These black conservatives are starting to irk me again. I had come to grips with many of them and many of their ways. I’d written off Larry Elders and Rev. Jesse Peterson as anomalies and accepted that my black conservative brothers and sisters may not be as evil as I once thought they were.
Then Shelby Steele dropped a book called WHITE GUILT: How Blacks & Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era.
moral authority and so act guiltily whether they feel guilt or not. They struggle, above all else, to dissociate themselves from the past sins they are stigmatized with. When they behave in ways that invoke the memory of those sins, they must labor to prove that they have not relapsed into their group's former sinfulness. So when America--the greatest embodiment of Western power--goes to war in Third World Iraq, it must also labor to dissociate that action from the great Western sin of imperialism. Thus, in Iraq we are in two wars, one against an insurgency and another against the past--two fronts, two victories to win, one military, the other a victory of dissociation.
The collapse of white supremacy--and the resulting white guilt--introduced a new mechanism of power into the world: stigmatization with the evil of the Western past.
Where to start? Where to start? Mr. Steele is doing nothing that many other authors of social commentary do; build straw men then knock them down with their tightly woven theory wrapped in provocative catch phrases. White Guilt… what a great title. It is sure to bring the choir to its feet but is as legitimate as monopoly money at a crap game.
Shelby Steele claims that by forcing white people to disassociate themselves from their racist past, they’ve lost the moral authority to tell us, black folks, what we need to hear. He then goes on to write that the success of the Civil Rights movement has done more to destroy the black family then Jim Crow and slavery did. What would make a black man say some dumb crap like that? Maybe I’ll have to do a post on what slavery was really like for black people since so many want to romanticize it.
I take issue with Shelby associating the ills of the black community with white guilt because it suggest that it is imperative that white people have the authority to tell us what we need to hear in order for the black community to get its act together. How long has Minister Farrakhan preach about personal responsibility and black men taking their proper place in the black family? How many organizations are in the black community fighting to make it better? Mr. Steele and his kind pompously sit on the outside pounding their chest screaming, 'you black folks need to be more like us.' He is profittering on the same "Race Card Industry" that he claims fills the pockets of Rev. Jackson and Rev. Sharpton.
We know there are some challenges within the black community. However, we also know that those challenges are not unique to the black community and that ills of American society disproportionately impact the black community. When the economy is bad for America, its horrendous for the black community. Illegitimacy, crime, drugs, divorce, education, underachievement – are all problems in America. They impact black America differently and disproportionately.
I truly don’t understand his idea that black anger is perpetuating white guilt. As far as I’m concerned, black people are not angry enough. In fact, if there is one thing the Post Civil Rights Movement did it was usher in an era of complacency. Those that could did, and those that couldn’t were left behind to survive in the pit. As a community, we have dropped the ball.
But if an under funded schools system, a two tier justice system, a redlining mortgage industry, gentrification, racial profiling are the results of white. guilt Then let me be the first to say to white folks, you don’t have to feel guilty anymore.
There is enough blame to go around when it comes to the failures in the Post Civil Rights era I wouldn’t even know where to start. Shelby associating the problems in the black community with white guilt is a good way to curry favor from white folks and sell books… but I’m not buying it.
But Maybe I'm Wrong. Talk to me:
1. What is white guilt and how does it impact the black community?
2. Why shouldn't black people have the moral authority when it comes to race?
3. Shelby states that we should give white people credit for their dramatic turnaround concerning racial attitudes. What say you?
4. If you're white, do you actually feel guilty because America's racist past?
5. If yes. How does that guilt manifest itself in your interaction with black people?
6. Do you think the black community was better off 50, 100, 150 ago?
7. Shelby believes black people don't know how to live under freedom. What say you?
8. The theory of white guilt: a) a valid point b) a good way to sell book.