Monday, February 12, 2018

Angry Black Radicals and the Foolish White Liberals Who Love Them


Protesters clash with police in Ferguson, Mo., August 11, 2015.
 (Michael B. Thomas/AFP/Getty)

White liberals never look more foolish than when they pander to angry black radicals. But it’s taken the one-two punch of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s book “Between the World and Me” and the hit NWA biopic “Straight Outta Compton” to lift the white Left into heights of ecstasy not seen since they sipped cocktails with the Black Panthers in Tom Wolfe’s immortal essay, “Radical Chic.”

Doubt the ecstasy? Then behold tweets such as this one, from the New York Times’s A. O. Scott, speaking of Coates:

“Must read” doesn’t even come close. This from @tanehisicoates is essential, like water or air.    — a. o. scott (@aoscott) July 5, 2015

Doubt the foolishness? Then read this from Slate deputy editor John Swansburg’s review of Straight Outta Compton:

The hard truths of NWA’s reportage (“police think they have the authority / to kill a minority,” Ice Cube rapped on “F**k tha Police”) and the unbridled anger that fueled the group’s work sadly feel no less pertinent in the era of Michael Brown as in that of Rodney King.

Or this:

NWA mixed a brew of hedonism, nihilism, and misogyny (“life ain’t nothing but bitches and money,” in the group’s pithy summation) that could have been toxic, but it worked, in part, due to the charisma of the rappers, who breathed an infectious, anarchic spirit into the music.

Yes, he actually used the word “reportage” to describe a song that says, among other things:

Ice Cube will swarm / on ANY motherf**ker in a blue uniform / Just cause I’m from the CPT / Punk police are afraid of me! / HUH, a young nigga on the warpath / And when I’m finished, it’s gonna be a bloodbath / of cops, dyin in L.A. / Yo Dre, I got somethin to say.

As for “pithy,” how about some of the rest of “Gangsta, Gangsta,” the song Swansburg believes is so infectiously anarchic:

Ren said, “Let’s start some sh**!” / I got a shotgun, and here’s the plot / Takin niggaz out with a flurry of buckshots / Boom boom boom, yeah I was gunnin / And then you look, all you see is niggaz runnin / and fallin and yellin and pushin and screamin / and cussin, I stepped back, and I kept bustin /And then I realized it’s time for me to go.

Truly, it’s hard to imagine how these gentlemen had an adverse relationship with law enforcement. As for Coates, his “essential” writings include sentiments like these, about the police and firefighters who sacrificed their lives trying to save New Yorkers of all races on 9/11:

I could see no difference between the officer who killed [my friend] and the police who died, or the firefighters who died. They were not human to me. Black, white, or whatever, they were the menaces of nature; they were the fire, the comet, the storm, which could — with no justification — shatter my body.

Or this, written in response to Freddie Gray’s death in Baltimore — words that mock calls for nonviolence as a “con” or a “ruse,” excusing riots as a matter of necessary disrespect:

When nonviolence is preached as an attempt to evade the repercussions of political brutality, it betrays itself. When nonviolence begins halfway through the war with the aggressor calling time out, it exposes itself as a ruse. When nonviolence is preached by the representatives of the state, while the state doles out heaps of violence to its citizens, it reveals itself to be a con. And none of this can mean that rioting or violence is “correct” or “wise,” any more than a forest fire can be “correct” or “wise.” Wisdom isn’​t the point tonight. Disrespect is. In this case, disrespect for the hollow law and failed order that so regularly disrespects the community.

But this is the era of #BlackLivesMatter and the “Rebirth of Black Rage.” Woe to the white liberal (I’m talking to you, Bernie Sanders) who doesn’t pay homage. Never mind that the actual numbers show that — when one controls for violent crime rates — encounters with the police may be more dangerous for whites than blacks. One still can’t say “all lives matter,” or he’ll be read out of the progressive movement as a (to quote white liberal Lena Dunham) “meatball” and a “dingus.”

Yet back when the Left was really the Left, they weren’t content with fawning over writers such as Coates or watching the gangsta action on the silver screen, they brought the real gangstas straight to the party. Tom Wolfe knew all about it:

That huge Panther there, the one Felicia is smiling her tango smile at, is Robert Bay, who just 41 hours ago was arrested in an altercation with the police, supposedly over a .38-caliber revolver that someone had, in a parked car in Queens at Northern Boulevard and 104th Street or some such unbelievable place, and taken to jail on a most unusual charge called “criminal facilitation.” And now he is out on bail and walking into Leonard and Felicia Bernstein’s 13-room penthouse duplex on Park Avenue.

In March, The Federalist’s Hans Fiene coined the term “Selma envy” to describe the self-righteous zeal of modern progressives. 

