It is said that to be successful, a person’s future should be informed by his or her past, but not be dictated by it.
However, groups influenced by identity politics and race theory deploy a collective sense of victimhood derived from a harm done to the group in the past.
The collective victimhood comprises narratives, symbols, myths and events that mould the culture of the group. This ‘memory’ is not meant to reflect an objective history; its purpose is to convey a message that the past is relevant and serves to inform current aspirations.
Although ‘collective victimhood’ contains a narrative based on actual events, it is biased, selective and distorted to meet the needs of the present.
If a horrible past is the basis for determining future success, the future will most likely be a never-ending cycle of failure.
Requiring reparations from the living for those long dead will alienate the groups from whom reparations are demanded.
How would the victimised determine who pays those reparations? Would all minority groups in America be excluded from having to pay? Would ‘whites’ with no forebears in the era of slavery be liable? Would whites who have suffered oppression be as culpable as whites who didn’t? It is racist and wrong to simply characterise people by the colour of their skin.
For BLM, the past is the present
Black Lives Matter (BLM) is such an organisation: its stated aim is to fight for ‘Freedom, Liberation and Justice’. Its premise is that black Americans are still enslaved – for BLM, the past is the present.
BLM’s mission is to ‘eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. By combating and countering acts of violence, creating space for Black imagination and innovation, and centering Black joy, we are winning immediate improvements in our lives.’
It is mischievous to promise to completely eradicate ‘white supremacy’ and find joy. Life isn’t that simple. Also ‘eradicate’ suggests the justification of violence.
Whites make up 60% of the American population and blacks 13%. How would ‘eradicating white supremacy’ be done? The fact that the dominant ‘culture’ is ‘white’ speaks to the prevalence of whites statistically, but it is not axiomatic that colour determines culture or anything else.
BLM’s founders’ aims are distinctly messianic in claiming: ‘Our continued commitment to liberation for all Black people means we are continuing the work of our ancestors and fighting for our collective freedom because it is our duty.’
It says ‘We work vigorously for freedom and justice for Black people and, by extension, all people’, but its claim that ‘We acknowledge, respect, and celebrate differences and commonalities’ is false, not least because of the BLM’s hatred of ‘white’ society.
Purporting to act for all blacks everywhere is profoundly arrogant. Not all blacks were enslaved. And what exactly is the freedom and justice being demanded? How can BLM speak on behalf of ‘all people’? BLM can’t presume that what is most relevant to ‘black people’ globally is merely skin colour.
BLM refers to ‘failure’ repeatedly. The implication of such self-pity is that the progress of black Americans’ is outside them; progress ultimately depends on the intervention of the ‘oppressor’.
Having regard to higher education and the obtaining of degrees at universities, reference is made to The American Council of Educators’ report of 2019, using US Census Bureau Statistics from 2017.
Bachelor degrees are achieved in the following percentages: 30.7% American Asians have a bachelor degree; with the proportions of other races being the following: 23.7% whites; 18.5% Native Hawaiians & Pacific Islanders; 15,3% blacks; 13.4% American Indians & Alaskan Natives; and 12,2% Hispanics.
For Master’s degrees the proportions are: 17.9% American Asians; 10.5% white; 7.1% black and 3.9% Hispanic. Blacks are by no means at the bottom of the achievement list and, given the disadvantages blacks suffered until three or four decades ago, it suggests that black success can grow in percentage terms as disadvantage diminishes.
It is striking how bizarre racial groups are constituted for statistical purposes. ‘Asians’ include Chinese, South Koreans, Vietnamese, and Indians. Why should these groups be lumped together as a ‘race’ when the only thing they have in common is their continent of origin?
The same applies to whites, blacks and Hispanics. The backgrounds, cultures and experiences of each group within a ‘race’ differ significantly, if not completely. Critical race theory and socialism demand the categorisation of people into a few strict characteristics. What makes up a single person is hugely complex.
‘We are working for a world where Black lives are no longer systematically targeted for demise.’ The hysterical claim that non-blacks are trying to kill black Americans, systemically or otherwise, is not supported by evidence. ‘Systemic racism’ is a motif for BLM and yet BLM has failed to present persuasive evidence to support this claim.
The preponderance of blacks involved in crime and incarcerated must be of very serious concern to American society. This is not evidence, however, that police shooting blacks reflects racism across all of society.
Neither accurate nor honest
If there are police departments or policemen that target people based on their racial appearance, they must be dealt with. But it’s neither accurate nor honest to claim that policing in a country of 300 million people – and 17 985 police agencies and departments – is systemically racist.
In claiming the problem is everywhere, BLM won’t be able to solve the problem anywhere.
Gabriel Crouse, analyst and researcher at the IRR, analyses the evidence regarding claims of police brutality in America more thoroughly in his report, Because #BlackLivesMatter – What Institutions need to know about the BLM Global Network.
Crouse also notes that two of the founders of BLM are Marxists by declaration and one by implication. BLM has said on its website that it aims to destroy capitalism. This is a very different and sinister motive for its existence. Why then would freedom-loving Democrats give support to BLM? Justifiable outrage at George Floyd’s death doesn’t need adherence to BLM to be warranted.
American blacks do not have a monopoly on suffering oppression. While black America was advancing incrementally between 1900 and the 1960s notwithstanding real institutionalised white racism, Jews were suffering violent oppression in much of Europe and Russia. The consequent migration of Jews from 1880 to 1920 was the greatest ever. Many of the six million Jews who died under the Nazi regime in the 1940s succumbed as a result of forced labour and starvation.
Jews arrived in America to find no or little help from the system. They relied on family or other contacts; otherwise life was brutal and poor. America also reduced immigration quotas for Jews in the 1930s, at the very time that antisemitism was relentlessly progressing towards genocide. Into the 1970s Jews were being excluded from white American life, including university education.
Vietnamese refugees immigrated to America after decades of brutal war and America’s defeat in 1975. A second wave of refugees, from 1978 to the mid-1980s, fled political and economic instability under the communist government. South Vietnamese were sent to ‘re-education camps‘ for intensive political indoctrination. Famine was widespread, and businesses were seized and nationalised. Vietnamese immigration peaked in 1992 when re-education-camp inmates were released.
BLM would do well to think on why Vietnamese sought sanctuary in a capitalist country and not a communist one.
Chinese immigrants arrived in 1820 as menial labourers and miners. They worked in agriculture and the garment industry, and built railroads. As the numbers of Chinese increased, so did anti-Chinese attitudes. Legislation was passed to limit Chinese immigration.
Most Chinese came to America in order to repatriate earnings to support families in China. They also had to repay loans to the Chinese merchants who’d paid their passage to America. These financial pressures meant they worked for whatever wages they could; non-Chinese workers resented the Chinese squeezing them out of jobs. The Chinese were accused of lowering the ‘cultural and moral standards of American society’ and the ‘integrity of American racial composition’.
And these are only American examples.
As human rights activist and author Ayaan Hirsi Ali said recently, if an American wants to see how bad black and female lives can really be, travel!