In his Unz Review article, Jared Taylor claims he has a “reputation for writing rude things about blacks.” But I’d venture that honest blacks know that the critical and unflinching things he has written are true. In his essay “The New Black Double Consciousness,” from Authentically Black: Essays for the Silent Black Majority, writer and linguist John McWhorter writes that “when it comes to race, the sense that black success requires white guilt leads to an assumption that anyone who strays beyond a narrow range of leftist perspectives on race is either naive or inhumane.” I’d wager that “naive” and “inhumane” are two of the more polite words that have been ascribed to Jared Taylor and American Renaissance.
Mr. Taylor notes that “deep down, everyone knows the truth about blacks, but a vital requirement for respectability is to pretend you don’t.” This is true for whites, but for blacks, knowing but denying this knowledge is a vital requirement for avoiding verbal or physical harm from other blacks and as a shield from shameful labels like “Uncle Tom” or “Oreo.”
It might also be protection from the nervous breakdown that occurs when blacks truly see we have problems that have less to do with white people, slavery, or capitalism than they do with genetics, evolution, and IQ; at best and at worst, they are a combination of those things.
James Baldwin was speaking for many of us when he wrote in Notes of a Native Son that he supposed that “the most difficult (and most rewarding) thing in my life has been the fact that I was born a Negro and was forced, therefore, to effect some kind of truce with this reality. (Truce, by the way, is the best one can hope for.)”
The discontent you feel with yourself and blackness as a whole can be crushing. You discover that aside from the tall African tales of Alex Haley, Underground Railroad figures, and peanut proprietors, there’s not much there. And on top of that, these historical footnotes arise from a new world that is leaps and bounds beyond the stone-age existence in which your ancestors were found. As Baldwin put it, “It is quite possible to say that the price a Negro pays for becoming articulate is to find himself, at length, with nothing to be articulate about. (‘You taught me language,’ says Caliban to Prospero, ‘and my profit on’t is I know how to curse.’)”
Mr. Taylor finds the way blacks speak English entertaining, and I would agree in part, though most modern black English is so dumb and vulgar that I wouldn’t be surprised if clicks and grunts will be making a comeback. The only black vernacular I find endearing is that of my late, Southern grandmother, in particular one of her favorite retorts, “I ain’t studyin’ you!” (‘studying’ means to pay attention to or care about) or the way “sure” became “show-yul” when she said it.
Mr. Taylor’s account of the flashing incident in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district was entertaining. While it would not have solved his problem with the bold “blonde,” I’d pay him to say, “Stop yo’ playin,’ nigga, or I’ll beat yo’ ass” in his distinctive diction so it could be my new ringtone. Mr. Taylor writes that “ ‘black lives matter’ is so limp a white guy must have come up with it,” but I disagree. Think of all the possibilities that arise from that phrase, such as “Black Lies Matter” or “Crack Pipes Matter.” I’m certain that whites came up with those jabs.
According to Ralph Ellison in his 1970 Time magazine piece, “What America Would Be Like Without Blacks,” “if there is such a thing as a Yale accent, there is a Negro wail in it–doubtless introduced there by Old Yalie John C. Calhoun, who probably got it from his mammy.” I completely disagree with Ellison. The effects of blacks on certain parts of American English are evident in a few places, but the history and development of English follows that of the white native sons and tongues of Shakespeare and Chaucer, not the assorted (non-written) languages of west African chattel slaves. This is one of the things that I don’t like about blacks; their tendency to lay claim to the building and resulting greatness of the West.
Picking cotton, tilling soil, and whipping up sweet potato pies were helpful and important in their own way, but were nothing like the establishment of private property rights or the implementation of Enlightenment-era ideals in the New World, which guided the nation for generations. It would be akin to a Native American claiming that, because his ancestors shared corn and turkey with early European settlers one fine November day, they are as important as the descendants of those white settlers who would fight the British and build the America in which we live today.
Some black men–though not all–define their manhood by their “manhood,” ignoring the fact that an anatomical appendage doesn’t build or maintain civilization, compose documents like the Magna Carta or US Constitution, or send men safely to the moon and back. Some–though not all–black women brag about their lips, booties, and hips even though none of these attributes is patented, and plastic surgery can now (sadly) attempt to make women into anything, even living Barbie dolls or cats.
Mr. Taylor cites a lack of inhibition, cheerful spontaneity, and the paying of compliments as likable black traits. I don’t like the way most black men pay compliments. Even if they are genuine compliments, such as “I like your smile” or “You’re pretty,” the very next sentence is usually a tactless rush to judgment: “Can I get yo’ number?” or “Do you wanna go out wit me?” It is healthy and normal for men to notice physical attributes, but personality type, future plans, or courtship are alien concepts to many black men.