They are desperate to be a part of a great crusade, to “sink their teeth” into righteousness. 

Selma envy is over. It’s Panther envy now, but it’s a strange time for Panther envy. 

Jim Crow has been dead for generations, and now the nation is the kind of racist hellhole that elects a black president, invites an angry Ta-Nehisi Coates to the Aspen Institute, and makes Dr. Dre a billionaire.

It’s all so ridiculous that one is tempted to point and laugh. 

But the real-world consequences are too dire. 

Selma envy ruins careers and shames dissenters. Panther envy burns cities. 

Is Coates’s widely applauded and highly profitable rage more “authentic” than Ben Carson’s quiet peacemaking? 

By privileging one voice over the other, the Left is staking its claim in violence and division. They are sowing the wind. When will the whirlwind come?

— David French is an attorney and a staff writer at National Review.


Trump Has Broken the Apology Hypnosis on Race

He broke me,” Kathy Griffin famously said of our 45th President as she gazed, narcissistically, upon her self-inflicted wounds after incomprehensibly and symbolically decapitating the man Politicoonce called an outsider and an outer-borough brawler.

Many Americans of the conservative persuasion have been waiting for a brawler who would fight the good fight internally and not worry about breaking things or being overly attentive to decorum.

Writing in the Kansas City Star this week, Robert Leonard, a self-described liberal political junkie from Iowa who can’t stand the sound of Donald Trump’s voice, gave the clearest evidence yet of the astounding ability of Donald J. Trump to break things that very much need breaking.

Leonard itemized the conventional wisdom about Trump and recited all of the Left’s hopes and dreams for undoing his influence. 

Then, the surprising conclusion of said liberal political junkie:

This is delusional.

Here in conservative rural America, Trump is ascendant.

Yes, it is delusional, Mr. Leonard, and yes he is ascendant. Not just in conservative rural America, either.

Leonard compared and contrasted Trump’s Value Voters Summit speech as he first read it (he couldn’t bear to hear it because, remember, he hates Trump’s voice) and then as he understood it on a second reading, and this is instructive. 

He knew of the speech, in a vague and opaque way, through the filter provided by the mainstream media. This meant the import of the thing was diminished in his mind by reinforcing his focus on perceived gaffes and the hope that the president, once again, in the judgment of the “important people” failed.

Leonard, however, was stunned by the political substance of what he read:
Looking only at the written word, and putting Trump’s arrogant off-script comments aside, it was a beautiful speech. Powerful. Inspirational. Brilliant even.

The effect of the comparing and contrasting caricatured media filter to a first and uninhibited reading and then, most importantly, to a second reading speaks volumes. 

As Leonard made the effort to understand Trump as he understands himself, he discovered something ”powerful,” ”inspirational,” and even “brilliant.” 

You won’t find those three words often used to describe anything about the current president by people like Robert Leonard, but then, most of them don’t step outside of their echo chambers long enough to hear him as their neighbors do.

Leonard itemized ten different themes of Trump in this speech. To my ears, it’s extremely easy to see the winning formula they represent, for they clearly set down lines of demarcation that have strong appeal in a primarily center-right nation:

1) We’re sustained by the power of prayer versus Democrats who want prayer out of the public sphere.
2) Mass murder event caused by an act of pure evil versus Democrats who blame guns and want to take them away.
3) Honoring first responders versus elevating thugs and viewing our protectors in blue with disdain.
4) Quoting scripture versus Democrats ridiculing those who do.
5) Stressing American unity versus Democrats dividing American society into victims and oppressors.
6) Trump saying “We love our country” versus Obama going on an international “apology tour.”
7) Protecting the unborn versus Democrats turning a blind eye to the horrors of abortion.
8) Focus on strengthening the family unit versus Democrats’ policies that pull families apart.
9) Pride in American history versus Democrats tearing down monuments.
10) Great respect for the American flag versus Democrats who take a knee.

In large measure, this is Politics 101. 

However, politics at the retail level has been something of a lost art in America in the last several decades as a “New World Order” dictated by experts from on high aggressively sought to shape all things social, political, and economic through a particularly globalist lens. 

This unrelenting push for an inorganic and supra-national agenda gave rise to the national desire for a brawler who was not only willing to break things but capable of so doing—either through sheer force of will or by an imaginative and methodical strategery heretofore unseen.

And at this early stage of the 21st century, nothing in the United States political arena required breaking more than the identity politics cynically embraced by the Democratic Party.

I hope to write more in the future about how and why the Democrats have gone so badly astray in this way, but a good glimpse of the problem is provided by Joshua Mitchell in his piece, “The Identity-Politics Death Grip.” 

Mitchell laments the Democrats’ inability, given their political losses, to rethink their failed strategies. Instead, because of the identity politics death grip, they are doubling down on strategies that appear designed to cause national discord.

