Thursday, April 30, 2015

Black Anger: Who's to Blame?

By Paul R. Hollrah


Baltimore Riots 2015



On the night of February 26, 2012, in Sanford, Florida, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, a black high school student from Miami, was shot to death during an unprovoked attack on neighborhood watch coordinator George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old mixed-race Hispanic.  The incident occurred when Martin became concerned that his movements were being observed by a person or persons unknown.  When attacked, Zimmerman was awaiting the arrival of local police after having reported the presence of a suspicious-looking person passing through his neighborhood.


In the afternoon of July 17, 2014, on a sidewalk in Staten Island, New York, 43-year-old Eric Garner, a black man, was approached by police officers when he was observed selling individual cigarettes from packs without tax stamps, a violation of New York state law.  Garner complained about being “harassed,” and when an officer attempted to place handcuffs on him he slapped the officer’s hands away.  Garner, a very large man who suffered from asthma, struggled with five officers, during which time he was allegedly held in a chokehold for approximately 15 seconds.  Officers called for medical assistance but Garner expired an hour later of cardiac arrest.    


Just before noon on August 9, 2014, 18-year-old Michael Brown, a 6 ft. 4 in. 292 lb. black man staged a strong-arm robbery of a convenience store in Ferguson, Missouri.  Minutes later, as he and an accomplice strolled down the middle of a local street, they were told to move to the sidewalk by a white 28-year-old Ferguson police officer, Darren Wilson.  When Brown refused and Wilson attempted to exit his police vehicle, Brown attacked him and attempted to take his firearm.  Brown ran away for a short distance, but then turned and charged the officer, during which time he was mortally wounded by several shots from the officer’s handgun.        


On April 2, 2015, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a 44-year-old black man, Eric Harris, was a suspect in an investigation in which he allegedly arranged to sell a handgun to undercover officers of the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office.  As Harris attempted to evade arrest he was tackled and brought to the ground.  However, as he continued to resist arrest he was shot in the back by 73-year-old Robert C. Bates, a white Tulsa County reserve deputy, who mistakenly retrieved his Smith & Wesson revolver while attempting to reach for his Taser.    


On April 8, 2015, in North Charleston, South Carolina, a white police officer, Michael Slager, stopped a Mercedes sedan with a broken tail light driven by a 50-year-old black man, Walter Scott.  Slager ordered Scott to remain in his vehicle; however, as Slager ran a radio check on Scott for outstanding warrants, Scott exited his vehicle and fled.  When he refused to stop, Officer Slager pulled his Taser and fired at Scott.  When that failed to stop him, Slager pulled his handgun and fired eight shots, mortally wounding Scott.


At 8:40 AM on April 12, 2015, in Baltimore, Maryland, 25-year-old Freddie Gray, a black man, was injured when he attempted to elude police.  As Gray was being taken to a police van he would not, or could not, walk and was physically dragged to the vehicle by two officers.  When he was taken to a hospital, doctors determined that his spinal cord was 80% severed at the neck.  Gray died on April 19, 2015, and in the week that followed, the City of Baltimore was plagued with arson and riots. 


It was here, during the War of 1812, that Francis Scott Key huddled behind the ramparts of Fort McHenry and penned the immortal words of the Star Spangled Banner, which later became our national anthem.  If Key were alive today he would be saddened to know that the fires that swept across Baltimore in recent days were not the result of a British naval bombardment, but of the criminal acts of street thugs, our fellow citizens, who gave vent to their frustrations by putting the torch to the homes and businesses of their friends and neighbors.


So what is the common denominator in all of these incidents, if any?  It is that, in each instance, the black men involved were either resisting arrest or fleeing to avoid arrest.  With that level of fear and resentment of police within the black community, it causes one to wonder whether or not we have passed the point of no return in race relations where it is no longer possible to create a color-blind society.  What is undeniable is that young black men have created a stereotype for themselves… a stereotype that must be fully understood by all concerned before we can even begin to deconstruct it.  So, if black people did not set out to purposely create a subculture in the freest, most prosperous nation on Earth… a subculture typified by poverty and hopelessness… then they must have had some very determined help.  And we know who that was.


