Shelby Steele had a thought on this. So do I.
Senator Tim Scott (R, SC), Congressman-elect Burgess Owens (R, UT), Herschel Walker, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R) and several others, wrote Steele, all spoke at the Republican National Convention. More, each of them spoke as men and women—individual men and women—they did not speak as spokesmen for their color. In particular, they did not speak as the professional victims of “systemic racism.”
They spoke as persons who are part of a new and growing racial order (Steele’s term):
…we blacks aren’t much victimized any more. Today we are free to build a life that won’t be stunted by racial persecution. …we live in a society that generally shows us goodwill—a society that has isolated racism as its most unforgivable sin.
This lack of victimization amounts to an “absence of malice” that profoundly threatens the victim-focused black identity. Who are we without the malice of racism? Can we be black without being victims? The great diminishment (not eradication) of racism since the ’60s means that our victim-focused identity has become an anachronism.
And so on.
But I disagree with Steele to this extent: there is systemic racism in America, say I. It’s just not as broad reaching as those Steele decried claim; it is, instead, confined to the Democratic Party, its replacing evolution the Progressive-Democratic Party, and those entities’ adherents and supporters.
The soft bigotry of low expectations is the upper bound, the most generous and favorable position, of those worthies. Blacks, they hold from this position, just can’t compete and need special treatment. That’s what that Leftist icon, Woodrow Wilson, said to a black reporter who was questioning him about his resegregating the Federal government—that blacks should be grateful for the protections of segregation. And it’s the thrust of the Left’s segregationist identity politics.
The main position, however, of the Democratic Party and Progressive-Democratic Party since 1964, illustrated by Lyndon Johnson’s racist remark about why he passed the Civila Rights Act of 1964 is far worse. This position, overtly extant these last 56 years, is that blacks aren’t even human beings. They’re just crops of votes to be harvested every so often for the political benefit of those Leftist politicians.
Between election harvests, those crops are simply covered in the manure of promises (universally empty and unfulfilled), a few coins thrown at the crops in the form of welfare programs (with carefully designed-in cliffs that trap them in those welfare cages), and “affirmative” action programs that do no more than emphasize the Left’s belief in the, at best, inherent inferiority of blacks.
The view of non-humanness is demonstrated by the utter lack of progress in the economic and political prosperity of blacks, beginning with the openly destructive Urban Removal programs begun (and never finished) in Leftist-run cities. The demonstration continued through the Obama administration, with continuing black poverty, continuing high black unemployment, the Left’s continuing efforts to deny black children access to quality schools through choice programs that would let parents opt out of disastrous public schools in favor of voucher and charter schools, and the ever-widening wealth gap between blacks and…everyone else.
Those latter trends—unemployment, school access, wealth gap—were beginning to be reversed under Republican efforts these last four years. That trend reversal has had two primary effects. One is the reducing poverty rates among blacks.
The other has reduced the political power of the Left, and that has led the Left to be increasingly shrill in their cries of nation-wide systemic racism.