Racism is in bad odor among the virtuous. I wonder why. At least, I wonder why any discussion of race is thought to be racism. The United States faces grave racial problems–more accurately, has them but doesn’t face them. Refusal to acknowledge their existence is not productive: Few problems are solved by forbidding their mention. The question should not be whether views are racist, but whether they are wrong.
The American Renaissance, run by Jared Taylor, is quite racist in the poorly thought out and sniffish sense prevalent today. AmRen (as it is generally known) has recently gotten much bad press because it holds all manner of views whose mention results in pack attack by our arbiters of What Can Be Discussed: For example, that blacks commit violent crime at far higher rates than do whites, that massive immigration from Latin America offers no advantages to the United States but a great many evils, that affirmative action lowers the competence of government, the universities, and schools in general–and so on.
These ideas are no doubt racist, yes. Unpleasant, yes. But–are they wrong?
I would prefer to think so. It gives me no pleasure and little hope to hear that black schools regularly produce functional illiterates, that the schools of Detroit and of the nation’s capital and for that matter of wherever blacks predominate are disasters, that savage beatings of whites by gangs of blacks are common and hidden by the media. That these things happen is of no advantage to me. I would be delighted to see blacks and Hispanics excelling academically. I would like to walk the streets of American cities without carefully noting pigmentation, which we all do and pretend we don’t. While I like Jared personally, I would like to tell him that his racial ideas were all wrong.
But are they?
On AmRen’s web site you find news stories, taken chiefly from the respectable publications, that in aggregate paint a grim picture of things racial in America. Can you show these to be in error, isolated instances, not representative of a larger reality? I hope so. But I can’t. Almost everything I read at AmRen well describes reality as I have seen it. And also as all cops have seen it, though telling what they know is a firing offense.
What we have is an ongoing catastrophe, documentable, indeed documented repeatedly but never openly examined. An apparent amicability is enforced by heavy federal pressure, by a press that censors itself, and by that poisonous fog that we call political correctness.
But consider. From the Detroit News, a story on the illiteracy of the president of the school board, as illustrated by his emails:
“If you saw Sunday’s Free Press that shown Robert Bobb the emergency financial manager for Detroit Public Schools, move Mark Twain to Boynton which have three times the number seats then students and was one of the reason’s he gave for closing school to many empty seats.”
“Do DPS control the Foundation or outside group? If an outside group control the foundation, then what is DPS Board row with selection of is director? Our we mixing DPS and None DPS row’s, and who is the watch dog?”
The president of the school board? Confusing “our” for “are”? My daughters had better grammar at the age of three. A city that has such a man in such a position has no place in a civilized country.
Below the surface of the ominous calm lies massive anger. Hostility to affirmative action runs rampant, whether against female firemen who can’t handle hoses or black teachers who can’t spell. The number of people who would happily run illegal immigrants from the country at gun point is huge. When the races are not forced together, they separate like oil and water. The forcing is national policy. It has not proved a recipe for domestic happiness.
The tendency toward segregation equally among the smugly correct and the contents of Joe’s Bar. Many years back, the Washingtonian, the vaguely heterosexual coffee-table magazine of the District of Columbia, checked on how many of the Washington Post‘s news room sent their shiny white children to the city’s black public schools. Zero. At the first evidence of fertility the town house on upper Connecticut goes on the block and another pair of liberal diversity-friendly Democrats bail for the albino warrens of Montgomery County. Yet the Post honks and blows most mightily against racial discrimination.
How does this mandated hypocrisy help find a solution to racial woes–if there is a solution? It doesn’t. I suspect that a prime reason for the current uneasy stasis is exactly that people have concluded that there can be no solution. The best thing is to hold the lid on and let future generations worry about it.
Suppose that you genuinely want the best for what are quietly called Permanently Disadvantaged Minorities, and you therefore suggest that officials, to include teachers, whose English is below the level of second grade be dismissed. God help you. You will be called a racist, elitist, cultural imperialist, and insensitive, and lose your job. Why bother? All you can do as a responsible parent is to move away from the crime, to put your children in the whitest schools you can find, on the principle that most whites can still read. This of course perpetuates the problem.
The same foetor of impossibility engulfs any effort at change. If you try to end the calculated recruitment of incompetence that is affirmative action, you eliminate a large part of the black middle class (such as the above-mentioned president of Detroit’s school board) and hell breaks loose. What do you do?
Nothing. Which is what we are doing. It is what we will continue to do.
The folk at the American Renaissance? They don’t offer much in the way of solutions, but I don’t fault them for this since I can’t offer a solution either. Anything that might work is politically impossible, and anything that is politically possible won’t work. It may be that nothing would work.
Are Jared Taylor and his fellows wrong in their description of the disease? Let’s hope. But I fear they aren’t. Whether, or that, they are racists doesn’t matter. Oncologists recognize cancer. They don’t necessarily like it.
AmRen would be easy to dismiss if it were a pack of bedraggled Nazis ranting about how Jews sacrifice Christian children. But it isn’t, which is why it is disturbing. Normally a story like the foregoing tale from Detroit appears locally and is carefully, carefully not picked up nationally. The race of criminals is usually suppressed. The “achievement gap” in schools gets occasional mention, but the gravity of the situation does not. Thus AmRen, aggregating these news stories without apology, constitutes a form of intellectual blunt trauma.
But is AmRen wrong?