Conservative Author and Hoover Institution Senior Fellow, Shelby Steele says racism is over, and that American Blacks continue to wallow in victimhood. He says that they have yet to take personal responsibility for their lives. You can view the video here.
I would like to make a couple of points after watching the video.
Steele acknowledges that slavery, segregation, etc. has harmed African-Americans but he denounces Affirmative Action programs. Evidently, he thinks that Blacks did not need remedial assistance after hundreds of years of oppression.
He said that oppression has ended. He said that racism is not a problem anymore. But President John F. Kennedy said, when he addressed the nation regarding civil rights in 1963, “This is not a sectional issue. Difficulties over segregation and discrimination exist in every city, in every State of the Union, producing in many cities a rising tide of discontent that threatens the public safety. Nor is this a partisan issue. In a time of domestic crisis men of good will and generosity should be able to unite regardless of party or politics. This is not even a legal or legislative issue alone. It is better to settle these matters in the courts than on the streets, and new laws are needed at every level, but law alone cannot make men see right.
“We are confronted primarily with a moral issue. It is as old as the scriptures and is as clear as the American Constitution.”
So, while the government has struck down anti-black laws, America was still a racist country. And there are still nefarious agents who want to reverse the progress earned in the 1960’s. Steele omits the current rise of white nationalism under Trump. He ignores what happened in Charlottesville VA.
And he was wrong when he said that in a segregated America everybody was aware of racism. Not true. At the time, the majority of Americans did not agree with Dr. King’s tactics of direct confrontational non-violence. King was seen as a troublemaker. Most folks did not see the need for fundamental social change. That was the reason for the protest demonstrations in the first place!
He also ignores science. Generational stress has an accumulative effect. Stressed out black mothers pass their negative reactions on to their unborn child. Thus causing high infant mortality rates among black women. Blacks have suffered hundreds of years of beatings, starvations, threats, intimidations, rapes, and murder before and after the civil war, under a white supremacist system, but Steele suggests that with a stroke of a pen the stress of racism was removed and eliminated.
If racism is not a problem anymore, then why does the income gap persist at all levels between whites and blacks? Fifty years after the death of Dr. King, blacks and whites are still not equal in wealth or income. Even high achieving Blacks make less money than their white counter parts. (I suggest that black conservatives make less than white conservatives.)
Finally, why are there so few Blacks like Justice Clarence Thomas or Columnist Thomas Sowell? Because they are the true hustlers of which he speaks. They make their living assuaging white guilt. They let white people off the hook. They tell white America, “The conditions found in Black America are not your problem.” They absolve white America of any responsibility. And white folks love the elixir of exculpation that they are selling.
There is a particular pernicious kind of evil that seeks to persuade victims of violence that they are not victims, especially in light of ongoing attacks.