Some sanity about civil rights

Shelby Steele writes in the Wall Street Journal about the current state of the civil rights establishment today, and unlike most of what I’ve read in the past week he states his case with both dispassion and compassion:

The purpose of today’s civil-rights establishment is not to seek justice, but to seek power for blacks in American life based on the presumption that they are still, in a thousand subtle ways, victimized by white racism. This idea of victimization is an example of what I call a “poetic truth.” Like poetic license, it bends the actual truth in order to put forward a larger and more essential truth—one that, of course, serves one’s cause. Poetic truths succeed by casting themselves as perfectly obvious: “America is a racist nation”; “the immigration debate is driven by racism”; “Zimmerman racially stereotyped Trayvon.” And we say, “Yes, of course,” lest we seem to be racist. Poetic truths work by moral intimidation, not reason.


In the Zimmerman/Martin case the civil-rights establishment is fighting for the poetic truth that white animus toward blacks is still such that a black teenager—Skittles and ice tea in hand—can be shot dead simply for walking home. But actually this establishment is fighting to maintain its authority to wield poetic truth—the authority to tell the larger society how it must think about blacks, how it must respond to them, what it owes them and, then, to brook no argument.

The Zimmerman/Martin tragedy has been explosive because it triggered a fight over authority. Who gets to say what things mean—the supporters of George Zimmerman, who say he acted in self-defense, or the civil-rights establishment that says he profiled and murdered a black child? Here we are. And where is the authority to resolve this? The six-person Florida jury, looking carefully at the evidence, decided that Mr. Zimmerman pulled the trigger in self-defense and not in a fury of racial hatred.

And here, precisely at the point of this verdict, is where all of America begins to see this hollowed-out civil-rights establishment slip into pathos. Almost everyone saw this verdict coming. It is impossible to see how this jury could have applied the actual law to this body of evidence and come up with a different conclusion. The civil-rights establishment’s mistake was to get ahead of itself, to be seduced by its own poetic truth even when there was no evidence to support it. And even now its leaders call for a Justice Department investigation, and they long for civil lawsuits to be filed—hoping against hope that some leaf of actual racial victimization will be turned over for all to see. This is how a once-great social movement looks when it becomes infested with obsolescence.

The plain fact is this- white folk were rightly expected to do something about the Bull Connors and the Lester Maddoxes and the George Wallaces in our midst- and we did. It was a long, painful process, and not entirely successful. Human nature is what it is.

But they no longer have any power to go with their bigotry.

I was raised in the Fifties and Sixties to never judge a man by his ethnicity, but by his character. So were most of my peers- and I grew up in a small North Georgia town.

Now it is time for the black folk to do the same to the haters and civil rights profiteers, the Al Sharptons and the Jesse Jacksons and the Reverend Wrights in their community. This is not an unfair or an unreasonable request. The plain fact is the black folks have to tend to their own business- they have to make the change. Otherwise we’ll continue down this bad road to a worse end.

Us creepy-ass crackers can’t do it for you, and rightly so. You need to clean your own house, and own the results.

Else, you really are going to own the results.

“He would not have made it”

Some words from the Diplomad:

Many years ago I was asked to address a class of new FSOs at the Foreign Service Institute in Northern Virginia. These new officers were about to go overseas on their first assignments. Since I had served in Pakistan, the instructor told me to expect to hear concerns from female officers heading to Muslim countries. I gave my little insipid pep talk. In the Q-and-A session, as the instructor had predicted, a woman officer asked how tough it would be for her in a Middle Eastern Muslim country. I still have the notes of what I said, “If you’re a woman get out of the Foreign Service. If you’re a man get out of the Foreign Service. If you’re black, brown, or white get out. If you’re Jewish, Christian, Hindu, or anything else, get out. When you’re out there, you’re an American. You represent only the United States, nothing else. You cannot let your interlocutors see you as anything other than as an American representing the USA.”

This President would not have made it through that class.


Thoughts from Bin Laden

A new article from the BBC quotes documents purported to be from ‘the man himself’, and give some interesting insights:

The letters reveal that Bin Laden was also sceptical of so-called lone wolf missions by homegrown jihadists.

He urged his associates “not to send a single brother on a suicide operation; they should send at least two”.

He added that in cases when only one militant undertook an operation the “percentage of success was low due to psychological factors that affect the [designated] brother in such a situation”.

Other papers suggest Bin Laden ordered his militants to look out for opportunities to assassinate President Obama or David Petraeus during any of their visits to Pakistan and Afghanistan. Mr Petraeus, now CIA director, formerly commanded international forces in Afghanistan.

But Bin Laden warned them not to bother targeting Vice-President Joe Biden because “Biden is totally unprepared for that post [of president], which will lead the US into a crisis.”

OUCH. I guess we’re not the only folks unimpressed by Slow Joe.

link via Ace