extraordinary rate. Black males make up 35.4 percent of the jail and prison population — even though they make up less than 10 percent of the overall U.S population. Four percent of U.S. black males were in jail or prison last year, compared to 1.7 percent of Hispanic males and .7 percent of white males. In other words, black males were locked up at almost six times the rate of their white counterparts.”

How can we honestly say given the above, if you accept it, that Black people share equality of citizenship with their fellow Americans? The “stop and frisk” actions lead to predominantly minor charges, that despite guilt are plea bargained away due to lack of viable legal representation. Arrests and jail records make finding gainful employment harder, which leads to a kind of “what the hell” despair that imbues the psyches of may Blacks, despite their intelligence, strength of character and the stability of their communal connections. We still live in a land of “Jim Crow” and those who pretend we do not are either politically and/or racially motivated, or suffering from denial in my opinion. To any who might dispute my conclusions, or think they are based upon lack of evidence beware, because the evidence of this fact is so overwhelming that this guest blog would run into the tens of thousands of words were I to produce them. Until all of our citizens, despite their backgrounds are treated on an equal basis than the idea of our Constitutional Republic is a mere sham. It must seem so for so many people of color.

Submitted by: Mike Spindell, guest blogger.

98 thoughts on “The Myth of Black Freedom in the U.S.

  1. Great article…. Glad you’re feeling better mike….

    Do you think it really could be any other way…. Someone always is disenfranchised….

  2. Thanks for a great article Mike. I agree whole heartedly with your thesis. The modicum of freedom that they enjoy now is in jeopardy with the voting restrictions being put in place by states under the guise of preventing the non-existent voter fraud.

  3. What raff said except I wouldn’t describe voter fraud as non-existent but rather as statistically insignificant.

  4. That’s what always strikes me when you look a story on the numbers behind voter fraud, raff. The net effect ends up being something like 0.04% or something along those lines. The whole voter fraud issue is clearly not about correcting of significant error . . . unless of course you think the significant error you’re addressing is making sure people who wouldn’t vote for you can’t vote for your opponent. It’s all thinly veiled racism and elitism at best.

  5. You are right Gene. That is why I consider the alleged problem to be non-existent. I wonder what the percentage of fraud by banksters is in comparison to voter fraud?

  6. In addition to agreeing with the comments up-thread, let me say: welcome back Mike S, and thanks for the needed trip down memory lane, and these excerpts from your post:

    With history memory fades quickly, especially if a whole cottage industry of media propaganda has been produced to “smooth” its edges.

    Cultural genocide was what was imposed upon the captive Africans, to destroy any memories of their past history and to dent them the normal human comforts of wives and family.

    I would assert to you that while on an individual basis that is a cause for celebration, on an institutional basis things have not really progressed much beyond “Jim Crow” and we may actually be entering a time of retrenchment if we don’t see the ominous signs.

    We still live in a land of “Jim Crow” and those who pretend we do not are either politically and/or racially motivated, or suffering from denial in my opinion.

    Well said.

    There are some serious studies, along the line of the Gene H series about propaganda involved with some of this, in the context of communal or collective behavior induced in part by propaganda, as you also mentioned.

    An example:

    … historians nowadays tend to be interested in different facets of memory, especially “collective memory” and its mirror image, forgetting. Among other things, we want to know how a society or community’s memory of important events changes over time. Those changes often involve forgetting what we once knew — or thought we knew.

    For example, the Yale historian, David Blight, has shown that during the first 50 years after the Civil War, the majority of white Americans largely forgot the harshness of slavery and came to remember the institution as relatively benign. A southern, romanticized version of slavery took shape thanks to a proliferation local Civil War museums and the desire of political and cultural elites to forge reconciliation between the North and the South.

    (Remodelling Memory For Life’s Sake, emphasis added). Like you said, there is enough evidence to write a book about it.

  7. Thanks for the kind comments everyone. I’m still ailing, though mending,. I mused upon this during my time in the hospital as I read Larry’s blog and the engaging thread that followed. There is so much more I could have said, but lacked the physical strength to continue. Thank you for filling in the interstices.

  8. ” “Jim Crow” had upon Black Americans, particularly males. Imagine living a life where you are not only constantly under suspicion for mischief, but extremely likely to be incarcerated”

    Thank you for a thoughtful article.

    As you mention, we don’t actually have to imagine this. The Bloomberg administration presents this for our view every day.

    If we are to believe reports, there are two parts to this abuse. The first has to do with stopping an individual for being a member of a group, class or ‘race’.

    The second has to do with the treatment meted out to the detained individual by the individual police officer. There have been so many reports of physical and verbal abuse that citizens have to take this as an important issue for investigation.

    The issue of abuse of detained individuals by police officers requires investigation, regardless of whether the policy of stops is found to be discriminatory or justified by some statistical anomaly.

  9. Read 1493 by Charles Mann for insight into the driving factors for American Slavery. 8 out of 10 indentured englishmen died below the Mason-Dixon line, African Blacks had resistance to Malaria & Yellow Fever.

  10. I forgot to add: In American History, There was also a process of ‘making or breaking in’ an African a slave, once he/she arrived in America. Here is that process:

    “There were three people involved in the crime that was committed against us–the slave trader, the slave master, and a third one that they don’t tell you and me about, the slave maker. You’ve read about the slave trader and you’ve read about the slave master; in fact, you know the slave master–you’re still in his hands. But you never read in history the part played by the slave maker.

    You can’t make a wise man a slave, you can’t make a warrior a slave. When you and I came here, or rather when we were brought here, we were brought here from a society that was highly civilized, our culture was at the highest level, and we were warriors–we knew no fear. How could they make us slaves? They had to do the same thing to us that we do to a horse. When you take a horse out of the wilds, you don’t just jump on him and ride him, or put a bit in his mouth and use him to plow with. No, you’ve got to break him in first. Once you break him in, then you can ride him. Now the man who rides him is not the man who breaks him in. It takes a different type of man to break him in than it takes to ride him. The average man that’s been riding him can’t break him in. It takes a cruel man to break him in, a mean man, a heartless man, a man with no feelings.

    And this is why they took the role of the slave maker out of history. It was so criminal that they don’t even dare to write about it, to tell what was done to you and me to break us in and break us down to the level that we’re on today. Because if you find the role that that slave maker played, I’m telling you, you’ll find it hard to forget and forgive, you’ll find it hard. I can’t forgive the slave trader or the slave master; you know I can’t forgive the slave maker. [Applause]

    Attempts to break Africans
    Our people weren’t brought right here to this country. They were first dropped off in the West Indian islands, in the Caribbean. Most of the slaves that were brought from Africa were dropped off first in the Caribbean, West Indian islands. Why? This was the breaking-in grounds. They would break them in down there. When they broke them in, then they would bring the ones whose spirit had been broken on to America. They had all kinds of tactics for breaking them in. They bred fear into them, for one thing.