That identity politics game, part and parcel of the Communism/Marxism/Socialism dialectic, could only work for as long as Americans of European descent were consistently hypnotized into thinking of themselves as guilty white people who forever had to apologize, apologize, apologize. 

Mitchell correctly faults identity politics as the problem and asserts that the philosophy results in two important political problems. 

First is “its blindness to the nature of class in America.” 

Second is that “it misrepresents the long arc of history.” By this, Mitchell refers to the long arc as a pathway that inevitably sees humans of all races and ethnicities working together. Within a particularly American context, blacks and whites working together, for example, to heal the wounds of slavery.

Leaving aside the issue of class, Mitchell compares and contrasts Martin Luther King, Jr. plus Reinhard Niebuhr with the Democrat Party of today. 

He finds fault with the Democrat Party, asserts MLK and Niebuhr were Christian theologians who understood that “suffering operates on a different plane, in which the central issue is the broken human condition and its sorrowful reverberations in history,” (emphasis added) and shudders at the thought of a successful evisceration of the America we know by a post-Christian left wing.

I do, too, but I draw comfort from knowing that identity politics is never, ultimately, going to be a winner in the United States.

Instead, what we see in America is the historical tension between our understanding of the brokenness of life and our God-fearing comprehension of the necessarily limited human condition. To focus on the “broken” aspect of this world is the mistake the Democrats have made.

That identity politics game, part and parcel of the Communism/Marxism/Socialism dialectic, could only work for as long as Americans of European descent were consistently hypnotized into thinking of themselves as guilty white people who forever had to apologize, apologize, apologize. 

I mean, every white male I’ve ever met has a white mother. Most of whom, love their son(s). These children often have white brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, and—incredibly—white grandparents.

Donald J. Trump, simultaneously as Deprogrammer-in-Chief and Liberator-in-Chief, was able through skillful utilization of his brilliant and relentless laser (yes, by this I mean his Twitter account) to break the apology hypnosis that was strangling the dominant ethnic group in the nation. 

It was no surprise when a majority of white males voted for him to be president in the general election.

The no way to get around it stunner was that most white females voted for him as well. 

Donald Trump had invited them into the coalition to Make America Great Again, and they accepted.

And, with that, it is game over for identity politics in America.

I’ve always heard it’s a poor frog that won’t praise its own pond, however geographically and expansively you define your pond. It could be your neighborhood, your side of town, your city, your county, your state . . . but this is our country.

Alexis de Tocqueville may have had a highly conflicted view of the United States but he was certainly correct on the following broad points. 

When one is not fixated on the problems of our own nation but, instead, views it from a larger perspective and contextually considers it in relation to the entire planet, we are in fact defined by our loud and inclusive democracy, our preference for dual sovereigns and decentralized power, our fondness for a smorgasbord of group associations, and perhaps most especially by the intensity of our diverse Judeo-Christian religious belief. 

A belief that readily acknowledges as its foundation certain inalienable rights granted not by our governmental servants but by the Creator we serve.

On that score, the import of Robert Leonard’s article was noted by Don Surber

Trump the brawler, Trump the fighter, has connected with American voters tired of the country they love taking punches in the gut. 

Iowa was a reliable Democrat state, one that even voted for Michael Dukakis in 1988 by more than 10 percentage points at a time when George H. W. Bush won the national election in a landslide with a whopping 426 electoral votes.

Obama won Iowa by 9.5 percent in 2008 and nearly 6 percent in 2012. 

Trump, however, won the state in 2016 by 9.4 percent, a switch of political earthquake proportions—nearly 20 percentage points. 

Democrats aren’t going to undo the damage their brand incurred in this disruption by shouting louder about how we have to buy their broken goods.

We don’t. And now we know it.

And it’s not just Iowa. 

The Trump political earthquake was strong enough to break the national apology hypnosis that has been enforced for decades by a global elite and championed by an irresponsibly cynical Democrat Party. 

This won’t keep the would-be hypnotists from screaming at the sky on November 4. But their screams no longer have the power to compel our submission.

J.B. White is a semi-retired resident of Tallahassee, Florida, and currently serves as the volunteer Executive Director of CREOLE, Inc., a nonprofit corporation engaged in an agri-business development strategy in northern Haiti. A native Floridian from Jacksonville and U.S. Army veteran, he holds degrees from the University of Florida (Political Science) and Florida State (Juris Doctor). @RattlerGator is his online presence on Twitter.


Overused Cries of Racism Make It Harder for Us to Unite

By John Fund I National Review

When a coin toss is deemed racist, the charge has lost all meaning. 