For example, in 1866, after being defeated in the war to end slavery, Democrats established a paramilitary auxiliary called the Ku Klux Klan.  The Klan’s purpose was to keep the freed slaves in line and to intimidate them into voting for Democratic candidates.  Over the next 85 years the KKK waged an unrelenting war of terror against blacks and white Republicans.  Tuskegee Institute archives indicate that, between the years 1882 and 1951, some 3,437 blacks and 1,293 whites, nearly all Republicans, were lynched by the KKK.  Is this sad chapter in U.S. history being taught in Black History classes?  If not, why not? 


Along with the violence and the intimidation of the KKK, Democrats in southern legislatures enacted Jim Crow laws and the Black Codes… dictating where and for whom blacks could work, where they could live, where they could eat and sleep, which restrooms and drinking fountains they could use, and where they were allowed to sit in movie theaters and on trains and busses.  Are black children taught the truth of Jim Crow and the Black Codes in Black History classes?  


Then, in 1894, after regaining control of the Congress, Democrats passed the Repeal Act of 1894, repealing much of the civil rights legislation passed by Republicans in the 28 years following the close of the Civil War.  What followed was a period of some 60 years in which black civil rights were in limbo.  Are these truths taught in Black History classes?


It was not until the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision of the U.S. Supreme Court that black people could see a glimmer of hope for the rights Republicans had won for them during the previous 90 years.  So is it any wonder that, 60 years after Brown v. Board of Education, many blacks still feel the indignation of slavery, the KKK, Jim Crow, and the Black Codes? 


In the earliest days of the civil right movement, Democrats resigned themselves to the fact that their century-old campaign to oppress blacks through violence and intimidation was at an end.  Instead, they found it politically expedient to create a welfare system through which they could simply purchase the allegiance of black people… in effect, paying blacks NOT to pursue the American Dream as every other ethnic group before them had done.  As a result, the welfare state has robbed black men of their pride and their dignity, and many have resigned themselves to lives of crime and anti-social behavior.  Where better to see the fruits of that cynical stratagem than in recent videos of arson and looting in Ferguson and Baltimore... what black activist Tavis Smiley predicts will be the “new norm” in race relations?


But none of this would have been possible without the acquiescence of the black community.  To learn how Democrats were able to implement their grand strategy we need look no further than a federal program called Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), a social welfare program passed in 1935 by a Democrat Congress and signed into law by Franklin D. Roosevelt.  It was a program in which a family was eligible for benefits only if the family had at least one dependent child, under age 18, who was “deprived of financial support from one of their parents due to the parent’s death, continued absence (emphasis added), or incapacity.”  In other words, if two able-bodied parents lived in the household the family was denied AFDC benefits.


Nothing… not drugs, not poverty, not urban decay, nor lack of educational opportunities… has contributed more to the disintegration of the black family unit in America than the restrictions of the AFDC program.  As a consequence of AFDC, marriage was discouraged, fathers were forced out of their homes, and single-parent welfare mothers found they could increase their monthly income by simply having more babies.  As a result, we now have a society in which three out of four black babies are born out of wedlock, where black father figures are absent from their children’s lives, and where black mothers, unable to control their fatherless children, find so many of their young men either behind bars, addicted to drugs, or the victims of gang violence


It’s not as if opportunity has passed black people by.  If black parents, in the 50s and 60s, had insisted that their children do their homework every night; that they be in school every day; that they always behave themselves, inside and outside the classroom; and that, once they’ve entered the workforce, they always give their employers eight hours of their best effort in exchange for eight hours pay… the time-honored formula for achieving the American Dream… African-Americans would be far down the road, socially and economically, from where they are today. 


But blacks are not entirely to blame for the social and economic condition in which they find themselves.  It is true, as liberals and Democrats insist, that black people in America are “victims,” but not in the sense that liberals and Democrats would have us believe.  If black people would be honest with themselves they could readily see that every state run by Democrats is in steady economic decline, dominated by public employee unions and saddled with billions of dollars in unfunded liabilities, while every major city run by Democrats is a cesspool of crime, drug addiction, and economic stagnation.  Cities and states governed by Republicans are quite the opposite, although urban blacks continue to nestle comfortably in the pocket of Democrats.      


Pride, dignity, and self-respect are not easily come by and the larger population, primarily white people, are not likely to forgive and forget the outrageous behavior of young black men until they’ve proven that they deserve to be treated as equals.  It is they who have dug a deep hole for themselves and white people cannot dig them out of it.  That is something that only they can do and it’s time they got started.  But that task cannot be accomplished so long as they continue to squander their political power and influence in exchange for crumbs from the Democratic table.