    I read in one book how the slave maker used to take a pregnant woman, a Black woman, and make her watch as her man would be tortured and put to death. One of those slave makers had trees that he planted in positions where he would bend them and tie them, and then tie the hand of a Black man to one, a hand to the other, and his legs to two more, and he’d cut the rope. And when he’d cut the rope, that tree would snap up and pull the arm of the Black man right out of his socket, pull him up into four different parts. I’ll show you books where you can read it, they write about it. And they made the pregnant Black women stand there and watch as they did it, so that all this grief and fear that they felt would go right into that baby, that Black baby that was yet to be born. It would be born afraid, born with fear in it. And you’ve got it in you right now–right now, you’ve still got it. When you get in front of that blue-eyed thing, you start to itching, don’t you? And you don’t know why. It was bred into you. But when you find out how they did it, you can get it out of you and put it right back in them.”

    From the book: Malcolm X on Afo-American History.

  11. “phony entrepreneurs like Mitt Romney.” What a crock! Romney has done more for people than Mike ever has. This article is a joke. Black people today have every right as everyone else. It is their own fault they have a high divorce rate. It is their own doing with gang violence in places like Chicago. I don’t blame my Great grandfather’s past for my current situation and BTW I am Black. I am tired of people trying to make excuses for our past as it relates to our present.
    There are many Blacks who do not share this view and I am one of them!

  12. RWL 1, March 30, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    I forgot to add: In American History … I read in one book how the slave maker used to take a pregnant woman, a Black woman, and make her watch as her man would be tortured and put to death. One of those slave makers had trees that he planted in positions where he would bend them and tie them, and then tie the hand of a Black man to one, a hand to the other, and his legs to two more, and he’d cut the rope. And when he’d cut the rope, that tree would snap up and pull the arm of the Black man right out of his socket, pull him up into four different parts. I’ll show you books where you can read it, they write about it. And they made the pregnant Black women stand there and watch as they did it, so that all this grief and fear that they felt would go right into that baby,
    That notion comes under “epigenetics” and has been confirmed recently as a viable hypotheses:

    … the life experiences of grandparents and even great-grandparents alter their eggs and sperm so indelibly that the change is passed on to their children, grandchildren, and beyond. It’s called transgenerational epigenetic inheritance: the phenomenon in which something in the environment alters the health not only of the individual exposed to it, but also of that individual’s descendants.

    (Hypothesis: The Cultural Amygdala). As I mentioned in a comment up-thread, the public does not like to think about the things our epigovernment and government does in our names.

    The powerful myth “kidnapping, torture, rape, and murder is not something an American would do”, therefore Americans did not do that or sanction that.

    This still goes on today before our eyes (if we are watching that is).

  13. Radical Republicons in Congress pushed through three Constitutional Amendments in the years right after the Civil War: 13th Amd which freed slaves; 14th Amd which confirmed citizenship rights and liberty rights for all persons and also limiting States from imposing limitations; 15th Amd granting all males voting rights.

    The 14th Amendment gets overlooked both by people and historians but also by Justices on the Supreme Court. The Amendment has a specific section which empowers Congress to pass laws to enforce the Amendment. The Congress in its various sessions took a while. In 1957 it passed a limited Civil Rights Act. Lyndon Johnson is the large person in history who passed and pushed through the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That is the big breakthrough since the 14th Amd. Lyndon also pushed through the Voting Rights Act of 1965. What people fail to see is that the 14th Amendment also ended certain oligarchy and nobility traditions in America. Poor white trash could vote and be citizens. All people are entitled to a fair trial and to be accorded due process of law and equal protection of the law.

    Over time the Democrats in the South pushed back against Reconstruction and imposed a vapid tyranny of segregation. Also, over time, the Party of Lincoln has become the Party of George Wallace. Lee Atwater from SC published his Southern Strategy, which Nixon, then Reagun and all Republicon Presidents and candidates from that Party have endorsed since 1968. The Red States are all South and the former Republican states, particularly in the Northeast, are all Blue or Democrat.

    RepubliCons have to shed their bigotry or they will continue to fade. If you are not tired of hearing about “forced busing” and “welfare cheats” then keep on voting for RepubliCons who yak in those terms. You can be an Originalist like Justice Scalia and revere the grand old days of Slavery which was embraced by the Framers of our original Constitution. Those original Framers would be skeptical of an Italian on the bench or Jews or women.
    If you want to be a true American then embrace Reconstructionism and embrace equality for all.

  14. People tend to forget that the Civil Rights movement, and the baseline rights it afforded Black Americans, only took place a little over fifty years ago. That’s not even an eye-blink in historical terms. The idea that a community so deeply disenfranchised ought to be expected to compete and thrive is pretty ludicrous, especially given the institutional racism that still exists, at least partially, in the U.S.

    For my part, I am most hopeful when I interact with and young people. They are overwhelmingly “over” racism and willing to move on to better and brighter days. They don’t seem to have as much of the prejudicial baggage that even my generation had (I’m 35).

  15. Mike,

    I do not blame anyone for what happened over a century ago. I am tired of people like you who always want to play a race card. Racism has always been in existence on earth and will continue. I have to be responsible for myself and make good choices. I wish more fathers would stay with their families which is a big problem in my community. That is not government’s fault.

  16. Freeasabird,

    How superior you must feel to your brethren then having made your good choices? I don’t play “race cards” I talk about reality as it is. There is a kernel of truth in what you write, albeit how encrusted with mythology you were taught. That kernel is that in order to thrive a black person has to live life as if they weren’t victims in their individual lives. Yes that is a necessity for personal survival. Go and tell some 16 year old sentenced to jail for possession of a joint though that he is wrong and not the system. Explain to he and his cohort that when the NYPD keeps stopping them and humiliating them that they are not being victimized.

    I wish too that more fathers would stay with their families, but the I also wish that our teenagers were more sexually educated and that the macho needs of surviving at the bottom of the economic pack leading to “baby bragging”, would be overridden by a sense of understanding about how lives can get ruined at such young ages. That would be helped of course by less poverty and better schools, but like you let’s close our eyes to these realities. Instead let us pat ourselves o the back and say “move along now…..nothing to be seen here……this is America where we’re all free and equal before the law. As for:

    “Romney has done more for people than Mike ever has.”