When I was growing up, MTV and BET booty-centric music was all the rage. In the middle of the hall at school or at the bus stop, black girls would “pop, lock, and drop it” as their audience whooped and hollered. It always seemed so crass, and the highly sexual nature of it made me uncomfortable.
Whenever there is an “urban” shooting, I loathe the bellowing black mothers on TV mourning their “good boys,” who were, so often, not good at all. I’m practically certain that those boys were at times on the receiving end of a hell-on-wheels beating with a house slipper, hair brush, or extension cord as those same mothers repeated the axiom, “I brought you into this world, and I can take ya out!!!” I’ve heard that one a few times myself while getting a whooping as a child with all the aforementioned instruments except the cord, thank goodness. I’m more afraid of an angry black mother with a thick switch than white public servants like Darren Wilson or the current unlucky six officers in Baltimore.
Black men have peddled their faulty, highly inaccurate “hip and cool Mandingo” image to the world and, in some ways, benefit from it. Black women have given the world one of the worst character profiles ever: Grendel’s mother meets the matriarch of the film Throw Momma from the Train: fat, loud, snide, obnoxious, struggling, quick to anger, uncouth, and scary.
A host of entertainers have profited from this black female profile, even white women such as comedian Kathy Griffin with her stand-up special, Strong Black Woman. It has and continues to be such an obstacle that any black woman who defies this characterization becomes a dusky, modern day Sisyphus.
Aisha Tyler pokes fun at her lanky, “ass-less” body, enjoys home-brewing beer, and playing Halo. The Oreo Experience deconstructs typical “blackness” and “whiteness” with self-loathing satire. In “Rolling the Rock Up the Hill,” the author describes mentioning a production of the Greek tragedy Medea, only for the rock to roll downhill when someone assumes she is talking about having seen a Madea romp from Tyler Perry’s “chittlin circuit.”
Returning to Mr. McWhorter’s essay: “[T]the reason black America fell so hard for the line that residual racism spells defeat is . . . it offers a balm for something sitting at the heart of the African-American consciousness: a sense that at the end of the day, black people are inferior to whites.”
If you just change “inferior to” to “different from” there’s nothing diabolically damning about Mr. Taylor’s views or any of the distaste and frustration I’ve expressed here. If we accept this change, black and white people can begin to take race realism and historical facts into consideration, and set aside their feelings.
Notions of good or bad, better or worse, and racial blame and shame hold down the collective American spirit, and prevent a race-realist approach to public policy. If blacks stop blaming whites for keeping them down, and whites stop blaming blacks for being stupid for stupid’s sake, we can consider average group differences, and then like and dislike each other based on quantifiable measurements rather than untraceable, disembodied doubt or disgust.
The average black person needs a clear way to understand why blacks are, on average, exceptional basketball players, sprinters, and crooners, but not Rhodes Scholars or web developers. If blacks understood this without demonizing whites and Western Civilization, perhaps their lives could be become less angry and resentful. I know mine was after I took this approach. But I’d imagine that rationally taking the bell curve into account isn’t as fun or delusional as rallying for rights, reparations, and retribution.
There are many whites, Asians and Jews who will never have the brainpower of Stephen Hawking or the ability to counter Einstein’s theory of relativity. That doesn’t prevent them from remaining gainfully employed or active at the head of their households. If your average white man was told that he wasn’t going to be a world renowned neurosurgeon with Patrick Dempsey’s looks, I don’t think that he would damn God and engage in daily shootouts with other whites or police officers. He’d get a job as an accountant, butcher, or baker and live his life to the fullest.
Here I leave you with a quotation from Baldwin’s Notes of a Native Son. I can live with the slight sadness expressed in it. Instead of filling me with dread, I can confront it and understand it. Baldwin and I also, like Antonio in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, realize that “what’s past is prologue; what to come, In yours and my discharge.”
I know, in any case, that the most crucial time in my own development came when I was forced to recognize that I was a kind of bastard of the West; when I followed the line of my past I did not find myself in Europe but in Africa. And this meant that in some subtle way, in a really profound way, I brought to Shakespeare, Bach, Rembrandt, to the stones of Paris, to the cathedral at Chartres, and to the Empire State Building, a special attitude. These were not really my creations, they did not contain my history; I might search in them in vain forever for any reflection of myself. I was an interloper; this was not my heritage. At the same time I had no other heritage which I could possibly hope to use–I had certainly been unfitted for the jungle or the tribe. I would have to appropriate these white centuries, I would have to make them mine–I would have to accept my special attitude, my special place in this scheme–otherwise I would have no place in any scheme.