Photo Credit: Et in Arcadia ego
Constant reader M.H. sent me an email (1) titled "No He Can't" by an associate professor of sociology at Illinois State University, Anne Wortham Ph.D. who says that although she is black and grew up in the segregated South she did not vote for Obama and is not celebrating his election to the presidency.
After a short investigation, I discovered she is indeed an associate professor of sociology (2). Sadly however, she is in the minority of American blacks: those few who believe in and understand that Capitalism is the only economic system that makes freedom possible. She is also one of the few Blacks who rightly does not stew in past injustices or blame old crackers for the current plight of most blacks.
150 years ago, blacks and Chinese were equally at the receiving end of racism and prejudice (3), but the Chinese overcame the prejudices against them by looking to the future and not crying about the past:
Casey Research, Denial
... ever since moving to the mainland from my family home in the mixing pot of Hawaii and being exposed to such things, I have found myself amazed, and irked, at the failure of influencers in the black community to do much more than complain about past injustices.
By contrast, the Chinese, who were also treated horribly in the brutally racist days of young America, make nary a peep about the past. Instead, they have had a cultural fixation on the future, with families urging their young to build skills to the point where members of the Chinese racial “franchise,” if you will, whether deserving or not, are now even more highly prized in the workplace than the whites that used to torment them.
That's right, in America today Chinese employees are "more highly prized in the workplace than the whites that used to torment them." The reason is simple, young Chinese are not afraid to act white. As noted in my article Jena 6 Update: Mychal Bell Back where he belongs - in Jail: "if you want to succeed in this country become American and yes, act white. Walking into an employer with ghetto pants and a tattoo on your do that says "F*K Whitey" will not carry you far."
No He Can't
Please know: I am black; I grew up in the segregated South. I did not vote for Barack Obama; I wrote in Ron Paul’s name as my choice for president. Most importantly, I am not race conscious. I do not require a black president to know that I am a person of worth, and that life is worth living. I do not require a black president to love the ideal of America.
I cannot join you in your celebration. I feel no elation. There is no smile on my face. I am not jumping with joy. There are no tears of triumph in my eyes. For such emotions and behavior to come from me, I would have to deny all that I know about the requirements of human flourishing and survival – all that I know about the history of the United States of America, all that I know about American race relations, and all that I know about Barack Obama as a politician. I would have to deny the nature of the "change" that Obama asserts has come to America. Most importantly, I would have to abnegate my certain understanding that you have chosen to sprint down the road to serfdom that we have been on for over a century. I would have to pretend that individual liberty has no value for the success of a human life. I would have to evade your rejection of the slender reed of capitalism on which your success and mine depend. I would have to think it somehow rational that 94 percent of the 12 million blacks in this country voted for a man because he looks like them (that blacks are permitted to play the race card), and that they were joined by self-declared "progressive" whites who voted for him because he doesn’t look like them. I would have to be wipe my mind clean of all that I know about the kind of people who have advised and taught Barack Obama and will fill posts in his administration – political intellectuals like my former colleagues at the Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
I would have to believe that "fairness" is equivalent of justice. I would have to believe that man who asks me to "go forward in a new spirit of service, in a new service of sacrifice" is speaking in my interest. I would have to accept the premise of a man that economic prosperity comes from the "bottom up," and who arrogantly believes that he can will it into existence by the use of government force. I would have to admire a man who thinks the standard of living of the masses can be improved by destroying the most productive and the generators of wealth.
Finally, Americans, I would have to erase from my consciousness the scene of 125,000 screaming, crying, cheering people in Grant Park, Chicago irrationally chanting "Yes We Can!" Finally, I would have to wipe all memory of all the times I have heard politicians, pundits, journalists, editorialists, bloggers and intellectuals declare that capitalism is dead – and no one, including especially Alan Greenspan, objected to their assumption that the particular version of the anti-capitalistic mentality that they want to replace with their own version of anti-capitalism is anything remotely equivalent to capitalism.