    When Mitt Romey can say he directly saved three people from suicide, two more from drug overdose and one from insulin shock, he might be able to get to a first syllable in comparing himself to me, but after that his (and your) whole argument falls apart. Especially, noting those I was directly involved in sending to prison for child abuse and the others who I helped change their lives through counseling.

  17. Mike,

    It’s great to have you back posting again. Your posts are always thought provoking.

    In addition to “stop and frisk,” I’d add “driving while black.”

    Driving While Black: Racial Profiling On Our Nation’s Highways

    September 14, 2005
    By David A. Harris,
    University of Toledo College of Law

    An American Civil Liberties Union
    Special Report
    June 1999

    On a hot summer afternoon in August 1998, 37-year-old U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Rossano V. Gerald and his young son Gregory drove across the Oklahoma border into a nightmare. A career soldier and a highly decorated veteran of Desert Storm and Operation United Shield in Somalia, SFC Gerald, a black man of Panamanian descent, found that he could not travel more than 30 minutes through the state without being stopped twice: first by the Roland City Police Department, and then by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

    During the second stop, which lasted two-and-half hours, the troopers terrorized SFC Gerald’s 12-year-old son with a police dog, placed both father and son in a closed car with the air conditioning off and fans blowing hot air, and warned that the dog would attack if they attempted to escape. Halfway through the episode – perhaps realizing the extent of their lawlessness – the troopers shut off the patrol car’s video evidence camera.

    Perhaps, too, the officers understood the power of an image to stir people to action. SFC Gerald was only an infant in 1963 when a stunned nation watched on television as Birmingham Police Commissioner “Bull” Connor used powerful fire hoses and vicious police attack dogs against nonviolent black civil rights protesters. That incident, and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s stirring I Have a Dream speech at the historic march on Washington in August of that year, were the low and high points, respectively, of the great era of civil rights legislation: the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

    How did it come to be, then, that 35 years later SFC Gerald found himself standing on the side of a dusty road next to a barking police dog, listening to his son weep while officers rummaged through his belongings simply because he was black?

    I feel like I’m a guy who’s pretty much walked the straight line and that’s respecting people and everything. We just constantly get harassed. So we just feel like we can’t go anywhere without being bothered… I’m not trying to bother anybody. But yet a cop pulls me over and says I’m weaving in the road. And I just came from a friend’s house, no alcohol, nothing. It just makes you wonder – was it just because I’m black?”
    – James, 28, advertising account executive
    Rossano and Gregory Gerald were victims of discriminatory racial profiling by police. There is nothing new about this problem. Police abuse against people of color is a legacy of African American enslavement, repression, and legal inequality. Indeed, during hearings of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (“The Kerner Commission”) in the fall of 1967 where more than 130 witnesses testified about the events leading up to the urban riots that had taken place in 150 cities the previous summer, one of the complaints that came up repeatedly was “the stopping of Negroes on foot or in cars without obvious basis.”

    Significant blame for this rampant abuse of power also can be laid at the feet of the government’s “war on drugs,” a fundamentally misguided crusade enthusiastically embraced by lawmakers and administrations of both parties at every level of government. From the outset, the war on drugs has in fact been a war on people and their constitutional rights, with African Americans, Latinos and other minorities bearing the brunt of the damage. It is a war that has, among other depredations, spawned racist profiles of supposed drug couriers. On our nation’s highways today, police ostensibly looking for drug criminals routinely stop drivers based on the color of their skin. This practice is so common that the minority community has given it the derisive term, “driving while black or brown” – a play on the real offense of “driving while intoxicated.”

    Even Now, There’s Risk in ‘Driving While Black’
    Published: June 14, 2009

    The experience of being mistaken for a criminal is almost a rite of passage for African-American men. Security guards shadow us in stores. Troopers pull us over for the crime of “driving while black.” Nighttime pedestrians cower by us on the streets.

    And black men who work as undercover cops are occasionally shot to death by white colleagues, as happened to a young officer named Omar Edwards when he was off duty and in plain clothes last month in New York City.

    We have often been seen as paranoid for attributing these things to bias. But the racial stereotypes that link blackness and crime have recently become a hot topic in social science.

    These pervasive and often unconscious biases affect social transactions of all kinds. They drive voting behavior. They make it likely that black defendants will receive longer sentences than whites for comparable crimes. They wreak havoc with the job possibilities of young black men. And they give the lie to the idea that the Unites States is becoming a “postracial” country.

  18. The rise of hate in the age of Obama
    By Jonathan Capehart

    While folks were obsessing over polls that showed their preferred presidential candidate being up or down, I obsessed over a poll that revealed a troubling rise in hatred among the American people. According to a poll for the Associated Press, anti-African American and anti-Hispanic attitudes have grown since the election of the nation’s first black president.

    I’m not one of those people who thought sending Barack Obama to the White House would exorcise the nation’s racial demons, that centuries of strife and tribulation would simply melt away with one historic election. But I did hope that some remnants of the the wave of good feeling that swept over the United States between Election Day 2008 and Inauguration Day two months later would remain. How silly of me.

    In 2008, anti-black attitudes were held by 48 percent of Americans surveyed. Today, that number is 51 percent. When implicit racial attitudes are measured, that statistic jumps to 56 percent. The viewpoint is even worse for Hispanics: A poll done last year showed that anti-Latino attitudes were held by 52 percent of non-Hispanic whites. On the implicit racial attitudes test, the negative views of Hispanics goes to 57 percent. (The AP worked on the poll with NORC at the University of Chicago, the University of Michigan and Stanford University.)

  19. Thank you Mike for another well founded and articulate presentation.

    The final straw of racism will probably be the subtle yet not provable discriminations, such as I have two grocery clerks to ring up my bill, one white, the other green. I’ll just head to the green person. Then, maybe their children will not think that way.

    It seems the overt racism can be easily met with legal actions, but the subtle are likely more widespread and collectively just as bad as the ocasional outrage to one individual. But, it applies to all members of that group.

  20. AP poll: U.S. majority have prejudice against blacks

    The AP surveys were conducted with researchers from Stanford University, the University of Michigan and NORC at the University of Chicago.

    Experts on race said they were not surprised by the findings.

    “We have this false idea that there is uniformity in progress and that things change in one big step. That is not the way history has worked,” said Jelani Cobb, professor of history and director of the Institute for African-American Studies at the University of Connecticut. “When we’ve seen progress, we’ve also seen backlash.”

    Obama himself has tread cautiously on the subject of race, but many African-Americans have talked openly about perceived antagonism toward them since Obama took office. As evidence, they point to events involving police brutality or cite bumper stickers, cartoons and protest posters that mock the president as a lion or a monkey, or lynch him in effigy.

