I remember these scenes vividly.
Sometime in the mid-1950's, when I was about ten years old, I was in the family car with my foster father on some errand. My foster father was an Italian-American Lutheran truck driver who married into an Irish-German family. We had to stop on Perrysville Avenue (this was in Pittsburgh), right in front of Perrysville High School (as it was known then). A black cop was directing traffic at the five-way intersection, which had no traffic light. My foster father remarked angrily, "Damned niggers are taking over everything!"
Now, I had never seen a black man before, and did not understand my foster father's anger. But the seething malice was evident in the way he uttered the words. I gave him what I guess he perceived to be a "dirty look," but which was simply my astonished but mute inquiry.
When we got home, he beat me with the strap of his belt. I guess he saw reproach in my glance.
In another episode of "misunderstanding," the family had company over. We were in the living room and there was a lively conversation on politics, in which I did not participate. I don’t recall exactly what the subject was, and I think I was in my pre-teens. But either my foster father or foster mother asked me: "What color are we, Eddie?"
I answered: "Beige." Well, I was the only member of the family who read books. My foster parents had conniption fits every time I consulted the pristine set of the Encyclopedia Americana they had bought for show and shelved in a glass-door cabinet. I had encountered the term somewhere, and it seemed more appropriate and truer than was "orange" or "white." The term was in my vocabulary, not my family's.
So, "beige" was not the answer any of the adults expected to hear. I think they all sat stunned, and my foster parents looked embarrassed.
When the company left, I again heard the swoop and felt the sting of my foster father's belt.
Yes, racism existed in America then, and it still exists, and will continue to exist for as long as men think of others in collectivist terms. Observe the racism and destructive furor evident in Ferguson, Missouri, over the shooting of a black man by a white police officer. Except that it is basically "black" racism. A man who has just robbed a convenience store, assaulted a police officer, and charged that officer with every intention of causing him more harm, was shot and killed by the officer. But the facts and circumstances are irrelevant. The black "youth" is being touted as a "victim" of white racism.
No one asks: What was the cop, Darren Wilson, who was injured, supposed to do when the "youth" sauntered away? Ignore the assault, call in sick and drive to the nearest hospital to have his injured eye attended to? If he is a law enforcement officer, and suspected Brown of just robbing a convenience store, he was obliged to act, and not let Brown walk off to boast to his buddies, "Hey! I just socked a honky cop and he ain't done nothin' about it!"
In today's politically correct, thought-repressing climate, imagine what would be said, shouted from the rooftops, and headlined were the Darren Wilson/Michael Brown roles reversed.
A white man, of the same weight, height, and nasty disposition as Brown's, barely literate, as well, except in the "rap" vernacular, and known to most locals as a brutish thug, robs and manhandles a convenience store clerk, then walks out with merchandise he did not pay for. A black policeman stops him on the street, asking him to walk on a sidewalk. The white man assaults the officer, tries to take his gun, causing it to fire once. He pummels the officer, then walks off. The officer gets out of the patrol car and tells him to stop. After all, the "white" Brown has already committed a felony assault on the officer, in addition to being a suspect in a store robbery that has just come over the patrol car radio.
The white man turns and charges the officer, maybe uttering a "rebel yell," intending to inflict further bodily harm the officer. The officer shoots, several times. The brute is hard to stop.
The verbally abusive redneck yahoo is killed.
Would the black officer be accused of racism? No. it would be the white man. "See," the chorus of the MSM and race-card players and liberals would cry, "that just proves that whites don’t respect blacks, even when blacks are part of the establishment. Let's hang that white trash!"
Michael Brown has not been portrayed as a thug, but as an "innocent" youngster who meant no harm. All he was doing was walking in the middle of a busy street. And also, well…getting away with robbery in spite of his video-taped assault on the store clerk.
The preceding is by way an introduction to a book by Murali Balaji, published in 2007, The Professor and the Pupil: The Politics and Friendship of W.E.B. Du Bois and Paul Robeson.
Balaji is a regular do-gooder contributor to the Huffington Post, and seems to want to do for Hindus in this country what CAIR (the Council on American Islamic Relations) has been doing for Muslims: Empower them politically, culturally, and socially.
He has written an adulatory character study of the most influential advocates and propagandists for black racism, William Edward Burghardt "W. E. B." Du Bois (1868-1963), the black sociologist, civil rights activist, and advocate of one species of racism, a study which parallels Du Bois's life with that of Paul Robeson (1898-1976), the black actor, singer, Stalinist admirer of the Soviet Union, and secret member of the Communist Party of the United States. (His son, Paul Robeson, Jr. , who went to grade school with Josef Stalin's daughter in Moscow, had denied it until it the CPUSA boastfully outed him in 1998, calling him "one of their own").
Du Bois's racial theories -- and there were many until he became as committed a racist as Louis Farrakhan and Rev. Jeremiah Wright – advanced over decades by him and his ilk were as vile as the "scientific" racial theories of Madison Grant, Houston Chamberlain, and Joseph Arthur, Comte de Gobineau.