Every time you think there’s nothing left, no area or topic, where race can’t be injected into the conversation, you’re wrong. An African-American skater on the U.S. Olympic team refused to attend the opening celebration because of the results of a coin toss that decided whether he or a white female skater would represent the United States at the ceremony.

The skater, Shani Davis, said the coin toss was “dishonorable,” even though it was the previously agreed-upon method for breaking a tie vote among U.S. athletes. Davis included the hashtag #BlackHistoryMonth2018 in his tweet along with a list of his accomplishments that he said should have made him the flag-bearer. It seems as if Davis is alleging the first racially motivated coin toss in Olympic history.

Race also factored in another Olympic controversy last week. Fox News vice president John Moody penned an opinion column that took potshots at a Washington Post story in which U.S. Olympic Committee officials touted the diversity gains among this year’s Winter Olympics team even though the team remained “overwhelmingly white.” Jason Thompson, the USOC’s director of diversity and inclusion, told the Post, “We’ve just been trying to find ways to make sure our team looks like America.”

Moody took issue with this approach, saying, “In Olympics, let’s focus on the winner of the race — not the race of the winner.” He noted that there were no plans to fix the disparity among races in the National Basketball Association, where 81 percent of the players are African-American. 

Others have noted that there are understandable reasons of geography and interest level that may explain racial disparities at the Olympics. In this year’s Winter Olympics, 4 percent of the U.S. team was African-American, while 13 percent of the general population is African-American. In the most recent Summer Olympics, in Rio, 23 percent of the U.S. team was African-American.

But Moody went further than these valid points. In a clumsy and insensitive manner, he wrote:

Unless it’s changed overnight, the motto of the Olympics, since 1984, has been “Faster, Higher, Stronger.” It appears the U.S. Olympic Committee would like to change that to “Darker, Gayer, Different.” If your goal is to win medals, that won’t work.

Moody’s hyperbole brought out the critics. Gay-rights groups denounced it as bigoted. One headline called it a “homophobic, racist column.” Fox News issued a statement saying the column “does not reflect the views or values of Fox News and has been removed.”

Commentary such as Moody’s can be edgy and exaggerate matters. But are they the work of bigots and racists? A lot of people think the “racist” label is being used too loosely and too often. The dictionary tells us that “racism” is a belief that one’s race is superior to another.

But now the charge is hurled for any perceived slight or criticism of people of color. 

In the theater of the absurd, TV personality Chelsea Handler called Housing Secretary Ben Carson a “black white supremacist” last year.

Carson’s apparent sin is being a conservative while black, as opposed to most blacks, who vote for Democratic candidates.

Donald Trump has certainly escalated the playing of the race card, both because he has made insensitive statements and because his opponents are willing to hurl any epithet against him. 

In 2016, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof answered the question “Is Donald Trump a Racist?” by saying, “I don’t see what else to call it but racism.” Kristof’s fellow columnist Charles Blow has described Trump as “a Nazi/white nationalist apologist if not sympathizer,” adding, “The accommodation of racists is his creed.”

There was a time when liberals recognized just how poisonous and conversation-ending a reckless charge of racism could be. John Bunzel, a Democrat who served on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, wrote that we should end the “corrupted usage” of the word “racist.” It breeds “bitterness and polarization, not a spirit of pragmatic reasonableness in confronting our difficult problems,” he wrote in 1998.

The late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a pillar of the Democratic party until his retirement as a U.S. senator in 2001, identified just how much damage the misuse of the racist label can do. 

In a famous speech he gave while serving as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in 1975, Moynihan unsuccessfully warned the U.N. General Assembly not to pass a resolution declaring that Zionism was a form or racism and racial discrimination:

The terrible lie that has been told here today will have terrible consequences. . . . The harm will arise first because it will strip from racism the precise and abhorrent meaning that it still precariously holds today. How will the people of the world feel about racism and the need to struggle against it when they are told that it is an idea as broad as to include the Jewish national liberation movement?

Very few modern Democrats have shown the courage of a Bunzel or a Moynihan in decrying the overuse of “racism” as a slur. 

One who has is Marc Lamont Hill, a professor at Temple University. “It’s very rare that I call someone a racist,” he told Philadelphia magazine. “It has to be so unambiguous, like some white supremacist leader. I just don’t find the term productive. It cripples the conversation. No one wants to discuss the matter with you after you use that word.”

So if we wonder why our conversation has become so stilted and so unable to incorporate language that helps us solve problems, let’s acknowledge that crying racism in today’s political theater is sure to create both more smoke and more fire. 

Before it gets any worse, let’s have as many people of good will as possible declare that, for at least a bit, we should stick to the dictionary definition of racism. After all, dictionaries exist for a reason. Let’s use them to clear the air.

— John Fund is National Review’s national-affairs reporter.