    “Part of it is growing polarization within American society,” said Fredrick Harris, director of the Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University. “The last Democrat in the White House said we had to have a national discussion about race. There’s been total silence around issues of race with this president. But, as you see, whether there is silence, or an elevation of the discussion of race, you still have polarization. It will take more generations, I suspect, before we eliminate these deep feelings.”

  21. Dredd wrote: “For example, the Yale historian, David Blight, has shown that during the first 50 years after the Civil War, the majority of white Americans largely forgot the harshness of slavery and came to remember the institution as relatively benign. A southern, romanticized version of slavery took shape”
    Right. Took shape and is still alive at CPAC and I suspect in a not inconsiderable segment of neo-cons:

    CPAC meeting on race the title of which was ‘Are you tired of being called a racist when you’re not one’ as I recall:


    Fellow-citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here to-day? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? and am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?

    Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfully returned to these questions! Then would my task be light, and my burden easy and delightful. For who is there so cold, that a nation’s sympathy could not warm him? Who so obdurate and dead to the claims of gratitude, that would not thankfully acknowledge such priceless benefits? Who so stolid and selfish, that would not give his voice to swell the hallelujahs of a nation’s jubilee, when the chains of servitude had been torn from his limbs? I am not that man. In a case like that, the dumb might eloquently speak, and the “lame man leap as an hart.”

    But, such is not the state of the case. I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought life and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth [of] July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to-day? If so, there is a parallel to your conduct. And let me warn you that it is dangerous to copy the example of a nation whose crimes, lowering up to heaven, were thrown down by the breath of the Almighty, burying that nation in irrecoverable ruin! I can to-day take up the plaintive lament of a peeled and woe-smitten people!

    What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?

    Frederick Douglass
    July 5, 1852

  23. freeasabird, First of all, welcome. I have lamented here for some time this lily white forum desperately needs diversity. Allow me to give you some background. Firstly, as you can probably tell, this pablum is all theory as is much of what you’ll read here. Most of these folks know few, if any black people and certainly don’t socialize w/ them. I have many black friends w/ whom I routinely socialize, vacation[last week two black amateur boxers we know came out to visit from KC to vacation and do some sparring]. One of my black friends LOVES to play on white guilt. White women are like shooting fish in a barrell but as you can see some men here would also be sputtering and apologizing. My friend will make outrageous comments to random white folk alleging racism and they do back flips apologizing. He sometimes goes too far and we have to tell him to back off. It’s a bit edgey, he mostly does it for laughs but there’s a dark side to there is w/ most comedy. As Steve Martin used to say, “Comedy is not pretty.”

    Then there is a pathology here that is overriding and has nothing to do w/ race. You see, there are a few charter members of the Andy Rooney Curmudgeon Society. Even when a very positive post is made by Mr. Turley of a guest blogger, there will be the tedious, “Yeah, buts.” A recent example was a heartwarming story of a downs kid playing basketball. The curmudgeon in this case felt compelled to point out the horrors of competition. Indeed there is a dark side to sports but I mean, DAMN..just smile @ the nice story and save the negativity for another day. But, you know the type, free; the people who aren’t happy unless they’re fighting some injustice.

    Finally, you are not a proper black man in the minds of some here. So get w/ the f@cking program right now or get the f@ck out is what they’re thinking but NEVER say..well one guy might!! I implore you to stay. They’ll be tougher on me than you since I’m white. But continue to be a fly in their ointment. I’ve said here previously, I’ve tried to get some black folk to comment but they read horseshit like this and say, “No thanks.” My white guilter friend isn’t into blogs. He would cause a few strokes here if he were.

  24. Mike Spindell

    White people also have the problem of being associated with the ones who caused such hatred and racism even though they were not alive. I am tired of a color preceding a person for then we are dividing and conquering. If we are all Americans then let’s start acting like it and stop the excuses.

  25. “The systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion.” That’s terrorism. Terry stops and incarceration (Thank you drug war- we couldn’t have done it without ya’.) as they are enforced is state sponsored terrorism against people of color, primarily African Americans, no less than the camps RWL writes about. If you want equality, work for justice reform and an end to the war on drugs.

    Mike, excellent article and I too have missed you. I’m glad to see that you have returned and I hope you’re feeling better.

  26. Nick,

    As usual you substitute possibly fake anecdotes for argumentative logic. In the time you have been here you have never once responded with anything that approaches logical argument, on any issue. You are sneaky in your implications and seem to have a convenient anecdote made up and to available to replace logic with prejudice. Were you an honest player, such as Freeasabird, I might deign to take you seriously. You’re not, however, just another pompous guy at the local bar who is bully quick with an opinion, but short on facts.

  27. Freeasabird, the history was a context to address what is happening now, what is happening now is overt and extremely destructive unless one believes that African Americans, as a cultural group, are as dangerous and lawless as the number of Terry stops and rate of incarceration would indicate in a color-blind society. Do you? I don’t.

    “If we are all Americans then let’s start acting like it and stop the excuses.” Agreed. And remove the systemic injustice to impose and reinforce the notion that “we are all equally Americans but…” so everyone can.

  28. What’s that smell?

    The fragrant steam produced by warm water and vinegar.

    Way to go, Cliff Claiborne. Way to go.

  29. White People Have to Give Up Racism
    Mychal Denzel Smith
    February 14, 2013

    Last week, I argued that a repeal of so-called “Stand Your Ground” laws and the outlawing of racial profiling are necessary but insufficient to prevent murders like that of Trayvon Martin. On Twitter, someone asked me, “What’s your solution?” My short answer: white people have to give up racism.

    As complicated an issue as race has become in the United States, that might sound like an overly simplistic answer, but it’s the root of it all. While we’ve all come up internalizing racism, since it’s all around us, only one group of people actually benefits from its existence. Not every white person is a racist, but the genius of racism is that you don’t have to participate to enjoy the spoils. If you’re white, you can be completely oblivious, passively accepting the status quo, and reap the rewards.

    Over time, those living on the other side, whether black, Latino, Asian, or Native American, have fought back and shamed white people into sharing the power and the spoils of capitalism. A few people of color have managed to achieve levels of success, as we typically define it, that rival their white counterparts. So, a popular narrative has become, “These few tokens beat the odds, why can’t all of you?” In fact, no one defeats racism; they just succeed in spite of it. But most don’t.

    No, it’s not the job of people of color to win over racism, it’s the responsibility of white people to abandon it altogether. We’ve reached a point here in America, though, where we believe the worst of racism is over and the remaining animus is either not worth mentioning or dying off. Neither is true. Racism is the foundation; it literally built this country. It’s going to keep showing up. Denying that doesn’t solve the problem, it exacerbates it, making it so we can’t ever achieve real solutions.