The current black strain of racism has at least a century of ideological antecedents. But, it would be appropriate to let Ayn Rand, the novelist/philosopher, have the first word on the subject of racism:
Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism. It is the notion of ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man’s genetic lineage—the notion that a man’s intellectual and characterological traits are produced and transmitted by his internal body chemistry. Which means, in practice, that a man is to be judged, not by his own character and actions, but by the characters and actions of a collective of ancestors.
Racism claims that the content of a man’s mind (not his cognitive apparatus, but its content) is inherited; that a man’s convictions, values and character are determined before he is born, by physical factors beyond his control. This is the caveman’s version of the doctrine of innate ideas—or of inherited knowledge—which has been thoroughly refuted by philosophy and science. Racism is a doctrine of, by and for brutes. It is a barnyard or stock-farm version of collectivism, appropriate to a mentality that differentiates between various breeds of animals, but not between animals and men.
Like every form of determinism, racism invalidates the specific attribute which distinguishes man from all other living species: his rational faculty. Racism negates two aspects of man’s life: reason and choice, or mind and morality, replacing them with chemical predestination.
Yes, black racism is also a form of collectivism, and much of it was encouraged and propounded by communist and socialist intellectuals. Du Bois and his successors in racial "studies" such as Marcus Garvey, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. , Cornel West, Derrick Bell, and Regina Austin, and a score more offered irrational solutions to racism that entailed the employment of racial preferences (affirmative action), force, the inculcation of self-consciousnesses of being "black" (black pride), reclaiming Africa from capitalist and colonialist Europeans, and blatant bigotry against any and all whites.
Virtually the only black spokesman in the 20th century for genuine black freedom was Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) who disagreed with Du Bois about how to go about emancipating blacks from discrimination or achieving equal rights with whites. He thought that force, preferential treatment, and "revolutionary" action would only be counterproductive and leave blacks worse off than before. As they have been left worse off, by chiefly the Progressive Democrats, who wish to keep blacks in thrall as a tool of perpetuating the welfare state.
Derrick Bell argued that America was an intrinsically "racist" country and that its fundamental character as a nation of laws not of men was but a complicated ruse and dumb show concocted by whites to perpetuate "white" supremacy and to oppress blacks. Therefore, laws were needed to compensate blacks for the discrimination and to enforce their preferential treatment. Any perceived "injustice" to whites in such a program was but reparations in the name of the ancestors of whites, who may or may not have had anything to do with enslaving or persecuting blacks.
Bell in the 1970's began to develop his Critical Race Theory (CRT).
Founded by the late Derrick Bell, critical race theory is an academic discipline which maintains that society is divided along racial lines into (white) oppressors and (black) victims, similar to the way Marxism frames the oppressor/victim dichotomy along class lines. Critical race theory contends that America is permanently racist to its core, and that consequently the nation's legal structures are, by definition, racist and invalid. As Emory University professor Dorothy Brown puts it, critical race theory "seeks to highlight the ways in which the law is not neutral and objective but designed to support white supremacy and the subordination of people of color." A logical derivative of this premise, according to critical race theory, is that the members of “oppressed” racial groups are entitled—in fact obligated—to determine for themselves which laws and traditions have merit and are worth observing.
Further, critical race theory holds that because racism is so deeply ingrained in the American character, classical liberal ideals such as meritocracy, equal opportunity, and colorblind justice are essentially nothing more than empty slogans that fail to properly combat—or to even acknowledge the existence of—the immense structural inequities that pervade American society and work against black people. Thus, according to critical race theorists, racial preferences (favoring blacks) in employment and higher education are not only permissible but necessary as a means of countering the permanent bigotry of white people who, as Bell put it, seek to “achieve a measure of social stability through their unspoken pact to keep blacks on the bottom.”
Regina Austin, a professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania, and an advocate of Critical Race Theory, can be characterized as a high priestess of the theory and how to practice it in real life. Black criminals should be treated with kid gloves, or not at all.
Central to Austin’s “Advanced Torts” course is her claim that minority status confers the privilege of interpreting the law as one pleases. As writer Heather MacDonald points out, Professor Austin, in her published articles, has exhorted the black community to reject the distinction between lawful and unlawful activity as the imposed strictures of an oppressive white society. Austin pours scorn on such “traditional values” as “conformity to the law,” which she insists will “intensif[y] divisions within the black community.”
Austin has also called on blacks to engage in outright lawbreaking, which she calls “hustling,” but which in fact amounts to any number of acts of thievery licensed by Austin’s demands for social justice. Thus, “clerks in stores [who] cut their friends a break on merchandise, and pilfering employees [who] spread their contraband around the neighborhood,” are encouraged by Austin to occupy the “good middle ground between straightness and more extreme forms of lawbreaking.”
Much of this thinking is either Marxist in essence or heavily influenced by Marxism. The riots in Ferguson, Missouri this month are a direct application of those ideas, trickled down from academia to government programs and a compliant news media, and ultimately, to "the street."