So you have made history, Americans. You and your children have elected a black man to the office of the president of the United States, the wounded giant of the world. The battle between John Wayne and Jane Fonda is over – and that Fonda won. Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern must be very happy men. Jimmie Carter, too. And the Kennedys have at last gotten their Kennedy look-a-like. The self-righteous welfare statists in the suburbs can feel warm moments of satisfaction for having elected a black person. So, toast yourselves: 60s countercultural radicals, 80s yuppies and 90s bourgeois bohemians. Toast yourselves, Black America. Shout your glee Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Duke, Stanford, and Berkeley. You have elected not an individual who is qualified to be president, but a black man who, like the pragmatist Franklin Roosevelt, promises to – Do Something! You now have someone who has picked up the baton of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society. But you have also foolishly traded your freedom and mine – what little there is left – for the chance to feel good. There is nothing in me that can share your happy obliviousness.
Casey Research, A Dose of Reality
Anne Wortham is a member of the American Sociological Association and the American Philosophical Association.
She has been a John M. Olin Foundation Faculty Fellow, and honored as a Distinguished Alumni of the Year by the Nation al Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education.
In fall 1988 she was one of a select group of intellectuals who were featured in Bill Moyer's television series, "A World of Ideas." The transcript of her conversation with Moyers has been published in his book, A World of Ideas.
Dr. Wortham is author of "The Other Side of Racism: A Philosophical Study of Black Race Consciousness" which analyzes how race consciousness is transformed into political strategies and policy issues.
She has published numerous articles on the implications of individual rights for civil rights policy, and is currently writing a book on theories of social and cultural marginality.
Recently, she has published articles on the significance of multiculturalism and Afrocentricism in education, the politics of victimization and the social and political impact of political correctness. Shortly after an interview in 2004, she was awarded tenure.
Race, Racism and the Law, People v. Hall, (1854).
THE PEOPLE, RESPONDENT, v. GEORGE W. HALL, APPELLANT. Supreme Court of the State of California, 1854. Mr. Ch. J. Murray delivered the opinion of the Court. Mr. J. Heydenfeldt concurred.
The appellant, a free white citizen of this State, was convicted of murder upon the testimony of Chinese witnesses.
The point involved in this case is the admissibility of such evidence.
The 394th section of the Act Concerning Civil Cases provides that no Indian or Negro shall be allowed to testify as a witness in any action or proceeding in which a white person is a party.
The 14th section of the Act of April 16th, 1850, regulating Criminal Proceedings, provides that "No black or mulatto person, or Indian, shall be allowed to give evidence in favor of, or against a white man."
The true point at which we are anxious to arrive is, the legal signification of the words, "black, mulatto, Indian, and white person, " and whether the Legislature adopted them as generic terms, or intended to limit their application to specific types of the human species. . . .
We have carefully considered all the consequences resulting from a different rule of construction, and are satisfied that even in a doubtful case, we would be impelled to this decision on ground of public policy.
The same rule which would admit them to testify, would admit them to all the equal rights of citizenship, and we might soon see them at the polls, in the jury box, upon the bench, and in our legislative halls.
This is not a speculation which exists in the excited and overheated imagination of the patriot and statesman, but it is an actual and present danger.
The anomalous spectacle of a distinct people, living in our community, recognizing no laws of this State, except through necessity, bringing with them their prejudices and national feuds, in which they indulge in open violation of law; whose medacity is proverbial; a race of people whom nature has marked as inferior, and who are incapable of progress or intellectual development beyond a certain point, as their history has shown; differing in language, opinions, color, and physical conformation; between whom and ourselves nature has placed an impassable difference, is now presented, and for them is claims, not only the right to swear away the life of a citizen, but the further privilege of participating with us in administering the affairs of our Government.
For these reasons, we are of opinion that the testimony was inadmissible.
The judgment is reversed and the cause remanded.