    Then Trayvon dies, or Rodrigo Diaz dies, or we debate protecting Native American women from sexual assault, and the promise of America doesn’t match up to the reality. But we’ve accepted the falsehood of equal opportunity. We’re a nation constantly lying to ourselves instead bettering ourselves.

  30. When people say I’m lying, or intimate it, I have a simple reply. I’ll put up 1k and prove what is claimed to be a lie. We will need someone as a broker. I will then prove what I say and be 1k richer. Words like “possibly fake” are cowardly. Care to put your $ where your mouth is? I’m dead serious.

  31. As predicted, I will get the fire. Free simply isn’t smart enough to understand he’s a victim..right folks?

  32. Elaine:

    all races are racist if that is what you want to call it. It isnt only white people. Sometimes I think it is just that fish school with other fish of the same species.

    I used to eat with a half dozen Chinese students from Taiwan when I was in college, they used to tell me that all Americans looked alike and they werent kidding and they made a few other statements which could be considered racist. I have a friend from India who made a very racist remark in a moment of candor.

    All people should lay their predjudices aside and take each person as an individual and not as a member of a particular race or culture.

  33. lottakatz

    If you get on airplane and a few Middle Eastern men get on, do you think some passengers get alarmed? Of course! That is a normal reaction after 9-11. It will take time for People to rid themselves of that stereotypical behavior. The same is true for both White and Black. Many of my Black Brothers get alarmed when they see “White” People and I amsure it is the same on the other side. What we need to do is stop blaming one race or another and simply be Americans.

  34. Bron, I don’t even know what I’ve said is “possibly false.” It’s liberal McCarthyism. “I have in my hands, 4 possibly false anecdotes.” Telling someone who has testified under oath hundreds of times that they’re lying is a challenge I welcome. The fact that I am an engaging person who has lived a fascinating life and have MANY anecdotes is obviously a threat to insular people. It doesn’t compute for them.

  35. What do folks here think of Charles Barkley having Gottlieb’s back for his innocuous, “White man perspective” comment. Barkley must be a “Tom”, right?

  36. We dogs in our dogpac here think that we are not prejudiced. Then those little chiwowwows come round and bark us to death.

  37. Anecdotal evidence is unreliable even if the specific anecdote is true. Due to its poor quality, it is unreliable as a foundation for logic or argument (both scientifically and legally) but especially when trying to describe something as being “typical” – which requires statistical evidence. Having many anecdotes does not mean that any or even a statistically significant number of them are true. Nor does having a lot of them automatically equate to them being “fascinating” much less the speaker.

  38. Bron, I understood that. I’ve learned to read those emoticons.

    While I always love it when folks are didactic, giving me a defintion of “anecdote”, the issue is that it is alleged the anecdotes are false, some of them?, all of them?, has yet to be stated. Just a vague accusation is all we have @ this point.

  39. What you have is a statement of fact about the value of anecdote as valid evidence and how such evidence is weighted in both scientific and legal analysis which is, in a word, lightly if at all.

  40. hypothetically:

    I am a scientist and I go down to South America and I am looking for medicinal plants and animals. Anecdotal evidence is how I start my investigation.

  41. Bron,

    And if that’s where you end it, the other scientists will laugh at you. That is why science places a premium on statistical analysis of empirically gathered data.

  42. Bron, He is quite apolitical, like MANY people. It would shock folks here to know that there are many independent people, even though statitistics show that to be the fact vis a vis voting. I know he voted for Obama the first time. I don’t know how he voted this last election, or if he even voted. Regarding local elections, I don’t know. He is fiscally conservative and understands govt. is not the panacea so many think. He is socially fairly liberal but has a real problem w/ gays, as do many black men. He’s funny as hell, except when he gets in touch w/ his dark side. We ALL have a dark side, that’s how I made a living.

  43. I have found anecdotes useful in illustrating scientific findings. It is often easier than trying to explain dry statistics to a jury or anyone else. But an anecdote is not useful as a finding of fact. For any single study to have any statistical usefulness at all, a sample of at least thirty is needed.

    However, Bron is correct that many studies begin with hearing of anecdote or folklore. For example that a certain plant will treat a disease. That is how many investigations begin. Sometimes it pans out into something useful and sometimes not. But as Gene says, a sample of one is not proof of anything.

  44. In his book, ‘Breaking The Chains of Psychological Slavery (1996),’ Dr. Na’im Akbar states:

    “Slavery was so destructive to natural life processes that the current generation of African-Americans still carry the scars of this experience in both our social and mental lives.”

    Dr. Akbar provides an illustration of this phenomenon in certain African-American’s distorted attitude towards work:

    “Slavery was forced labor. The work was not for the purpose of providing for his (slave’s) life’s needs. Instead, he worked to produce for the slave master. He would neither profit from his labor nor enjoy the benefits of labor.”

    According to Akbar, “work, in a natural society, is looked upon with pride, both because it permits persons to express themselves and because it supplies their survival needs. During slavery, work was used as a punishment. Work came to be despised as any punishment is despised. Work became hated, as does any activity, which causes suffering and brings no reward for the doer. Work became equated with slavery. Even today, the African-American slang expression, which refers to a job as a ‘slave’ communicates this painful connection.”

    “Many African-Americans have developed a variety of habits to avoid work, such as reliance upon gambling, and other get-rich-quick schemes.”

    Furthermore, according to Akbar, “there are some African-Americans who become over-dependent on welfare as a way of life because of this ‘work phobia.’

    Finally, Akbar concludes: “It is important for African-Americans to know that many of our attitudes toward work are a result of our slavery experiences. These negative experiences associated with work continue to function as unconscious influences on us that make us respond in ways, which may be contrary to our conscious intention. Awareness of these influences and their source begins to free us from their effects. Our slang, our songs, our jokes, our attitudes, transmitted from one generation to the next, preserve these reactions as if they were acquired yesterday.”

  45. I think this is Republican Racism: “The South: A near-solid block against ‘Obamacare’”

    A South Carolina legislator put it bluntly earlier this year. State Rep. Kris Crawford told a business journal that he supports expansion, but said electoral math is the trump card. “It is good politics to oppose the black guy in the White House right now, especially for the Republican Party,” he said.

  46. Oh give it a break already !! It is impossible not to see the economic & social advancements of negroes since emancipation. How much longer do people whose ancestors had absolutely nothing to do with slavery have to make reparations to an entire race of people whose ancestors may or may not have been touched by slavery. By way of casual observation, most white social conservatives can listen to Ben Carson speak for hours while many in this same group can’t stand the sight of Barack Obama let alone listen to him even for one minute. So far as anyone knows, If Americans are to judge people by what people say and do, rather than the color of their skin, it is working.