Then there are the non-intellectual preachers and promulgators of the same vicious ideology, such as Nation of Islam head Louis Farrakhan, and retired minister to President Barack Obama, Jeremiah Wright. In addition, there were the Black Panthers, individuals such as Eldridge Cleaver, Stokely Carmichael, Bobby Seale, Angela Davis, and numerous other "activists." Whether it is the naked "whitey is the devil" claim of Farrakhan's or the "black theology" of Wright's or Bell's Critical Race Theory, they are all collectivist in their fundamental premises. There are as many variations of black racism as there are of white racism, but they are all evil.
The racial philosophy of W.E.B. Du Bois, for example, in Balaji's description of the "Doctor's" world view, moved in stages over time from concocting the notion of a "Talented Tenth" of American blacks – the notion that the "best and brightest" would, after being educated and proving their worth to live in a "white-dominated" society, help to uplift the balance of blacks from poverty and ignorance – to an unreserved endorsement of the Soviet Union, with full knowledge of Stalin's genocide and the murderous purge of the Communist Party of its original founders (such as Trotsky and other Inner Party luminaries). Both Du Bois and Paul Robeson were certain that the Soviet way of government was the blacks' only hope of achieving equality, dignity and freedom.
Du Bois and Alain Locke, his contemporary at Howard University, championed the New Negro and the Talented Tenth, a belief that those blessed with the "natural" proclivity for intelligence and education would lead the uplift of the Negro race…But Du Bois's first political awakening came after a visit to the Soviet Union, where he saw firsthand the application of Socialist principles.
Du Bois and Robeson both viewed Germany and Italy's Fascism as the inevitable result of capitalism, colonialism, and an "innate" European desire to subjugate the "dark races." This is pure Marxism. And both men –the recipients of university education, in which they seemed to excel – viewed the Soviet Union as the chief bulwark against "white supremacy," as well as the imperialism of Japan in spite of its literal rape of China in the 1920's and 1930's, simply because the Japanese were not "white." Robeson opposed this view of Du Bois's, which absolved Japan of its own brand of racism against the Chinese and Mongolians. Robeson asked the logical question:
If the Japanese had "no regard" for the Chinese, how could they have any regard for African Americans? Robeson would argue this point as he became more absolute in his opposition to colonialism and Fascism. By the time the United States entered World War II, Robeson led the charge to demonize Fascists, who existed "not only in Germany, Italy (and) Japan, but in Canada, the United States, the West Indies (and) Africa."
Du Bois and Robeson both visited the Soviet Union at least twice, were given the red carpet treatment, and saw what the Soviets wanted them to see. They were consequently bedazzled by the Soviets' alleged campaign against racism and concern for the "minorities" in the Soviet empire. While Du Bois remained skeptical about a Soviet-style system working in America, Robeson remained for the rest of his life enamored of the Soviet Union. It could do no wrong, not even when he had knowledge of the monstrous wrongs it was committing.
So [Robeson] stayed loyal, proclaiming that the Soviet Union's lead in the global freedom struggle and their fair treatment of minorities made it the one nation that valued human dignity. Robeson, in one of the rare public comments he made on the [show] trials, told Ben Davis the Soviets "ought to destroy anybody who seeks to harm that great country."
Du Bois was that leftist brand intellectual who donned blinders to the reality of Soviet tyranny – tyranny was okay as long as it was anti-white and anti-capitalist. Robeson was a forerunner of today's celebrities who have nothing to say about Islamic atrocities but oppose Israel defending itself against jihad, and also excoriate capitalism while enjoying its fruits. Du Bois and Robeson both wound up embittered hulks nurturing a deep hatred for the U.S. Robeson died of a stroke close to the 200th anniversary of the founding of the U.S.; Du Bois joined the CPUSA in 1961, and moved to Ghana, a "socialist police state," and died there in 1963.
The only means of perpetuating racism and discrimination against blacks or any other "minority,'" or even against a "majority," however "well-intentioned," is by force, to nullify the voluntary freedom of association in employment, education and in other human relationships. Government force, in the hands of racist politicians or those with a vested interest in perpetuating racism as a tool of power and "social and political transformation" (such as President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder), will only exacerbate racism, and knowingly promote it (see the careers of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson).
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society" have had the opposite effect, ignoring or disparaging the basic principle that the government is powerless to force a mind (whether or not an individual holds racist views), but can only corrupt it by introducing the element of legislative compulsion and therefore stressing the alleged ubiquity of the irrational.
"Black" racism is no answer to "white" racism, and those are not the only species of racism extant today. For example, "white" or Semitic Muslims despise Muslim and non-Muslim blacks alike (in Arabic, blacks are called "abeeds," or slaves). Light skinned or "mullatos" or mixed-race blacks look down on dark-skinned blacks, and vice versa. Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams, black intellectuals who promote individualism and reason, and who oppose any kind of racism, especially black racism, which they regard as a folly, are despised by most black civil rights organizations and by liberals and leftists, as is Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
I received my first taste of racism as a young boy, at the end of a leather strap, a long time ago, because I did not exhibit an "inherent" white racism which Du Bois, Robeson, and Derrick Bell, among others, claimed was a permanent character trait of whites. So I know how vicious any species of racism can be.
*The Professor and the Pupil: The Politics and Friendship of W.E.B. Du Bois and Paul Robeson, by Murali Balaji. New York: Nation Books, 2007. 481pp.