  47. “Oh give it a break already !! It is impossible not to see the economic & social advancements of negroes since emancipation.” M.J. Marsalek

    “What we need to do is stop blaming one race or another and simply be Americans.” Freeasabird

    “All people should lay their predjudices aside and take each person as an individual and not as a member of a particular race or culture.” Bron

    “Allow me to give you some background. Firstly, as you can probably tell, this pablum is all theory as is much of what you’ll read here.” Nick S.

    All those statements above are unresponsive and irrelevant to the argument I’ve made here. What I’m writing about obviously is institutionalized racist attacks on people of color. By institutionalized I mean government at the Federal, State and local levels. By way of proof I personally put in two links that I think make the case: and: . Both those links offer ample evidence of institutional racism that exists today and which does irreparable harm to all people of color. Besides that Elaine, RWL and others have added other valuable links that further prove my case.

    I find it interesting that none of those whose comments I listed above addressed any of the issues and proof proffered, yet disputed my position by the use of bland statements implying that racism is a thing of the past, or by singular anecdotes significant of nothing. Their denial, while possibly well-intentioned, only acts to exacerbate an issue that remains of paramount importance to the unity of our country. If they have actual evidence that the harmful institutional racism that has been detailed by myself and others is a chimera perpetrated by Blacks seeking extra privileges I would be open to examining it and perhaps a profitable discussion might be had. Thus far though these comments offer little that is useful and much that is pernicious to a vital national discussion that must take place if we are ever to heal the racial divides in America.

    The trouble with the media-driven political debate that drives this country today is that it has substituted making statements of dubious content for presenting actual cogent arguments with a factual basis. This is illustrated by the presentation of Evolutionary Theory and Creationism upon equal footing. Taking it to this topic the media gives equal heft to those who point out continuing institutional racism in law enforcement, with those that deny that racism exists at all today.

  48. Mike Spindell:

    Thanks for putting words in my mouth, did I say racism didnt exist? Nope, I know it does and have seen evidence of it in many races. What I said was that people should look at each individual as unique and not as part of a race or culture.

    It is much easier for libertarians, Randians, conservatives to do that because we believe in the individual and not the collective as the primary unit of society.

    Here is what one of my favorite philosophers has to say on the subject:

    “Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism. It is the notion of ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man’s genetic lineage—the notion that a man’s intellectual and characterological traits are produced and transmitted by his internal body chemistry. Which means, in practice, that a man is to be judged, not by his own character and actions, but by the characters and actions of a collective of ancestors.

    Racism claims that the content of a man’s mind (not his cognitive apparatus, but its content) is inherited; that a man’s convictions, values and character are determined before he is born, by physical factors beyond his control. This is the caveman’s version of the doctrine of innate ideas—or of inherited knowledge—which has been thoroughly refuted by philosophy and science. Racism is a doctrine of, by and for brutes. It is a barnyard or stock-farm version of collectivism, appropriate to a mentality that differentiates between various breeds of animals, but not between animals and men.

    Like every form of determinism, racism invalidates the specific attribute which distinguishes man from all other living species: his rational faculty. Racism negates two aspects of man’s life: reason and choice, or mind and morality, replacing them with chemical predestination.”

    The Virtue of Selfishness,

  49. Thanks for this balanced treatment. This is a subject that ALL Americans need to know more about. There is way too much ill-informed political correctness associated with this subject. Thanks for clearing the air a little.

    I found an interesting book the other day, written by the editors of The Hartford Courant – the longest running, continually printed newspaper in the US. This book added a lot to my understanding of how completely the pre-1861 economy of the US depended upon slavery.

    “Complicity: How the North Promoted, Prolonged and Profited From Slavery” – an interesting historical study of all of the ways that the North participated in this pernicious practice.

    The study was prompted by the public apology that Aetna Insurance (headquartered in Hartford, CT) had to make for having promoted life insurance policies on slaves, with the slave-owners as beneficiaries. The quintessential tip of the iceberg.

    As Harriet Beecher Stowe said so famously at the time: “Northerners have slavery just they way they want it – all of the benefits and none of the screaming.”

  50. Ron Paul and Libertarianism’s Dirty Secret — Pandering to Racist “Rednecks” to Get Ahead
    Years ago, a bunch of libertarians decided to act like huge racists to win votes.
    by Alex Pareene
    December 22, 2011's_dirty_secret_–_pandering_to_racist_%22rednecks%22_to_get_ahead

    It is a fact that in the 1990s Ron Paul sold a newsletter in which a bunch of racist comments were published under his byline. We now also have evidence that Paul is lying when he claims not to have read the racist newsletters, which were most likely written by Lew Rockwell.

    The fact is, Paul has lied like a very old-fashioned sort of politician about these newsletters, and he has been lying for years. He has gone through the motions of public regret about their contents, but has never acknowledged knowing who wrote the offensive material or even being aware that offensive material went out under his name. That’s bullshit. Now he ducks questions on the subject entirely (and his supporters complain that it’s “old news,” because they have no serious defense of the comments or Paul’s responsibility for them).

  51. How Ron Paul’s Libertarian Principles Support Racism
    By Jonathan Chait

    The furor over the racist newsletters published by Ron Paul in the nineties is, in some ways, more revealing than the newsletters themselves. In a series of responses by Paul and his supporters ranging from anguished essays to angry dismissals to crazed conspiracy diagrams (check out page seven), the basic shape of the Paul response has emerged. Paul argues that he was completely unaware that, for many years, the newsletter purporting to express his worldview consistently expressed vicious racism.

    This is wildly implausible, but let’s grant the premise, because it sets up the more interesting argument. Paul’s admirers have tried to paint the racist newsletters as largely separate from his broader worldview, an ungainly appendage that could be easily removed without substantially altering the rest. Tim Carney argues:

    “Paul’s indiscretions — such as abiding 9/11 conspiracy theorists and allowing racist material in a newsletter published under his name — will be blown up to paint a scary caricature. His belief in state’s rights and property rights will be distorted into support for Jim Crow and racism.”

    The stronger version of this argument, advanced by Paul himself, is that racism is not irrelevant to his ideology, but that his ideology absolves him of racism. “Libertarians are incapable of being racist,” he has said, “because racism is a collectivist idea, you see people in groups.” Most libertarians may not take the argument quite as far as Paul does — many probably acknowledge that it is possible for a libertarian to hold racist views — but it does help explain their belief that racism simply has no relation to the rest of Paul’s beliefs. They genuinely see racism as a belief system that expresses itself only in the form of coercive government power. In Paul’s world, state-enforced discrimination is the only kind of discrimination. A libertarian by definition opposes discrimination because libertarians oppose the state. He cannot imagine social power exerting itself through any other form.

  52. ccrider27,

    Thank you for that Hartford Current information. One of the benefits for me in writing these blogs is the new information and perspective that I derive from the ensuing discussion.

  53. “Libertarians are incapable of being racist,” he has said, “because racism is a collectivist idea, you see people in groups.”


    Thanks for the Paul info and the quote above which I find hilariously ridiculous.

  54. Bron,

    I apologize for putting you in the same company as others, especially because your Frederick Douglas speech quote was excellent. I am curious though about what you think, sans politics, of the two links I provided above, particularly Raff’s on NYPD’s “Stop and Frisk”.

  55. I have had two opportunities to stand in front of the window in the hospital maternity ward and view my newborn daughters. Both times there were a number of other newborns sharing “the neighborhood”. The truth of the equality of all human beings is at no time more self evident or greater than seeing 6 hour old babies side by side. It is not they that feel a superiority, or inferiority.
    Our prejudices are created by the ignorance of parents, society, culture, and religion. The baggage of the past is heavy on the bent shoulders and well trudged feet of the elders in the environment these newborns will soon be raised in.
    Old dogs often become old farts, immune to the putrid smells they were raised in, succumbed to, and now proliferate.
    We are all innocent and equal at 6 hours old. We all begin the same. Then Shat happens. ….. and too many of us get used to the smell.

  56. Mike S:

    Stopping people while black is a violation of rights. It is as that Rand quote above says, you cannot judge an individual based on the actions of others within a similar group of people.

    Therefore to stop people because of their race is a despicable act. I dont see how a person could view it any other way.

  57. Add to “driving while Black” the obvious “real suspicious” activity of “walking while Black.” I bring up the Trayvon Martin murder case again. Anyone who could have listened to the NEN call made by George Zimmerman before he shot Trayvon Martin would realize that his real complaint against the youth was that HE did not know what Martin was doing, and he felt that he, as a superior being, had a RIGHT to demand an accounting from the kid. That was his motive in approaching the kid and that was HIS reason for escalating the whole thing into a killing. To accept his after-the-fact explanation that he was the victim of an unprovoked attack was illogical to the point of being absurd, but there were plenty of people, including lawyers, including well kinown Constitutional lawyers, who gave that ridiculous idea play. The fact that it took two million signatures on a petition and massive demonstrations in the streets for more than 40 days to even get charges leveled against the gunman demonstrates how hard it is for the Black Community to be seen as EQUAL in our society. It could not be more obvious that an unarmed white kid gunned down by a Black man with assault and a protective order in HIS past would have received a lot more respect from law enforcement than Trayvon Martin received in Florida.

    Even now, there are legal scholars who insist that Murder-2 is the wrong charge for George Zimmerman and that the prosecutor should have either let him go or charged him with some sort of “accidental” manslaughter charge. WHY? Because his victim was not equal to a dead white kid.

    Until a Black kid can go to the 7-11 and walk home safely, how free is he? If he has a life interest in voting, doesn’t he have a life interest in living long enough to get registered to vote?

  58. Just like a birdie
    I just wanna fly free
    So high, so high
    And own a piece of land
    Somewhere, somewhere
    Off in a country
    Oh, oh yeah, listen
    Temperature like a hundred degrees
    Like I got chains on me

    Black male and a family of 3
    Been robbed of my destiny
    Reckon Ill fly away
    Cause its too much for this man
    Shouldnt a gone down this way

    What happened to my masterplan
    Cause I cant figure out
    I could have been a love child
    Shouldnt a gone down this way
    Tell me, how did I get life

    Life life
    Life life
    Life life
    Life life

    Oh somebody done done me wrong
    Done me wrong
    My eyes to the ceiling all night long
    All night long
    Time is slippin away from me
    Away from me
    And it aint no tellin when Ill get home

    Gotta get home, yeah
    Just about to see the dollar sign
    Thats close to a peace of mind
    And everything was about to be fine
    So tell me
    So how did I get life

    Life life
    Life life
    Life life
    Life life

    I hoped for
    Is gone now
    Buried in the ground
    Hopes and dreams
    And all those things
    Ill never see, said Ill never see

    Somebody gave me life
    Yeah yeah
    Yes they did
    Ooooooooooooooooh life

  59. To the deniers, here is an example of a proper government response after it is clear that they have gone all rogue and mavericky against the people:

    Australian prime minister Julia Gillard delivered a historic national apology in parliament on Thursday to the thousands of unwed mothers who were forced by government policies to give up their babies for adoption over several decades.

    More than 800 people, many of them in tears, heard the apology and responded with a standing ovation.

    “Today this parliament, on behalf of the Australian people, takes responsibility and apologises for the policies and practices that forced the separation of mothers from their babies, which created a lifelong legacy of pain and suffering,” Gillard told the audience.

    “We acknowledge the profound effects of these policies and practices on fathers and we recognise the hurt these actions caused to brothers and sisters, grandparents, partners and extended family members,” she said.

    “We deplore the shameful practices that denied you, the mothers, your fundamental rights and responsibilities to love and care for your children,” she added.

    (Guardian). If you or I cannot apologize for the wrongs we do then we fall short of the concept of being humane.

  60. Those with a serious interest in this and related topics will enjoy reading:
    “Trouble In Mind..Black Southerners in the age of Jim Crow”, by
    Leon Witwack, Pulitizer Prize winning author.

  61. @Mike Spindell – Sorry to hear about your medical condition. I hope you get well soon. Is it the same problem from before?

    Your posting was very good. I agree with it 100%.

    I want you to research this: Estéban Dorantes

    He was arguably the FIRST Black man of African descent (and a slave to a European white man) to set foot on continental North America (a/k/a USA). He had an alleged untimely demise at the hands of Native Americans (Zuni) in New Mexico for committing a faux pas which was misconstrued as a declaration of war on the Zuni. But recently a Professor of Spanish from Vermont has suggested that he and his new Zuni friends “faked” his demise to help him gain his Black freedom. He feels the Kachina doll “Chakwaina” proves this.

    Also the poster about Aetna in Hartford CT was correct. Slave owners had Aetna policies on their “chattel” which included the Black slaves. They were not considered human so it was not actually a LIFE INSURANCE policy. It was just commercial ‘property’ loss.

    Little known fact that Connecticut wants to keep quiet (i.e. latest Abraham Lincoln movie)… they were a very large slave owner state back as far as the 17th century. Even though they claim to be an Abolitionist state they really weren’t. They had the Underground Railroad run through Connecticut because bounty hunters (a/k/a paddy rollers) were allowed access to the state to take slaves back to the south without any resistance.

    They even had Black Governors in Hartford to represent the Black slaves but would not give them the same rights as white citizens. Hartford only recently discovered that the governors graves were unmarked in downtown Hartford unlike ALL the white governors. A blanket memorial statue was erected with their names inscribed. Harriet Beecher Stowe (i.e. Uncle Tom’s Cabin) and Samuel Clemons (a/k/a Mark Twain) both lived here too.

    Also if you remember the Amistad incident… Connecticut played a negative key role in the trials of the African slaves that captured the ship. A retired US President was finally their lawyer that got their Black freedom (of sorts).

  62. I second bill mcwilliams’ recommendation of Witwack’s “Trouble In Mind..Black Southerners in the age of Jim Crow”

    The legacy of the Slave Economy touched and colored every single institution within our society. The hue remains as one can easily see in the links Elaine provided and the material Mike S. relied upon as the foundation for his article.

    I fully admit to being more of a Thaddeus Stevens than an Abraham Lincoln in that I have very little patience with the myths white Americans like to tell and believe where racism is concerned.

  63. Blouise,
    another good book related to the African American “experience” is the Warmth of Other Suns by Isabeel Wilkerson. It details the flight of blacks from the south to “freer” areas in the North and East and West.

  64. rafflaw, The Warmth of Other Suns made my favorite list for 2012. The irony is the 2nd and 3rd generations are now fleeing the depravity of the northern cities and moving back south.

  65. Excellent article in today’s NYTimes:

    King Cotton’s Long Shadow By Walter Johnson

    “It is not simply that the labor of enslaved people underwrote 19th-century capitalism. Enslaved people were the capital: four million people worth at least $3 billion in 1860, which was more than all the capital invested in railroads and factories in the United States combined. Seen in this light, the conventional distinction between slavery and capitalism fades into meaninglessness.

    We are accustomed to reckoning the legacy of slavery in the United States in terms of black disadvantage. The centrality of slavery to the nation’s economic development, however, suggests that any calculation of the nation’s unpaid debt for slavery must include a measure of the wealth it produced, of advantage as well as disadvantage. The United States, as W. E. B. Du Bois wrote, was “built upon a groan.”

  66. More Blacks Calling South Home Again
    by Alex Kellogg
    May 24, 2011

    Experts say the Barrieres are part of another national trend: blacks moving to the suburbs. But that doesn’t necessarily mean Atlanta is a great example of full integration. In fact, as the city’s suburbs get blacker, Atlanta itself is gentrifying — and that means key parts of town are getting whiter.

    Tyrone Forman, a professor of sociology at Emory University in Atlanta, notes that the Grant Park neighborhood is one of a few in the city that has been what he calls “stably integrated” over four decades. He says elsewhere, census data show that rarely do blacks and whites live side by side.

    “What happens sometimes is the numbers may show integration, but they’re sort of block to block, so one block is largely African-American, then you go four blocks over, a largely white neighborhood, et cetera,” Forman says.

    While the city of Atlanta is slowly losing black residents, the black population in its suburbs is exploding. As of the latest census, metropolitan Atlanta has a larger black population than even the greater Chicago area. In fact, metro Atlanta’s black population is now second only to New York City’s.

  67. Mr Mike S i thank you from the bottom of my heart for posting this article i am truly appreciative of it. and i wish you a speedy recovery… I hope i didnt offend anyone with my post.


    BLACK PEOPLE LIKE ME ARE FED UP WITH IDIOTS LIKE YOU.. so now that Mr Mike S. has brought it to the forefront let me finish what the white slave maker began with you.

    if you think your free you truly are delusional how you ask?
    YOU ASK THE CORPORATION FORMERLY KNOWN AS THE GOVERNMENT for permission to do every and anything.. are you ready or the truth? your not but here goes.. ask for permission to go to school. via little pieces of paper named diplomas or certificates.
    2. driving is a right not a privilege yet you had better not get behind that wheel without asking for permission via drivers license
    3. you ask for permission to get married via a marriage license
    4. you dont own anything ANYTHING. if you drive a car did you read the papers given to you when you paid for it. in my ancestors times they were given the manufacturers deed when a car was purchased.. today you only receive the title and if you didnt read the fine print. i’ll give you a shortened version..

    this title is hereby stated to give freeasadolt permission to drive the aft/aforementioned automobile until such time as is deemed necessary to revoke said PRIVILEGE.
    that house you live in!! is owned by the bank. even when your mortgage is paid off they still own it. think they dont? stop paying taxes on it and see how fast they foreclose on it.. not only that. a house that in unenslaved times was deemed your personal property to do with as you please.. try remodeling so much as a wall without asking for a permit. and if they dont like your remodeling plan they tell you NO!!!!

    go research eminent domain.. same with a business. hell you ask them for permission to work by faithfully paying them taxes that are illegal.. taxes were put into place for the rich to help the middle class and working poor obtain their vision of the american dream. they have no rights to that money and legally can not lock you up.. as taxes are only intended for international commerce. now as for black their story.. there all out truth is he original chosen people are israelites. whose skin color is a lot darker then those who claim the jewish religion. hence slavery. they needed to break us. one to keep future generations from knowing their story. the rape,muder,maiming, whipping, selling off of black children. and all the while they were rewriting their story for them.. THEY CALL US SAVAGES my response is we learned from the best! they call us animals again. descended from the best. i got my light skin from somewhere! and NO I DONT HATE ANYONE. all of us are pawns in a game being played by a bunch of lying, thieving, murdering egomaniacs who have been taught by their ancestors that they rule the world. and that includes the jews. but im not gonna teach you what you should know. your pathetic for even coming in here with your bs. so listen honey how about you head on back to the romper room 3 doors down to your left and let the adults finish conversating!!!!


  68. A sad article to be sure, but racism and bigotry start in the home. I myself heard the word “nigger” from my own family growing up and was suspicious of blacks until I matured. The grade school I went to only had 2 people of colour, and I rarely associated with one of them that was my age. When I reached high school, I played competitive sports, which exposed me to many more people of colour, this at first was scary, but I found that like most things, put your fears aside and poof, they are just individuals like you and I. I really don’t believe we can solve problems like this through the State however, racism is taught by people who either fear or dislike someone not like them, teaching people to treat everyone as an individual is the key, governments like collectivism, so it’s kind of an oxymoron to expect them to do it. So, like my fears of homosexuals, and people of colour as a child, the best medicine is exposure to as many people as possible, chances are when you meet people unlike you and have a chance to get to know them, the baseless fears one may have, usually disappear.

  69. Dredd,

    Thank you for that link it sums up one of the points I was trying to make, but he did it much better than I did.

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